The president of Cisco's biggest worldwide training partner, GeoTrain, has warned Australian resellers to train their staff in niche technologies or face the risk of being made redundant by the growing band of smart end users.
Visiting Sydney last week, GeoTrain's president Jim Bensman claimed that a reseller's inability to keep up with the frenetic growth of new technologies can no longer be used as an excuse for not growing their business. He said most end user organisations are setting the benchmark and placing great importance on staff training.
According to Ric Wilson, the managing director of GeoTrain Asia-Pacific, the Australian channel represents only about 35 per cent of GeoTrain's local revenue across all technology markets. This represents a substantial chunk of GeoTrain's revenue stream that officials estimate will be in excess of $300 million by the year 2000. But is there enough reseller training participation to keep their organisations alive?
Cisco, working through GeoTrain, has addressed this issue by diversifying its internetworking training setup into nine "university-like" strands that focus on routing and switching. These Cisco Career Certifications are broken into two strands of network design and network support. Courses on offer include: Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP), Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP).
Bensman explained the reason for creating this "university-like" training environment was based on the organisation's desire to change the way individuals participate in training.
"This new strategy is about creating an educational experience, not promoting course attendance," Bensman said.
"Our students shouldn't feel that the full-blown, $18,000 CCIE [Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert] program is the only training that is available."
Wilson added that a reseller's approach to Cisco training is entirely dependent on what partnership level it wishes to hold with Cisco. The vendor has initiated a training co-op fund, which allocates a cut of a reseller's sales to future training in a bid to make resellers more proficient. GeoTrain will also unveil its own strategic reseller training partnerships over the next two months.
"If a reseller wishes to become a Cisco Gold Partner it would have to employ four CCIE's at a cost of $18,000 per CCIE," Wilson said. "But, that is a huge asset when it comes to dealing with customers."