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Leader of the pack

01 Jan 11

From labelling ourselves as ‘computer technicians’ to the fancy term ‘system      architect’, computer people like me have evolved over the past couple of decades. Of course there are slightly different meanings to these titles but I believe they are pretty much the same thing, and really, who cares? The point is, we are evolving and therefore if we are, so too are the people we work with and the solutions we sell to our customers.
IT is a great career to be involved in. There is always something new being created with imaginative buzzwords that stick in our heads. The types of solutions being rebranded as something new and revolutionary, like cloud computing, are classic and stereotypical of our industry.
However as ‘computer people’ we get aboard the bandwagon or we go with the flow to sell what we can at any opportunity. As long as we satisfy the needs of our client and most importantly, in the best interests of our client, while making a buck here and there, then we are doing well.
With this in mind, the types of products we offer to sell are mostly driven by the suppliers who give greater confidence and trust. So how do we sell products to our clients most effectively?  We know them inside out technically and we are totally confident about supporting them should an emergency occur.
You the systems engineer, techie, architect, in some instances "saint”, are the true sales force behind some of the solution products out there in the marketplace today. I have always thought the best sales people in any IT organisation are you, the techie, and therefore you are what drives a lot of reseller training.
The suppliers all want your business. They have listened to you and offer real hands-on training, and in some instances they offer certifications in their products. Hands-on training is such a gift to receive and most of the time it is free, so if you have the opportunity to subscribe to these I highly recommend you do.
I’ll use cloud computing as an example of why there is a new found energy being pumped into training of resellers:
1. Suppliers understand resellers will roll out products if confidence in them;
2. Suppliers know that cloud computing opportunities exist now;
3. Suppliers believe that their resellers will bring new sales opportunities to their business;
4. Suppliers commit to training resellers to maximise each other’s business;
5. Suppliers are training resellers so that the product they offer is installed, configured and running exactly as it should without any misconfiguration that could bring downtime.
As customers become technically savvy these days and self-aware about solutions they are offered, they are expecting some guarantees and assurances from the reseller.
Q1. What formal training and/or certification has the reseller obtained to offer such services?
Q2. What risks exist with the reseller, i.e. are they running their servers out of a garage? Where is the data going?
Q3. What happens if the reseller goes out of business? How does the customer obtain their data?
Now we have covered some of the supplier, reseller and client needs for cloud computing here comes the kicker.
At present, here in New Zealand our own Government is keeping a close eye on the development of a world first: a national standard for cloud computing that may be implemented within the next year or so.
This standard will focus on ensuring the reseller or supplier of cloud computing solutions must meet some type of criteria to protect themselves, and ultimately their clients.
From in-house data centre services and technical staffing credentials, all the way to where and how the client data is being transmitted, will be revised as a result.
It is a very exciting time here in New Zealand around the cloud scene and this is what is driving a strong demand in reseller training at present.
So many variables come with the cloud offer, from online backups and telephony services to complete outsourcing of business networks, that reseller training is a must-have and must-do.
As a reseller, keep giving your valuable feedback and advice to your suppliers. They truly do listen and this is what drives our industry and keeps it leading-edge

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