This blog post picks up where my prior November 20 item “Mobile IT: It’s the New Raison d’Etre for Information Technology” left off. In particular, I’m digging more deeply into what I learned about upcoming certification changes and new introductions from Ophir Erez, Senior Director of Education Programs at Citrix. The original impetus for my mid-November phone interview with Mr. Erez came from a personal observation that much of the look and feel, and apparently also, a lot of the content, for the Citrix Certification pages had recently changed. My observation was confirmed when Mr. Erez indicated that recent and upcoming changes to Citrix certification credentials and their surrounding infrastructure represents “…the most meaningful change to our framework in the past decade…”
The tiers remain the same, but the silos for content are changing dramatically.
When asked about what motivated such broad and sweeping changes he replied that “…certification has to evolve as the world evolves…” More important he also asserted that Citrix is seeking to provide tools and training to foster the “successful adoption of technology” across what he called “the whole talent eco-system — namely, employees, partners, and users” where the idea is to stress hands-on exposure, in-depth validation of skills and knowledge, and constant efforts to keep cert coverage relevant to on-the-job needs and situations in the workaday world.
Mr. Erez also said a number of things that captured my attention, not just because they speak of shifts in philosophy at Citrix, but also because they speak to broader changes in the drivers for IT certification programs from many sponsors and sources:
- moving to a solution oriented information domain, which is broader than a product or platform focused approach, and takes necessary cognizance of other third-party products and platforms (he mentioned both Microsoft Server, and a variety of virtualization technologies in this context)
- a desire to address customer needs directly and forcefully, and an equal motivation to enable and facilitate positive business outcomes (to me, this testifies eloquently that the “gee whiz” days of cool new technologies for their own sakes’ is coming to an end, and is being replaced by more more focused attention on what kind of ROI cool new technologies can and should deliver to their buyers)
- Workforce mobility in general, and to some extent also Windows as a Service (which I often think of as the most common case for “Desktop as a Service”), is driving Citrix strongly into mobility (where the target end-user devices may not even run Windows, yet still need access to Windows apps and services). Urgent market needs are, in fact, driving them to develop an entire Mobility silo in their overall certification offerings. In early 2014, the professional level Mobility cert will make its debut, with the Expert level looming further out later into 2014. Presumably, an associate level may make its appearance sometime thereafter. The reasoning for this mid-tier introduction is, in Mr. Erez’s words “…end to end mobility (devices, apps, and data) is not easy and therefore we will start at mid-tier for an implementer, because that is where the market need is.”
There’s a lot more interesting information from this interview about the Networking certification silo at Citrix, but I’ll save that for another blog post. Suffice it to say that interesting changes are indeed a-working at Citrix, and there’s a lot to say about what the organization is doing to update and enhance its training and certification programs and offerings. Stay tuned for another thrilling episode in the next week or two!