A duo of new compulsory certifications for Juniper's top partners has been met with a mixed channel reception.
Earlier this month, the security vendor unveiled its Partner Advantage Services programme, which includes two new badges for its top-level Elite partners: Partner Support Services (PPS) and Partner Professional Services (PPS).
When they were launched, Juniper said the programme would amplify its investment in partners and services, drive partners' growth and increase both their profitability and rewards.
The vendor has told its Elite partners that the new accreditations should be achieved by the end of September, which Glen Kemp, enterprise solutions architect at top-level partner SecureData, said was a demanding timeframe.
"We always have to be up to [new] standards, it's an annual thing... and we have to do the new certifications to maintain Elite status," he said. "[The timeframe] is pretty harsh. They do cut you a bit of slack, but the point is that they expect to see progress: you have to be booked on courses and exams."
Kemp added that he expects about five staff each on both the infrastructure and security strands of the programme to be out for between two and three weeks in order to revise for and sit the exams. But as it is after the firm's end of year, it tends to be quieter and more manageable, he said.
He also said the tight timeframe affects discount levels from the vendor, meaning there is an incentive to get clued up in time too.
"It's a big investment, but I can understand why they are doing it," he said. "There is not much excuse not to have [the certifications] – the training is free and very high quality. You either spend the money and do the courses and training or spend the time and do it self-study; there are pros and cons to each."
Kemp added that the technical content of the new training is very tough, but Avnet's business unit director for network and security, Carl Berry, said the fact this allows differentiation among partners can only be a good thing.
"It allows specialisation rather than having to be accredited against Juniper's entire portfolio, which fits into its overall strategy of going narrow and deep," he said.
"Having these layers of accreditation requires financial investment. However, this is the Juniper strategy and the partners who champion Juniper will attract large benefits with fewer resellers to compete against.
"Juniper will reward partners who champion their portfolio and will invest back to the partner in the way of a dedicated account manager, exclusive training and rebates."
CRN pulls out the key information from Microsoft's Q4, which took the vendor above $100bn for the year
Investment will include an AI research centre in London
John Coulston outlines Rackspace's plans to partner with the channel in the UK
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference