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HP Outsources NT Training Initiative

Although Hewlett-Packard Co. was a relatively late comer to the Windows NT feeding frenzy, the computer giant has subsequently pushed into the NT space with vengeance. With the announcement of a series of online Microsoft training programs that will be offered under the auspices of Infotec Commercial Systems Inc. (www.infotec.com), HP is gearing up to offer education targeted at individuals working toward Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) certification.

HP’s initiative carries the names HP Microsoft FastPak and HP Microsoft FlexPak. According to HP representatives, both programs provide test simulations that feature questions based on real world IT scenarios, allowing a student to track his or her progress as he or she completes course work. The course itself is offered over the Web via Infotec Online, an online service that offers training courses for Windows NT Server, SQL Server and Microsoft Internet Information Server, among others.

Jack Caffey, HP education manager for the Americas, says of the HP-Infotec initiative, "This agreement will benefit our customers by bringing our services much closer to their location and offering several new online alternatives."

HP is not alone in looking to leverage online education as a strategic resource. According to a report by market research firm International Data Corp. (www.idc.com), distance education is becoming an increasingly viable phenomenon. In the college space, for example, IDC says that the number of college students enrolled in distance-learning courses is expected to reach 2.2 million by 2002 -- up from a level of 710,000 in 1998. "Advancements in technology are breaking down barriers and changing the way teachers can interact with students," says Sau Ching Lau, a senior analyst with IDC.

HP faces continued competition from Compaq Computer Corp., which with its acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp. last year became effectively one of the largest service providers in the Windows NT space. Last June, HP unveiled a series of initiatives designed to chip away at Compaq/Digital’s sizeable advantage in the area of services for Microsoft’s Exchange messaging and mail platform.

At the time of the announcement, HP announced also plans to extend its messaging consulting practice by hiring an additional 1,000 Microsoft Certified System Engineers over the next 3 years. -- Stephen Swoyer, Contributing Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.