Core IO Assessments and Learning

Lately I have been doing about 10 Core Infrastructure Optimization Assessments for our customers. I do not think the outcomes are surprising, we all know we still spend most of our time “Fighting Fires”, which stands for “Basic” in the Core IO Maturity model.

I created a customized Core IO questionnaire (thanks to Microsoft’s Eduardo Kassner) which I leave at the customer after a presentation for the whole IT Team and hopefully also some non-tech decision makers. That presentation starts with an explanation of the why and what on the Core IO Assessment. Some talks on Total Cost of Ownership, Return On Investment and Capital Expenditure versus Operational Expenditure. We do some work on road mapping, creating a context for the now mostly ad-hoc type of Projects. I touch a little bit on the Business Productivity Infrastructure Optimization (BP IO) model as well. Customers think of this presentation as very valuable, a new way of looking at their own infrastructure and new ways of working in and with that model. And they really get that they are sitting at “Basic” and that there is nothing wrong with that. It gives them a way to move forward.

The second part of my presentation, hey, I am a Microsoft Certified Trainer, is on Training and Certification. The conversation goes like:

  • There is tons or millions invested in hardware and software
  • Business struggles with agility, availability, costs
  • IT sits at “Basic” in their Core IO (and BP IO), everybody is fighting fires
  • …… How Come…….?

Then I make a really blunt statement, one you should not make without having created a context like this. IT Staff is not qualified for the job. Yes, you heard me correctly IT STAFF IS NOT QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB!!! End users are not qualified to use powerful tools like Office, Exchange and SharePoint.

We treat Server 2012 R2 Domain Controllers like Novell 3.12 Servers, we treat Word 2013 like a typewriter and we use SharePoint 2013 as a Fileserver. So we buy the stuff and we’re not using it. I call that stupid, really very stupid.

I invite you to count the total number of RELEVANT certifications in your IT Department. I invite you to count the number of end users that attended an OS or Office training recently. And then you have an answer to why you are all “Fighting Fires” and sit at “Basic” in your Core IO and BP IO.

The first next IT Projects should be on Training and Certification. And see what happens with the results of Core IO and BP IO Assessments. All the hardware and software you need is already there!

Happy Learning!

Office 365 Exams – Again

Some two years ago I took the then brand new Microsoft Exams on Office 365. Passing both Exam 70- 321 Deploying Office 365 and Exam 70-323 Administering Office 365 made me MCITP Office 365. Back then I wrote about those exams, how hard I thought they were (I still now only a few people who passed them both), although I held MCTS Exchange and MCITP SharePoint and already did a great deal of work on Office 365.

Now Microsoft has made available two new exams, 70-346 Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements and 70-347 Enabling Office 365 Services, passed them both and my call myself MCSA Office 365. It’s rather interesting to see how these exams then and now compare. The main feature added in the 2 years between them is of course Office ProPlus and the ways it can be deployed. All other features are more of the same, expanded features but not real new features. The experience was a bit like the Windows Server and Active Directory exams, you come from NT3.51 or NT4.0 and do Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and now Windows Server 2012. Some new features and more of the same for the existing features. The exams evolve with Scenario’s, drag and drop items and complete PowerShell scripts questions but still they test you on what Microsoft thinks is important to know.

Back to MCSA Office 365, breaking the content up in a part called “Identities ad Requirements” and a part called “Enabling Services” seems pretty logical, the first is more about the current onprem environment and the latter more about the Office 365 platform. Also a very logical order for organizations who want to leverage Office 365 without the assistance of external parties. The Exam requirements at and correspond very well with the content of the exams, no surprises there.

I do believe that these two exams are less difficult than the MCITP ones but on the other hand, they deserve more being part of a MCSE Track instead of a MCSA Track. They really come on top of MCSA Server 2012 or even on top of MCSE Exchange/SharePoint. Like two years ago and probably also like two years from now, Office 365 is a very broad set of Microsoft Technologies on which you have to be very comfortable if you want to pass these exams. So, yes, the MCSA Office 365 exams are tough cookies meaning that this certification will certainly have value.

Wish you all Happy Learning!