As corporate IS departments gravitate toward multivendor, open standards solutions for the Internet and intranets, workers are wasting increasing amounts of time on single-vendor training and certification courses, according to five major technology companies teaming up today to propose a solution: the Internet Training and Certification Consortium.
The consortium, developed and funded by IBM, Lotus Development Corp., Netscape Communications Corp., Novell Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc., will appoint an independent agency to administer the training program it is now developing, set for rollout by the end of next year, officials of the companies said in a press conference today.
The companies spent several months querying end-user and channel organizations in the United States and in Europe about what has hindered their implementation of Internet and intranet technologies thus far, said Bob Kazarian, president of technology consultancy Charles River Strategies, in Wellesley, Mass.
Most companies cited workers' skill deficits and the prohibitive length, complexity and redundancy of existing training programs as the biggest stumbling blocks to Internet and intranet technology deployment, Kazarian said.
"This program will benefit the industry as a whole by reducing risks in Internet deployment through the establishment of a multivendor, global standard," he said. The major subjects of the training program will be commerce, connectivity, enterprise messaging and security solutions development, officials of the companies said.
Rather than sending employees forth to be certified by numerous individual vendors producing similar products, the consortium's program will provide workers with a wide variety of skills for moving organizations onto the Internet and establishing corporate networks, said John Hahn, vice president of channel management at Netscape.
The amount to be invested by each of the five founding companies and the consortium's total budget have not been determined, said Gary Clark, director of skills assessment at Novell. Officials of the companies said the consortium will be open to new members such as Microsoft Corp., which was conspicuously absent from the launch announcement.
Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., was not invited to be part of the consortium because high-ranking company officials have said they oppose the idea of a multivendor training organization, Clark said.
"But if they change their minds, they are welcome to join," he said.
The companies have not decided where the consortium will be headquartered or how much the training programs will cost.
All the companies developing the training program are planning to keep their own, individual training programs.
For more information about IBM's current training offerings, the company, based in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at www.training.ibm.com/ibmedu/. Lotus, based in Cambridge, Mass., has information on educational programs at www.lotus.com/laec/. For information about education programs from Netscape, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., go to home.netscape.com/assist/tech_ed/index.html/.
Novell, in Orem, Utah, has posted information on its education offerings at www.netboss.com/. Sun, based in Mountain View, Calif., has posted information on its educational services program at www.sun.com/sunservice/suned/.