CompTIA: uniting the channel’s team of rivals in Australia and New Zealand

CompTIA, the information technology (IT) industry association, hosted its first Australia and New Zealand Community meeting in Sydney on 18 August 2015, bringing together more than 90 local IT industry stakeholders to talk about, among other things, what challenges the local channel faces and how to overcome them.

The attendees represented a mix of resellers, solution providers, vendors, and channel associates based in Australia and New Zealand.

So successful was the event that CompTIA promptly announced a further two A/NZ Community channel events for November, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne with regular community meetings to be scheduled ongoing.

The event in August came just three months after CompTIA’s launch in the A/NZ market, and marks the beginning of a new era for the local IT industry channel, an era in which professional rivalries can be put aside, and competitors can come together for the betterment of the industry in Australia and New Zealand as a whole.

Moheb Moses, Community Director, CompTIA A/NZ, suggested at the event that it represented the first step in the not-for-profit association’s goal to usher in a chapter of collaboration and discussion among IT industry stakeholders in Australia and New Zealand, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing new solutions and direction for the community as it faces emerging challenges.

CompTIA made its first official foray into the local market in June this year, but the story of its arrival on our shores goes back much further. CompTIA, otherwise known as the Computer Trade Industry Association, already has an international presence, particularly in North America and Europe, where its goal, as it is in Australia and New Zealand, is to get the various entities within the IT industry to work together for the advancement of the sector as a whole.

This may seem like a lofty goal for a single organisation to achieve. However, CompTIA has something most other industry associations do not: healthy, sustainable financial resources. CompTIA is, in fact, two entities. One is the multimillion dollar vendor neutral training and certification business, which is touted as the second-biggest IT training organisation in the world behind Microsoft.

The other, of course, is the computer industry trade association, which is entirely funded by the training arm. This means that CompTIA can put substantial resources behind each in-country community that it establishes, increasing the likelihood that its community-building activities in Australia and New Zealand, as in other markets, has sticking power and a real chance of making a lasting difference.

Country-specific communities focus on building an industry that is best practice, forward thinking and resilient. Importantly, each community also looks for ways to share some of CompTIA’s global revenues with a local, aligned philanthropic enterprise as well. If the community mandates, the community will also provide another representative industry voice to government.

CompTIA’s move to establish a community in Australia and New Zealand began around 18 months ago when Outsource director, Adam Benson, was approached to see if he could provide some support for the association’s first exploratory meetings and discussions in Australia.

Fast forward to 2015, and CompTIA is fast filling a void in the local market that no other organisation has filled before. The initial effects of CompTIA’s presence in the A/NZ market can be gauged by the feedback it garnered following its inaugural Community Meeting in August.

No less than 99 per cent of attendees at that first community event in Sydney said they would recommend joining CompTIA and attending an event to a colleague. Not only that, but it was clear that the event’s push to examine the challenges faced by the local IT industry, such as skills shortages and disruptive technology, struck a chord among participants.

Overall, an overwhelming majority (96 per cent) of attendees said that, overall there was some level of skills gap between what their organisations need from staff, and the skills that staff possess, while more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of attendees said that their organisations had experienced difficulties filling skilled professional roles.

Simply by providing a unified forum to raise and openly discuss such challenges, CompTIA has already established the first step for the local IT industry’s ongoing journey to overcome the challenges it faces. Through collaboration and communication within the community, the serious business of identifying industry priorities has already started.

Meanwhile, CompTIA’s considerable global training activities and other resources have begun flowing into Australia to feed the local A/NZ community. These are freely available to all members, and membership itself is free in most categories. CompTIA is also sharing its industry research to help boost the local community’s shared knowledge-base.

In short, CompTIA is doing everything it can to make collaboration, the sharing of information, and a thriving IT industry community possible in the local region, creating a new environment in which channel players can help each other meet the demands of the changing industry landscape and make the most of the coming opportunities.

If you want to know more, you can visit the ANZ community and the wider CompTIA organisation here.