IBM (IBM) last week delegated its partner and customer training for systems and software to run through education partners Global Knowledge and LearnQuest and two distributors—Arrow’s (ARW) Enterprise Computing (ECS) unit and Avnet’s (AVT) Technology Solutions (ATS) business.

The vendor, which historically has controlled both content and deliverables of its hardware and software training and siphoned materials to authorized education partners, now will follow a model similar to Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), both of which rely on large, highly qualified specialists to tailor training for partners and users.

IBM will provide authorized training materials but the partners will have the freedom to adjust to market requirements.

"IBM-authorized content delivered by authorized global training partners will change how and where you learn,” said Tom Rosamilia, IBM systems and technology group senior vice president, in a video post. “To ensure that we selected global training partners that would best meet our clients’ needs, we used very specific criteria,” he said.

According to Rosamilia, chief among those measurements were geographic reach and availability with a strong global and web presence; a solid network of partners and suppliers; a proven track record of delivery with an established reputation of delivery in the technical skills marketplace; flexible education delivery methods; and the ability and desire to collaborate with other training organizations.

“We only chose global training partners committed to establishing relationships with other training partners,” he said.

Distributor Avnet, which kicked off its participation in IBM’s global training provider program last week, will roll out the effort in two phases. The first stage spans Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, while phase two will include Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

“Being recognized as a trusted training provider by one of the leaders in IT on such a global scale allows us to further expand our value-added services offerings, especially following our recent launch of Avnet Services,” said Phil Gallagher, ATS global president. “More importantly, it helps drive education to enable our partners and resellers to grow and better address end customers' business challenges."

Arrow, which has distributed IBM products for 24 years, will provide IBM education and training through its ECS education unit. The distributor served as a test site for IBM to pilot the new education model in the Ireland, the Nordics and the United Kingdom. Arrow said that in the next year its ECS education unit will launch the IBM training program in some 130 countries, rolling out an initial phase of 10 countries, adding another 50 countries by the end of this year, followed by the remaining 70 by the summer of 2014.

"This initiative that we have tested with IBM in Europe provided a great opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities to deliver high-quality IT skills trainings,” said Laurent Sadoun, Arrow ECS EMEA president who also heads Arrow's ECS worldwide services.

“We will now support IBM's new partner-led model through innovative training solutions and a global team of training experts to help increase IBM education and adoption of the IBM software and systems portfolio in the global marketplace, he said. “It will also deliver to our partners an outstanding degree of visibility on their customer projects, bringing many cross-selling and upselling opportunities."