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Partners, Authorized, Certified – what it means

In the service industry, credentials play a major factor when deciding who to trust. Unfortunately, the terms used to claim these credentials can be unclear. What’s the difference between authorization and certification? Why is a partner so important? What do they mean?

It’s one thing to simply sell technology as big-box stores do, and it’s another to support that technology – which is why TriTech sells to support. But what does that actually mean? It means going beyond the purchase to assist the customer – recommendations, installations, questions, service. To validate trust and expertise, TriTech goes above the standard by focusing on two areas: certifications and partners.

NOTE: In the following, “Manufacturer” refers to the technology partners of TriTech in general (such as Epson or Polycom). “Partner” refers to the role TriTech has with manufacturers.

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Certification

What does being “certified” mean?
Certifications are awarded to qualified individuals or partners who have proven knowledge and competency in a specific role. The method for earning certification varies, though one common way is to fulfill prerequisites, participate in a training course (either online or instructor-led), study given material, and pass an exam. Certifications verify demonstrated skill has been approved by the manufacturer.

The importance of certification
Confidence. Certified parties are specially trained to provide exceptional service in a field or product selection. This familiarity allows more accurate diagnostics, proper handling to not further issues, and extensive knowledge that contributes to the entire process of a solution.

Why it can be confusing
Some manufacturers award “partner certified” as an official title of their partner programs, which translates into what we will explain as “authorized partner.” Some items that are used or refurbished may be labelled as “certified” for resale on popular third-party websites, which anyone can claim and does not guarantee manufacturer testing or warranty; TriTech does not participate in the sale of these items.

Partners

What does being “a partner” mean?
Partner designation shows a commitment from both TriTech and the manufacturer to fully support the technology and services provided in a solution. Like certifications, manufacturers may require training and/or proof of expertise in order to receive partner status because they, as a business, are reflected by their approval – “partner” wouldn’t mean much if just anyone could sign up and use a logo with no restrictions, would it? There would be no trust or influence.

The importance of partnership
assurance. Business technology from a partner like TriTech can save costs. Having access to and using only direct OEM materials guarantees authenticity, quality, and the support from manufacturers and TriTech. Most (if not all) manufacturers will not deal with purchases from unauthorized or third-party sellers – including those found on Amazon or eBay that claim the listed item is OEM because anyone can claim anything.

Why it can be confusing
Unfortunately, obtaining a manufacturer’s partner logo through search engines is very easy today and some companies use what they find without earning the privilege. It’s important that customers check the accuracy of allegations from any company because not all of them are honest. (This can be done through the manufacturer’s website “service locator” or phone number.)

Also, some manufacturers may refer to partner training as a “certification program," further confusing these two terms. For example, Axis Communications education includes Axis Certification Program, a requirement for all their partners, and Axis Certified Professional, an optional advanced certification of an individual – two similar sounding but separately achieved credits.

Unauthorized Sales & Uncertified Services

Partner authorization and technician certification is the only way to receive support from the manufacturers.

Barracuda
Except as provided in the warranty for the product, the products and any third party software and services are provided “as is”.1

Brother
If you purchased a product from someone other than an authorized Brother reseller in the United States or if the product was used (including but not limited to floor models or refurbished product by someone other than Brother), prior to your purchase you are not the Original Purchaser and the product that you purchased is not covered by this warranty.2

Cisco
“When a customer reports a product fault or defect and Cisco determines that the fault or defect can be traced to the use of a third-party repair business, Cisco retains the right to withhold support under warranty or a Cisco support program, such as SMARTnet® services.”3

“The Cisco standard warranty and Cisco service and support contracts are not transferable. That means that any purchase of used or secondary-market Cisco equipment is not covered by the Cisco standard warranty and is not eligible for coverage by a Cisco support contract even if it is purchased through a Cisco channel partner or distributor.” (Secondary-market equipment is equipment purchased from a seller that is not an authorized Cisco reseller.)4

Epson
This [limited] warranty does not cover damage to the EPSON product caused by parts or supplies not manufactured, distributed or certified by Epson. This warranty does not cover...third party parts, components, or peripheral devices...5

HP
HP is not liable for any claim made by a third party...6

Lenovo
“To the extent permitted by law, Lenovo makes no representation or warranty regarding third party products or services. The Lenovo Limited Warranty applies only to Lenovo hardware products purchased for your own use, and does not transfer upon resale.”7

Polycom
“If you purchase Polycom-branded products from an unauthorized source...the product is not eligible to be supported by Polycom services [or] for a Polycom trade in promotional program. If product does not work properly, you will not be able to obtain support or a replacement under warranty.”8

Xerox
Damage to Xerox equipment caused by the use of non-Xerox supplies is not covered under any Xerox warranty or service agreement and is the sole responsibility of the customer.9

Conclusion: The Importance of Both

Partners and certifications work together; partners guarantee genuine products and certifications show proven experience. Manufacturers support the services done by partners and certified professionals because they work directly with both. Having proficiency and tools are the two components for success – when it comes to business technology, both can be found at authorized partners with certified technicians and engineers.

Don’t waste money hiring an uncertified professional for unauthorized services when a certified professional can provide authorized services – such as TriTech.

1Barracuda Networks. Barracuda Policies: Terms & Conditions. Retrieved July 12, 2017. https://www.barracuda.com/legal/product-terms

2Brother USA. One-Year Limited Warranty and Replacement Service. Retrieved July 12, 2017. https://www.brother-usa.com/VirData/Content/en-US/PTouch/WarrantyDocuments/WarrantyStatements/PT_QL_1_Year_Warranty_02062011.pdf

3Cisco Systems. Cisco Policy: Third Party Repair Sources. Retrieved July 12, 2017. http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/prod_warranty0900aecd801b44cd.pdf

4Cisco Systems. Cisco Hardware Inspection and Software Relicensing Program. Retrieved July 12, 2017. http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/hw-sw-relicensing-program.html

5Epson America, Inc. Limited Warranty. Retrieved July 12, 2017. https://files.support.epson.com/htmldocs/rx500_/rx500_ug/wwhelp/wwhimpl/common/html/wwhelp.htm?context=Epson&file=notices.15.11.html

6Hewlett-Packard Company. HP Warranty and Support Guide. Retrieved July 12, 2017. http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00747726.pdf

7Lenovo US. Warranty & Maintenance Services. Retrieved July 12, 2017. http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/services-warranty/

8Polycom, Inc. Why you should purchase from authorized Polycom Partners. Retrieved July 12, 2017. http://www.polycom.com/partners/why-authorized-partners.html

9Xerox Corporation. Xerox Genuine Supplies Deliver Highest Quality and Reliability. Retrieved July 12, 2017. http://www.office.xerox.com/latest/SUPBR-06U.PDF