Almost a year after AER for devices was launched and mere weeks after AER for EMMs, AER for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), the 3rd expansion of Google’s Android Enterprise Recommended promgramme is officially live.

What is it?

Android Enterprise Recommended for MSPs aims to provide a reliable, consistent means for organisations to select a service provider that holds the required knowledge and expertise to undertake all aspects of an Android Enterprise project. Google says it perfectly themselves:

As organizations increasingly turn to Android as their enterprise mobility platform, we want to make sure they can easily identify partners with experts who are best equipped to support them.

Google blog

As AER for EMMs and AER for devices before it, MSPs may opt in for validation against a set of requirements and recommendations which demonstrate their capability in working with Android Enterprise. These requirements include:

  • 80% of Sales validated up to Professional via the Academy.
  • At least 4 certified Android Enterprise Experts, 2 in ASE (Support) and 2 in AIX (Implementation) increasing in number for organisations present in multiple regions.
  • Demonstrable experience in deploying Android Enterprise.

The requirements are described in-depth in the glossary here, and an overview is available here.

Once validated, an MSP will then benefit from the following:

  • Access to a Partner Escalation Desk (PED)
  • A closer relationship with Google, including an assigned account manager
  • Ongoing training and resources provided by Google
  • The associated marketing and financial benefits of being a Google-recommended partner.

As I read them, the bar for entry doesn’t appear to be low at all, in fact I think there’s potentially MSPs small enough not to have the headcount to meet the requirements of 4 experts with 5 years of experience; whether there may ultimately be exceptions of flexibility available on these requirements (possibly with an asterisk?) is yet to be seen.

Hang on a moment..

AIX? ASE? Android Enterprise Expert? I’ve had a number of people asking about these already, so here’s a little more information:

To become an Android Enterprise Expert, you’ll need to be certified against AIX (implementation), ASE (support) or both. Once AER for MSPs opens up for new submissions (it has literally only just launched after all, so isn’t quite there yet) part of the process will include MSPs putting forward employees for validation.

Certification is an annual process, and like most certifications can be lost if knowledge is not kept current and up to date.

The importance of Android Enterprise Experts within an AER validated MSP really cannot be understated; without them, or enough of them (depending on the size of the organisation), an MSP could lose AER status.

This could well increase the value of workers with Android Enterprise Expert status in future, and would be an important certification to keep current.

Launch partners

Google launched the programme with a number of well-known MSPs in the industry across the world, including Mobile Mentor, Accenture, Cognizant, DXC Technology, Econocom, Tech Data and Vox Mobile.

Unlike the interesting situation with EMMs, there are no asterisks against any of the MSPs in the AER directory, and each listing equally shows the regions in which they operate:

Vox Mobile operates in the Americas (screenshot cropped)

Final words

A year after the first launch of Android Enterprise Recommended for devices it’s great to see the programme come full-circle and I look forward to seeing how the programme as a whole matures over time.

It’ll also be interesting to see how AER for MSPs affects customer choice as it has already done with devices and likely will do with EMMs; for organisations newly entering the Android ecosystem (or mobility in general) it’d make sense to go directly to MSPs on the AER list. Will those already with an MSP look at moving? How important will organisations consider this programme in future?

Time will tell, but I think it’ll make waves.

What do you think of the MSP programme? Are you an MSP? What do you think of the requirements? Is the bar for entry to high or low? Let me know in the comments, on LinkedIn or on Twitter

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