HP has claimed a shake-up of certifications for individual reseller staff has cut partners' costs in half.
At the vendor's ExpertOne Technology and Solutions Summit (ETSS) taking place in Barcelona this week, Kim Howlett, regional manager for HP ExpertOne Europe, claimed that gaining the necessary skills for "the new style of IT" could potentially be a costly exercise for VARs. She explained that a recent survey of the vendor's channel partners had clearly shown that channel firms wanted the process of getting employees certified to be less onerous – but not at the expense of rigour.
"[Partners said]: ‘please make it easier to certify with HP... but on no condition damage the quality and the credibility of those certifications'," said Howlett. "[Partners] want to optimise their skills beyond just certification compliance; they need fresh, up-to-date information, they need relevant new information."
Around the start of the year HP launched eight new sales certifications, a key feature of which was helping partners position HP technology against its competitors. And Howlett insisted sales badges would be given even more of a competitive focus in the future.
"Partners are demanding an even more competitive model, they want to understand how to position themselves in the marketplace," she said.
The vendor has also made efforts to lighten the financial and temporal burden of technical education, a key part of which has been making some certifications narrower. The moves to simplify the training process for technical staff have resulted in partner staff spending 44 per cent fewer days out of the office, with resellers seeing the cost to them reduced by 50 per cent, claimed Howlett.
"Our certifications were very broad and deep and, when we analysed it, we did not need that breadth – we were targeting too many roles in one certification. We have segmented them so they are more specific; now, they are just as deep, but much narrower," she explained.
"Previously we had an implementation engineer studying the same qualification as a pre-sales engineer. Clearly, what you need [for each role] is different. So we split it down the middle, and now have role-based certifications."
Matt Latter, pre-sales manager at Logicalis UK, saluted the work HP has done in building the recognition of its individual certifications, especially its top-level Master Accredited Solutions Expert (ASE) badges.
"Other vendors have certifications that are known instantly [by customers]; creating that Master ASE certification brand has been key," he explained.
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