Network monitoring specialist Paessler AG is rolling out its first-ever partner certification program for its PRTG network monitoring software.
Paessler, a Nuremberg, Germany-based company with a growing footprint in the U.S. market and the channel, is offering both a sales and technical certification program for its flagship PRTG software. The aim of these programs, Paessler said, is to provide a level of distinction to some of its top solution provider partners and help those partners increase their visibility among potential clients.
"We have been asked been asked by our partners -- especially by VARs, system integrators and smaller resellers -- 'how can we qualify and how can we show our qualifications,'" said Thomas Timmermann, vice president of business development, North America at Paessler. "[Partners said] 'we have been working with PRTG for years, we know the software, we know the tool, but there are no certifications programs, so we can't prove this.'"
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To change this, Paessler is now encouraging partners to apply for either the Paessler Certified Sales Professional certification or the Paessler Certified Monitoring Professional certification. Partners can apply for either or both programs free of charge, Paessler said, and all existing partners are eligible to do so.
Both certifications require solution providers to complete an online test, which they can request to take through Paessler's website. There is a test for each of the two certifications; solution providers taking the Paessler Certified Sales Professional test must demonstrate knowledge related to PRTG licensing information, upgrade processes and maintenance renewals, while those taking the Paessler Certified Monitoring Professional test will need to demonstrate a more technical knowledge of PRTG and network infrastructure. Solution providers that pass the test will receive a certificate and digital "Paessler Certified" icon they can display on their websites. Paessler said those that attain the certifications will also be distinguished on its own website as being PRTG-certified.
Down the line, Paessler's Timmermann said holding these certifications will become necessary to achieve either Paessler's Silver or Gold partner status.
"The next step that we are going to introduce is that [partners] will need at least one Sales and one Monitoring Professional Certification to reach certain partner levels," Timmerman said.
Josh Sanders, a systems engineer at Lockstep Technology Group, a Duluth, Ga.-based solution provider and Paessler partner, said the new Paessler certification program is expected to help Lockstep on-board new customers.
"When it comes to new customers, people who have not worked with Lockstep in the past, I think the certification program is key because it gives them a comfort level that we actually know what we are doing," said Sanders, who has already achieved the Paessler Certified Monitoring Professional certification.
Paessler's certification program underscores the company's growing engagement with the U.S. channel. Paessler today boasts roughly 1,000 solution provider partners in the U.S., with roughly 5,000 partners worldwide. Paessler said it closed out 2012 with 40 percent of its total sales going through the channel, and that its U.S. and Canada channel sales have surged more than 90 percent.
As demand for its PRTG software continues to grow -- Paessler's sales were up 57 percent year-over-year in 2012 -- the company said it's looking to expand its partner base, particularly in the U.S.
James Harden, managing partner at Lockstep Technology Group, said selling PRTG has been a big differentiator for Lockstep, especially because the software is so customizable. PRTG comes with customizable sensors, meaning solution providers can tweak the software to monitor the exact applications or network components an end customer wants to monitor.
"The PRTG product allows you to write these custom sensors, and that's why we really chose Paessler to partner with because it allows us to have a more rounded monitoring practice," Harden said.
Paessler has made other recent enhancements to its flagship PRTG product, including support for VMware's vSphere 5, which enables monitoring for ESXi 5 hosts, virtual machines and vCenter 5.
PUBLISHED MAY 24, 2013