Master agent Intelisys Communications has begun offering free workshops for telecom agents and IT VARs looking for training on various cloud topics, with plans to expand the program, dubbed Cloud Services University, to virtual courses and certification.
Cloud Services University represents the first big move from Intelisys since it acquired the Cloud Services Coalition (CSC) in May and created a new business unit, Intelisys Cloud Services and Complex Bids. The CSC was a group of integrators based around the country that specialized in cloud services deployments -- expertise Intelisys now plans to leverage to support its channel partners throughout the cloud sales process, from project management to solution design.
"There are a lot of places you can go to get technical training around the cloud but very few places you can go to learn how to sell cloud," Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president and general manager for Intelisys Cloud Services and Complex Bids, told CRN. "That's what we've built: an entire curriculum around applying cloud technologies to solve problems for customers."
Master agents like Intelisys have sought to take advantage of the convergence of the telecom and IT VAR worlds by filling gaps in the cloud resources available to those partners. Gartner projects spending on enterprise public cloud services to hit $109 billion in 2012, up from $91 billion in 2011, and headed for $207 billion by 2016.
Pryfogle, who owned the Coalition and still owns its previous parent company Terrapin Solutions, designed the Cloud Services University curriculum along with several CSC participants and other industry experts from Intelisys' major vendors. Intelisys partners can sign up for Cloud Services University, though even solution providers not affiliated with Intelisys can register for the classes via Intelisys' web site.
The overall course training includes 8 different classes, on topics such as "call center" and "TCO selling." Intelisys will soon be rolling out an Intelisys Cloud Services Sales professional designation that University participants can obtain after taking all eight classes and passing an exam.
"It's a statement to their customers that they really understand how cloud can change the way we do business and have become what we would consider a real cloud practitioner," Pryfogle explained.
Intelisys covers the costs of the courses with help from various vendor sponsors, including Polycom, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter. Most of the bi-monthly courses are held in Polycom interactive learning centers around the country. Intelisys is currently offering the courses in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Irving, Texas; Andover, Mass.; Rosemont, Ill.; Westminster, Colo.; New York; Irvine, Calif.; Santa Clara, Calif.; Bellevue, Wash.; and Herndon, Va.
PUBLISHED AUG. 6, 2012