At the Channel Partners Expo in DC this week, the Technology Channel Association (TCA), a nonprofit trade group for the indirect sales channel, held its second Channel Chief Summit. This member only event is a chance for the channel executives to mingle and discuss best practices and ways to grow the ocean that is The Channel. Topics discussed included the membership recruitment drive underway at the TCA; industry visibility opportunities for members; what role the Channel will have in cloud computing; and TCA's huge educational push.
Besides monthly peer led webinars, TCA will be launching a Certified Telecommunications Professional (CTP) program designed for telecom agents.
Certification was a stated goal of the TCA when it formed in summer 2008. The association began working on the program in January, according to TCA's Certification Committee lead Ben Henkels, principal of Communication Management Partners.
"While the certification program includes a component of training and education, the ultimate goal is to help agents become more effective sales professionals equipped to solution sell larger, more profitable accounts," states Jack Knocke of Microcorp (also a TCA Board member).
The certification initiative is a way to bring professionalism to The Channel at a time when the whole telecom industry is shifting from TDM to IP Communications. Managed Services and Cloud Computing will become major streams of revenue for the carriers and the Channel if agents and VAR's can develop the skills necessary to introduce them to the marketplace and sell them. The certification program is one step towards that.