How Keysight's interactive, automated certification program boosts product knowledge to drive more sales

Global electronics manufacturer Keysight builds products to test and measure various types of hardware and software, from oscilloscopes to network analyzers. Keysight provides design, emulation, and test services for industries including aerospace, telecommunications, defense and healthcare. It is ranked in Forbes' list of Top 5 America's Best Midsize Companies.

The challenge

Strengthening the product knowledge of Keysight's distributors and resellers to boost sales.
Explaining complex, specialized products to potential customers is easier - and far more compelling - when you know the product inside out. For Keysight's network visibility and security division, strong technical knowledge is essential for its distributors and resellers to be able to sell its products effectively.
This is especially important for brand-new technology, such as Keysight's network packet broker, which even newly graduated network engineers won't have learned about during their formal education.
Keysight's product certification program allows people to become certified specialists in Keysight products. But its existing certification process was a basic, video-and-answer-style two-hour training that wasn't very engaging.
Keysight wanted to develop a modern, online, interactive certification program accessible worldwide, using its recently built virtual showroom environment.
The company wanted to automate the testing and management processes as much as possible, to optimize operational efficiencies.

The solution

A custom, automated online certification program providing interactive learning and testing.
Keysight worked with Zato Source to develop the certification program. Like the showroom itself, the certification program was built using Zato's flexible, Python-based, open-source automation platform.
Using automation, the certification program does the following without requiring manual input from Keysight staff:
  • Enables users to gain first-hand experience of using Keysight products - users can freely explore and try out products via the virtual showroom's sandbox environment, which provides realistic, interactive product simulations.
  • Tests a user's product knowledge - once a user has familiarized themselves with a specific product, they click a button to begin their test. The automation gives the user a series of tasks to complete in a set amount of time with specific usage scenarios.
  • Validates and certifies a user's product knowledge - the automation analyzes and scores the user's responses to the set tasks. If they have met the criteria, the automation issues their certificate.
  • Manages, monitors and analyzes users' learning - the automation manages bookings, creates user credentials, assigns relevant test assignments, and tracks each user's progress. It also generates data summaries and analysis to support management oversight.
Keysight uses the data insights generated to monitor and oversee progress, identify and troubleshoot any problems arising - such as multiple users getting stuck at a specific point in a test - and fine tune the test assignments as needed.
John Adams is excited about the potential to improve educational opportunities for the next generation of network security engineers - with a long-term eye on enhancing Keysight's future sales.
"It's important that we provide education to new people as they come into this environment, as maybe 5-10 years from now they'll be the decision-makers at their companies. These decision-makers are going to implement $10 million or $50 million solutions - and those types of sales help us last for a long time."

The outcome

Positive user feedback, new industry partnerships, and huge sales-boosting potential.
Although the new certification program has only just been launched, initial feedback has been very positive from both testers and the first official user to gain certification.
"The people who go through the certification program take the method well. I was even able to guide them based on missing milestones I saw from previous exam graphs. It was a complete success for the automation's concept."
The certification program will make it easier and more appealing for distributors and resellers around the globe to become certified Keysight product specialists. The knowledge and confidence they gain through the interactive certification process means they are well equipped to create impressive, bespoke product demos for prospective customers. This increases the likelihood of them closing more sales, faster.
Keysight's cutting-edge educational capabilities have opened up new opportunities to partner with other companies wanting to offer specialist training and certifications.
Cybersecurity training providers Let's Defend are now using Keysight's certification platform to provide selected training in advanced topics. This means they can give students virtual, interactive access to highly complex, expensive products and new technology they would otherwise not get first-hand access to during training.
"Working with Zato Source has been great and very educational. Not only did they help me build the code for our new products, but they helped educate me on various topics to improve my own code writing. I can continue to use the open-source Zato platform to build out more products."

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— John Adams
Program Manager of Channel Enablement at Keysight

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