Bull Formation solutions help Microsoft partners meet the demands of the new Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) program
Bull Formation – the first training center in France to achieve Gold certification as part of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) initiative – offers packaged solutions that make it easier for partners to adhere to the requirements of the new Microsoft certification program
Interview with Thierry Roselli, Director of Bull Formation
What are the key challenges of Microsoft’s new partner program?
In November 2010, Microsoft launched its Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). As a result, all new subscribers and those renewing their membership are subject to new partnership rules. In France alone, this affects over 10,000 Microsoft partners, of whom around a thousand are ‘Certified’ or ‘Gold Certified’. Structured around 29 skill areas and two levels of certification (Silver and Gold), MPN aims to offer companies greater differentiation based on their specific skills. The level of certification is still mainly linked to the skills themselves, but requires a significant effort on the part of the partner company. Effectively the pre-requisites include the need for the candidate to have two validated skill areas for Silver level or four for Gold, with Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) accreditation for each chosen area. What’s more, it will no longer be possible to certify the same person for several skill areas and you will have to re-certify yourself for each major new release of the products involved. In fact, the number of partners could be considerably reduced. So MPN will involve significant changes for partners and puts a lot of pressure on those who want to maintain their level of certification or achieve a new one.
What resources has Bull Formation put in place to help businesses that want to be part of this program?
We have developed an offering that brings together consultancy and training, as well as preparation for and sitting the tests. Above all, our aim is to ensure that partners maintain their current levels of certification, but also to help them choose their skill areas. The principle is simple: the renewal dates for partner certifications are looming; those who have not done enough preparation will have to bring their experts up to speed extremely quickly, to meet the deadlines for annual renewals. Based on this premise, we offer them ‘fast and effective’ answers, because our offering is not only comprehensive but can be implemented over very short timescales.
Bull Formation has designed a package with three modules: training, preparation, testing. The solution that has been developed goes from accelerated training, through ‘cramming’ days in which the candidates are put into actual exam conditions, right through to taking the actual tests, given that Bull Formation is itself a certification center. One day’s actual testing is included in the package.
To help partners who are keen to rapidly maintain their partnership levels, we offer an ambitious package in terms of content for the candidates, but shorter than the usual curriculum. Of course, we do not claim to deliver ten days’ worth of content in just five. But our experts have developed curriculums over tight timescales ranging from three to five days, focused on passing the tests, which can include specific sessions preparing for the tests.
For the greatest chance of success, we strongly recommend that candidates take tests very soon after the relevant training modules, ideally at our Certification Center (known as Prometric).
For each of the chosen subject areas, we offer a comprehensive curriculum that can lead to certification at the end of the quarter. The relevance and quality of these solutions are guaranteed by the skill of our experts. Indeed we are very proud to be the first training center in France to achieve Gold certification in 2010 under the MPN program, clearly demonstrating our commitment and expertise in this area.
What offerings do you provide?
We offer five comprehensive programs focused on the technologies that are most in demand from Microsoft partners: Windows 7, Windows server 2008, Windows server 2008 R2 HyperV, SQL server 2008 BI and Exchange server 2010. Of course, we can also provide solutions relating to other Microsoft technologies depending on our customers’ requirements. Our main aim is to enable Microsoft partners to maintain their levels of expertise cost effectively and within rapid timescales.