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Google Launches Apps Certification Program

This cloud stuff is here to stay, and so is Google. As if you didn't know that already, Google reiterated its presence in IT today with the announcement of the Google Apps Certification Program.

There's something about a certification program that makes an IT alternative seem legitimate. Not that Apps (or the cloud in general) wasn't before today, but it really feels like a viable option for IT with a certification program in place.

Of course, the program isn't really for IT customers -- it's mostly for partners. Yes, Google Apps has a growing reseller program, and participants come from all sorts of practice backgrounds, including Microsoft. As is the case with the Microsoft certification system, diploma-toting Google partners will be able to separate themselves from their competitors and gain some cloud credibility in the IT landscape.

"Both our customers and our partners have been seeking opportunities to differentiate themselves," Stephen Cho, director of Google Apps Channels at Google, told RCPU in a phone chat Tuesday afternoon. "Customers want to have an assurance of the expertise and competence of partners they might engage. [For partners], it shows a depth in the technology."

From where we're sitting, certification also lends a sense of added stability to the whole notion of IT departments moving key functions into the cloud. There's still some trepidation about Software as a Service in the enterprise despite the model's fairly rapid growth, but having another major player (other than Microsoft) provide a certificate of competence to partners has to be reassuring for IT folks who might otherwise wonder what they're getting into with all this cloud stuff.

The first Google certification, Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialist, is available to partners and IT professionals as of today. There are more details about it here. More elements of the program are forthcoming, Cho said. They will include sales, support, developer skills and advanced deployment skills, he said.

"As the product gets broader, our technical expertise will also get broader," Cho said. And Microsoft partners are more than welcome to check out what's going on in Google's cloud.

Have you worked with Google Apps? Does a certification program make the notion more appealing? Why or why not? Send your thoughts to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 02/23/2011 at 1:23 PM


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