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On June 29, 2012, Oracle announced the enhancement to the Specialization program that enables specialization by product version. To be a "qualifying" version, a specialization must be either in the most recent product version or, for the one-year period during which partners must meet the criteria for the newest version of a specialization, the version being "phased out" will continue to qualify partners to receive Benefits for Specialization and meet the criteria for Platinum or Diamond status. In cases where a partner has two versions of the same specialization, only the most recently available specialization will count as the qualifying specialization.
Note: Not all specializations are versioned. When there is no version number, there is only one qualifying specialization for that particular product, solution or industry.
When a product family undergoes a major revision, a new specialization may be created with a version that correlates with the product version. Although the criteria for these versioned specializations may change from time to time within one version of the specialization, the major changes will occur by the creation of a new version of that specialization.
Some products are updated regularly without their specializations being versioned, but the criteria for the specialization are likely to be revised if the product updates are significant. In addition, some specializations cover solutions comprised of multiple product areas and therefore are not versioned, but the criteria for the specializations may change. This also pertains to Industry-focused specializations since they are not based on specific products or versions of products.
If the criteria for a specialization change, the original criteria will remain valid for 180 days following the launch of the new criteria. Oracle may, from time to time, verify that a company still meets the specialization criteria requirements, at which point the OPN member may be asked to go through the renewal process to confirm compliance with competency and customer satisfaction criteria.
When a product family undergoes a major revision (e.g., Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c), a new specialization may be created. OPN members should refer to the regularly updated Specializations Catalog (PDF).
Only qualifying specializations can meet criteria for OPN program benefits and levels. OPN members are notified when a new version of a specialization is available, and are then provided 12 months in which to meet the criteria of this new version, after which time, only the newest version will count towards receiving specialization benefits and meeting level criteria.
A "qualifying version" of a specialization is either (i) the most recent version or (ii) the previous version if within one year of the launch date of the most recent version. Once an OPN member achieves Specialized status on the most recent version then their specialization in the previous version remains valid but is no longer eligible for Specialization Benefits and will not count towards the criteria for Platinum or Diamond membership status. If a specialization is not versioned, it remains a qualifying specialization so long as the partner continues to meet the criteria.
Oracle may retire specializations. When a specialization is retired, it will be identified as either (i) a non-qualifying specialization, meaning that it remains valid but is no longer eligible for Specialization Benefits and will not count towards the criteria for Platinum or Diamond membership status, or (ii) an expired specialization that is no longer a valid specialization. In either case, you will be notified through Oracle communications 180 days prior to the status change.
Only the most current version specialization, or qualifying specialization, will count towards meeting Platinum and Diamond membership criteria. If an OPN member has attained the most current version specialization during the one-year transition period, regardless of whether both specialization versions are deemed qualifying specializations, only one will count towards the number of specializations required to fulfill the criteria for the level.
Only the most current version specialization, or qualifying specialization, will qualify for Specialization Benefits. If an OPN member has attained the most current version specialization during the one-year transition period, regardless of whether both specialization versions are deemed qualifying specializations, only one will count towards the delivery of benefits.
Multiple versions of specializations will continue to be promoted in the OPN Solutions Catalog until the version of the product reaches End of Service Live (EOSL) or moves from Premier Support to Extended Support. In addition, an OPN member may continue to use the logo for the older specialization version – again, until the product reaches EOSL or moves from Premier Support to Extended Support or until Oracle retires the specialization.
In cases where specialization criteria stipulate a specific version of a prerequisite specialization, that prerequisite must be satisfied with that specific specialization version regardless of whether it is a qualifying specialization or not. If no specific version is listed as a requirement, any version, qualifying or non-qualifying specialization, may satisfy the criteria.
OPN members will be notified of changes to specialization version status through OPN newsletters, the Specializations Catalog (PDF), the Get Specialized tab of the relevant Knowledge Zone on the OPN Website, and the Specialization Tracker on the OPN Competency Center, as well as via an e-mail notification that will be sent directly to the Primary Administrator of members with an existing specialization in the previous version.
Specialization offers OPN members the opportunity to gain competitive advantage through differentiation. OPN members that earn specializations put themselves in a position to grow their businesses by being recognized by Oracle and preferred by customers. Specialization allows:
• Partners to distinguish themselves by showcasing their areas of expertise
• Customers to select preferred partners based on their expertise
• Oracle sales teams to recognize partners that have invested in the Oracle portfolio
• Priority placement in the Solutions Catalog
Additionally, OPN Specialized partners receive specialized branding, internal and external promotion in newsletters, websites, and advertising, free Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) exam vouchers, free support, and much more. See full list of benefits.
For a complete list of specializations, view the Specializations Catalog (PDF). New areas of specialization are added regularly as Oracle's product family expands.
There are many training options available, but for the online Guided Learning Paths (GLPs) and assessments for each specialist type, the following list approximates the time investment necessary:
• Sales Specialist: 4 hrs
• Presales Specialist: 4 hrs
• Support Specialist: 2-3 hrs
• Implementation Specialist: 8 hrs
• Partner Boot Camps: 1-5 days
Training costs vary by area and by your existing level of knowledge in the specific solutions.
• Sales, Presales and Support assessments = US$0
• Certified Implementation or Developer assessments = US$125 for technology areas and US$199 for applications areas.
Yes, Worldwide and Associates may pool their collective resources to assist each other in fulfilling the criteria to become specialized.
Individuals confident of their knowledge in a specific specialization area can take assessments without taking the recommended training courses.
Yes. If you have the relevant Oracle Specialist or Oracle Certified Professional qualifications on the current versions, these qualifications will count toward the competency criteria for specialization.
For Gold membership, the maximum number of qualified Specializations and qualification designations (such as Exastack Ready, Exastack Optimized and Oracle Validated Integrations) combined is four (4). If a Gold member exceeds a combined total of four (4) qualified specializations/qualification designations, then the member must upgrade their membership to the Platinum level at the next renewal.
There is a set of global criteria tables for each specialization. These criteria vary by specialization but include fulfillment of competency criteria and business criteria (i.e. customer references and transactions). To learn about the criteria for your solution specialization, go to the Knowledge Zones and select your desired solution, and review the "Get Specialized" section.
Specialization does not imply or express warrantee by Oracle of partner performance or services.
Specialization complements the OPN program levels: Remarketer, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Diamond and Platinum partners are required to hold a certain number of specializations. Gold partners are eligible to earn specializations. Silver partners and Remarketers are not eligible to earn specializations. For additional details see the OPN levels and Benefits table.
As long as an OPN member continues to meet the criteria for a specific specialization, it will not expire until the product or version of the product reaches End of Service Life (EOSL), moves from Premier Support to Extended Support or until Oracle retires a specialization. An OPN member will not be required to renew the specialization. Oracle may, from time to time, verify that a company still meets the specialization criteria requirements, at which point the OPN member may be asked to go through the renewal process to confirm compliance with competency and customer satisfaction criteria.
Competency will be tracked on the OPN Competency Center. Partners are expected to keep track of competency levels for all of their specializations, both qualifying and non-qualifying, on the OPN Competency Center. Oracle may, from time to time, conduct a full verification of qualifying specializations to determine whether the OPN member still meets the specialization criteria requirements including customer satisfaction. Transactions, if included in the business criteria, will not be checked at this time; however, the member will be asked to provide the requisite number of any required customer references for implementations completed within the past 18 months.
If an OPN member's competency for a non-qualifying Specialization falls below the minimum threshold, they will be notified by an e-mail to the Primary Administrator. The member will then have 180 days to meet the criteria, and will continue to receive notifications providing 90 days, 60 days and 30 days notice. If the member does not meet the criteria at the end of this term, they will be notified and the Specialization will be terminated. In cases where there is no longer an exam available that is applicable for fulfilling the criteria for a specific non-qualifying Specialization, a notification will be placed on the description of the non-qualifying Specialization in the Specialization Guide indicating that partners possessing this non-qualifying Specialization met the criteria at the time they achieved Specialization, but adherence to criteria is not validated once the Specialization became non-qualifying due to exams no longer being available.
Advanced Specialization extends the capacity of skilled implementation resources on Oracle’s products and technology and provides additional distinction for Specialized partners. Advanced Specialization is globally consistent -- available to all OPN members at the Gold and Platinum levels; and a requirement for Diamond level partners. In order to become Advanced Specialized, partners must meet all specialization requirements, including standard business and competency criteria, and in addition must have 50 or more Certified Implementation Specialists in that product set.
Because Advanced Specialization demonstrates an OPN member's depth of expertise and capacity, the count of 50 Certified Implementation Specialists must be based on 50 unique individuals passing the Certified Implementation Specialist exams, not on the number of exams passed, regardless of whether multiple exams count towards a single specialization. Below are a few notes to keep in mind when there are multiple exams for one specialization:
• If two different exams qualify for the specialization and one individual takes both, that individual counts only as a single individual.
• If multiple exams are required for a single specialization, the OPN member does not have to have on staff 50 Certified Implementation Specialists for each exam. The count is based on 50 individuals across any of the exams that apply to that specialization area and which apply to that specific product set.
• Go to the Partner with Oracle area to learn about OPN, specializations, and the program levels
• Access the OPN Information Center which hosts short online training modules containing key information on how to achieve Specialization as well as other aspects of the OPN program.
• Contact an Oracle expert in the Oracle Partner Business Center to discuss specific questions in more detail.