The SharePoint MCM (and all MCM’s – Lync, SQL, Exchange) got a huge blow Friday, they received e-mails (yep nice) to be told that the MCM certification program would be cancelled October 1st. I think its utterly disgusting to let a group of less than 100 SharePoint MCM’s know that the blood sweat and tears they went through to get the MCM is no longer via e-mail! That’s like breaking up with your girlfriend over SnapChat. On the plus side…this does make them an elite group that no-one else can join!
The MCM program has been around since SharePoint 2007 days, and involved flying to Redmond and commit to 3 weeks of training with an exam at the end…which most failed due to the complexities and had opportunities to retake twice. The program has changed since it started to allow for remote training and remote exams which MCMs commented reduced the elite’ness of the program.
I have great respect for those who have got the SharePoint MCM certification…they are the most experienced people in the industry at understanding how SharePoint ticks and how it should be deployed on-premises to customer sites. The MCM’s have gotten Microsoft out of a lot of shit at large high profile customers where SharePoint was deployed incorrectly or mis-configured.
As a SharePoint consultant in Australia I spent the majority of my last 4 years there debugging/fixing other consultants SharePoint deployments and development projects. Most of it was due to lack of education around the platform and everyone trying to make a buck out of the high consulting rates around it. The SharePoint ecosystem globally has a fundamental problem that SharePoint is a very large platform and Microsoft did not put enough emphasis on certified consultants to ensure quality to their customer base. My personal impression of the MCM’s is this is where they come in and help these larger customers deply it correctly.
Even when the MCM program came about…in my experience in Australia, it was mainly the Service Integrators who took the punt and sent their consultants off to the training that made the noise about what MCMs meant and the value of hiring a MCM on your project. This is one reason as a consultant I did not go for the MCM, because the cost was extremely high and taken 3 weeks out of billable time to do the exam seemed too much with hardly anyone in the market then knowing what it was. I say “considered” because I’m not going to claim I could pass, because I’ve seen many I know are experienced fail too…and now…I’ll never know.
The issue of promotion is the same with the MCTS exams, granted that’s not going to make you an expert, but having some spread knowledge across the platform in taking those exams would certainly help higher the quality.
Cisco and SAP do a much better job of this in their ecosystems. Pretty much everyone in the IT world knows what the Cisco certifications are whether you’re an network engineer or not.
I think Microsoft spend way too much time fluffing the egos of the MVP community (yes I have been recognized as one for last 4 years and really appreciate the benefits) and letting them evangelize the latest and greatest the platform has to offer. I think Microsoft funds would have been better spent focusing on ensuring that the quality of the global field deploying SharePoint are better and well represented by Microsoft. This way customers understand the benefits of demanding MCMs and MCTS qualified engineers to work on their projects.
I personally think the other reason Microsoft gave this program the chop is that MCM’s focus is around deployment of SharePoint on-premises, and Microsoft don’t want to encourage on-premises deployments, they want everyone in the cloud. The way Microsoft see it, if everyone moves to the cloud, all these horror deployment stories go away and they can contain customizations when customers run on their multi-tenant platform. Microsoft’s “devices and services” strategy is certainly moving their focus and making them stronger on decisions like this, Steve Goodman also mentions the same thing in his post who also seems to agree with me on this cloud push.
There will and continue to be many large high profile customers that chose on-premises deployments due to: customizations with Full-Trust Solutions, compliance, data sovereignty, security and lots of other reasons.
Have Microsoft indicated at all publically any future for on-premises SharePoint? Should we be expecting a service pack 18 months after SharePoint 2013 launched like SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 did? Will these Service Packs be roll ups of Cumulative Updates with bug fixes in them only and have to wait until SharePoint 2016 for any new functionality in the product?
This is just another example of Microsoft not understanding that forcing peoples hands to the cloud for an easier deployment strategy and “cost savings” and high cadence release cycles for new features is not what everyone wants. They’ll state “yes we know on-premises will be around for at least 5 years” but there is no focus on it…have we seen a Cumulative Update yet to fix some of these annoying bugs you get in the RTM? No.
If you think “cloud” was way too overkill at SharePoint Conference 2011, wait until you see the SharePoint Conference 2013. I’d be almost certain in the fact that there will be little or no on-premises sessions there.
Some others have written on this as well:
- Radi Atanassov, who is a top guy that I know from Australian SharePoint market, wrote a good blog post on his opinions.
- Seb Matthews wrote a post (as a non MCM) highlighting that the majority of the MCMs are Microsoft field staff and was costing Microsoft a lot of money.
Hats off to those who are MCM’s, I have so much respect for the depth of knowledge you guys have in the platform that I eat, live, sleep and dream of (god that is so sad).
UPDATE #1 (31Aug): There is a web site where you can show your support..please vote here please-dont-get-rid-of-the-mcm-and-mca-programs
UPDATE #2 (31Aug): This not only affects MCMs it affects MCAs also.
UPDATE #3 (31Aug): A blog article by Neil Johnson with the email in full.