Avnet offers VARs customized cloud training

Tim FitzGerald Avnet

Tim FitzGerald, VP of Avnet's data centre technology solutions for North America

Continuing its focus on supporting resellers focused on the data centre and the cloud, Avnet Technology Solutions has announced plans for cloud-centric training for solution providers.

The training program, which will include two-day in-person courses that offer solution providers a view into what works in selling cloud components and how to identify customer needs.

“It’s about how to not necessarily start with what [a reseller has] in inventory, but to remain focused on solving a customer’s business problem with a solution that could include both cloud and on-premise technologies,” said Tim FitzGerald, vice president of data centre technology solution practices for North America at Avnet. “You start with the problem and design a solution that solves that end user pain point.”

The courses are offered in in two distinct versions, one for engineers or technical staff, and one for sales. In the engineering track, the content is geared towards those who are designing or architecting cloud deployments. In the sales track, the focus is on effective discovery sales calls, identifying the right questions to ask, and how to get the right information to the engineers that are designing the solution.

And there will also be choices in how the courses are delivered. The distributor will offer scheduled classes at a variety of locations, but for solution providers with specific questions and a desire to train multiple sales and/or engineering staff, it can also bring them to the solution provider’s location.

For the scheduled classes, FitzGerald said that the company would be offering the courses in “geographically desirable locations,” including its Phoenix, Ariz. headquarters, but also in other major centres, including Toronto.

To say there’s a lot going on in the cloud would be a dramatic understatement, and every vendor (and to be fair, distributor, service provider, etc.) has their own messaging about it. Analysts also offer sometimes wildly conflicting guidance on how big the cloud opportunity is and how big it will be. All of that can cause a tendency towards analysis paralysis. FitzGerald said that Avnet is able to offer some clarity on the subject because the courses are developed by its own staff, based on their own experiences.

“What we’ve done in architecting this training is distilled down volumes of information on what’s going on and compacted it into a two-day curriculum,” he said. “The only way to make that happen is to have our own team do that distillation and delivery.”

Although the courses are firmly in the “training and enablement” camp, FitzGerald said they shouldn’t be viewed in isolation, but rather as part of the company’s overarching SolutionsPath engagement model, which also includes, business planning, demand generation, professional services and other practice-building components.

“The partners that are growing the fastest are the ones using all the parts,” he said.

Over the last year, the company has introduced a variety of programs for partners looking to build out cloud solutions under the CloudReady initiative, including the Cloud PayNow program that offers solution providers more traditional compensation cycles on cloud solutions.