In the unified communications and security markets for SMBs and the enterprise, Jenne Inc. is a value-added distributor that wants to pass that value down to their partners. To wit, Jenne is offering a comprehensive enterprise training program for Avaya technologies, but that's not all. The VAR Guy spoke to Jenne's Jim Karaffa, director of training and technical services, about how VARs can create serious momentum by taking the time to train...

If you're an Avaya reseller, Jenne is offering a fast-track way to understand, implement and deploy Avaya technology, all thanks to their "Designed to Win" curriculum, which works with their new Design Center online training system. "Designed to Win" will help resellers configure the various products in the Avaya Aura UC portfolio.

Jim Karaffa said all on-site instructors are employees of Jenne, and they're also certified in the field they're teaching (in this case, Avaya). Karaffa said that this dedication can help resellers grasp what they're learning, since the classes are complimented with hands-on workshops. Within other distributor organizations, "trainers usually aren't employees of the distributors. It's a good value-add," said Karaffa. Avaya Aura Capacities, Advanced Design Features and Aura Editions are the focus in Avaya training right now. For the hands-on approach, VARs can get physical with the Aura Communication Manager installation training.

In for the Long Haul

Meanwhile, Jenne also wants to maintain a post-training reseller relationship. "You can buy from us [and] we train you and support you. It's the same person, it's a genuine relationship," said Karaffa.

That's part of the reason for the Jenne Design Center. Essentially, it's an online portal for resellers to "maintain network design configurations." Think of it like a cloud repository for for enterprise UC deployment blueprints. A reseller's team can keep track of a customers UC structure, in addition to keeping a team alerted on project changes. Jenne is promoting this as a way to help VARs ensure a painless sales roll-out.

With all this hype about success and relationships, The VAR Guy wanted some numbers. Just how many people has Jenne trained? "We've trained, by the end of the year, maybe between 1,000-1,200 [people]," said Karaffa, adding that classes are often sold out. Since Jenne is also a Pearson VUE University proctor site, resellers can take a class and a certification test in the same location, thereby speeding certification processes for a VAR's team.

Our resident blogger was also interested in products outside Avaya, and what Jenne could do for VARs looking for more customized approaches to solving UC problems. "In some cases, we have customized training. With certain certifications, we'll put together a course that is geared for the discipline. It's been hugely successful. [Resellers] want it and they want to make sure that [their] technicians [are trained] in a short time frame," said Karaffa.

And the price tag? "It's a cost-per class, depending on the course. We're always running promotions [and] if we're bringing on a partner, [training] can be part of the negotiations. We can make sure their training needs are met." Karaffa didn't cite any specific numbers, since it can vary.

Bottom line: Jenne is striving to provide a one-stop shop for UC reseller needs. We'll be watching to see if Jenne fulfills that goal.

Worth noting: Weston Group is hitting the scene as a value-added distributor for the storage space, and many traditional distributors are offering a large variety of resources for their resellers, with a goal of providing a singular source for all of a reseller's needs. The VAR Guy will be sure to keep track of this oncoming trend and see just how far distributors will go to improve the reseller-distributor relationship.