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The Future Growth of e-Business Certifications

Today's e-business industry provides an excellent example of a growing area in which all three of the ingredients described here are needed to be successful. The technical and business boundary is beginning to erode as we address the complexities of the e-business arena. E-business adds an additional dimension to the world of certification, bringing business knowledge as well as IT skills into the solution, the ultimate mixed-technology environment.

Such a new and fast-growing area poses a crucial question for customers. How will they measure the skills of the resellers that they are considering building their e-business solution? IT certifications, especially the programs designed for mixed-technology environments, are beginning to provide the answer. In fact, e-business certifications pose incredible growth potential for the future certification marketplace.

Many traditional technical companies have started offering e-business certifications. For example, Intel introduced a new certification for e-business that focuses on mixed-technology solutions. To develop candidates' integration skills for mixed-technology environments, the certification offers training covering solution design, networking, security, and servers, the primary components of any e-business solution today. "As the e-business industry develops, technology integration skills are emerging as the key ingredient needed for successful solutions," said Ellen Julian, director of human resourcing and training research for IDC. "The multitechnology tracks in Intel's certification support this trend by offering candidates an effective way to build their skills across networking, server and Internet applications."

One of the reasons why these skills are in demand is a growing need for better performance from e-business solutions. Taking a commercial application as an example, slow response time is one of the key areas where e-businesses are breaking down. A report from Zona Research, "Economic Impacts of Unacceptable Web Site Download Speeds," demonstrates the commercial cost of slow response times from Web sites. Available at http://www.zonaresearch.com/deliverables/white%5Fpapers/wp17/index.htm, the report states:

"On the Internet, the need for speed is a fact of life. In almost every way imaginable, speed rules.... The foregoing is so well appreciated among many Internet marketers that the so-called 'eight-second rule' has become an oft-quoted standard. Though few can remember exactly when or where the term first gained credence, it is now widely believed that if users cannot download a Web page within a mere eight seconds, they may be at some risk of taking their business to another Internet destination."

Figure 2 shows what Web users eventually do after they abandon a Web site.

Figure 2 Actions taken after abandoning online search for products

The money lost for failure to meet the eight-second rule is significant and will continue to grow, as pointed out by Zona Research. "At a run rate of about $362 million per month, perhaps as much as $4.35 billion in e-commerce sales in the U.S. may be lost each year due to unacceptable download speeds and resulting user bailout behaviors," the report states.

One way to help shorten this response time is to optimize the solution across the different technologies. This requires an understanding of the integration issues and requirements that need to be addressed to make their Internet solution faster, as well as the business needs that make the Web site successful. As customers move their companies toward e-business, certification will play a major role in helping customers find qualified people to build their e-business technology solutions.

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