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Do you want certificate with that?


The only long-term sustainable competitive advantage is to learn faster than your competitors

Many years ago, still young and innocent, I was the ITIL® champion of a major Canadian Oil & Gas company, I became enthused to get all the 250 something IT staff in the organisation educated on ITIL Foundation. I approached our CIO with the idea to develop an education program that included certification. His response was; “I need an educated organization, not a certified one”.


For a while, I really struggled with that view and it always stayed with me. I quickly learned that the certification part (= exam + result evaluation + issuing certificate) can actually be a substantial part of the overall cost. I ended up delivering a successful and well-received IT Service Management education program, but relative few ended up getting ITIL® certified.


Fast forward 15 years later and I’m currently exploring if becoming an instructor is something that makes sense for me after having retired from a global organization where I specialized in IT Service Management through a variety of roles.


I started by figuring out what it would take to deliver ITIL training. Axelos, a private joint venture between the UK government and Capita plc , now owns the Intellectual Property (IP) and trademarks of ITIL and a few other practices. PeopleCert is their exclusive examination and accreditation services partner. Delivering ITIL training requires that you are licensed by Axelos to use their IP and PeopleCert has recognised you as an Accredited Training Organisation (ATO) and/or Examination Institute (EI).


An ATO can develop its own courseware which needs to meet PeopleCert quality criteria or they can simply buy all the ITIL course materials from organizations like ITpreneurs who in turn can use a B2B marketplace for training resources such as the Leapest platform.


It is easy to connect the dots and see how the IT education and certification industry is shaking out resulting from the digital transformation wave. I therefore expect a lot of rationalization in the volume of ATO’s in the next few years through acquisition and mergers.


So, if ATO’s get their courseware from a select few suppliers who all need to meet PeopleCert criteria and the certification process standardized globally, what are the differentiating factors besides pricing in selecting an ATO to educate your organization? Which ATM do you use when the dollars bills (or certificates in this case) look the same?


In the end, I like to believe that what is most important for students is to have an awesome experience. That beyond the knowledge and certificate received, they vividly remember how it was delivered and that there was a high perception of benefits, usefulness, importance… and that it was a lot of fun too! In short, awesome value.


With AI advancing in every field we should not be surprised that this will also disrupt education and the way we will be able to proof having acquired knowledge on a certain topic. Perhaps certification eventually simply becomes part of course proceedings and less of a ‘thing’ or at least a lot cheaper. More Agile 😊


"Get Certified; a certificate easily moves you at least thousand rows ahead of other job candidates, with similar knowledge." ― Wasay Syed

In the meantime, human interactions and the emotional intelligence of the instructor to relate to his audience is what is going to stand out in making a difference in group settings, no matter how nice the education provider selection and course ordering process was. As always, the user-experience (UX) stands central and is key to success.


I’m exited to start this journey in IT education, beginning with ITIL and likely closely followed with VeriSM™ . I received my ITIL Foundations certificate in 2004 and obtained the ITIL Expert qualification two years later. Perhaps becoming instructor is karma after all.


Many colleagues from the past suggested that I would be awesome at teaching ITIL. It seems it is time I finally heed their advice and follow destiny.

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