Google Apps Launches Partner Certifications
In an effort to help the swelling ranks of Google Apps Authorized Resellers differentiate in the competitive cloud services marketplace, the search giant's channel management has announced the launch of the Google Apps Certification Program. The first recognition that channel pros around the globe can try for: Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist.
According to Google Apps Channels Director Stephen Cho, the certification program is an extension of the company's commitment to listening to its reseller partners. Customers want to work with the best of the best when they're making a migration to Google Apps, and partners were looking for a way to show that they can make that cut. And Cho says that deployment is only the first certification – partners specializing in other areas of the offering will get their chance as the Google Apps Certification Program matures.
Now, partners from anywhere on the planet who've either attended classes or consumed online course material on the subject can take a webcam-proctored exam to prove their mastery of Google Apps migration, configuration, and deployment. If you pass, it tells you instantly, and if you fail, the test suggests areas to improve.
It's a solid way to extend a hand to Google Apps partners – Google Apps for Education resellers have had a similar program in place for several months. And it speaks to the continuing maturation of Google as a channel-friendly company.
But Google Apps still faces stiff competition from all sides, especially the upcoming Microsoft Office 365. And it does little to address the debate over the level of cloud service provider control of the end-customer, though Google does permit partners to manage end-customer billing and the ongoing customer relationship.