HP Inc. unveiled new Partner First Program training resources at its HP Reinvent conference in Las Vegas this week.
The new training hub, HP University, offers a mix of sales skills education, product training and certifications to support partners' move into modern business models like contractual and subscription sales, HP said. The HP Partner First training program is available in 11 languages and was beta tested by more than 30 partners globally, according to the vendor.
"With the launch of HP University, we are giving partners access to our internal training catalogue ... as well as [to] the traditional well-known products and solutions trainings, specializations and certifications that we have had ... as part of our [HP] Partner First Program," said Thomas Jensen, vice president of worldwide channel sales strategy at HP Inc.
HP University training underscores competencies that the vendor has been urging HP Partner First partners to obtain for some time. These include security, device as a service, mobility and managed print services competencies.
CGS, Inkling in content system partnership
CGS, a business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services provider, is partnering with Inkling, an enterprise software company that focuses on delivering content to the field workforce.
Based in New York, CGS will offer content production, design and project management services around Inkling's offering. CGS is an early participant in Inkling's Preferred Partner Program, which provides training and certification to service providers.
Thomas Jensenvice president of worldwide channel sales strategy, HP Inc.
"We know since the product matured, it will require more of an ecosystem around it," said Matt MacInnis, founder and CEO of Inkling, which was launched eight years ago in San Francisco.
Inkling lets customers create and distribute interactive content to what the company describes as the deskless workforce -- insurance company field agents or quick service restaurant (QSR) workers, for example. Inkling's technology makes content accessible via mobile devices equipped with the company's app for iOS or Android.
Channel partners fit in by providing customized extensions to the Inkling product. On a project for McDonald's, for example, CGS built a custom component that extends Inkling, which is used to deliver worker training content, to other systems at the fast-food chain. That component, end-user interaction embedded within an Inkling-authored training document, collects sign-off data from managers when workers complete training. The sign-off data output is integrated with McDonald's labor scheduling system. Because of this linkage, a worker who completes McDonald's training automatically becomes a resource that can be scheduled.
In addition, CGS built several custom business intelligence dashboard integrations that let McDonald's operations executives correlate training with location performance.
Doug Stephen, senior vice president and country manager at CGS Canada, said partnering requires an investment in understanding the Inkling platform and the ability to develop solutions for enterprise customers. "If you are building anything, plan for scale," he advised.
MacInnis said Inkling and its partners will pursue opportunities among QSRs and other food services companies, as well as in the hospitality, retail and insurance vertical markets.
Kubernetes certification program debuts
About two dozen companies have emerged as Kubernetes Certified Service Providers in light of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation's new certification initiative.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation described its KCSP program as a "pre-qualified tier of vetted service providers that offer Kubernetes support, consulting, professional services and training. The founding class of KCSPs include Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bitnami, Canonical, Container Solutions, CoreOS, Ghostcloud, Giant Swarm, Heptio, Huawei, IBM, inwinSTACK Inc., LiveWyer, Mirantis, RX-M LLC, Samsung SDS, Stackpointcloud Inc., Supergiant and Treasure Data.
To qualify as a KCSP, a company must have three or more engineers pass the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam, demonstrable activity in the Kubernetes community and a business model that supports enterprise end users, according to the foundation.
Matt Baldwin, CEO of Stackpointcloud, a company based in Seattle that provides technology for building Kubernetes clusters, said he is seeing "a lot of inbound interest" in Kubernetes, with people asking questions about the components of Kubernetes and how to install the container management platform.
Security vendor Barracuda revealed several updates for its managed service provider (MSP) customers this week. Barracuda's Intronis MSP business, which it purchased in 2015, will be rebranded as Barracuda MSP going forward. The vendor said it also updated its MSP-focused ECHOplatform with centralized and streamlined management of Barracuda's security and data protection products. Additionally, Barracuda debuted two education initiatives for channel partners: SmarterMSP.com, a website with information for growing MSP businesses, and an interactive program for learning managed services best practices.
Datto, a data protection vendor that sells through MSPs, expanded its networking line with the new set of networking switches. Available now, L-Series switches offer cloud-managed layer 2 functionality with Power over Ethernet, according to the Datto.
Nitel, a telecom service provider based in Chicago, launched its Elite Partner Program, which the company said is open to its top-performing master agents and distributors. The program offers dedicated partner support and market development fund accrual among other business development resources. The current roster of Elite partners includes Avant, Converged Network Services Group, Intelisys, MicroCorp, PlanetOne Communications, Sandler Partners, Telarus and Telecom Consulting Group.
Netrix, an IT services and consulting firm based in Chicago, has joined security vendor Avecto's North American partner network. Under the arrangement, Netrix, an Avecto Gold Partner, can add Avecto's Defendpoint software to its portfolio of offerings. Defendpoint provides privilege management and application control technology.
Symphony Ventures, a robotic process automation service provider, opened a development center in Bangalore, India. The company plans to recruit 150 consulting and technology staff within the next 24 months to provide consulting, implementation, managed services and training to clients with operations in India, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Networking company Infoblox launched its revamped BuildingBlox partner program. Program enhancements include rewards for investing in training and certification, incentives for developing Infoblox security platform technology practices, and a new dashboard for visibility into reseller performance, the vendor said. Infoblox also cited plans for introducing a partner training portal.
SupportBot has added a Slack-like chat room to its artificial intelligence-based customer support offering for managed service and IT service providers. The chat room lets service provider team members communicate in one location with customers, each other and directly with the SupportBot chatbot, according to the company.
CloudJumper, which provides workspace as a service platform, named Josh Coke as its North American channel sales manager. Coke's previous experience includes sales management roles at Autotask Corp. and Kaseya. In other channel executive news, Anexinet Corp., an analytics, digital and cloud infrastructure solution provider, has appointed Al Sporer as executive vice president of the company's digital and analytics business unit.
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Learn more about the HP Partner First Program and its channel plans
Read about SADA Systems' Kubernetes-related project with a SaaS vendor
Find out about Arby's use of IoT in the food services industry