Software Certifications: A Starting Point, Not the Destination at Commvault

Posted 06/27/2013 by Robert Brower

Posted in

Product certifications in the software industry are usually seen as necessary evils. Although not readily admitted by those who are in charge of customer certification programs, I think we all tacitly understand the danger in putting our full trust in the 'paper-certified' technologist. In fact, we all know people with a long string of certification-based acronyms after their names who we wouldn't trust anywhere near an actual production system. After all, letters after one's name are not synonymous with expertise in a particular area; they merely indicate course completion and passing (by whatever margin) the final exam.

At the same time, without a certification process, most vendors have few (if any) tools to objectively describe the technology environment in which their customers are expected to thrive. And, in the absence of this objective information, it's the employers who shoulder the full burden of assessing employee talent with a product - often with mixed results. Employees must demonstrate capabilities and experience to a management team who is usually ill equipped to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Until now...

Commvault's new education web portal, debuting in early July, includes certification as just one component of a customer's expertise and experience with our product platform. Commvault Advantage integrates our customers' certifications with specific product usage data, along with their participation in Commvault forums and knowledge bases, their interaction with our Support team, and their ongoing participation in webinars and product series that we offer. By making certifications a single component of the ongoing product knowledge process, and not the 'be all and end all,' we provide our users the ability to thoroughly demonstrate their Simpana software expertise. Certification then becomes part of their ongoing journey with Simpana software, not their final destination.

CommVault Advantage Portal

The Main CommVault Advantage Page
Indicates points accumulated for user, relevant ranking for current role,
and remaining points needed to advance to next role.

The value in this 360-degree view of a Commvault user, when integrated with our role-based education model, is clear:

  • For employees: The ability to demonstrate competency at a practical level, in all areas of Simpana software usage, clearly indicates proficiency and adaptability. A trained user who can demonstrate competency in software applications, the ability to integrate new skills, the desire to follow proper procedures and seek out best practices from peers, participation and even leadership in user product forums is clearly a more valuable asset to any employer, present or future.
CommVault Advantage Support Activities

This screen provides a points breakdown for the Support Activities associated
with a user (forum posts, posts marked as solutions) and describes
ways to add additional points through participation in support forums.

  • For employers: The ability to successfully track their staff members efficiency in executing Commvault responsibilities, compared to a global average for the same tasks, offers a clear value statement on the overall Commvault user experience. It also provides better ROI metrics and helps to identify staff standouts and those employees who might benefit from additional training/coaching. When it comes to pulling the trigger on a new hire, the one with the highest total Advantage Commvault score wins, and salary negotiation is made easy.

CommVault Advantage Education Activities

This screen provides a points breakdown for the Education Activities associated
with this user and indicates the learning elements that the user can still participate
in to gain additional Profile Points

Vendor certifications certainly continue to have prominence in demonstrating objective product capabilities and proficiency. Certification is short-hand for a level of technical familiarity with a product that cannot be understated or replaced. However, a vendor certification can truly deliver on the implied promise of identifying the best of breed technical talents for any given product when it's integrated with a multi-dimensional process for demonstrating the actual application of that familiarity.

With our Commvault Advantage portal, we are surely delivering on this value, with an ongoing education strategy that provides exceptional value to both our users and their organizations.

Robert Brower is the Global Vice President of Education Services and Customer Support at Commvault.