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CompTIA: Channel must “learn new tricks” to keep customers

CompTIA CEO urges channel to explore emerging technologies or risk losing business

The channel is in danger of leaving money on the table if they avoid talking about emerging technologies, according to CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux.

Speaking to MicroScope at the IT association’s EMEA member event in London this week, Thibodeaux said: “Partners are hesitant to move into new technology areas that are starting to have some meaningful impact. They might not really return substantial profits to them for a few years, but they are things they need to become knowledgeable about – things like drones, AI, augmented reality.”

“People have been hesitant because they just don’t know. They are just getting their hands around cloud and cyber, but they need to start to get their heads around some other things too.

“I don’t believe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” he added. “The people that are going to make out well in the next 10 or 15 years are the people who get a progressive mindset now, and don’t just settle on what they’ve always been selling.”

To help its members, CompTIA is building a web-based programme it is calling Future of Tech to help the channel answer customer questions about new technologies.

“The idea is to give them a set of tools that will give them broad conversational knowledge about some of these new tech topics,” said Thibodeaux, who insisted that if the channel can’t answer their customers’ questions on hyped-up tech like AI, they will lose their confidence and their business.

“Explaining these technologies to their customers will make opportunities appear a little bit more rapidly than they have up to this point,” he said, adding that the material could be consumed by anyone in the business, including marketing, sales or finance. “Everybody needs to have at least a conversational understanding about how these, these things might impact their business.

Taking the form of videos, interactive graphic, text and quizzes, CompTIA plans to produce material for 12 technologies, covering areas like the main players, job opportunities, history, use cases and the societal and business impacts of each.

“It doesn't mean that you have to walk away from your core stability. But if a customer asks you a question about a new technology, and you’re not prepared to talk to them about potential solutions, it’s just leaving money on the table,” said Thibodeaux. “You’ve already gotten their confidence, they’re paying you, why not get them to pay you to do other things?”

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