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GitLab Offers Expanded Partner Certifications As Demand Surges For DevOps Expertise

GitLab looks to enable service partners with the expertise and tools they need to become trusted advisors for customers’ DevOps and digital transformation initiatives.

DevOps platform provider GitLab is expanding its GitLab Partner Program to assist new and existing partners who develop DevOps lifecycle services around the company’s products to support customers.

The new GitLab Certified Services Partner Program, being unveiled today, is the latest extension of the GitLab Partner Program that launched in April 2020.

It also comes as demand for the GitLab platform is on the rise as DevOps plays an increasingly important role in digital transformation initiatives within businesses and organizations.

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“As we address that market opportunity, there is just no way we can hire enough [sales] people to speak with all the customers that are undertaking this transformation,” said Michelle Hodges (pictured), GitLab vice president of global channels, in an exclusive interview with CRN.

“We need channel partners that help us find customers, help us connect deeper into those customers, help us transact with those customers, and then stay with those customers through their DevOps transformation, and provide them with training, consulting and advisory services,” she said.

While GitLab has worked with partners for international sales for several years, the company has been ramping up its channel efforts in the last one and a half years and has been steadily building out its partner program since last year’s launch. In November, for example, the company launched a partner locator to help customers identify resellers, solution providers and professional service providers with the solutions and expertise they need.

The new GitLab Certified Services Partner Program includes Certified Professional Services Partner (PSP) and Certified Training Partner (CTP) badges for partners who deliver value-added services to customers who are new to GitLab, expanding their GitLab deployments, or optimizing their DevOps practices with GitLab.

The certification programs include a technical enablement framework and individual training certifications for partners to use as they build GitLab-related services practices. The programs also provide incentives for partners to attach their services to GitLab opportunities, according to the company, and new service and training enablement kits are being developed to ensure partners have the necessary resources and guidance.

GitLab’s partner roster, divided between channel and technology partners, today includes global and boutique systems integrators, cloud platform partners, VARs, distributors and managed service providers.

Adoption of DevOps practices are often a transformative undertaking for businesses and organizations as they shift to an “infrastructure as code” approach to IT. And DevOps adoption is often part of a larger digital transformation initiative. Hodges said solution providers who partner with GitLab are playing an increasingly important role as trusted advisor for such efforts and helping customers get the most value out of their DevOps investments.

“The partner ecosystem is engaging more in DevOps and elevating their skills in areas like security and AI/ML,” said Paul Edwards, Director of Software Channels & Ecosystems at market research firm IDC, in a statement. “Partners are developing their own software to meet customer business challenges, but also enabling customer DevOps processes through a host of services. GitLab’s new program offerings will help its partners work as trusted advisors in meeting customer digital transformation challenges through new support offerings and tools.”

“Clearvision’s business goals and culture of developing best-of-breed DevOps solutions are similarly aligned with GitLab, so entering into a strategic partnership makes sense,” said Gerry Tombs, CEO at Philadelphia-based solution provider Clearvision, which recently joined GitLab’s partner program.

“Designing a partnership which places the customer at the heart of the agreement, whilst fulfilling the objectives of the partner and vendor, is not easy, However GitLab has succeeded where many have failed. GitLab lives their values and treats their partners with the same respect as their customers, which is truly refreshing,” Tombs said in a statement.

GitLab channel partners are in either the GitLab Partner Program’s Open or Select track with the latter reserved for partners who are committed to building DevOps practices around the GitLab platform and meet certain revenue and enablement commitments.

In August 2020 the company said it had added more than 175 partners in the past year including SADA, BoxBoat Technologies, Contino and CI&T. On the distribution side GitLab enlisted Amazic as a distributor partner and Carahsoft for the U.S. public sector and Canada.

“A good portion of our business is transacted and/or initiated by our partners,” Hodges said, declining to disclose specific numbers about the number of partners GitLab has or the percentage of sales conducted through the channel.

“We are a channel company. It is a critical element of our go-to-market and a key success factor for us – both today and in our future plans. It is now part of our DNA,” the channel chief said.

Solution provider Computacenter has recently been deepening its relationship with GitLab. “Through our partnership with GitLab, we believe that our combined proposition of industry leading technology and enterprise consulting services will accelerate the power of developer velocity, allowing our customers to continue thriving over the months and years ahead,” said Kevin Stavers, director of platform and hybrid IT at Hatfield, U.K.-based Computacenter, in a statement.

GitLab’s roster of technology partners includes cloud service and platform providers such as AWS and Google Cloud and Kubernetes partners including Red Hat and VMware. GitLab also has continued to expand the range of systems its DevOps platform works with, announcing in the last year integrations with Aqua Security’s Aqua Trivy, IBM Cloud Paks, Red Hat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu Build Service and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

In 2020 GitLab 13.0 won a CRN Tech Innovator Award in the IT/Application Automation category.

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