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The Courseware Company is specialist in and provider of learning, knowledge and performance management solutions with more than 20 years of experience. They partner with best-of-breed global suppliers to be able to provide organizations with proven technology, timely development, reliable hosting and local support services.

We spoke to Robin Venema, Consultant at The Courseware Company to find out why they became a Totara Partner back in November 2011 and how it's made them the successful business they are today. 

What made you choose to become a Totara Partner?

"When considering Totara we already were an established LMS provider in our market with around 100 customers using another LMS brand. With Totara we set out to service a market segment who could not afford the traditional per-user licence pricing. At the same time most of these customers (and we) would not consider an unsupported (or “community” supported) LMS due to stability concerns."

Were you new to open source? What differences have you encountered with this business model?

"We were not completely new to open source. Some of our other products used open source products at the technical level (Apache, MySQL). From this experience we were familiar with both the practical advantages (low cost) and disadvantages (limited support) of open source. After multiple years of working with Totara we still hold a nuanced view on the open/closed source debate. Our view: at the end of the day it does not make too much difference for a customer."

What are your main achievements as a Totara Partner?

"We are a Platinum Partner of Totara Learning and the largest Totara Learn provider in the Benelux region. We have adapted Totara with unique branding in both corporate identity and learner experience. Our 20+ years of learning technology experience did provide us with the expertise to interface and integrate Totara with existing customer systems."

What key piece of advice would you give to companies considering a Totara partnership?

"The Totara partnership model is clear and transparent. Within your region there will be (many) others who can provide the software. In addition – selling the yearly subscription won’t provide enough revenue to offset the sales costs. As a partner you will need a focus on additional services to drive your own business. To be able to do this you will need considerable expertise – technical, design, learning – preferably all. Having said that – the Totara open source model will give you the opportunity to shine and deliver outstanding solutions."