VARs Scramble for Training on 'Disruptive' OCS TechnologyBy Sharon Linsenbach | Posted 2007-12-28 Email Print
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VARs are rushing to get trained on Microsoft's Office Communications Server, hoping to double their business.Some Microsoft partners believe Office Communications Server could double their business, sparking a rush to get up to speed on the new unified communications technology.
To help get VARs up to speed, Techtionary, an online provider of rich media tutorials and technology training, announced the week of Dec. 24 that it will add a Microsoft OCS (Office Communications Server)Virtual Lab component to its existing lineup of OCS courses to help VARs gain hands-on experience with the new technology.
Techtionary CEO Tom Cross said Microsoft partners who've contacted Techtionary to inquire about the training believe OCS could double their revenue, since the technology can provide their customers with a complete office solution that includes telephony, an area Microsoft VARs weren't previously familiar with.
Cross said Microsoft's recent release of Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 will increase the demand for OCS training and information, since that release will generate demand for upgrades and maintenance to existing infrastructure. Partners can use that opportunity to up-sell customers to a more holistic OCS solution, Cross said, adding that several large national banks and some VARs that service the financial industry have already expressed a great deal of interest in Techtionary's training.
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Microsoft's OCS release gives it a huge advantage over other players in the unified communications space, Cross said, which is why Techtionary will be focusing exclusively on OCS classes and doesn't plan education offerings on products from other unified communications vendors, including Cisco.
Cross said Cisco has been tight-lipped and extremely possessive of its certification and training materials and requirements around unified communications. Microsoft, on the other hand, offered Techtionary extensive support and assistance in developing its training and course materials, Cross said.
"Cisco could have done this," Cross said, meaning that it could have developed and released an "all-in-one" office productivity and unified communications solution, "But they don't touch the desktop and the end user like Microsoft does," he said.
According to Cross, the lab class can be customized depending on the skill level and needs of VARs, individuals or enterprise customers who take the course. Students can choose training on all aspects of the technologyincluding OCS, Exchange Server 2007, Active Directory, IIS, SQL Server and moreor can choose only those subjects they feel they need to cover.
Cross said for now, since OCS is so new, most of the inquiries his company has received are from potential students who need comprehensive training.
Microsoft released OCS on Oct. 16. The OCS Virtual Lab complements Techtionary's existing OCS Essentials 101 and OCS Complete 201 courses.