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HP Set to Certify Service Providers

Looking to consolidate its certification initiatives in the post-Compaq merger era, HP today announced the HP Service Provider Certification Program.

According to Sean Hehir, managing director, worldwide service provider partnerships and programs at HP, the certification program "combines the best of both [HP and Compaq] worlds" and is available to any provider that offers hosted services on a one-to-many basis.

Aimed at a broad range of providers that include ASPs, managed service providers (MSPs), managed hosting providers and so on, "it may be easier to say who the program isn't for," Hehir said. HP isn't targeting outsourcers who provided customized solutions for individual customers.

In addition offering a unified program that is consistent with both HP and former Compaq requirements, Hehir told ASPnews that three factors contributed to developing the new program.

"Enterprises were asking us who can deliver services. Service providers were looking to us for direction." Since HP found itself in this technology match-maker role, the third reason was for HP itself to gain insight into its service provider partners' capabilities to meet service level agreements (SLAs).

The HP Service Provider Certification Program evaluates a service provider's capability to deliver high-quality, reliable services, based upon industry standards such as IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL ) and the IT Service Management (ITSM) framework.

The certification — which does not require a revenue commitment for hardware or services, according to Hehir — provides an assessment of a service provider in six areas: IT service management, network, application and database, system software, hardware and environment.

The certification program comes in two flavors with significantly different pricing levels:

The SP Certified program has an initial fee of $9,000 and a annual renewal fee of $3,000. It features an on-site technology assessment that provides recognition of the quality of the service provider's IT infrastructure used to deliver services.

The SP Signature Certified level takes the evaluation a step and further and includes an assessment of people and processes involved in delivering the services. Its initial cost is $50,000 with an $15,000 annual renewal fee.

HP will also offer the option to provide Microsoft Gold Certification from a single on-site evaluation. The fee for that is an additional $30,000. Hehir said that while the joint certification process will save service providers some money, the real benefit is the time it will save by not requiring two separate on-site visits.

While Hehir made a clear distinction between the certification partnership and a HP partnership that involves co-marketing and sales, the HP SP Certification program does provide marketing benefits such as opportunities to be featured in HP service provider certification awareness campaigns and to join HP at industry events and a variety of marketing tools.

Hehir said the 100 service providers have been identified by HP as likely candidates. HP is currently transitioning existing partners and have offered 40 a transition path, according to the company. USi, Divine, SBC, MGN, Diveo have already achieved HP Signature certification.

HP is listed by ASPnews a Top 30 Service Enabler.


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