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,