While the certified deployment program was initially created for pure services-focused partners, it is being expanded to select Platinum partners who resell as well as provide services.
Today, SD-WAN vendor Silver Peak is announcing an expansion of their services enablement capabilities for channel partners, with an expansion of their certified deployment partner [CDP] program to include resell-focused partners as well as the services organizations which had previously been enabled through the plan. The program is heavily focused on training, and allows partners to deploy the Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, Silver Peak’s core offering.
“This rounds out and expands our services program offerings,” said Ken Marks, vice president of North America channel sales for Silver Peak. “In the past, we had an authorized partner deployment program, since August 2018. That was for services only partners, not for ones that resold. But as we saw the growth in the market and the focus on network transformation, we knew we had to round out and expand our services offerings. Now we are opening it up to partners who resell.”
Only Silver Peak’s top tier Platinum partners are eligible for the program, which is invitation-based. Nominees also have to have a services practice going in, have substantial experience in doing networking transformation projects, and need to provide customer references.
“We have less than 150 Platinum partners globally, and we have initially enrolled eight inaugural members to the program,” Marks said. “They include some of the largest reseller partners in the world, CDW and WWT, some global networking partners like InterVision and Teneo, and some SD-WAN transformation specialists like Invite Networks. We chose to launch this with only eight partners so we don’t become overdistributed.”
The CDP program has a heavy focus on training. In addition to the Platinum tier requirements, program members are required to have a significant number of sales and engineering staff obtain deployment certifications, which require proctored exams. Six individuals are required to be certified as SSP Sales Professionals. Four individuals are required to be certified as STSP Technical Sales Professionals, SPSP Technical Professionals, and SPSX Technical Experts. Two certifications are required as SDP Deployment Professionals and SDX Deployment Experts.
“Taking classes doesn’t necessarily make you an expert so there is also a deployment capability requirement, in which a Silver Peak engineer shadows the partner on the first two installs,” Marks noted.
Marks emphasized that a great deal of thought had gone into designing this program.
“We made a very big effort to ensure this is a win win win scenario – for the partner, for Silver Peak of course, and for our customers,” he said. “We wanted to ensure each of these had a significant value proposition. For partners, we focused on how we could best help them build a services practice that’s highly profitable and differentiates against competitors in the market. For customers, it is about getting trusted service experts, getting deployments done right the first time, and providing faster time to value.”
Silver Peak’s acquisition by HPE was announced in July. The deal is expected to close by October, after which Silver Peak will become an HPE business unit.