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“Larger clients have been coming to us for help because there isn’t any clear documentation from Apple on how to support these mobile devices in the enterprise,” said Craig Cohen, president of HCS Technology Group, an Apple consultancy in Bohemia, N.Y.
That Apple is waking up to the benefits of working with the channel makes sense considering the speed and volume of iPhone and iPad sales. Apple will report fourth-quarter results on Oct. 18, but in its fiscal third quarter the company sold 20.34 million iPhones, up 142 percent year over year, and 9.25 million iPads, up 183 percent year over year. It's just-unveiled iPhone 4S racked up over 1 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours it was available. And with the vast majority of Fortune 500 firms either deploying iOS devices or considering doing so, integrating these devices into corporate networks is an emerging area of opportunity for the channel.
HCS Technology Group’s Cohen, who was one of the partners Apple reached out to for help in drawing up the MTC technical prerequisites, credits Daumard and Mimi Basu, senior manager of the Apple Consultants Network, for providing the strategic vision behind MTC. “Apple wanted to create a class that will not only teach people the technical parts of supporting iOS, but also the core requirements to manage it as a real business,” he said.
According to Apple documentation viewed by CRN, to be eligible for MTC, a VAR must have a both a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) with Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 and a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) for Exchange Server 2010. Another option is to have a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) in both security and wireless, or a single staff member with CompTIA Network+ certification.
It's an easier road for VARs that have a staff member with a background working with Apple products: They need only to update that person's skills to Apple Certified Technical Coordinator 10.6 and Security and Mobility 10.6.
The next step toward MTC involves getting this person trained, starting with "iPhone and iPad Technical Training for Enterprise", a series of four courses that cover iOS device integration. The final step is, a two-day, $400 iOS workshop that focuses on strategies for providing secure access from mobile devices to services running on private networks, according to the Apple documentation.
Apple didn't respond to a request for comment on the MTC training requirements.
Arlin Sorensen, CEO of Heartland Technology Solutions and HTG Peer Groups, is now a member of the Apple Consultants Network and expects to obtain MTC certification for one of his engineers next month. Other HTG members would benefit by engaging with Apple, he said.
"This is a significant opportunity for you to enter the mobility area ahead of the competition and become the local ‘mobility guru’ that is able to help small and large businesses alike place mobile devices on their networks in a secure and meaningful manner," Sorensen said in a newsletter to HTG members last month.
NEXT: Gauging The Channel's Interest In MTC