A few days ago, I highlighted a number of cloud integrators, VARs and consulting companies that have risen to the top of Amazon Web Services' cloud partner program. Google, likewise, has recognized a "Premier" designation in its own partner program since 2011, but it didn't hold the first partner summit until a few weeks ago — convening approximately 400 executives in Mountain View, California, in late February to share best practices and get some training.
In his Google Enterprise blog post about the event, Mark Hodgson, head of global partner programs for Google Enterprise, re-voiced his team's commitment for the 6,000-plus partner strong network.
For one thing, the company plans to invest in a partner university to raise the bar when it comes to partner technical skills. Google is also extending its Premier elite designation to cover its Google Search appliance and the new reseller program focused on Maps for Business, Hodgson said.
The Premier partnership level is reserved for IT services companies that have proven their competency to Google in a variety of ways, including number of customers, accounts under management, number of certified professionals, number of published customer success stories, and so on.
During the event, Google also named five global partners of the year for certain areas of expertise. They are:
Softbank (Japan): Google Apps — Customer Acquisition
Cloud Sherpas (USA and APAC): Google Apps — Implementation
Onix Networking (USA): Enterprise Search
SPH (Korea): Maps for Business
PA Consulting (UK and USA): Cloud Platform
Search for a Google Enterprise Partner (you can filter by location, and by whether or not the partner holds Premier status).