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If a reseller can’t travel to an HP certification class, distributor Avnet Partner Solutions is bringing the class to the reseller. Or at least, closer to the reseller.

The distributor is embarking on an aggressive training campaign to get resellers up to speed on Hewlett-Packard Co. technology.

The Tempe, Ariz., enterprise products distributor wants to expedite HP certifications to boost reseller productivity and accelerate time to market for HP solutions by enhancing solution-selling skills and technical expertise.

The initiative revolves around scheduling training and certification events in locations within easy reach of partners that need to train their technical personnel. On-site training is available for resellers who want it.

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Because of the expense and time required by certifications, VARs and integrators often find themselves having to make the choice of whether to send people to certification classes, which cuts into customer billing time, or keep them on the clock. Striking a balance often results in delaying certifications, which limits the ability to sell.

The distributor hopes to tip that balance in favor of lower training costs, increased productivity and better profitability by offering a variety of classes and seminars at locations convenient to partners, said Jim Kleeman, vice president and general manager of the HP business unit at Avnet Partner Solutions.

“This is definitely something the resellers have an interest in,” Kleeman said. “Education is something that we have to provide as a value-add for our partners.”

As part of its solutions approach to distribution, Avnet invests significantly in training and support programs for its partners. Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP, one of Avnet’s primary suppliers, this month recognized the distributor’s efforts with a “Best Partnering Award.”

In the past year Avnet Partner Solutions has boosted its sales of HP OpenView solutions by 45 percent, an increase the distributor attributes to such partner services as pre- and post-sales support, product demonstrations, training and consulting efforts.

In addition to the certification efforts, Avnet is launching an initiative called “Data Center in a Box,” designed to train and support resellers on HP blade server solutions, Kleeman said. Avnet partners can take advantage of a series of seminars on blades to develop expertise on the technology.

Tom LaRocca, vice president of partner development and programs at HP, said training is essential for partners to succeed in selling HP technology.

“Avnet plays a key role in helping HP partners grow by making quality training easily accessible,” he said.

Kleeman said Avnet consulted with HP and with resellers to develop the training initiatives.

“We’re always looking at what we can do to provide education,” he said. “We tend to really listen to our partners.”

In addition to the ongoing training events, Avnet is planning boot camps and stand-alone classes at U.S. locations in the Midwest this fall, as well as training sessions at its HP Enterprise Partner Summit scheduled for December.