Okta Partner Connect Revamp Streamlines the Training Process: Exclusive

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Okta has streamlined its training and accreditation process to make it easier for solution providers to obtain business and technical certifications.

Patrick McCue, senior vice president of global partnerships at the San Francisco-based identity provider, said revisions to the Okta Partner Connect program will reduce the cost of technical training from $ 2,500 to $ 4,000 per course at free for Premier and Elite partners. Okta’s Select and Associate partners will now have access to all training courses for $ 1,500 per student, he said.

“By getting more people trained, more people accredited and more people certified, we’ll have more success in the field, which will allow us to scale faster,” McCue told CRN exclusively.

[Related: New Okta Identity Tool Helps Address Traffic Bursts At Large Businesses]

About 25% of Okta’s 2,000 partners worldwide are at the top Premier and Elite levels, McCue said, while the remaining 75% are at the lower Select and Associate levels. With his new initiatives, McCue said Okta expects to double the number of accredited solution providers and two and a half times the number of certified technicians.

Okta’s training went from a single program that took eight to 12 hours to complete to three separate tracks based on a person’s role in the solution provider’s organization, McCue said. The Fundamentals track is intended for executives and sales managers, provides a high-level overview of the products and Okta’s role in the market, and takes less than two hours.

The applied track is for salespeople and explains how to position Okta products with customers and overcome common objections, details typical use cases and takes four hours, McCue said. And the competent track is for solution engineers, explains how to order, configure, build and demonstrate the company’s products, and can be completed in six hours, according to McCue.

The company wants to involve its partners more in the sales cycle and the implementation process itself in 2020, according to McCue. Okta has done a good job of finding partners in prospecting, but McCue said the company’s account managers tend to be heavily involved in the sales cycle itself.

As solution providers hone their skills, McCue said they would be in a better position to control the sales cycle and scope and lead the implementation themselves with Okta staff assisting in below them. According to McCue, it will be a far cry from the partners who will handle the accounts in a more advisory role, while Okta staff provided more expertise.

As part of Okta’s updated partner program, McCue said solution providers are eligible for discounts of up to 55%, with activities such as performing a demo unlocking an additional discount of 5%.

On the implementation side, McCue said Okta has historically defined and managed projects on its own with underlying resource partners. But now the roles have turned and McCue said that solution providers can take over more of the implementation process up to and including running the implementation entirely on their own without any Okta service. .

As solution providers take care of the sales, negotiation, pricing and implementation themselves, McCue said Okta’s account managers would be free to take on more offers. during a given period. Solution providers are involved in 60% of Okta’s annual bookings today, and McCue anticipates that the channel community will play an even bigger role in bringing Okta to market in the future.

“Our main goal is to have partners take on a lot of the work both in the sales cycle and in the implementation itself,” said McCue. “So providing them with that training is going to be something very important for us. “

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