Enterprise architecture may seem synonymous with servers, but not for reseller channel partners of PC maker Dell. Until now.
While Dell has offered an enterprise architecture certification to its reseller channel partners for almost as long as it has offered its formal channel partner program, the certification has focused heavily on storage solutions and Dell’s EqualLogic acquisition.
Responding to feedback from channel partners, Dell has expanded that focus to create a certification for those who want to specialize in servers.
“Some partners have been telling us, I don’t have a storage practice,” says Bob Skelley, formal global channel chief at EqualLogic and now director of Dell’s enterprise architecture certification program. “So over the last six months we’ve been building a new program and a new approach to certification.”
Dell has also added to its storage specialist certification requirements, asking existing certified partners to add one more certified sales professional and one more technical specialist by the end of December.
Partners who are pursuing certification for the first time will choose a server specialist track or storage specialist track. Each track requires the partner to employ two certified sales professionals and two certified technical professionals.
Server curriculum is available now for delivery in several ways, including some instructor-led training and some Web-based training, giving partners some options on how they prefer to receive the training. Training is free of charge. For sales professionals it includes about 3 to 4 hours of course training and then a 30-minute exam. For technical specialists training lasts closer to 4 to 6 hours and then an exam, says Skelley.
The server track covers key selling strategies and selling points and is provided in two tracks: the PowerEdge Rack and Power Servers, and the other track around the PowerEdge blade servers.
In addition, channel partners can choose from a host of elective courses, including ones that cover VMware virtualization, Microsoft HyperV virtualization, EqualLogic with VMware, and backup and recovery.
Skelley says Dell now has 456 U.S. certified enterprise architecture partners, and he expects about a third of those to be interested in the new server track. However, many other uncertified Dell partners have indicated an interest in enterprise architecture certification once it included servers, and Skelley expects to see more channel partners pursuing certification for the first time.
“There are literally several thousand partners selling servers today that are not certified,” he says. Yet partners who do pursue the certification are eligible for market development funds, engagements with account managers, lead generation programs and more field-based resources. They also get incentive programs and seed units and virtual lab access.