The New Small Business Competency is a direct result of feedback from partners around the world. Ithas a lot going for it and we plan on discussing it a lot in the coming weeks at WPC in Toronto, Canada. You can read up on the competency here.
If you investigate the requirements on the link above you will notice an MCP exam called out before the others. I will use the Silver competency as an example.
From the Silver Small Business Competency requirements page on MPN
Your company must employ or contract with one Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) who has passed:
In addition, the same MCP must pass one exam from the following list:1
Although you have a choice with many of the other exams, you must pass Exam 70-323. This is not an easy exam. It is quite multidisciplinary and I failed it just the other day. …of course I did not study for the exam, but that does not impact my view that this was a difficult exam. I can usually walk in and pass most of our “single product” exams with a little study. Some are more complex than others, but within my bailiwick, I am usually good to go. Examples would include the two windows exams mentioned above. These are quite easy by comparison in my opinion to the Administering Office 365 exam. The exam covers a lot of ground; it is multidisciplinary, as I said before.
A quick look at the skills measured will let you know what you are in for:
Administer Microsoft Office 365 (35%)
Administer SharePoint Online (31%)
Administer Exchange and Lync Online (34%)
I find this to be quite accurate. I would state that the exam went a little deeper in these areas than I thought it would, but this is exactly what it covers.
You will notice they call out managing Exchange in a Hybrid environment, that mention federation and PowerShell. These are not skills you develop overnight. I highly recommend anyone wishing to pass this test, or its companion, Exam 70-321: Deploying Office 365, actually set up a trail Office 365 subscription AND spin up some virtual machines with Exchange 2010 installed. Conduct migrations, set up coexistence, configure ADFS 2.0, use PowerShell! Actually do it. The partners that I know that are really solid on cloud have significant expertise on ADFS. The ones who do not are being held back a little. I guess this competency will start to shift that.
Thanks for listening!
So as a current SBSC and ZERO customers on Office 365 I have to pay a grand and take a test that in no way relates to my small businesses customers, yeah that makes a ton of sense. I predict 10% of current SBSC's will go Silver and thats counting those that already are. After the first year I bet that drops by a third.