We're constantly looking to improve our programs, and knowing that these are tough times all around, we're more interested than ever in making these programs as useful as possible to you. The question, then, is: what can the Master programs do for you? What would you, and your employer, need to see from us to make it a no-brainer decision to sign up? What benefits can we provide? What does the ROI story need to look like from your perspective?
Our pencil's are sharpened, we have lots of paper...let's hear your ideas.
Maybe a bit backwards in the historical sense, but you get the idea... Take a look at our most recent
Can we make the SharePoint requirements similar to the rest.. give it an MCITP or MCPD requirement at least!
Also the cost to partner benefit needs to be explored. Right now you dont need a Master on staff for any partner benefits. What would be nice, is a way to offset the operating costs against the cost of the Masters program.. Look at the CCIE, its required for Cisco gold status. Maybe MS Partner Platinum with either MCM or MCAs on staff. Part of the reason hire MCP's is for the Competency benefits.
Marketing to HR and other hiring people on the value of the Master. People are still looking for MCSEs rather than looking for a Virtualisation expert for example
On the process, make it more transparent as to what happens. Show why you pay 20K USD for this cert.
Maybe an offer of bringing in some of the Masters to do the training if they are found to be suitable. Or bring them into MSCS as additional consults and thus showing some added value. Thats eating your dog food.
Just some ideas
to what # Niall said all I can say is Here-Here!
Hi Per and James,
I second Niall, the MCM Program should be made more attractive from a Microsoft Partner perspective, may be the MCM gets you 3 points instead of the one as in the case of MCTS in the Microsoft Partner Program or is a short cut to earns you a particular competency say in the case of SharePoint Master Certification – the IW competency.
Also having a Platinum Partner status will be a big sell, this would automatically put the partner in a new league among other partners.
One point I do want to raise is that awareness for the MCM program should be raised locally among Microsoft branch offices, also special events should be arranged for the Microsoft Certified Masters each year. This could be something formal as the MVP Program and the MVP Summit or simply local or online events with exclusive content for the MCMs and opportunities for the Microsoft Partners to participate. For example as is the case of Dev Kitchen for Office 14.
Thanks for the feedback so far!
RE: partner points, we actually are implementing a higher point value for MCM's already. Not positive when it is going live, but for an MCM you'll get the same number of points as you do for an MCA: 10 points.
Also regarding the special events: what do you think about the continued education that Greg just wrote about? I think that's a pretty awesome benefit, perhaps we need to call attention to that a bit more?
@Niall - great stuff. Yes, partner status in relation to how many MCM's one has on staff is definitely something we're driving for. A new generation of the MSPP program is currently being worked on that won't be implemented until the fall of 2010 (partners must receive at least 6-12 months notice of new requirements, so this always takes a while). We're already working on getting MCM into the new framework. Whether an MCM will be outright required, or a suitable substitute for some levels (i.e. 4 IT Pro's or 2 IT Pro's and 1 Master, just as an example) will need to be decided. We need to make sure we have enough seats available if it is an outright requirement.
I like the other ideas also: we will always look to the certified community as our best pool of potential instructors, and being more transparent about why the price is what it is..we can do that, too.
I also see getting info to the hiring managers as top priority.
Great stuff, thanks for the feedback, keep it coming!
Per I agree with you. The Continued Education concept is great, I think it does bring a lot of value to the MCM program on an ongoing basis, and it should be a made more formal with sessions for each year defined well in advance. We should have a dedicated website and on demand exclusive access to sessions say live meeting similar to the MVP program sessions.
I think the program should try to take lead from the MVP program, although the goals for both programs are different as I understand one recognises community leaders (invite only) the other the technical leaders (validated) but the feedback loop to product teams and the most important part, early access to the news around new bits is something I think we all want to see in the MCM program defined more formally.
Do we have MCM Program leaders also providing a point or contact into Microsoft teams and discussions board solely for MCM use? These things I believe will interest the candidates like me to participate in the program.
For employers as you know it’s all about commercial sense. If the MCM Program creates a differentiating factor\marketing edge for a Microsoft Partner it will make sense for the partner to invest in the program and they will. Microsoft certainly has a big role to play by recognising partners with Master Certified people on board.
Thanks for the continued dialog. We do our best to define our continued education offerings as early as possible. Usually that is around 3 months prior vs. 1 year, though.
All Certified Masters have access to an exclusive website and distribution list where all of our content is available, recordings of monthly calls, etc. We also open up select sessions in subsequent training deliveries for the existing community via Live Meeting so that everyone can stay as up to date as possible.
Feedback to PG's: we certainly have that. The PG's look to the Master communities as a unique audience to provide feedback focused on enterprise deployments, which is a different customer segment than what MVP's generally deal with.
Early access to news and bits...yeah, we have that, too :-) Although we wouldn't call that the most important thing here (we think that's the training itself, the discussions and learning you have while here, and the relationships you build with everyone you meet) we do know this is a big, attractive feature. Some data on what Master brings here: Exchange Masters significantly shaped the E12 routing and HA features, from its earliest inceptions, working direct with the software Architects in the PG. You saw Greg's post about the continued ed where the Master community was THE first to hear anything public about E14, and everyone in the community has access to the TAP software bits, i.e. the earliest set of code we let anyone out there play with (this last one isn't implemented for all technologies yet..so yes, we're working on formalizing it).
Our distribution list is used extensively to discuss common problems and to look for answers. Some product group members are a part of this list and may answer questions direct. If not, our program leads can route questions to the appropriate person to answer the questions AUTHORITATIVELY. This is a great, great benefit...getting the answer form the horse's mouth. Usually the types of questions for this deal with how certain pieces work vs. rescuing a server down issue (for the later, we have PSS).
I think we're really well positioned to drive that differentiation you mention. There are many things in the works that, over time, will drive the value prop more and more, and before long, I'm convinced we'll have customers requesting that only Masters' work on their biggest and most complex deployments - - and better yet, that the Masters will be able to do so successfully :-)
All the best,