I recently noticed that SAP was starting to run another 50% off sale for certification when I came across the following: North American Certification Promotion Announcement – Starting March 7 until June 30, 2011, please use promotion code 11CERTQ2 at Pearson VUE to register for exams in the US and Canada at a 50% discount. This promotion code WILL NOT be extended past the 6/30/2011 deadline.”
I have always enjoyed a good sale but when I continually see SAP discount their certification it goes to the root of the findings in the SAP Certification: The Certification 5 Report that a lot of changes are still needed with SAP certification. The bottom line is that a strong certification program does not need to discount their offering 9 months a year to drive people to get certified. For reference, I checked with my brother who is a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) and he has never seen Cisco discount their certification.
I would have assumed the certification sale was to help hit education revenue targets for North America but that does not appear to be the case per Thought leader interview – SAP Certification Manager Sue Martin on Transforming the SAP Certification Programme
John : What is SAP’s motivation, is to make money from certification as a revenue stream or to make SAP projects and customers more successful?
Sue : Only the second! If making money from certification is not the main goal of SAP (and not sure I believe that) than I would love to hear an explanation as to why for 9 of the past 11 months they are offering discounted certification. SAP needs to be focused on making bringing more quality to the certification program and making it more respected in the marketplace before they put it on “sale” again.
My main issue with the sale is that it minimizes the credibility of the entire certification program not due to the cost but to the fact that a whole group of “sale shoppers” will get certified before the program has had a chance to roll out additional changes. Let me give an example and for reference I was certified in SAP HR in 1998. It is equivalent to me buying a house for full price (i.e. certification) in 1998 that had a solid value in marketplace and waking up 13 years later to find out that not only had the title/deed to my house disappeared (SAP doesn’t acknowledge Respect SAP Certification), I have the title company (SAP) telling me I can get the title back if I pay more money (upgrade certification) while at the same time thousands of people were walking around with a fake titles to my house (people fraudently claiming to be SAP certified) and throughout this all the houses on the street are selling for half price because although everyone likes the neighborhod no one is will to pay full price because they didnt believe in the quality of my neighborhood (view of SAP certification in marketplace). I realize this is a bit extreme but it isnt far from the truth.
Change may be coming but it happening extremely slow especially given the “new” SAP leadership and direction. The Certification 5 group of mentors is doing a great job trying to move this forward and I think everyone has the same desire to see SAP certification take its proper place within IT certifications and not be continually be on the sale/discount rack.