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Why IT providers should be vendor-certified

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In today’s digitally dominated business landscape, an organisation’s technology solutions are critical to its daily functionality, profitability and competitiveness. It is now more important than ever to ensure a business’s technology stack functions optimally for maximum efficiency, effectiveness and return.
It is vital that organisations have solutions which are properly specified, planned and implemented by IT partners who know exactly what they are doing, writes Andre Muzerie, Oracle business practice head:Africa at Wipro.
The surest way of measuring an IT partner’s knowledge with a particular technology is to assess their level of vendor certification. More than just a piece of paper, vendor certification stands as evidence that a service provider has in-depth knowledge regarding a specific product and solution.

Up to date expertise
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and organisations need to keep up. Vendor certification requires that a provider undergoes rigorous annual training, as well as supplementary training when updates or changes are introduced, in order to maintain their vendor certification level. This means that organisations who enlist the services of vendor certified providers have assurance that their solution is deployed by a provider who is both experienced and abreast of the vendor’s most current technology.

Assured speed and accuracy
Amidst a challenging economic environment, it is imperative that solutions are deployed correctly the first time — this calls for a highly effective and certified IT provider. These providers are equipped to understand customer problems and requirements, while taking into consideration the customer’s unique processes and structure.
When implementing an IT solution, speed to deploy and accuracy are critical. Cloud solutions in particular, with their own set of integration complexities, require fast implementation with little to no room for error. Adjustments cost businesses time and money which they can ill afford — and shouldn’t have to.
Often, service providers understand the products they offer in theory, but when it comes to deployment it may transpire that general and theoretical knowledge does not necessarily equip them for real-life implementations. IT Providers typically have to roll out at least one actual solution for a customer as part of their grading in order to qualify for a certification – giving proof of the provider’s experience with deployments and “going live”.

Investment in talent
The necessary vendor training for certification typically requires significant capital and human resource investment. This training can take several weeks to complete. The costs associated with training are often high, particularly where training takes place overseas. When IT companies significantly invest in vendor certification, it demonstrates a commitment to vendor and the services that are delivered to the end user customer.

Vendor backing
Depending on the level of certification, certified IT providers usually have the support and backing of their vendors. Although certification provides a measure of assurance in terms of the solution, customers have different needs with varying levels of complexity. A certified partner may understand the intricacies of the solution offered, yet still encounter previously unknown difficulties. In these instances, having 24-hour vendor support proves crucial, and allows the provider to deliver on deployment speed and accuracy.
Higher levels of certification also allow providers some leverage in terms of customisation. The higher the certification, the more influence a provider has on vendor solution design and strategies. Vendors usually provide higher level certified IT providers with dedicated resources, and often provide insight into product development. Given that these providers exhibit sound knowledge and experience of the vendor’s range of products and solutions – their suggestions are usually taken in earnest. This is beneficial for larger organisations who may have unique customisation requirements.
Many businesses opt for a service provider with the most cost effective solutions — not taking into account the high cost should the deployment fail – or take longer than necessary due to inexperience. The question that these organisations should be asking is: can I afford the risk of choosing an IT provider who is not sufficiently skilled, with the certification to prove it?