Andy the Ant as a scarecrow

Considering MSP Certification?

Remember the end of the Wizard of Oz when the scarecrow receives his diploma?  The wizard explains that

Remember the end of the Wizard of Oz when the scarecrow receives his diploma?  The wizard explains that the scarecrow, the cowardly lion, and the tin man had the qualities they had been searching for (in the scarecrow’s case, intelligence) all along.  They just needed validation, or “certification”, by others.

As the competition heats up, more MSPs are seeking certification as a differentiator, and there are a number of options available.

Most visible among the touted benefits is the potential distinction that becoming certified offers to prospective clients – validation by a competent source that the MSP has the infrastructure and business processes necessary to provide continuing high-value services to their client.

However, the benefits potentially go much deeper than this.

Certification makes your business better!

Companies that have participated in tenured certification programs over a period of years will tell you that the enduring value is derived only partially from the credibility that recognition brings.  The real value is that it makes your business better!

The initial effort that you put into becoming certified can rust with time.  If you haven’t institutionalized the business capabilities and processes, you will find yourself reinventing the wheel preparing for each re-certification.  At some point you will ask yourself if the effort is worth it.

On the other hand, if you use it as the driving factor to design and implement robust service delivery processes, and to continually improve them, certification becomes recognition of what you already have – sound business capabilities that bring value to both your clients and to your business.

In fact, institutionalizing your service process capabilities actually makes re-certification easier with each passing year.  Simply include the “hooks” for certification (such as metrics definition or customer satisfaction programs), into the processes that you follow daily, and point to them when it comes time for the certification audit.

Are you becoming certified with “straw man” processes, or will you use this opportunity to build enduring business value?

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