IBM Authorized Training is Evaporating Before Our Eyes

Posted by Frank Fillmore on April 21, 2013 under Authorized Training Partner, Big Data, BigInsights, DB2 Connect, DB2 Education, IBM Mid Market Customers, International DB2 Users Group (IDUG). Tags: .

The Fillmore Group’s (TFG) blog ordinarily is focused on technical topics, but when a potentially disruptive business issue impacts our information management software clients I need to give folks a heads-up.  For 20 years TFG has partnered with IBM to deliver IBM-branded technical training to our mutual customers.  The nature of the business relationship between TFG and IBM that enabled us to deliver that education has changed several times over the past two decades and is changing again in 2013.  Unfortunately the new relationship has yet to be defined while the existing terms and conditions are set to expire at the end of June – in just over two months.

So why does any of this matter to you?  Well if you plan to attend an IBM Information Management training class in the second half of 2013, check out the schedule of courses.  Spoiler alert: there isn’t one.  In years past IBM has requested our public training schedule for the two dozen or so courses we offer at least four months before a new half will begin (e.g. early September of 2012 for classes that will be delivered beginning January 2013).  Between now and the end of June all existing Authorized Training Partners have been asked to arrange new relationships with aggregators engaged by IBM.  What are the new terms and conditions?  No idea.  But the only thing scarier than hearing “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” is “You’re gonna love this new IBM program” – especially when the program’s details haven’t been publicly shared.

The tuition for most IBM courses runs between $2,000 and $3,000.  Add an additional $1,500 for travel and lodging expenses.  Most IBM training attendees must travel far from home to attend instructor-led classroom training (unlike Oracle and Microsoft customers who can usually find classes at the local training provider – say, a community college – near their homes and businesses).  Sleep in your own bed and don’t miss you kids’ soccer games.  But that’s a rant for another day.

You probably need to get prior budgetary approval for a nearly $5k expenditure and plan the schedule around project deadlines and vacations.  Right now you can’t plan for any classes beyond the end of June – remember, they don’t exist – and there’s no telling when or *if* you will be able to make those plans.  I say *if* because TFG offers the only public schedule in the US for classes on Information Server and the hot, hot, hot BigData technologies of BigInsights and InfoSphere Streams.  If you expect to deploy these technologies in 2013, you might be reading the manual or engaging scarce (and expensive) consulting resources.

So, if this matters to you what can you do?

  • Post a comment on this blog entry.
  • Send an e-mail to your IBM representative and ask “What the heck is going on?”
  • Drop me a Tweet @ffillmorejr and tell me the impact this is having on you and your team: #IMtraining.

5 Comments so far

  1. Anil Mahadev April 23, 2013 10:33 am

    Dear Frank and Kim,

    At the very outset,

    I am upset!! not only as an IBM product user but also as a customer of using DB2.

    I am also feeling very bad for you guys :'(.

    I mean pulling the plug off these kinds of Authorized Training Providers will only lead to more and more people not wanting to use your products.

    IBM you listening??

    Authorized Training providers are the life blood of the Training business.

    Not everyone have access to Quality Training these days.

    With the likes of The Fillmore Group, this is very unfortunate.

    There definitely needs to be an alternative plan for this.

    Some of these people in the Training Industry are good one thing and one thing Only!!

    Training Training Training!!

    Please re-think this as myself take training from Authorized Learning centers to upgrade my skills.

    Not having the budget to get trained etc at IBM Campuses is not an option.

    We support these Authorized training centers.

    I wish Frank and Kim, the very Best ahead!

    May GOD be with you both! Always!

    Kind Regards

    Anil Mahadev
    IBM Champion

  2. Kim May April 23, 2013 10:55 am


    Thank you for your feedback and kind thoughts. Frank has reached out to Bob Picciano and we are hoping to get IBM to help us continue to deliver education. We’ll keep you posted.


  3. Anil Mahadev April 27, 2013 12:53 pm

    Awesome Kim,

    Most welcome.

    Bob Picciano is a great guy and I am glad he is back on the IBM Data platform team.

    If my comment above can make a difference.

    I would be humbled and happy to know it did.

    Wishing you all the success!

    Kind Regards


  4. Gary May 4, 2013 10:15 pm

    As you may have heard, IBM is terminating the existing Authorized Training Partner (ATP) and (AITP) programs at the end of the 2nd Quarter. This means that all existing training partners (NOT including Core Providers) will no longer have a direct relationship with IBM. This change directly affects companies like Jack Morton and M/UX for public and private authorized education deliveries. These changes are as a result of IBM’s Global Skills Initiative (GSI).

    This change does NOT affect the IBM Core Supplier Program. CertifyU will continue its direct relationship with IBM through the National Education Core Supplier Program. Private and internal education opportunities will continue to be scheduled as they are today.

    Beginning in Q3, authorized public education delivery will undergo some changes. Currently, a good portion of our public IBM authorized education is delivered through Jack Morton with the balance of deliveries coming from other partners and IBM ILO delivery. The responsibility for public education delivery will shift to a small number of Global Providers effective July 01, 2013.
    To reiterate, all existing ATP’s and AITP’s will not have a direct relationship with IBM after June 30th.

    CertifyU has been in active negotiations with the various Global Partners to identify the best partnering opportunities, both immediate and long-term. As a Core Supplier, CertifyU is able to cover more than 90% of the classes in the IBM catalog. We do so with an unmatched record and reputation for quality. As you would expect, our combined skill set and demonstrated history for quality delivery is extremely valuable to the new Global Partners. Our new agreements will include the ability to schedule public classes based upon our combined capabilities and existing demands. In addition, we will be able to sell Private Training using Authorized IBM Education. Based upon our current discussions and pending agreements, I am completely confident that these changes will result in a more vibrant set of offerings and opportunities. The existing set of partners for whom we deliver public education will most certainly change as a result.

    What can you expect going forward?

    – IBM Private Education Delivery through our Core Supplier Agreement
    – IBM Internal Education Delivery through our Core Supplier Agreement
    – Expanded Opportunity to deliver IBM Public Education in more locations throughout the US
    – Expanded Opportunity to deliver IBM Public and Private Education abroad
    – Improved utilization and rate structure for public education

    Change always involves challenges, and there is much work to be done prior to the July 01 deployment of the new program. We are very enthusiastic about the opportunities to grow our combined businesses under this new program. We must remain sensitive to our current customers and commitments while recognizing that changes are coming very shortly. If you are contacted directly by any of the existing ATP’s or Global Providers for any reason, including 2nd Half Schedules, please forward those inquiries to Irene or Roger as you have always done. We do not want to do anything to jeopardize the status of our negotiations, existing contracts, or customer relationships. Thank you for your outstanding help and support over the years and I look forward to a successful transition. Please contact Irene, Roger, or myself if you have any questions or concerns.

    With Best Regards,

    Paul Crane
    President – CertifyU

  5. Jeff May 4, 2013 10:23 pm

    I would expect that the Education Core Supplier’s contracts would be terminated sometime in June. It seems that the letter listed previously is an attempt to blow smoke around the idea that Core Supplier Contracts for Education would continue.

    The following statement is a weak attempt to hold this obsolete company together, when core suppliers are nothing but an extra layer raising the cost of education for everyone:

    “If you are contacted directly by any of the existing ATP’s or Global Providers for any reason, including 2nd Half Schedules, please forward those inquiries to Irene or Roger as you have always done. We do not want to do anything to jeopardize the status of our negotiations, existing contracts, or customer relationships.”

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