role sharing definition

Contributor(s): Stephen J. Bigelow

Role sharing, in a business context, is a situation in which an individual within a value-added reseller (VAR) or other solution provider's organization assumes multiple roles such as "sales engineer," "field engineer" or "account manager."

Each role normally relates to a vendor certification, which is intended to ensure that VARs are adequately trained in the application of that manufacturer's products. For example, the Cisco Systems Inc. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certifies professionals in the basics of switched networks. The MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator) program from Microsoft trains DBAs (database administrators) in SQL . The more certifications held by a professional, the more roles that they can potentially hold.

Role sharing is most important in smaller solution providers where staffing limitations make it impractical to dedicate individuals to each role. Role sharing also allow VARs to cross train their staff over time, making it easier to transpose personnel.

This was first published in August 2007

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