Using MCM to differentiate yourself from the crowd, a.k.a. the fastest ROI on MCM yet!

Ladies and gentlemen, Rob Silver just very recently completed his MCM training and certification in the Directory space (congrats!) . Here's his story / motivation on pursuing the certification, and the great results he's seen already. Rob - it's all yours...

Using MCM to differentiate yourself from the crowd


My name is Rob Silver from Botswana, Africa.  I first got to hear about the Microsoft Master Program through the usual MCP junk mail which I rarely read.  However, this particular MCP mail had a heading of “Advance your career” which caught my attention.


I have found it increasingly difficult to compete based on certification and price.  I like to think of myself as a person with the capabilities to deploy Microsoft technology projects on time, within budget and according to specification.  However, at the same time, based on 10 years of deploying Directory based technologies to enterprise customers, I don’t charge the same price as someone who has just got his/her MCSE/MCITP through an exam brain dump/bootcamp.


The challenge is “How do I get away with charging a reasonable rate for my services while competing with the new kids on the block who are charging 10% of what I charge?”  Differentiation is the key here, and to date, Microsoft have had no mechanism for differentiating certified individuals other than the broad base of theory certifications available on the market place.  “Dear Mr. Customer, although I have the same certification as someone else competing for this work, I really want to charge you a whole lot more” just doesn’t cut it anymore.  The world is becoming increasingly competitive and in the consulting space, a global village.  There dozens of people flying in and out of Africa on a daily basis with seemingly high expertise in IT, but if the truth be told, very little real world practical experience.


Another barrier to gaining competitive advantage over the competition is the size and branding of the organization you represent (did I mention MCS yet?).  This can be of enormous benefit to you if you are working for the likes of Microsoft Consulting Services or other very big Microsoft gold partners.  Walk into a customer, wave the big flag of the organization you represent, quote twice the price and get the business regardless of your actual expertise in the area.  So, how do I differentiate myself from these guys sending palookas into my customers and charging twice what I charge for half the value?


In summary, there are MCSEs and then there are MCSEs...  Which is which?  How do you know you are getting the real deal or just a dud?


If you are in the same boat – try the MCM.  Within the first day of gaining the MCM credential, I won business as a direct result of this differentiation.


However, a word of warning.  If you are an MCSE and want to go to the next level, MCM might not be for you.  Unless you really, really know your stuff, you are going to waste your money.  Most will not get through this course successfully the first time.  That includes people who have been working directly for Microsoft!  It is tough, and that is where the value is.  On the other hand, if you share some of the frustrations I have mentioned above and know that you can, then just do it.


That’s my 5 cents for now,




Rob Silver

Comments (7)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi All, Along with announcing the new dates , we’ve published new discounts for the program ! For any

  2. Anton Wentzel says:

    Gratz Rob!

    Fantastic to see you at the forefront of IT from Botswana no less!

    Good job m8, keep flying the flag and paving the way.


    IT palooka

  3. Ivan de Sousa says:

    Right on the money again Rob! MCM really makes a difference when fighting for a project/customer, and as you told me personally over a few beers, it avoids the customers questioning every decision or suggestion the consultant provides, that by itself makes the meetings much more productive 🙂 Cheers 🙂

    P.S. [insert sarcasm] I share your love for MCS, the way they confirm the partnership with your company, the way they don’t go behind your back and steal your customers, etc…

  4. Rob Silver says:

    Hi Ivan

    I think the bit about MCS is more regional (WECA) than general.  In other regions, MCS do provide real light house project value and not simply compete with Microsoft Partners for bread and butter projects.  I have interacted with many MCS resources outside of WECA and their business model goes beyond simply screwing the partners.

    However, you are 129% correct within the region.

    Best Regards

  5. Anton Wentzel says:

    mm the above discussion sounds like an opportunity for a facilitation … 🙂

  6. Robert says:

    Really sounds like a MS scam to me.

    1. You must fly to Redmond to take THEIR class in THEIR facility.

    2. You must take the test while in Redmond which I am sure is not subjective in any way.

    3. If you fail you pay for it all over again, after all money grows on trees in Redmond.

  7. David Bjurman-Birr says:

    Hi Robert,

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment.  I’d like to address the three points you bring up:

    1. Yes, currently we train candidates directly using our top subject matter experts.  It’s most efficient to coordinate direct access to these SME’s at our facilities in Redmond.

    2. While there are several tests, the final test is a performance based lab exam.  It is quite complex and it does a good job separating those who know and can apply the knowledge from those who cannot.  None of the tests must be taken in Redmond.

    3. The statement that candidates who fail must pay for the course again is inacurate.  Candidates are allowed three attempts at each exam.  We do not allow candidates to make further attempts without retaking the training by design.

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