HP PartnerTRAIN Helps VARs, IT Consultants Consolidate Certification Costs

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

HP PartnerTRAIN and HP's Certified Professional Master ASE Storage Summit brought together the IT consultants, VARs and solution providers for training, certification and one-on-one sessions with HP's top channel engineers. HP said the event helped their IT consultant and solution provider partners cut training costs by bringing everything to a single location for accelerated training.

One of the criticisms VARs, resellers, IT consultants and solution providers level against certifications and their declining value is the lack of hands-on training in many cases.

When training is only Web-based, how can the trainees get a feel for real-life situations? They are just paper, say many solution providers.  That's why the certifications that still hold the most value are those that both recognize hands-on training and require some length of experience in the field.

HP is no stranger to certifications, technology training and what makes them hold value.  With those lessons in mind, the IT giant recently held two training events in Colorado Springs, Colo.—HP PartnerTRAIN (Technology Readiness and Information Network) and the HP Certified Professional Master ASE (Accredited Sales Engineer) Storage Summit.

"It's our way of helping partners reduce the amount of investment they have to make in training," said Todd Owens, director of HP's certification and education programs for its solutions partner organization. "We take all our training resources, put them in one place, and that enables us to compress the learning modules and time students need to go through, and allows us to offer more hands-on experience with equipment."

HP's PartnerTRAIN event in Colorado Springs offered technical certification training as well as curriculum designed to help sales representatives or new hires engage with customers.

Click here to read about HP's free on-site sales training for SMB VARs.

Certification training can help partners earn HP's Elite Partner status.

"Certification gives us the ability to identify partners who truly have the skills to represent our products to customers as we would do it ourselves," said Owens. "If we just throw a bunch of Web-based training out there and hope they take it, I don't feel like I can assure the customer that they will get the best experience."

The Elite Certification also holds some valuable benefits for partners. For example, Owens said, the Master ASE Storage certification holders in town for the summit had the opportunity to meet with HP's engineers one-on-one. That also offers benefits to HP.

Click here for five reasons why IT certifications still matter.

"This way the engineers get a real-world spin on what their products are actually doing," said Owens. "It's a very interactive session. ... These are the highest regarded technical minds out there in the channel for HP."

PartnerTRAIN is one way HP is working to cut down on partner costs for training and certification—by putting it all in one place to make it easier for partners.  Another way, Owens said, is by offering more Web-based training.

"How can I make it more economical for them to get trained? I'm not going to skimp on the knowledge and skill it takes to get trained. But what I can try to do is make it as easy as possible for partners to get access to material through Web-based training and virtual labs."

Owens said that HP is seeing more demand from partners for Web-based training. And while it may not be for everyone, it helps.

HP is also talking to partners about creating remote demo capabilities.

"How cool would it be to dial in on a private network and work on HP gear? We are not quite there yet, but we are looking at those kinds of things," Owens said.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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