Resellers have cautiously welcomed Microsoft’s decision to overhaul its training and certification programme, but warned that the new levels might be out of reach for some VARs.
Previously, the certifications, which are for individual employees, were based on various related technology skills. The new programme is modular, targeted at specific job roles and closely follows Microsoft’s technology road map.
The new certifications – Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, IT Professional or Professional Developer and Architect – will not displace the existing certifications, such as Certified Systems Engineer. Resellers will not be required to force employees to become re-certified to keep their Microsoft VAR status.
Ram Dhaliwal, UK training and certification manager at Microsoft, said: “Feedback has shown us that the current routes don’t allow for enough certification, but we are now bringing in more focused and differentiated certifications.”
Ross Miller, chief executive of Microsoft Large Account Reseller (LAR) Trustmarque Solutions, said: “Microsoft is beginning to deliver a recognisable qualification that can make a genuine difference at the sales level.”
Alex Tatham, director of commercial products at Bell Microproducts Europe, agreed. “This is a positive announcement. It’s like training an athlete for a specific event rather than for a decathlon. However, SMEs often find this kind of certification difficult to keep up with,” he said.
Shaun Fröhlich, chairman of Microsoft LAR Teksys, said: “It’s a step forward. Most of our people are qualified already, but anything Microsoft does to make training more accessible and relevant can only be a good thing.”
However, he warned that the new certification process could put qualifications out of reach for some VARs.
“Upping the training bar will not affect our LAR status, but it will put the transactional LARs under pressure. Not all resellers are in the right position to send their staff on these qualification courses,” added Frohlich.
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