Certification Enhances Value, Raises Profitability

Just how valuable is IT certification? Often, the answer depends on who fields the question, and when.

Nowadays, an increasingly complex IT landscape—driven by mobile workforces, ubiquitous cloud computing, heightened security risks, and the rise of transformative technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data—has joined forces with a highly competitive market to ratchet up the value of certifications.

For individual IT technicians, industry and vendor certifications can enhance credibility, elevate marketability, and increase long-term earning potential. In a nutshell, certification represents a “stamp of approval” from vendors and the IT industry at large—bona fide proof that a particular skill set has been mastered.

For solution provider organizations, hiring certified technicians confers numerous benefits as well, instilling confidence in vendor partners and end users alike that IT projects can be completed competently. Also, solution providers that complete certification requirements for vendor channel programs often gain access to a wealth of resources, including advanced pre- and post-sales support and fatter product margins.

Certification can even lead to increased brand loyalty, as customers tend to stick with vendors and partners whose solutions are well-implemented and backed by a credentialed team. Other benefits of certification cited by partners include higher customer satisfaction, deeper insights into customer IT needs, more deals and bigger deal sizes, and shorter sales cycle—all of which result in greater profitability for solution providers.

As valuable as certifications can be, though, solution providers need to approach their training strategically. There are myriad certifications available, and they all cost money and time to attain. With limited budgets and abundant time constraints, solution providers have to decide which certifications will bring them the greatest value and return on investment.

Research by The 2112 group shows that Samsung’s partners are a highly skilled lot. They hold a broad array of certifications, from basic (CompTIA A+) to advanced (Six Sigma Black Belt), and everything in between (Amazon Web Services, HP storage, and Cisco Telephony, to name just a few). For the most part, Samsung partners are doing a good job of applying their skill sets—of focusing on the solutions and products that allow them to leverage their expertise.

Within the Samsung channel community, the top five certifications held by partners are in Microsoft (75 percent), VMware (about 65 percent), Cisco networking (nearly 50 percent), and Citrix (approximately 35 percent) products. The CompTIA A+ certification took the No. 4 spot, with roughly 40 percent of Samsung partners holding the credential.

As it turns out, most Samsung partners make it a practice to “spread the wealth,” teaming up with multiple vendors across diverse solution sets. The products and solutions most sold by Samsung partners, which include server virtualization, backup cloud, IT management applications, data networks, servers, PCs, and VDI, largely align with the top certifications. Samsung’s most popular offerings among surveyed partners? Tablets, monitors, digital signage, Chrome devices, and Windows PCs.

With certifications that cover desktops and servers, networking, virtualization, cloud, security, and more, partners can tie together multiple products, and layer professional and managed services on top, to deploy end-to-end solutions that produce valuable business outcomes.

Yet there are “white spaces”—areas where channel partners may be missing out on opportunities to expand their businesses and increase profitability. Where Samsung partners should consider earning additional certifications is in critical technologies, such as security, mobility, and cloud computing, and in vertical specialties, including healthcare, financial services, and government.

In a market that’s changing very quickly and presenting intense competitive pressure, solution providers would be wise to research and invest in the training they need to bring high-quality solutions to their customers.

New in 2016, we’re rolling out an interactive platform for learning and certification to support your technical, sales, marketing and soft-skills expertise. Additionally, we’ll offer enhanced benefits and program access based on completion of key curricula. As an added bonus, Samsung partners are offered discounts to vendor-agnostic, industry standard certifications and Trustmarks through CompTIA. Access our learning management system and CompTIA discount codes through our partner portal.