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CompTIA Channel Standards program takes on business best practices

CompTIA will roll out a free program that helps IT industry companies adopt business best practices.

CHICAGO -- At the CompTIA Annual Member Meeting this week, the trade organization launched the CompTIA Channel Standards program, a free library of business best practices for technology industry firms.

The nonprofit will roll out the IT Solution Provider Standard before the end of the month, and will introduce standards for managed services, managed print services, cybersecurity and cloud computing by the end of 2016. The IT Solution Provider Standard offers blueprints for channel partners looking to establish the role of a trusted IT adviser with customers, as well as business best practices for core operational, management and delivery functions.

CompTIA said the new Channel Standards program was developed from its Trustmark program, which allows CompTIA members to achieve authenticated business credentials. "The standards come out of Trustmarks, and Trustmarks were developed by [members] -- mostly by the [CompTIA member] communities -- who saw the need for best practices," said Jim Hamilton, vice president of member communities at CompTIA, before Annual Member Meeting (AMM) attendees today.

CompTIA members can continue to obtain IT Business, Managed Services and Managed Print Trustmark accreditations, but CompTIA said it plans to retire Security Trustmark+, Cloud Trustmark+ and Accredit UK Trustmark+. Channel firms that have earned a Trustmark can keep and use their accreditation indeterminately if they remain CompTIA members in good standing.

All CompTIA Registered Users, Premier Members and nonmembers can access Channel Standards at no cost.

The success of open access

Nancy Hammervik, senior vice president of industry relations at CompTIA, spoke to AMM attendees about the steady swell of CompTIA's membership numbers since the organization transitioned  to an open-access membership model two years ago. After making previously exclusive resources and benefits available to the masses, CompTIA saw its membership increase to about 75,000 registered members -- 35,000 of which are channel-focused. About 2,010 members are registered today as Premier Members. 

As CompTIA members, there's no barrier against getting a standard, applying the standard in your business and collectively raising the bar for everybody to become a better industry.
Jim Hamiltonvice president of member communities, CompTIA

CompTIA has also seen the effect of the open-access model on its communities and councils, which almost doubled between 2014 and 2015, from 3,607 members to 6,288. Additionally, average meeting attendance between 2014 and 2015 went up by 20%. CompTIA has 17 communities and councils worldwide, including the recently launched Distributor Advisory Council and End-User Commission.

Hamilton said CompTIA would like to see the open-access model have a similar effect on the Trustmark program. "Much like open access, where we wanted to open up our membership, and remove the barriers and engage better with the industry, what we've done is we've taken Trustmarks and applied the same concept," Hamilton said.

"The advantage of doing this is we get to impact a much broader audience. As CompTIA members, there's no barrier against getting a standard, applying the standard in your business and collectively raising the bar for everybody to become a better industry," he said.

Next Steps

AMM 2016: CompTIA launches online legal services.

Read about MSPs expanding their cybersecurity portfolios.

Learn about the changing priorities for channel training and certification

Dig Deeper on Channel business management strategies

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