OPN Specialized FAQ

General Program Questions

If you do not find answers to your questions below, please contact the Oracle Partner Business Center.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are the benefits of specialization?

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.

 

How do I earn specializations?

Follow these steps:

    1. Join the OPN program at Gold level or above.
    2. Review and fulfill the business and competency criteria on the Specialize tab of the applicable Knowledge Zone.
    3. Submit your application on the Oracle Partner Store and be accepted.
 

In what areas can I earn specializations?

For a complete list of specializations, please click here (PDF). New areas of specialization are added regularly as Oracle's product family expands.

 

What is the approximate time investment required for the training and assessments needed to earn specializations?

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
 

What is the cost to become specialized?

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.
 

My company has signed an Oracle PartnerNetwork Worldwide Agreement and is specialized in many areas. Can our Associate companies be specialized as well?

Yes, Worldwide and Associates may pool their collective resources to assist each other in fulfilling the criteria to become specialized.

 

Do I have to take all the training, or can I simply take the assessment?

Individuals confident of their knowledge in a specific specialization area can take assessments without taking the recommended training courses.

 

Will my existing competency qualifications count towards achieving specialization?

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.

 

Is there a minimum number of specializations required at the Platinum or Gold membership levels?

Platinum partners are required to achieve and maintain a minimum five qualifying specializations. Gold partners are encouraged to become specialized, but there are no specialization requirements at this membership level.

 

Is there a maximum number of specializations that a partner may hold?

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.

 

What are the criteria to earn specializations? Are they regional or global?

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 www.oracle.com/partners, select the Knowledge Zone for your desired solution, and review the "Get Specialized" link.

 

How will my specialization be communicated?

Partner specializations may be found in the Solutions Catalog and are highlighted in many locations on Oracle.com, in internal newsletters, in internal and external publications and newsletters, in internal partner-finder databases, and through other vehicles when available.

 

Does being specialized mean that Oracle is warranting my performance or services?

Specialization does not imply or express warrantee by Oracle of partner performance or services.

 

How does specialization fit into the OPN program?

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.

 

How are product versions incorporated into specializations and do all versions qualify for benefits?

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 that not all specializations are versioned. When there is no version number, there is only one qualifying specialization for that particular product, solution or industry.

 

Why do some specializations have versions and others do not?

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.

 

What happens if the criteria change for one of my existing specializations?

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.

 

What triggers the need for a new version of a specialization?

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 Specialization Guide.

 

How much time does an OPN member have to migrate to the latest version of a specialization to continue receiving benefits and meeting level criteria?

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.

 

What is a qualifying specialization?

A "qualifying version" of a specialization is either (i) the most recent product version or (ii) the previous product version if within one year of the launch date of the most recent product version. Once an OPN member achieves Specialized status on the most recent product version then their specialization in the previous product 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.

 

Do both current and previous versions of a specialization count towards fulfilling criteria for Platinum or Diamond level?

Only the most current product version specialization, or qualifying specialization, will count towards meeting Platinum and Diamond membership criteria. If an OPN member has attained the most current product version specialization during the one-year transition period, regardless of whether both specialization product versions are deemed qualifying specializations, only one will count towards the number of specializations required to fulfill the criteria for the level.

 

Do both current and previous versions of a specialization provide Specialization Benefits?

Only the most current product version specialization, or qualifying specialization, will qualify for Specialization Benefits. If an OPN member has attained the most current product version specialization during the one-year transition period, regardless of whether both specialization product versions are deemed qualifying specializations, only one will count towards the delivery of benefits.

 

If an OPN member has attained both current and previous versions of a specialization, can both versions still be promoted to customers?

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). In addition, an OPN member may continue to use the logo for the older version of the product – again, until the product reaches EOSL.

 

If achievement of a specialization (for example, Exadata) requires prerequisite specializations, does it matter if the prerequisite specializations are in a previous version?

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.

 

How can an OPN member tell whether a specialization qualifies for benefits or level criteria?

Specializations listed as available on the Get Specialized tab of the applicable Knowledge Zone will be qualifying specializations unless otherwise specified. They are also flagged as qualifying specializations on the OPN Competency Center and in the Specialization Guide (PDF).

 

How will an OPN member know when there is a new version of a specialization available?

OPN members will be notified of changes to specialization product version status through OPN newsletters, the Specialization Guide, 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 product version.

 

Do specializations expire?

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). 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.

 

How is compliance with criteria fulfillment verified?

Competency will be tracked on the OPN Competency Center. 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. 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.

 

What is Advanced Specialization and what are the requirements?

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.

 

 

Where can I find more information?

  • Go to www.oracle.com/partners and select the Partner with Oracle tab to learn about OPN, specialization, and the program levels.
  • Select the Training tab to navigate to the OPN Information Center which hosts short online training modules containing key information on how to achieve Specialization as well as other aspects of OPN Specialized.
  • Contact an Oracle expert in the Oracle Partner Business Center to discuss specific questions in more detail.
 
 
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