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Avnet Buys $24M Big Data, Cloud Training Firm ExitCertified
February 12, 2016 Blog big data

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Avnet more than doubled the size of its North American education team Thursday by purchasing an 80-person provider of big data, cloud, security and hyper-converged training.

Avnet said its acquisition of Ottawa, Ontario-based ExitCertified will enable the Phoenix-based company to extend existing supplier distribution deals to include training for solution providers as well as offer training around vendors that don’t currently appear on Avnet’s line card.

“Technology is changing so rapidly that education is becoming an even more important part of that solution,” Mike Hurst, senior vice president of Avnet Global Services, told CRN, noting that the rise of remote employees has forced education providers to change the content and delivery of their training materials.

Financial terms of the deal, which closed Jan. 1, were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to provide an immediate boost to Avnet’s profitability and will achieve the distributor’s corporate return-on-capital target of 12.5 percent, according to the company.

Hurst said ExitCertified’s providing education focused on companies such as Cloudera and Pivotal will give Avnet a “foot in the door” to better understand the strategy and direction of these vendors and could ultimately lead to a distribution relationship.

Enhancing Avnet’s training capabilities around high-growth areas should help the company attract additional vendors in those fields, Hurst said, and make it easier for the channel to penetrate and gain market share in emerging technology areas.

Additionally, Hurst said, Avnet hopes to expand existing distribution relationships with vendors such as Brocade, Oracle, SAP and Veritas through ExitCertified’s training offerings, which should help deepen partner engagement with these suppliers. ExitCertified will also be Avnet’s first foray into training around Amazon Web Services, Hurst said, which is available through Avnet’s Cloud Marketplace.

ExitCertified offers its programs both in-person and online, with in-person training accessible either at ExitCertified training centers or at client or partner facilities, and online training offered through both self-paced and instructor-led courses. Avnet also intends to leverage ExitCertified’s connected classroom and virtual training platforms for its existing educational offerings, Hurst said.

ExitCertified’s training line card has minimal overlap with Avnet, which today offers training around HP, IBM, Linux, Nutanix, Veeam and VMware in more than 40 countries worldwide. ExitCertified operates only in North American today, though Avnet hopes to bring its product to VARs and SIs in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, as well as Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Avnet has partnered with ExitCertified previously, and has always been impressed with the company’s brand integrity and reputation, Hurst said. By bringing its capabilities under Avnet’s roof, Hurst said, the distributor will be able to reduce costs, improve scale and access and incorporate it into partners’ usual go-to-market process.

Despite its name, Hurst said, ExitCertified is not designed as a path to vendor certifications, though courses delivered by the company are often required for certifications.

ExitCertified will be integrated into the Education Solutions group within Avnet Technology Solutions’ Global Services business.