F5 Adds Sales, Technical Accreditations to Channel Program
Networking vendor F5 prides itself on the fact that its data networking solutions can be used for a number of different purposes in a number of different scenarios. But being the “Swiss Army knife of application delivery,” as VP of worldwide channels Dean Darwin calls F5’s technology, can be a double-edged sword for partners who don’t see its full potential.
That’s why the company is introducing a series of technical and sales accreditation programs for its channel partners, to give them a solid foundation on F5’s technology as both a standalone and a complementary solutions, Darwin said.
“In the data center there are freeways and toll booths. We focus on the toll booths,” he said. “Our technology can be used in a million different ways – security, optimization, tiering, etc. – and many of the newer uses are actually being suggested to us by our channel partners.
“Not a week goes by where I don’t see a new use for us,” Darwin added, and therein lies the problem. “How do I keep the channel up to date on all these different ways?”
The new training and accreditation offerings, which are web-based and available through F5’s UNITY Partner Program portal, provide channel partners with a comprehensive knowledge base to better recognize sales opportunities, map specific client needs to the F5 portfolio, define clear use cases and ensure deeper engagements with end customers, according to the company. “It focuses on educating the channel quickly on their terms,” Darwin said.
The program includes 12 hours of technical knowledge and 10 hours of sales training, packaged into 12 standalone modules – to start – that the channel partner can access in any order. The modules typically take about the same amount of time it takes to get through a cup of coffee, followed by a test. Once channel partners finish all the modules and pass the tests in a specific category, they can receive branding as a solutions specialist in that category.
The technical accreditation modules are available now, and the sale accreditation modules will follow over the next few months, according to the company.
“This is not a redoing of an old program – it’s completely new content and a completely new program,” Darwin said. “From an application delivery perspective, this has the deepest channel specific methodology there is.”
The program is available free of charge to channel partners – F5’s “gift to the channel,” Darwin noted. “It’s good for all of us – if we have more competent partners then we all win – our company, our partners and, most importantly, our customers.”