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Microsoft rolls out free channel traning in Azure skills drive

In a bid to improve the level of skills needed to help customers with their digital transformation projects Microsoft has made some Azure training free and reduced other courses for partners

There are real fears that customers might come calling on resellers to get help with digital transformation projects only to find that the channel experts they turn to are themselves lacking in the necessary skills to help them.

Trying to avoid that situation is one of the main reasons Microsoft is putting so much emphasis on training, particularly around the cloud, and the decision by the vendor to make some training free and heavily discount other online courses.

The vendor hopes that more partners will be able to work around time constraints to use flexible and free options to get themselves more familiar with Azure and cloud technologies.

Glenn Woolaghan, partner lead, Microsoft UK, said that one of the main areas he had been beefing up since he took on the channel role in the summer was to increase the level of support that could be offered to partners looking to get skilled up.

"Skills is a huge focus of the company. Customers are transforming to could and we have [found] there is a real shortage of skills," he said.

"We have increased the people focused on skills to make sure we are seeing it from a customer and partner perspective,"  he added.

To deal with that issue the software giant has launched six free Azure training courses available, "in a self-paced, interactive online learning environment" with plans to add a further six courses in the next few weeks.

There are also "deep discounts" on Azure certification courses, which cover the basics of the cloud platform, storage, networks as well as an Experts option.

Woolaghan said that the need for better channel skills was being driven by customers and these days partners had to be "many things to many people".

"It is all about digital transformation. Around 80% of customers now have some form of cloud service," he added. 

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