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Arrow Electronics launched its Global Training Alliance with the announcement that Fast Lane, a provider of advanced IT training courses, is the first to join the global program. The alliance is designed to extend Arrow’s enterprise computing solutions education coverage and infrastructure with select partners.

“When IBM decided to change their model with regard to sales and delivery of their authorized training for their customer base, we were selected as one of the four partners,” said Jim Livingston, vice president, services, enterprise computing solutions North America, Arrow Electronics. “Our primary strategy is to focus on how we can enhance the ability of our reseller business partners that go to market with IBM hardware, software products and technologies so they can offer broader solutions to their customers with educational offerings for IBM and other offerings that are very complementary.”

As part of the program, Fast Lane will offer authorized IBM training through its global learning network to complement Arrow’s capabilities and offerings. The alliance will provide IBM training in 60 countries today and is on track to cover 130 countries over the next six months.

Training courses will cover IBM Systems training (including IBM Power Systems, IBM PureSystems, IBM System Storage and Storage Networking), IBM System x and BladeCenter, IBM System z, cloud computing and  IBM Software Training (such as Business Analytics, Information Management, Collaboration, Product Lifecycle Management, Rational, Tivoli and WebSphere).

Initially, the program will focus on two global IT training providers, Fast Lane and New Horizons. Arrow and New Horizons are currently working to finalize the partnership agreement.

Arrow also plans to roll in a handful of existing regional education solution partners under the global alliance. One of the key reasons for bringing in regional partners is that the alliance gives Arrow a repeatable approach in terms of how it manages these types of relationships as well as how it shares marketing and demand-generation activity.

The distributor’s biggest value as part of its education strategy is “the ability to align the buying activity by the end-user customers along with training needs,” said Livingston.

In many cases, buying decisions are made around gaps in skills based on the customers’ investments in new technologies, said Livingston. If a customer, for example, invests in  new IBM PureSystems, it might create a gap in skills so the customer will want to evaluate and acquire the tools to close the gap, he added.

Arrow’s education business covers a variety of suppliers represented in its portfolio including IBM, VMware, Trend Micro, Citrix and a host of others. The distributor plans to complement its training portfolio with a solution approach, addressing key business areas such as big data, mobility, security and cloud computing, by leveraging both IBM’s product hardware and software products and Arrow’s network of complementary vendors in these areas. This is expected to help Arrow’s resellers and training alliance partners build their portfolios that align to those business areas.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributing writer, focuses on technology and the channel.