Juniper Networks accepts role in helping channel plug skills gap

If the channel cannot get the skilled staff needed to deliver the next generation of products and services then vendor ambitions could be hampered

The skills crisis across the industry is one that not only makes life difficult for resellers looking for fresh talent to support their growth ambitions but also makes it more challenging for vendors to fulfil their longer term targets.

If there are not the skilled staff servicing customers it means that the chances of business transformation projects happening at the speed some vendors would like is going to be undermined.

There are broadly two choices. The first is to let resellers struggle to attract the staff that are needed and to train them up and hope they won't leave to join a competitor.

The second is for a vendor to get involved in that process and also bear some of the burden of ensuring there will be talented people to take the next in-demand technology out to market.

Juniper Networks spent most of the time at a conference in London yesterday using the words "business transformation" and discussing the need for the channel to help customers update their infrastructure. But it also spared some time to recognise the skills issue and the role it should play in helping ease the problems.

Not only are there problems getting new staff on board but there are also challenges getting current resellers to skill up to take advantage of some of the managed services, cloud and virtualisation opportunities.

"The big thing partners tend to come back with is a shortage of skill in the marketplace," said Martin Hester, head of channels and alliances EMEA at Juniper Networks.

"The skills shortage means there are only so many opportunities you can work on," he added "As a vendor we need to help them overcome that and have the right skill sets."

Hester said that resellers needed to have the skills to handle a private cloud environment but had to build on that to make sure they could move more customers towards using more public hosted services.

Earlier this summer, KPMG added cyber security skills to the list of those areas that was causing concerns with the firm arguing that only those employers with deep enough pockets would be able to afford the talent that was in the market.

"The dearth of appropriately skilled professionals means that larger companies with the most funds have the pick of the market. Smaller companies therefore often find themselves in a vulnerable situation, with a skills shortage and no viable means to fill it cost effectively," warned Serena Gonsalves-Fersch, head of KPMG’s Cyber Security Academy.

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