Small, customer-focused resellers that are committed to certifying their
staff to sell and support the products they represent are finding the local
channel environment easier to navigate than ever before.

"That's because vendors such as Cisco are beginning to treat certification
as one of the most important criteria when it comes to ranking their
partners," says Alan Hawkins, national sales manager at Tarsus Technologies,
"and this is changing the status quo in the market to some degree."
Hawkins is quick to point out that the market previously favoured the larger
players, but now, provided they have the adequate certification, all the
players are being afforded the full support of their vendors.
"In the competitive market we're operating in, technology vendors are under
as much pressure as resellers," he continues. The difference is that vendors
are looking to grow their channels and to expand their reach into
unexploited areas such as the SMB space.
"By supporting minor players, vendors can build small specialist resellers
with expertise in specific niches," he says. "And since the IT environment
is becoming far more niche-centric, this is an important step in
future-proofing their strategy."
Hawkins says that the support vendors are giving to these smaller, certified
resellers often comes in the form of additional price breaks and training
support. This allows them to be more competitive when it comes to going up
against larger resellers and in some case, to exceed what these players are
able to deliver when it comes to expertise.
"Vendors such as Cisco do, however, want to see the reseller taking the
first step," he adds.
"I recommend that resellers wanting to compete with the more prominent
players in the market and begin realising the opportunities of strong vendor
support start on the certification trail today.
"They will undoubtedly see their vendors reciprocate," he concludes.