For many integrators and value-added resellers today, the key is not just in providing a system solution to an end-user, but also to ensure that it has the proper testing and certification to run on a certain platform. This month, our experts weigh in on the importance of attaining Microsoft ® Gold Certification and having the right Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP) on board at your company.
How did your company obtain Microsoft and other certification credentials and what was the importance of that accreditation?
Klark Trickey, support specialist, Digital MD Systems, Bedford , Texas : Our credentials were obtained after developing software utilizing the Microsoft OS framework. After becoming familiar with the tools available, we achieved Microsoft certifications to further enhance our skills. We obtained the corporate credentials to gain access to the benefits provided by Microsoft and to add value to our company in our customers' eyes.
Rich Hlavka, senior vice president of Business Development, Lumension Security, Scottsdale , Ariz. : Since many of our solutions utilize Microsoft .NET and SQL Server, we believe it's vitally important to have our products tested and certified to run on Windows platforms. The certifications further help our customer know that our solutions are compatible with other software and hardware assets. The process requires an application followed by third-party testing to validate the compatibility and or interoperability of the offerings.
Les Kent, president, Progent Corp., San Jose , Calif. : We have been Microsoft Gold certified for four years and to obtain that we have achieved a number of points which MS allocates to different areas. One area is having MS certified individuals as part of the organization. Different points are assigned for different levels of certification. To be MS Gold a company needs 20 or so MS certified individuals and customer references on what the company has done and points are assigned there as well. There are also competency points which can be earned by a combination of customer references and engineers certified in specific technical disciplines.
Paul West, principal, SharePoint360, San Diego , Calif. : We obtained Microsoft certification credentials shortly after founding our company in 2006 (Certified in 2007, Gold status in 2008). As a small company, we knew that having the “stamp of approval” from Microsoft was not only important but also a distinguishing factor. In addition, we wanted to tap into the resources that Microsoft offers its partners – from sales and marketing collateral, to training and events as well as access to the Microsoft support and software.
Andy Swenson, CIO, Tribridge, Tampa , Fla. : The credentials are earned by company engineers either through attending classes or studying training materials followed by testing what has been learned. This is followed by taking the Microsoft or other vendor certification tests to achieve the credentials. Once the requisite number of engineers and often sales staff has passed the tests, we are awarded the certification status as a partner.
Tomer Sussman, product analyst, Visual Defence, Richmond Hill , Ontario : We have been Gold Level Microsoft Certified partners since 2006. We obtained competency by testing one of our applications by Microsoft, providing customer references regarding our deliveries, proving we provided solutions based on MS products and by employing MCPs. As a Microsoft partner we enjoy the support and resources provided by Microsoft to ensure customer satisfaction.
What is the real benefit of the credential to you and your company?
Trickey: The ability to claim Gold Certified Partnership with Microsoft not only gives us access to resources non-certified companies do not have, it also demonstrates to our customers our commitment to use the best tools available to create our software solutions.