The company seeks up to ten Australian and New Zealand resellers to sell and deliver its instructor-led training, web-based training and consolidated services. Some resellers may elect to sell the content alone.
Arthur Richardson, Asia-Pacific partner manager, Sun services, at Sun Microsystems Australia, said the parent company has been offering education services via the channel in other countries for some time. "[But] extending our resellers to offer not just our hardware but also our education services is brand new for Australia," he said.
The company will draw mainly on existing Australian partners in the hardware channel for the program. Richardson said Sun partners seeking the opportunity to sell a more complete package will be considered, as well as companies already in the IT education space and system integrators that may or may not be Sun partners but already win deals or sell "a lot" of Sun products or services.
"We could be considering the Spherions of the world or the Volantes of the world," Richardson said. "We want to broaden the number of organisations to which we deliver our intellectual capital ... [But] we don't want 40 or 50 doing it because we want them to be successful."
Sun has already signed one of its NZ resellers, Wellington-based system integrator Solnet, on to the new program.
Richardson said Sun had only a "relatively small" sales force for education in Australia and NZ. The new reseller strategy would therefore save money while putting "more feet on the ground", enabling Sun to broaden and deepen its market access "particularly in the Java space".
"Previously, we had a large training organisation delivering training [for us]. We are now putting in place Sun education centres in Australia, NZ and around the world," he said.
Improving reseller access to Java training "from the source" would assist channel partners implementing Java-based network computing for their customers, the same way Microsoft pushes .NET. "This should help ensure our hardware sales people are really fighting that .NET battle," Richardson said.
The new program would offer resellers more options, with positive growth predicted for Java-based web services in general. "It's in security and all sorts of things. We are seeing an increase in the number of classes we are giving in security and an associated increase in revenue," he said.
He would not say how much revenue Sun had earned from its IT education services but said company growth tended to follow that of the IT industry in general, with a two-month time lag. "So if IT grows 10 per cent in one quarter, we'll grow 10 per cent in the next quarter," he said.
Sun educational services is part of its services division globally. "[Services] has two major goals in life. To support the sale of hardware and to develop and protect intellectual capital," he said. "Resellers can be fairly confident ... Australia has one of the highest reputations for delivery of Sun education."