I recently noticed that SAP was starting to run another 50% off sale for certification when I came across the following: North American Certification Promotion Announcement - Starting March 7 until June 30, 2011, please use promotion code 11CERTQ2 at Pearson VUE to register for exams in the US and Canada at a 50% discount. This promotion code WILL NOT be extended past the 6/30/2011 deadline.”

 

I have always enjoyed a good sale but when I continually see SAP discount their certification it goes to the root of the findings in the SAP Certification: The Certification 5 Report that a lot of changes are still needed with SAP certification. The bottom line is that a strong certification program does not need to discount their offering 9 months a year to drive people to get certified. For reference, I checked with my brother who is a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) and he has never seen Cisco discount their certification.

 

I would have assumed the certification sale was to help hit education revenue targets for North America but that does not appear to be the case per Thought leader interview - SAP Certification Manager Sue Martin on Transforming the SAP Certification Programme

 

John : What is SAP’s motivation, is to make money from certification as a revenue stream or to make SAP projects and customers more successful?

Sue : Only the second! If making money from certification is not the main goal of SAP (and not sure I believe that) than I would love to hear an explanation as to why for 9 of the past 11 months they are offering discounted certification. SAP needs to be focused on making bringing more quality to the certification program and making it more respected in the marketplace before they put it on "sale" again. 

 

My main issue with the sale is that it minimizes the credibility of the entire certification program not due to the cost but to the fact that a whole group of "sale shoppers" will get certified before the program has had a chance to roll out additional changes. Let me give an example and for reference I was certified in SAP HR in 1998. It is equivalent to me buying a house for full price (i.e. certification) in 1998 that had a solid value in marketplace and waking up 13 years later to find out that not only had the title/deed to my house disappeared (SAP doesn't acknowledge Respect SAP Certification), I have the title company (SAP) telling me I can get the title back if I pay more money (upgrade certification) while at the same time thousands of people were walking around with a fake titles to my house (people fraudently claiming to be SAP certified) and throughout this all the houses on the street are selling for half price because although everyone likes the neighborhod no one is will to pay full price because they didnt believe in the quality of my neighborhood (view of SAP certification in marketplace). I realize this is a bit extreme but it isnt far from the truth.

 

Change may be coming but it happening extremely slow especially given the "new" SAP leadership and direction. The Certification 5 group of mentors is doing a great job trying to move this forward and I think everyone has the same desire to see SAP certification take its proper place within IT certifications and not be continually be on the sale/discount rack.

SAP recently started promoting "If you are SAP Certified and want a SAP Certification Logo to use on your Resume or Email Signature" to email them for additional details. I thought it would interesting to see the Certification logo and start to promote it especially given all the hard work the Certification 5 team has done over the past year. If you are not familiar I would highly recommend reading their presentation as well as filling out the certification survey.

 

It turns out that the Certification logo is ONLY for individuals that have a current release or recent SAP certification which doesn’t apply to me as I got my SAP HR (now HCM) certification back in 1998 at the SAP Partner Academy. SAP was kind enough to provide me a link where I could sign up for the exam to update my certification credentials.

 

It was very interesting that when I got certified 12 years ago I not only got a fossil watch but also able to get my foot in the door at a consulting company and now I am not even able to get a logo. I have no problem updating my certification but I need to see the value in doing so and am watching the Certification 5 to see if they are able to influence SAP to make the changes needed to restore SAP certification to something more desirable and respected in the industry. In addition I have worked for the past 4 years on ECC 6.0 and been at clients that were involved in ramp ups for EHP1, EHP2 and EHP4 so my SAP HCM skills are already very current even though my certification isn’t.

 

I had a good exchange on Twitter with Nathan Genez who is a SAP Mentor and he said "I'll be damned if I’m going to spend $ for any kind of certification if SAP can't first honor the ones I already have" and I couldn’t agree more. I believe individuals like Nathan and myself will be the type SAP will look towards when they finally roll out their Masters certification as not only do we have deep SAP experience and respect in the industry but are certified in their respective areas albeit many years ago which is why the current strategy regarding the logo is not wise in my opinion.

 

I can respect the fact that rolling out a new program and promoting certification via logos is a big task but in the same vein if it is going to be done it should be done right which means recognizing EVERY valid certification that was done at a SAP training facility as a starting point. This would take a big step forward with all the individuals that misrepresent that they are certified and also keep the options open if they wanted to do something different for the new associate and professional credentials.

 

As it currently sits a majority of the people in the marketplace that will be using the new logos will be entry level individuals that have an associate certification. As I was and entry level consultant many years ago I know now how little I really knew after getting my certification. Is this the group that SAP wants to have front and center to help promote the value of certification in the marketplace? I don’t believe it is.

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