Video surveillance technology is always evolving as older analog products converge toward networked solutions. To succeed in this increasingly competitive market, distributors, integrators and installers all need up-to-date skills and expertise on IP-based video solutions. Runar Asly, Academy Manager of Axis Communications, shares with A&S how Axis' global channel partners benefit from the company's carefully choreographed courses.
Established in 2004, Axis Communications' academy has trained more than 13,000 of Axis' channel partners worldwide. "It takes time for technology to mature, especially with networked system solutions," said Runar Asly, Academy Manager of Axis Communications. "Even though we launched our first network camera in 1996, it wasn't until recently that adoption rates really started to pick up." A major reason is the complexity of IP-based systems (involving software, switches, storage and servers) and how such systems can appear intimidating to "traditional" channel partners who are used to pulling cable.
The academy is part of the Axis Channel Partner Program, which is designed to help channel partners capitalize on Axis' knowledge base and resources in the rapidly growing network video market. A channel-oriented company, Axis sees its partners as an extension of its team, playing a key role in the go-to-market strategy and the overall success of the company.
Basic training materials are available online, but the core of the training is still in the class room. "We leave simulations of real-life sales interactions to physical classes," explained Asly. Course materials and presentations are available in 11 languages, and trainers from all corners of the world can speak 18. One of Asly's key tasks is to repackage materials for easier adaptation. "We also take cultural differences and needs into consideration."
No Partner Left Behind
At the academy, trainers have the technical competence and expertise on the latest network video innovations and trends, acting as presales engineers to help partners understand everything from image quality and lighting to bandwidth, transmission, storage and management software. "We use a solution-based approach," described Asly. "We first find out what our partners' needs and goals are, and we group them accordingly to work on simulated, real-life sales or installation scenarios." For effective delivery and enhanced learning, some partners from traditional channels are teamed with those with IT/IP background. This way, they can bring one another up to speed more quickly, tapping into others' security planning or IT/IP knowledge.
The program and courses provide the tools and information that Axis' partners need to deliver and support customers throughout the sales cycle, from demonstration and evaluation to implementation, operations and continual support. "Most of our attendees are technicians and salespeople; we help them understand the technical know-how and language to better communicate with CSOs, CIOs, CFOs and other end users."
New techniques, applications and integration possibilities surface every day to further drive the convergence trend. With the unique and accommodating training approach, this market leader is well-poised to keep its channel partners and itself ahead of the competition.