When the STARs Come Out

Independent Certifications are becoming increasingly accepted in the IT industry.  The Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) program is renowned worldwide andothers, like Compaq's Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) and HP's Systems Training andRecognition (STAR) programs, are growing in popularity.  A large number of resellersare using certification programs as a means to obtain partnerships with vendors.  Some use them as a yardstick for hiring personnel.

CERTIFIED CONFUSION?

Recently, HP inserted OpenView into the rapidly growing world of certification programsby launching its Authorized Partner Program and Certification Program forProfessionals to increase industry recognition and provide technical expertise forcustomers.  Resellers are required to have at least one Certified OpenView Consultantand one trained sales person at each location to qualify as partners.

For full information on the HP Authorized Partner Programs, download the product briefat www.openview.hp.com/docs/44.pdfThe partner Program is well thought out and offers excellent means to increasebusiness for HP and its partners.  The Certification Program, however, needs a lot ofwork.

HP awards the title of OpenView Certified Consultant to candidates who havesuccessfully completed two exams.  These are Introduction to OpenView and Network Node Manager (NNM).  According to HP, the OpenView Consultant is"capable of configuring and installing NNM as a stand-alone management system."  They also state the OpenView Consultants are "not certified to integrateother HP OpenView and third party applications."  Now, it gets confusing.

No matter how well defined the OpenView consultants' capabilities, it's not reflectedin the title.  Unlike other certifications where the title aptly describes theconsultant's role, this one is too general.  Unfortunately, it lends itself to a widerange of interpretations.

In my experience, colleagues and customers ask me to demo OpenView products that I'venever worked on.  It is frustrating and embarrassing at times to constantly explainwhat I can or cannot do.

CLASS FEEDBACK

HP must have received plenty of feedback.  A few months after the introduction ofthe Certification Program the restructured it.  Now there are six solution areas:  Network Management, NT Server and Applications Management, Unix Server andApplications Management, IT service Manager, Desktop Management, and StorageManagement.  While the Introduction to OpenView exam is still required,candidates can now choose which solution area they want to focus on.

For detailed information about the OpenView Certification Program for Professionals,the product brief can be downloaded at www.openview. hp.com/docs/153.pdf .  Currently, exams are available for Network Node Manager, IT/Operations, ManageX,OmniBack II, IT Service Manager, Desktop Administrator, and PerfView/MeasureWare.

With these changes, the primary goal is to "allow consultants the opportunity tospecialize and diversify."  More importantly, it provides specific labels forconsultants.  For example, consultants can now use the title of OpenViewCertified in Network Management.

PROMISES TO KEEP

Hopefully, this will decrease the confusion brought about by the OpenView CertifiedConsultant title.  It's too early to tell whether these changes will work.  Butso far, it looks promising.  For resellers, it's definitely a good step towardsincreasing the awareness of OpenView and establishing technical credibility.

--Stanley t. Ong is a systems consultant for Onyx, (Thornhill, Ontario, Canada), anHP Best-in-Class Reseller and HP OpenView Authorized Partner.  HP OpenView AuthorizedPartner.  He is now certified in NT Server and Application Management.