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New Microsoft Competency for Partners – why should the customer care?

BY: Collin Quiring

 Microsoft announced new competency requirements – 22 of them were just launched.  From our perspective at PMP Specialists, as a Microsoft Partner, we welcome these new competencies and their requirements. 

 But, why should you, the end customer care at all?  Well, how many times has a consultant (for any product or service) told you how they could do whatever it was that you wanted?  Or, that they have on their business card and brochures that they are experts in everything?  This is particularly true of the really big consulting firms.  There is a natural tendency for them to claim, and for customers to believe, that they are “Jacks-of-all-trades” and can install, configure, setup, train and otherwise help you with any IT or business need that you have.  But, sadly, as most of us have experienced, this isn’t always true.

 I know of one large IT consulting firm that routinely claims they can help customers with various software and then when they sell the consulting to the customer, they get somebody that knows software “similar” to it.  Or, they use the philosophy of “that software can’t be too different from the stuff we know”.  And, I know of and heard about bad experiences from both the consultant and customer side and sometimes those situations even result in lawsuits.

 I am a believer in “you get what you pay for” and in paying for the right expertise (see the three part series of blog entries called “Microsoft Project Certifications – are they worth it?”).  Just like you get a painter to paint your house and electrician to wire it and not just some guy that says he knows wiring or knows painting; you should strongly consider hiring the appropriately certified consultant to help with your business needs.

 When you determine what your Microsoft needs are, I strongly recommend that you review the competency level of the Microsoft Partner and the certifications of the individuals they are sending to you.  You are paying for the services and products and you should have a level of comfort that the Partner is capable of producing the results that they claim.

 And, I think this applies to the business side of the equation as well.  A Supply Chain expert, a Project Manager and a Business Analyst may have some overlapping duties, but they aren’t necessarily experts at all three.  Each industry has a certification path and I think that a customer should “get what they pay for” and have a level of comfort with the ability of the individual.

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