Why Certifications Matter

DQC Bureau
New Update

Enterprises feel comfortable dealing with a partner who not only provides reliable solutions but also has a good team of trained and certified professionals to support the solution. Thus, certifications do make business sense. Vendors are helpful too, but cost and returns on investment still remain issues of concern.


Certification is becoming quite a buzzword these days with more and more partners queuing up to get their teams certified. At any channel gathering, one can see partners sizing up each other’s certified personnel capabilities and the number of certifications they have enrolled for in the past year. 

“It is almost a status issue, albeit at a very high price,” says Ashish Tekchandani, a certified professional at Azure Technologies in Ahmedabad. “It reminds one of army generals comparing the medals on their respective chests, and the price they came at,” adds he.

Almost all vendors offer certification programs for their partners. Many of these are obtained through paid training, while others are provided free of cost. Getting certified always helps partners in their business. But there are several factors a partner has to bear in mind before he invests in certification programs. 



Most enterprises who are investing on high-end solutions, want to deal with a partner who is well-conversant with the technologies he is implementing. And the benchmark for selecting the right candidate for a job is to check the number of certifications he has. 

States Ashok Prabhu, GM, KInfotech, “We have recently started providing technical solutions in key business areas. Corporates who buy these solutions are very conscious about the quality of pre and post-sales service provided. Having a certification convinces them that we know our business well.”

There are some vendors, like Cisco, who insist that partners go in for certifications to move up the value chain. However, in the case of majority of vendors, it is optional for partners to go for certification.



The onus usually lies on the partner, depending on his comfort level about going for certifications and his capcity to invest in these programs. 

Kinfotech invests up to Rs 1.5 lakh every year for certification. The company has an easy way of judging which programs it should go for. “We evaluate the business that is likely to come if we are certified for a particular technology. If the expected business is Rs 75 lakh per annum, then we go for the certification,” Ashok informs.

Many companies are, in fact, doing away with ad-hoc decision making as far as investment on training is concerned. “We consciously invest on getting our personnel trained and have made the exercise process-driven,” says Nitin Shah, MD, Allied Digital Services. According to him, in the last eight months, not only has the company invested on getting 50 of its employees trained, but also sent a number of them abroad for specialized programs.


Justifying these investments, Ambarish Deshpande, Marketing Manager, Symantec adds, “The investments made on training can easily be recovered across three-four deals that the partner can bag on the basis of the specialization.”


There are usually two kind of certification programs. The first is directed at sales personnel and is generally provided free. The second is held for the technical staff. In these there are two modes for completing the certification. 

In the first instance, a trainer from the vendor’s end comes to train the technical staff and runs them through the entire course.


An exam is then conducted by him and the capabilities of the examined are judged and rated. Certification is given on the basis of this rating. 

This is usually an expensive program as the training is held at few cities in the country and the trainer is flown in by the vendor, so the coaching costs are higher. Also, if the partner is based in some place distant from the training venue, he has to bear the costs of his candidate’s boarding and commuting. All these add up to the overheads in addition to the training fees, which could range anywhere from Rs 15,000 to Rs 1


In the second instance, partners pay for just the certification course, collect all the material from the vendor, and provide it to the candidate appearing for the exam. He in turn studies these on his own and appears for the exam online. There are two leading companies–Prometric and VUE–that hold these exams through their franchisees.


Often this certified employee then trains other members of his team for the same technology. This ensures that the knowledge base is kept intact and even growing. 


While partners no doubt are keen on acquiring more and more certifications, there are several gray areas that surround the phenomenon. The first is about the level of vendor-participation in the entire process. Partners feel that vendors should share the certification charges. Remarks Ashok, “We will pay for the entire certification program. But on orders that ensue due to this certifications, the vendors should give us a discount for the product we deploy. This will ensure a win-win situation for both the parties.” 

Another way of doing this is to get into a business deal with the vendor, detailing the amount of business a partner expects due to the certification and then work out a slab-based discount scheme. 


But there is a downer to this. Partners might over-estimate the expected business and if they don’t qualify for a particular discount slab, there will be bad air between him and the vendor. A highly realistic approach is most needed to make this scheme work.

Also, the selection of partners for the training leaves much to be desired at times. Partners feel that vendors should select partners who are very well qualified in a particular technology and impart training only to them. “Instead of asking partners randomly for these trainings, vendors should handpick the right partners who understand that business,” points out Sushil Uniyal, Business Development Manager of Delhi’s Micro Clinic Services. 

Having too many certified partners will backfire on the vendor as it will only create more competition and the very USP of certification is lost.


Additionally, the quality of training also comes under flak. “These training sessions are held in ideal and controlled conditions.

The same products when deployed in a real-time situation might yield problems that were not encountered in the training room. Vendors need to simulate real-life conditions to make these trainingS more productive,” suggests Lt Col HS Bedi of Delhi’s Tulip Software Services.

Yet another area of concern is about the employee attrition rates. A company invests in training its personnel and soon finds that they have left it to join some other organization. In addition to losing a certified employee, the company also loses its investment done on training. 

There are no hard and fast rules to prevent these cases. All a partner can do is ensure that he has a good HR policy in place and maybe, get into an understanding with the employee that he should not leave the organization for two years after receiving the certification. In this time frame, he can coach other members of his team in the technology, who will then be able to fit his shoes, should he decide to quit the company.