You and I both know, typically, training isn’t cheap. It’s not just the course fees that can be expensive, but it’s the time out of the office that in fact, can be more costly. It’s a pretty simple relationship – when your sales team are out of the office, they aren’t selling, and if they aren’t selling, you aren’t generating revenue! I’m sure this is just one of the reasons why, over recent months, more and more content is being delivered, on demand, through the browser, enabling employees within organisations the ability to learn, in a time that’s flexible to them, and the business. The Microsoft Virtualisation Sales Specialist certification is no different.
Why’s it important?
Well, believe it or not, very shortly, the Microsoft Partner Network will retire the Gold, Certified, and Registered Partner levels, and will replace said levels with competencies. These competencies will more accurately reflect Partner skills, and enable Customers to more accurately find, and work with, the right Partner for them. Competencies exist in 2 flavours for a particular area. Using virtualisation as an example, there will be the virtualisation competency, and the advanced virtualisation competency, each with different requirements and different benefits (although advanced will be in addition to the regular competency). If this is news to you, and you’re reading this thinking, ‘wha?’, I suggest you head on over to the Partner Network before continuing!
Now that' we’re all up to speed, why is the Sales Specialist certification important? Well, these types of certifications are going to contribute towards the competency. For so long, being Gold, or Certified has, to a large extent, been about technical exams, MCPs and MCSE’s, but this break-from-the-norm is ensuring that not only can your techies deploy the technology, but your sales team can also articulate the benefits, construct the deal, and license it accordingly. Oh, and we’ll throw a bit of competitive training in there too ;-)
You can access the Virtualisation Sales Specialist training, and exams by heading over to the Microsoft Sales Specialist site, but you’ll need a Windows Live ID associated to a Partner to take advantage of this – if you’ve ever accessed the Microsoft Partner Portal, and signed in successfully, use this Live ID! When you log in, you’ll see that as of today, there are 2 tracks:
If we drill into the virtualisation track, you’ll see that there are 2 main sections. One is from more of a product understanding perspective, and covers an overview, before providing a deeper look at Microsoft’s Server Virtualisation story, then it’s Desktop story, and a second section, dedicated solely to Licensing, and Selling in Competitive Situations. There is also a separate assessment for either section, which, if you pass, you’ll be rewarded with the certification logo that you see above, but also a certificate you can print out. It’s also important to know that the accreditation is valid for 2 years.
What are the courses actually like? Well, for me, they could do with a bit of a brush up from a presentation perspective. Considering with have PowerPoint 2010 now, and the ability to make some of the slickest presentations, graphically, we’ve ever seen, some of the slides in the sessions leave a little to be desired, but the messaging is spot on, and covers everything to a good level of details, and trust me, the exams are pretty tricky! Whenever you launch a course, it registers you on to it via the Microsoft Partner Network, which will be logged against your Partner ID and enable you, as a Partner, to identify who’s been on which courses.
Overall, I’d say it’s a pretty useful resource, and definitely one to get under your belt. Even if they don’t contribute towards the competency (the Partner Network says the online courses are available in October, yet this one is here now!), they’re a valuable way of understanding the Microsoft Virtualisation story, across desktop and datacenter.
Head on over to the Microsoft Sales Specialist site for more information!
I completed this certification on 05-June-2010.