Get quick answers to your IBM certification questions in this easy-to-use listing.

Here are the most commonly asked questions about the IBM Business Partner Certification Program concerning:

General Information

Q. Who can hold earn and retain certifications for my firm and have them reflected for my firm in PPS?
A: Business Partner certifications must be earned and retained by Full-time Resource of the Business Partner organization. "Full-time Resource" means a Business Partner employee, or an independent contractor, consultant or agent who has been and will continue to be working in support of the Business Partner's business activities for a minimum of 32 hours per week.

Q: Why is certification so important to IBM?
A: IBM customers and prospects require that IBM Business Partners prove that their employees have the necessary skills to recommend the best solutions and to support the installed solution. IBM believes that this investment in skills demonstrates the Business Partner's commitment to delivering the best solution and the highest customer satisfaction.

Q: Why should my Business Partner firm be interested in Certifications?
A: IBM Certifications provide validation that the person holds the tested skills. They can and should be used to demonstrate the depth of skill within your business. Further, by referencing certifications you can demonstrate the importance you hold to employee skills in your business. This can sometimes be a key differentiator between you and a competitor.

Q: How do I motivate my employees to work toward certification? Does the IBM Professional Certification Program provide benefits to individuals certified?
A: Individuals achieving certification receive recognition of their achievements through the use of their certification designation/title. They also receive a Welcome Kit, which includes a certificate in recognition of their achievements, among other items. Not withstanding these benefits it is also evidence of the level of skills they hold.

Q: How long do IBM certifications last?
A: Certifications themselves never expire, however they are replaced by later versions that are more up-to-date with the current status of the target subject area. Consequently, IBM requires that people re-certify to these latest versions as technological advances warrant.

Q: How do I take an IBM Test, and are they on-line?
A: Visit the Web site at and you will see that you can access the Pearson Vue Web site at (link resides outside of to register to take an IBM test. To ensure that the tests are taken under the same conditions they are taken in a controlled and secure environment at local test centers or in controlled conference environments. This is important as it enables us to maintain a high standard and for certification to retain a true market value. For this reason they are not available to be taken on-line as we cannot ensure the conditions nor indeed the identity of the person taking the test.

Q: Where do I find out more about the IBM Professional Certification Program and how to get my employees started?
A: To find out more about the IBM Professional Certification Program, visit the Web site at Test descriptions, test objectivess and sample tests can be obtained from this Web site.

Q: There are so many sources of information that I am confused about where to go?

A: The PartnerWorld Training and Certification Web site should be your primary source for Business Partner related channel and certification program information. The Professional Certification Program from IBM also provides additional information.


Q: Should the Business Partner report all employees and their certifications through the Partner Certification reporting process?
A: Yes. It is important that you report all your employees and their Candidate IDs to IBM via the PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS) to ensure that IBM has a comprehensive view of your firm's skills. Once you add your employees and their Candidate IDs in PPS all previously achieved IBM Certifications and ones to be achieved in the future will be entered into PPS.

Having this Business Partner employee certification information enables IBM to make more informed decisions about the Business Partner skills for the IBM PartnerWorld programs.

Please refer to the Requirements section tab for your geography for further information. If you have any questions regarding Business Partner Certification Reporting please contact PartnerWorld Contact Services.

Q: How do I report my employees' certifications to PPS?
A: The Authorized Profile Administrator (APA) at each Business Partner firm is responsible for reporting certification achievement on behalf of firm employees into the IBM PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS). The reporting process requires 2 key steps:

  • The Reporting of an employee-supplied candidate ID
  • The Assigning of the employee to the firm agreement
Please follow the 2 step process below:

  1. Reporting IBM Certifications and Mastery Exams in PPS

  2. To add a candidate:
    • Log on to PartnerWorld
    • Select "Member sign in " and enter your ID and password.
    • Select "Update your profile" from right navigator column.
    • In the middle of the page select "Update your company profile".
    • In the middle of the page select the "Location" link.
    • Scroll down and select "Location list of employees".
    • Select the name of the employee.
    • Select "Skills and certifications".
    • Select "Add a candidate ID".
    • Enter the Candidate ID for Certification. IBM Professional Certification information is automatically transmitted to PPS from the certification testing vendors and IBM Professional Certification database.
    • Select Next
    • In the Contract Compliance dropdown box (for Hardware Contract Compliance calculations select "Sales" or "Technical" to identify the primary role of the individual certification holder.
    • Select "Save" and you will receive a PPS confirmation number.
  3. Only Business Partners in North America Must Follow This Step.
  4. Assigning the employee candidate to the firm agreement
    • Sign in to PPS and select the Enterprise Profile
    • Select 'Agreements' from left side menu options
    • Select 'Manage Contract Compliance'
    • Select the 'Company name'.
    • Select 'Certification Compliance report.'
    • Select Assign employee to contracts for the chosen contract.
    • Select the 'employee' and then select the radio button for Sales or Technical.
    • Select the Submit button at bottom of screen.
    Please refer to the PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS) Certification and/or Mastery Exam help section for this procedure and additional reporting hints and tips.

Q: How do I report Non-IBM Certifications to IBM?

A: Go to the PartnerWorld Update your Profile section. Under 'Consultants and integrators/Resellers', select 'Update your Company Profile'. You'll be prompted again to login to the PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS) where you can view and update your company's information.

Follow the 2 step procedure below to report non-IBM certifications.

  1. From the PPS Update Profile Page, select the Non-IBM Certification(s) that you want to report via the pull down list.
  2. Once the above step is complete, you must follow the procedure for sending in proof of your non-IBM reported certification via e-mail. You will have 14 days from the date the Non-IBM certification was reported to PPS to provide your proof of Non-IBM certification, or it will be deleted from PPS. You must "send proof" of the achieved certification in one of the following way:
    • E-mail:
      • The 2 requirements below "must be completed" in order for your request to be processed in the fastest and most efficient manner
      • Attach a scanned certification in the e-mail
      • Please include the "date" that the certification was achieved
Note: In order for certifications to be accurately applied, employees must inform the firm APA contact of any/all updates and/or changes to their candidate ID.
Please refer to the PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS) Certification Reporting Process help section for additional instructions.

Q: How often should a Business Partner update and review their IBM Certification information in PPS?
A: Business Partners are encouraged to review their employee certification information in PPS on a regular and ongoing basis. The Business Partner Authorized Profile Administrator (APA) should add new employees and their Candidate ID in PPS when a new employee has joined the firm. The APA should also enter in PPS when an employee has left the firm. It is also a good practice to check the Candidate ID on a new certification to ensure that it matches the Candidate ID already registered against the employee in PPS. If it does not, the new Candidate ID should be added to PPS.

Q: Will IBM provide an employee's candidate ID to their management at the Business Partner firm?
A: Because this information is confidential, the IBM Professional Certification Program will release this information to the employee's management only with the express, written permission of the employee.

Q: Where does an employee find this ID number, if they do not know it?

  • On the test score report.
  • By calling the testing location (where the test was taken) and asking for the candidate ID number.
  • Or by e-mailing with the subject line 'Candidate ID request' (include full name, country and company).

Q: I'm not sure who is certified at my firm since individual employees can earn certifications on their own. Will IBM send me a list of who they know to be certified at my firm?
A: The only way IBM knows that a person works for a Business Partner is by them being entered with their Candidate ID in PPS against their PartnerWorld profile. APAs within the firm are able to view the certifications of all employees where the Candidate ID has been added to the employee profile.

Q: How do I obtain a report of my employee's certifications that are in PPS ?
A. Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to PartnerWorld site ( and select "Member sign in"
  2. Sign into PPS using your userid and password and click "Submit"
  3. Select Update your profile
  4. Select Update your personal employee profile
  5. Select BP profile
  6. Select "Reports"
  7. Select Skills report and follow the steps to build your report
  8. Click on "Select all" or just the fields you need to show in your report and select Download report
  9. A window popup will appear to open or download the excel file. Sample of Skills report.

Q: Does IBM publicly release the name of individuals certified by the IBM Professional Certification Program?
A: No, IBM does not publicly release the names of individuals certified by the IBM Professional Certification Program.

Q: If one of my certified employees leaves, what do I do?
A: The Authorized Profile Administrator (APA) at each Business Partner firm must report Employee Movement to IBM via the IBM PartnerWorld Profiling System (PPS) in the Employee Profile Employee End Date Field within 30 days of the employee leaving the firm. The APA can access this field through the employee's profile. The only step to complete is to enter the Employment End Date.

For Business Partner Hardware contract compliance, when a Business Partner notifies IBM via the PPS Employee Movement Reporting Function that a certified employee has left and the firm no longer meets the certification requirement, the firm qualifies for a geography specific grace period in order to meet the certification requirement by achieving and reporting the required certifications.

If the Business Partner fails to notify IBM within 30 days of the employees last workday that the certified employee has left their firm, leaving the firm without certification in a product area, the Business Partner forfeits the grace period. When IBM discovers that a certified employee has left the firm without prior notification from the firm, IBM will under normal circumstances notify the firm via a ''Notice of Deauthorization'' letter, however IBM reserves the right to terminate with notice the Business Partner's approval to sell the affected IBM products.

Education and Testing

Q: How do I enroll to take a certification test?
A: To schedule a test go to the Pearson Vue website (link resides outside of where you can select a test center local to you and a date/time to suit your availability.

Q: Are certification tests only available at Pearson Vue?
A: Normally, Yes. It may however be possible to take tests at IBM Conferences run throughout the year; this facility will be announced as part of the agenda for the Conference.

Q: Are certification tests expensive?
A: Currently, Sales and Technical professional certification tests range from around $100 to $200 (U.S. dollars). Mastery tests can start at roughly half that. You can view the costs of each test via the Pearson Vue website (link resides outside of

Q: Is IBM education and certification testing eligible for IBM reimbursement?
A: IBM may provide marketing support programs to cover the cost of education and / or certification testing. Also, Business Partner employees are also eligible to receive a discount on education from IBM Training. In order to qualify they must specify that they are employees of an IBM Business Partner when booking the class.

Please contact your IBM representative or PartnerWorld Contact Services to understand what support is available in your country. For your local contact visit


IBM's sells some of its products via selective distribution. Under this model Business Partners are required to apply for authorization.

Q: Will IBM terminate a firm's approval to market the applicable IBM product if they are found to be deficient in meeting the certification requirements for IBM products requiring certification?
A: Yes. IBM reviews firms' certification status on an ongoing basis and reserves the right to terminate a firm's approval to market the applicable IBM product if they do not maintain the required certifications for the product.

Q: IBM also sells some of it’s Software products via selective distribution. How can I learn more about this authorization?
A: Using skills for Software product authorization is discussed at this url PartnerWorld SVP

Q: My firm was approved to market only one IBM product, and our approval to market that product was terminated for not meeting certification requirements. Is our Solution Provider relationship affected by the loss of this approval?
A: Yes, Business Partners who only had approval to market one IBM product and who had that approval terminated will also have their Solution Provider relationship terminated by IBM. This does not however necessarily mean that your PartnerWorld membership has also been cancelled as membership is open to businesses of many different types.

Q: Will exceptions be granted to allow individual Business Partner firms to achieve the required certifications?
A: In general, no exceptions will be granted.

Q: My firm sold an IBM product requiring certification, and my product approval was terminated due to my firm's certification deficiency. I had, however, reported some certifications, but not all required certifications. Will I again need to report certifications submitted prior to losing my product approval?
A: Providing you have maintained your PartnerWorld profile then IBM will still have the information.

Q: My firm is a new IBM Business Partner wishing to sell IBM products which require us to hold certifications. Must my firm meet the product certification requirements on our contract start date?
A: For most geographies, there is a start-up grace period during which all New Business Partners must meet certification requirements. The length of this period can vary by geography. Please refer to the Requirements section tab for your geography for further information.

Q: My firm is an existing IBM Business Partner and currently meets the certification requirements for the IBM products we sell. We now want to apply to market another IBM product. Must we meet the certification requirements for the new product at time of application?
A: No. Existing Business Partners that add a new IBM product to their agreement typically are offered the same start-up grace period as New Business Partners.

Q: My firm's approval to market an IBM Hardware product was terminated for failure to meet certification requirements. When can I reapply to market the product, and must my firm now meet the certification requirements?
A: Business Partners whose approval to market an IBM product was terminated for failure to meet certification requirements may re-apply but must have achieved and reported all the required certifications at the time of reapplication. In some geographies there is also a waiting period before any reapplication will be considered. Please consult the Requirements section tab for your Geography for further details on this.

Q: My firm voluntarily discontinued marketing an IBM Hardware product. When can we reapply to market the same product?
A: Business Partners that voluntarily discontinue their approval to market an IBM product may re-apply but must have achieved and reported all the required certifications at the time of reapplication. In some geographies there is also a waiting period before any reapplication will be considered. Please consult the Requirements section tab for your Geography for further details on this.

Q: Will IBM count certifications held by consultants or part-time employees toward the achievement of certifications required?
A: This varies by geography. Please refer to the Requirements section tab for your geography for further information.

PartnerWorld skill and eligibility requirements

Q: Where do I find out more about what skills count towards PartnerWorld level requirements?
A: Access the PartnerWorld Eligible Skills table.

Q: What is the difference between an eligible skill for the level of attainment and the platform certification requirements?
A: These are two very different requirements within PartnerWorld. The Eligible Skills Table, referred to in question one, is exclusively to define which certifications and other skills count as points in determining a firm's PartnerWorld level. The Hardware requirement, called "Platform certification requirements," describes specific certifications related to specific IBM products which a firm must obtain contractually in order to be authorized to sell that product. For Software products, please refer to PartnerWorld Software Value Plus.

Q: What is the difference between a withdrawn certification or mastery skill and an expired certification or mastery skill?
A: A certification or mastery test is developed by IBM and made available through our testing vendor, Pearson Vue. When a Brand determines that a test is no longer current (e.g., a newer version of the test is published to replace it, or the technology is no longer relevant in the market), IBM will "withdraw" the test from Pearson Vue. At this point, the test is not available for registration and will be removed from the Pearson Vue registration Web site and the IBM certify Web site. Withdrawing the test from availability also means that candidates may no longer achieve the certification/mastery skill The certification` or mastery skill is withdrawn as well. (In some cases, a newer version of the withdrawn test may be allowed for achievement of the certification/mastery.)

A withdrawn certification/mastery skill can, and often does, continue to count for PartnerWorld points after it is withdrawn. It remains in the PW Eligible Skills Table (EST), but the title is no longer hot linked to the IBM Certify site. When the Brand determines that it should no longer count for PW points, they will request an "expiration" date be assigned to it in the EST. That date will always be at least 90 days in the future (from when it is first assigned). 90 days prior to expiration, an email is automatically sent from PW to the candidates holding that expiring certification/mastery skill, and to the Authorized Profile Administrator (APA ) at the candidate(s) firms. When the expiration date has passed, that certification/mastery skill will no longer count toward the firm's PW level of Silver, Gold, and Platinum. We leave the expired skill entry in the EST for 30 days, to allow a firm to see what may have recently expired.

Q: If I lose enough competencies to put me at risk of being down-leveled a membership level in PartnerWorld (e.g. falling from Platinum to Gold), when will the down-leveling occur?
A: Your PartnerWorld level is checked after any change to your profile. If you cease to meet the criteria for your current level you will be informed by e-mail that this has happened and will be given 90 days at your current level. If you have not re-met the criteria for your current level before the end of the 90 days then you will be down levelled to the level that you have achieved at the end of the 90 days.

Q: How would I be notified once a skill receives an expiration date on the Web site? Will I have to check the page for the skills that are marked to expire?
A: In the PartnerWorld Skills table (see example above), the rightmost column is labeled "Expiration date". Occasionally, when a new version of a skill is added to the table (e.g., Skill 2b in the table above), an older version of that same skill may be marked with an expire date (e.g., skill 2a above). On that date, the older skill will "expire" from the table and will no longer count toward the firm's level.

90 days prior to a certification expiring from the PartnerWorld skills table IBM will send an email to each employee holding that expiring certification. There is no equivalent feature for certifications expiring from contractual skills requirements.

Q: When do the non-IBM certifications count toward Sliver, Gold and Platinum level?
A: Those non-IBM certifications, listed in the last section of the Skills table count as points for PartnerWorld level after the non-IBM certification has been approved by IBM. The Business Partner must follow the process for reporting non-IBM certifications to PPS and provide proof that the certification has actually been awarded to their employee. However, they never count toward the separate requirement for the minimum of IBM certifications: six (6) for Gold or twelve (12) for Platinum.

Q: How do I contact someone if I have additional questions that are not covered in this FAQ?
A: Any questions on the Skills table used for PartnerWorld competencies or contractual skills requirements should be directed to PartnerWorld Contact Services. For your local contact visit