Australia's looming skills crisis will potentially impact a partner's ability to engage with the solutions and innovations Cisco is looking to bring to market.
During its 2010 Partner Summit, Cisco said it needed to innovate and 'write the rules' in the market to win across key technology areas such as cloud, the network, video and collaboration. The vendor announced a number of new market initiatives including channel programs such as the Teaming Incentive Program (TIP) and Global Partner Network to facilitate this push.
However, in Australia, this might prove difficult. Numerous analysts and recruitment firms have predicted the local industry will soon struggle from a skills crisis deeper than pre-GFC levels.
Dimension Data CEO, Steve Nola, said that while it's not a problem exclusive to Cisco technology and services, the skills crisis will potentially disrupt a local player's ability to bring new technology solutions to market in a cost-effective manner, or properly engage with Cisco and other vendors’ market pushes.
"The GFC last year didn't have the impact we thought, the economy was insulated. As business has picked up, there's not enough young talent coming into the industry, which will have a longer-term effect in terms of the cost of doing business, and more expensive labour to the client," Nola said.
The skills shortage is causing a cost creep, as skilled individuals move from business to business. Ultimately this is harmful for the industry, Nola said, as it inhibited the ability to deliver services at a cost-effective level.
"We're looking at how we can get a greater intake at the university level, working with the Government – it's going to be a challenge, an increase in the relevant training into the market," Nola said.
Cisco, too, has seen problems with the looming skills crisis. Its managing director, Asia-Pacific partner organisation, Mike Allen, said the vendor was keen to work with partners to provide incentives for graduates and other skilled individuals to enter, and remain in the market.
"We all have a role in solving this potential problem. In our worldwide partner organisation, we engage at a local level to capture some of the talent and bring it into our industry. Some of the education courses are behind where as an industry we are at, and we need to bring it forward," he said.
Matthew Sainsbury travelled to Cisco Partner Summit as a guest of Cisco.