One of the world’s leading IT industry trade associations is taking a big step to increase its imprint on the market by dropping an enrollment fee for individuals and opening its doors to IT professionals of all sizes and stripes.
The Chicago-based trade group known as CompTIA will no longer require a nominal, $250 enrollment fee from individuals who want basic benefits from the organization. While stopping short of giving these professionals full “membership” status, which comes with access to CompTIA’s complete portfolio of research and voting rights that help set the organization’s agenda, CompTIA will make available basic education tools, news and thought leadership available to individuals who register online on a new CompTIA Website scheduled to debut in June.
CompTIA hopes its new “open access model” will dramatically increase the number of professionals who turn to it for training and certification, representation in Washington and influence throughout the industry. Today, membership totals a few thousand. But according to CompTIA SVP Nancy Hammervik, the group hopes to increase individual involvement to as many as 20,000 in the years to come. A “soft launch” of the new model has already attracted 5,000 individuals, and momentum is building.
“We no longer want to be the industry’s best kept secret, but its best-kept resource, instead,” said Hammervik in an interview with Channel Partners earlier this week.
Exiting members affiliated with CompTIA will become Premier Members as of April 1. They will receive for the rest of the year priority access to CompTIA training and education materials, exclusive access to business tools and services, priority access to all CompTIA research, and unlimited, complimentary CompTIA event registrations, among other things. Should they wish to remain Premier Members, solution providers will be required to pay $250 annually. Vendors will be required to pay between $625-$5,000 annually, depending on the size of their organization.
Believing that CompTIA can serve as a lighthouse community for the entire industry, Hammervik says the organization is working actively to attract engineers and sales professionals who work in the traditional channel, plus individuals who develop software and solutions for other industry companies.
By attracting new fans, CompTIA, whose roots date back more than 30 years when the Association for Better Computer Dealers (ABCD) was founded, is bound to elevate its stance in the industry. In fact, some believe its latest move could help propel the organization into a position that will allow it to do for the information technology industry what only the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and a handful of other professional associations do for their respective industries.
To achieve its aims, CompTIA has worked to improve the quality and relevance of its research, events and benefits provided to rank-and-file members. Among other things, the organization now boasts one of the most effective and nimble teams working on behalf of solution-provider interests in all of Washington. And it’s CompTIA A+ certification training remains among the most popular technology knowledge platform in the world.