Westcon Rolls Out Industry-First Certification to Help Partners Get SIP-Smart

SIP-based services remain a bit of a mystery for many channel partners. Even though the technology has been in place for years, resellers, dealers and agents still seem bewildered by SIPs capabilities and applications, and how to handle deployments. Thats because SIP is known for enabling unified communications, low-cost calling and fast disaster recovery, but it also has a reputation for being thorny to implement and complicated to support if something goes wrong. Value-added distributor Westcon Group hopes to cut through all of that confusion by offering the industrys first SIP certification.

We want our partners to be the best-trained in the market,” said Bob Reams, senior manager of partner enablement for Westcon Group.

To achieve that goal, Westcon Group has expanded its affiliation with U.K.-headquartered The SIP School, and now offers all of its resellers and dealers the chance to earn the SIP School Certified Associate, or SSCA, designation. On top of that, a number of SIP-centric entities including Avaya, Acme Packet, AudioCodes, INGATE and the Telecommunications Industry Association have endorsed the certification. Avayas backing is especially important, since Westcon is Avayas largest distributor. And, Reams said, if youre going to sell Avaya solutions, you must be good at SIP because thats their foundation.” He clarified, however, that The SIP School designation is SIP-specific, not vendor-specific.

To that point, the SIP certification focuses on two areas: technical, and sales and marketing. The class, most of which is delivered over the Internet, costs $500. There are portions that require in-person training and Westcon has outlined the dates and locations on its website. Most of all, Westcon and The SIP School designed the curriculum to be taken on-demand. Partners didnt want to take engineers or salespeople out of the field for three or four days,” Reams said.

Then, when the time comes, partners take the exam and they get three tries at it. I dont want a walk-in-the-park certification,” said Reams. You really have to work at this.” Reams couldnt say how many partners have so far enrolled for the SIP certification; the wide release of Westcon Groups SIP School curriculum took place last week. Also, partners who dont work with Westcon may take The SIP Schools program, although they wont get preferred-distributor discounts from Westcon. Nonetheless, with the growing adoption of SIP for call controls, video applications and more, partners need to learn as much as they can about the technology, Reams said. Youve got to get this education,” he said. Youve got to get SIP-smart.”

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