• Within my organization (certification development), our focus this year is innovation in item types. Although we are exploring new item types (more on that in a future blog), we are also exploring how we can leverage our current item types in innovative ways. Take the old standby--the multiple choice (MC) item. This item type has been unfairly criticized--after all, it's used on the vast majority of exams for a reason, but I understand the perceptions that are driving this criticism. Complaints include: it's too easy to guess the correct answer; MC questions are not rigorous measures of skills; and they don't reflect real world experiences. So, the question is "how can we make MC questions more difficult to guess, increase their rigor, and make them a better reflection of real world experience?" One solution is to change the focus from selecting the "correct" answer to selecting the "best" answer. What's the difference? In a "correct" answer item, only one answer is correct; in a "best" answer item, more than one answer might solve the problem but there is one best solution.

    Because we believe that truly qualified candidates, especially at the professional level, should know what the best solution is in situations where multiple good solutions exist or are possible, we have decided to incorporte "best answer" items into some of our exams. After all, how often do you encounter a situation where there is one and only one correct solution to the problem? Problems rarely have clear cut solutions. As a result, these items should be more real world than a correct answer question because they require the candidate to carefully consider the situation presented in the question, just as they would carefully consider their organizational environment and constraints when making decisions in their jobs, and determine the best solution given those circumstances. These questions require more critical thinking than correct answer items, which makes them more rigorous measures of skills and more difficult to guess.

    So, let's cut to this chase. What does this mean to you?

    We will be slowly adding best answer items to our exams over time, and I want to let you know what to expect:

    • Best answer items will only appear on PRO level exams where being able to identify the best solution given a set of specific environmental characteristics or constraints is critical to planning, designing, and managing Microsoft technologies in organizations.
    • The best answer will be the solution that takes the least effort, requires the fewest steps, and/or is least costly AND solves the problem. Remember with a best answer choice item, more than one answer will likely solve the problem (others might not), but one answer will be the best solution from a resource (budget, time, people) perspective in that particular situation.
    • The best answer will be the best answer GIVEN THE SITUATION DESCRIBED IN THE QUESTION. It may not be how you would do it in your organization, but it's how it should be solved given the situation.
    • At this time, only a small proportion of items on any exam will be best answer choice items; although this proportion is likely to increase over time, we are not to the point where every question on a particular exam will be a "best answer" question. Not all PRO exams have best answer questions yet, but we're working on it.
    • You will know these items when you see them. The question statement will include words such as "best" or "most" (depending what is being asked) that make it clear that the question requires a deeper evaluation to determine the best answer. In addition, the following statement appears following the question: "(More than one answer choice may achieve the goal. Select the BEST answer.)"
    • Most important, the best answer has been vetted by many SMEs who agreed on what the best answer is. The best answer isn't what Microsoft thinks is the best answer; the best answer is what many SMEs have agreed is the best answer.

    I have to admit best answer questions are not innovative in and of themselves; you can find them on most certification and licensure exams, but they are new to Microsoft Learning. I know some of you won't like this change, but I believe that best answer questions have a place in our certification program and will ultimately increase the value of your certifications because of the higher level thinking required to answer these items correctly.

  • From our friends at MIX - if you have been to MIX, post a comment and let us know how it was.


    Save on MIX11 – Register by Feb 11

    MIX11 registration is now open with a special offer for early birds – register by February 11 and save $500 on your conference pass, plus one free hotel night when you book two or more nights.  Visit MIX11 registration for details. 

    MIX11 event details

    When:              April 12-14, 2011; day of Boot Camps on April 11

    Where:            Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

    Cost:               Full Price Conference Pass - $1395

                            Boot Camps - $350

    More Info:        http://live.visitmix.com/

    Pick Your Favorite MIX11 Sessions – Vote by Feb 4

    The MIX content team has selected the best community proposals, and now it’s your turn to tell us what sessions you want at MIX11.  Visit the Open Call page and pick your favorites by Feb 4. Selected sessions will be announced in mid-February.

  • Check out this recent New York Times article that discusses the learning benefits from testing:

    To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test

    "Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques."

    What I think is really interesting about this research is that it goes beyond the preparation you might do for an exam--which we already know helps us learn. The research indicates that the act of recalling the information during a test actually helps you retrieve that information long after the test is over. 

    We hear from some of our customers that the reason they pursue our certifications is because it helps them gain skills on the latest technologies. Other customers may only learn the skills tested so that they can earn the certification.

    So what about you--do you learn to test, or do you test to learn?

  • 2011 will mark my third Microsoft TechED North America conference and I couldn’t be more excited for May to arrive.  As active as I am in the Microsoft Partner network, it took me to actually attend the conference to understand its TRUE value. An analogy to help convey its value would be, “What Microsoft WPC (World Partner Conference) is to a partner is what TechED is to our customers”. So what, there are lots of great conferences, what separates TechEd from any other conference?  I have narrowed down my top three reasons why a Microsoft partner of any solution competency should attend:

    • If only for the EXPO Hall: Imagine walking into a conference as if you were THE client/customer?  Well this is where our decision makers come to find the NEXT big thing that they can and will implement in their company. Partners are contacted actively by vendors to re-sell their products. The Expo hall of TechED is full of these vendors and here you actually have the opportunity to view their presentations as the client.  I thought it was great to see where the crowds gathered and find out what the vendors had to offer. Wouldn’t you love to see a client as they demo the products? Whether understanding the delivery or taking in the questions, if you have some products you are considering adding to your arsenal this is the place to make that decision.
    • What are the Sessions all about? Wouldn’t you love to attend a session in which the presenter’s message garners close to 10% of the attendees in one room? My biggest “aha” moment was attending a 300 level session with Mark Russinovich titled “Cases of the Unexplained”. This session was on the last day of the conference, after lunch and still had at least 1000 in attendance. Our two MAIN communities, IT Pro and Developers, gather at TechED TOGETHER for one week. Regardless of your Microsoft Partner competency, this is where your clients/customers are. There are break out groups and strategy sessions with the greatest minds in our industry providing real world problems and solutions. Sit back and listen to what the attendee’s questions and concerns are. I include this in my top three because last year I began the week with a specific perspective and understanding of the issues my customers were facing. Attending sessions like Mark’s and seeing such a large audience engage at the end of the week in a topic, opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective on what my clients have been facing. The sessions give you the opportunity to see where your clients are gravitating to and help you gauge interest easily. There are numerous sessions that have remarkable content delivered in a way that the attendees are engaged in and excited!
    • Your NEW Microsoft Competency Strategy: When I have discussed this conference with partners in the past they initially state without hesitation that they send their own IT staff to TechED and sending someone from the business or sales side doesn’t seem necessary. While I contend this is a valid point, a typical attendee is going to this conference to learn, to be wow’d by not only the products but also by the team that created, envisioned and brought it to market. As a business development professional I find enormous value in actually understanding the vision behind these products and engaging in a conversation with the minds behind them. Do you see value in sitting in the room when great questions are discussed? How about hearing directly from your client’s mouth the areas where their business is struggling and the areas they see these new innovations helping? The ultimate value this conference provides to the future conversations you can have is immeasurable. In my experience talking with my fellow partners, under the new competency guidelines many partners have struggled to find their identity. This is where you can see all of those competencies in action among your clients and maybe even discover the value of something new for your business.


    I want to end on something very sincere. This is not a sales and marketing conference! Please don’t discount the immense value of attending WPC in the summer. At TechED, learning is the most obvious value during the whole event. If you have attended this conference before then you understand, but if you have not, do not think you are coming to something where you network all night and skim sessions during the day. There are a fair amount of evening gatherings but remember these are the smartest folks in the industry! They live for those breakout sessions during the day.  At night when attendees sit around at a pub table they are discussing technology deeper than most of us can imagine. What I have realized and gotten the chance to embrace is that being a part of these conversations is amazing!

    Tiffany Ingargiola, @TiffanyWI


  • |


     Visit the Microsoft Learning YouTube channel and get free training on Windows 7, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and other Microsoft products and technologies.  You can now view Microsoft Learning training on the platform and browser of your choice.  The channel offers both standalone videos and playlists.  You can embed videos on your own web site, subscribe to the Microsoft Learning YouTube channel, and access the videos on your mobile phone.  Check out the Microsoft Learning Channel on YouTube to find out more!  Don't forget you can still get free training through Learning Snacks here.


  • Late last week we announced the release of a new "Jump Start" course designed specifically for Application Architects and Developers. “Building Cloud Applications using the Windows Azure Platform” provides an in-depth illustration of how developers can leverage the Cloud using the Windows Azure Platform. For those of you looking to learn on the go, we've posted all 12 hours of these HD-quality videos to both Zune (U.S. only) and iTunes for free (also subscribe to the Zune RSS Feed if you like). Of course, you can always access this course for free on Channel 9.

    Key concepts like the Windows Azure Lifecycle, Storage options & SQL Azure, Diagnostics, Security and Scalability, Caching & Elasticity are getting rave reviews. Check it out!

    For other Windows Azure Platform resources, check out the Windows Azure Training Portal.

  • Microsoft Learning has decided to extend the deadline on the Microsoft Certification Packs. Now customers who buy a pack and take their first exam before June 30, 2011 will have until December 31, 2011 to take the rest of the exams in the pack. This will provide a longer window for customers to prepare and take their exams to achieve their certification. Microsoft Certification Packs provide aggressive discounts when customer buy more than one exam. Plus, Microsoft Certification Packs provide FREE retake exams if you fail on your first attempts.  

    Customers have several choices that map nicely to Certification Paths, or just help validate knowledge:

    Pack Size



    2 Exams


    Included with each exam

    3 Exams


    Included with each exam

    4 Exams


    Included with each exam

    5 Exams


    Included with each exam

    1 Exam

    Regular Price

    15% Additional Cost

    Visit: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/career/en/us/career-offer.aspx#certification

  • Exam 70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development is now available in Prometric testing centers. This exam is intended for software developers who are creating rich Internet-based applications using Silverlight.  The exam focuses mainly on Silverlight 4, but also covers core Silverlight concepts.


    Candidates for this exam are developers who create and maintain rich interactive applications (RIA) using Silverlight 4.  Candidates may have additional experience with previous Silverlight versions.


    The minimally qualified candidate typically:

    • Has at least six months of experience with Silverlight development
    • Has at least one year of experience with Microsoft .NET development
    • Has experience consuming data services


    To schedule your exam, visit Prometric’s Web site.

  • Hey! I'm sure you think I've forgotten about answering the remaining questions that you asked in response to my blog before the new year, but I'm nothing if not persistent in my quest to find answers to your questions!

    Previously on "'Tis the Season: Answers to Your Questions," we were waiting on the answer to one question:

    Q. When is my "MCTS - Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deployment - Charter Member" certificate going to show as that instead of "Windows 7, Deployment - Charter Member"?

    A. We have submitted the change request. It takes a few days to propogate through the necessary systems, but by the end of next week, you will see the change (if not sooner).

    So, you're probably wondering... what took so long? Well, it turns out that we are in the process of reviewing all of our certification titles and making some minor tweaks (something we do every year or so for quality assurance reasons). This review process takes some time as does incorporating all the changes into our systems. But, because you asked about this one specifically, I requested that we make this change now rather than wait for the review process to be completed. See how much I love you. Big Smile This is why you should ask questions!

    I do want to highlight a comment that J Seymour posted in response to my last "answers to your questions" blog. I'm not sure how closely readers follow comments to blog posts, and I'm afraid that my response to the questions about 70-162 and TMG may have misrepresented what J wanted me to communicate in the first place. So, I'm taking this opportunity to clarify my answers to those questions.

    J's comment: 70-162 should be live around June 2011. We're thinking beta in March-ish. Don't read anything into the future of TMG based on whether we do an exam or not. Run rates, available budget, schedules, etc. all have a lot to do with whether we do an exam or not. Microsoft is a big company and MSL is an independent entity from the Product Groups (think wholly owned subsidiary). There are lots of great products that don't have an exam. At the moment TMG happens to be one of them.

    Finally, I was asked by a number of people if Microsoft Learning would ever share the number of certified individuals again...It looks like we removed the certification numbers page due to some concerns. Unfortunately, there are no plans to replace this page at this time, and I can't provide any additional information. However, no other IT certification program provides this information, so our decision is in line with industry practices around sharing this type of information.

    I hope the new year finds you happy, healthy, and thinking of more questions to ask! As ever, I am here on a quest to find the answers.

  • In case you missed Stephen Rose and the excellent Live Meeting for Managers regarding Windows 7 and Office 2010, you can now view the recording on demand.

    Riding the Windows 7 and Office 2010 Wave
    Many organizations have not touched their desktop in years, since their original Windows XP deployments. During this time many other important components have changed and progressed. Things are not as simple as replacing Windows XP with Windows 7 -- you need an optimized desktop solution to easily take advantage of the new technologies and enable your desktops to be productive long into the future.  Stephen Rose will show you how to weave technologies like Windows 7, Office 2010, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), and desktop virtualization technologies into a coherent desktop strategy.

    Watch Now.



  • |

    So, Career Factor is here…and I can’t wait to get started! However, when I first found out that I had made the cut, my emotions were a mixture of stunned amazement and guarded anticipation. Here I am, a poor kid from Harlem, who somehow made his way to The University of California, Berkeley, to now be one of nine from around the world chosen to take this incredible journey! It was hard to wrap my head around! But then I had to ask, “What does it all mean?” Is this just another responsibility to add to my already overflowing plate (did I mention that I am married with a 23 month old son, I work part-time at Starbucks as a Barista, all while pursuing this IT career?), or was this really the opportunity of a life time? I’ve decided that it IS the opportunity of a life time, and I am to take it by the horns and ride it to the wheels fall off! (Are there any more metaphors I can throw into this sentence?!?)

    It all starts now…are you ready for the ride? I sure am!

  •      Microsoft has developed a special series of webcasts to help managers of IT professionals and developers get the most out of training and certification opportunities and optimize team performance.


    Riding the Windows 7 and Office 2010 Wave

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011  at 8:00 am PT    (What time is this in my region?)


    Windows 7 is ushering in a new era on the desktop.  Many organizations have not touched their desktop in many years, since their original Windows XP deployments, and during this time many other important components have changed and progressed.  You need an optimized desktop solution to easily take advantage of all of these new technologies and enable your desktops to be productive long into the future.  Stephen Rose will show you how to weave technologies like Windows 7, Office 2010, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), and desktop virtualization technologies into a coherent desktop strategy.

    Register Now


     About the Presenter:
    Stephen Rose is the Sr Community Manager for Windows Commercial OS at the Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, WA. Before joining Microsoft, Stephen spent 15 years working as a network infrastructure design and virtualization consultant for many Fortune 500 companies around the globe. Stephen was a two time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and the Senior Tech Correspondent for Fast Company Magazine.

    In addition to his many certifications, he has been a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Trainer for almost 20 years now. His current role include managing the IT pro community for the Windows group, overseeing the technical content on the Springboard Series on TechNet, managing the Windows 7 Forums, the Springboard Insider Newsletter, the Windows Team Blog, Talking About Windows and the STEP program (Springboard Technical Experts Panel). You can follow Stephen on his personal feed @stephenlrose




    Find the full schedule of Live Meetings for Managers, watch a previous webcast on-demand, download PowerPoint slides, or get additional resources at the IT Manager Portal.

  • |

    Are you connected to all of the ways Microsoft Learning distributes new and special offers? If you like having news sent to your email inbox, we've compiled several of your options on one handy page. Choose from the Microsoft Learning mailing list, the MCP News Flash, practice Microsoft Certification exam questions, and more! 

    Get updates on training, certification, and special offers by email

  • Just before the Holidays, Microsoft hosted another new and exclusive Jump Start virtual training event, this time covering the Windows Azure Platform. What a success! “Building Cloud Applications using the Windows Azure Platform” was tailored for application architects and developers interested in leveraging the cloud.

    While many of the attendees were already building a pilot project or planning to migrate an application, around 35% were searching for real-world answers as they consider whether or not the Windows Azure Platform fits their needs. They were in for a treat since all 12 hours of this training was led by two of the most respected authorities on Microsoft development technologies, David S. Platt and Manu Cohen-Yashar. Learn strategies for your cloud application lifecycle, know your options for storage in the cloud, understand the realities of Security using Azure and find out all your team should consider to truly design for scale and elasticity.

    The feedback has been great, but due to the Holidays many of you weren’t able to join us back in December. So whether you were with us and want to refresh and reinforce what you learned, or you want to check it out for the first time, all 12 hours of the HD-quality videos were just released and are ready to go! Just browse this list and get started!

    Session 01: Windows Azure Overview
    Session 02: Introduction to Compute
    Session 03: Windows Azure Lifecycle, Part 1
    Session 04: Windows Azure Lifecycle, Part 2
    Session 05: Windows Azure Storage, Part 1
    Session 06: Windows Azure Storage, Part 2
    Session 07: Introduction to SQL Azure
    Session 08: Windows Azure Diagnostics
    Session 09: Windows Azure Security, Part 1
    Session 10: Windows Azure Security, Part 2
    Session 11: Scalability, Caching & Elasticity, Part 1
    Session 12: Scalability, Caching & Elasticity, Part 2, and Q&A

    By the way, feel free to check out the course materials and code samples while you’re watching.

    Get Access to the Windows Azure Platform for the Labs and learn about training & certification options by visiting the Windows Azure Online Portal.

  • |


    Following up our earlier Certification Drill app announcement, here’s our next Windows Phone 7 app:

    Want to learn all about Cloud Computing on your WP7 while waiting for the bus?  How about learning about Remote Connectivity in Windows 7 on the treadmill?  Well, it’s all possible now with the Learning Snack App.

    The Snack App for Windows Phone 7 provides videos, animations, and interactive games that follow a proven instructional design methodology so you can learn key skills quickly in an entertaining way—all on your Windows Phone 7.

    Features of the WP7 Learning Snack App

    · Browse for snacks by technology

    · Access our top 30 snacks (more coming soon)

    · View videos and animations and play interactive games

    · Find related training on the Learn More page

    · Play Learning Snacks over 3G or your wireless network

    · Download the app for free

  • Being a psychometrician, I love numbers, so what better way to talk about all that ACE accomplished with your help in 2010 than by sharing some numbers with you?! Before I get into the numbers, though, I know that I'll be asked "how many people were certified in 2010?" Alas, that is one number that I cannot share with you, but I hope you'll enjoy the fun facts that I have provided below.

    Without further ado (drum roll please)... 2010: A Year in Numbers

    English Exams Published:

    • 4 Microsoft Office exams
    • 7 Microsoft Technical Associate exams
    • 14 Microsoft Technical Specialist exams
    • 6 Microsoft PRO exams
    • 3 Upgrade exams
    • 8 Microsoft Certified Masters exams
    • 8 Microsoft Dyanmics exams
    • 21 beta exams (includes TS, PRO, and MOS betas; how many did you participate in?)
    • Total of 67 exams published in 2010 in English

    Exams Published by Language:

    • Chinese: 38
    • Danish: 7
    • Dutch: 4
    • French: 22
    • German: 31
    • Italian: 1
    • Japanese: 33
    • Korean: 8
    • Polish: 1
    • Portuguese: 34
    • Russian: 14
    • Spanish: 13
    • Turkish: 1

    Total publications across all lanugages: 278 (Wow! We've been busy! (includes beta publications))

    Exam Development:

    • 157 SMEs participated in an objective domain session for an exam released in 2010
    • 652 SMEs participated in the blueprinting process for an exam released in 2010
    • 7270 SMEs participated in beta
    • 1508 meal cards used by SMEs participating in exam development sessions in Redmond
    • Average spend per meal card: $7.57 (breakfast burritos!)

    SME Database (are you a member yet?):

    • 1029 SMEs joined the database
    • 3690 beta invitations were sent to those SMEs

    Questions Created through Community Development Initiative:

    What were people being certified on in 2010?

    • Across all MS certifications: Microsoft Certified Application Specialist on Office Word 2007
    • Within our technical certifications: MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration
    • By technology: Office 2003, Office 2007, and Windows Server 2008

    Well, I hope you found this as interesting as I did when I pulling together these numbers! Thanks to all the SMEs who helped us make 2010 a great year in the world of exam development!

  • |

    Microsoft Learning is happy to announce the launch of the first 5 Certification Drill apps to help you prepare for your Microsoft Certification Exam. 

    These apps allow you to test your knowledge and practice for their associated exams. You get 100 questions and two testing modes. In study mode, you can test yourself one question at a time and see explanations for both correct and incorrect responses. In quiz mode, you answer all questions in succession, then get your score. Incorrect responses will be flagged for further study. Drill questions are taken from the practice tests from the corresponding Self-Paced Training Kit from Microsoft Press, which features 200+ questions, along with the official Microsoft study guide, an exam discount, and more.

    The first 5 apps available are:

    • MCITP (Exam 70-686): Windows® 7 Enterprise Desktop Administrator
    • MCTS (Exam 70-662): Configuring Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010
    • MCITP (Exam 70-685): Windows® 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
    • MCTS  (Exam 70-680): Configuring Windows® 7
    • MCTS  (Exam 70-640): Configuring Windows Server® 2008 Active Directory®

    The apps are currently available in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.  Download them now to your WIndows Phone 7!

  • |

    Thanks everyone!  I was able to talk to some of you this week and really appreciate your feedback.  Look for more of these possible meetings coming soon.

    Email me if you have questions - erikac@microsoft.com.

    Have a great day!


    Hi Everyone!

    We in Microsoft Learning read your feedback from a variety of different inputs, like this blog, surveys, events, etc.

    After we read everything, we try to evolve the program to be more of what you want and what you need.  Now we all know that communication can be a tricky thing.  What I need is for some of you to give some deeper insights, guidance and feedback on what we 'think' we have heard. 

    We need people to participate in an online meeting to help provide that guidance and feedback.  Here is what is required:

    1. Fill in the following survey (6 questions - only 3 minutes) - http://microsoftlearning.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_6AstMXMZhz26yck
    2. Sign our Event Participation Agreement and either fax it back or scan it and email it back (attached)
    3. Attend one of our online events:
      1. Tuesday, January 18th 12-2PM Pacific Time (FULL)
      2. Wednesday, January 19th 3-5PM Pacific Time (FULL)

    I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your time!

  • This is the fourth in a series of blog posts authored by members of the IT Manager Advisory Council. We've asked them to share their insights and opinions on topics they are passionate about related to hiring & managing employees, and maintaining skills on their teams.  If you agree or disagree and have a different perspective - chime in and contribute your views. 


    Getting Ready For New Technology


    For those of us in Microsoft shops, the last 12 months were very exciting.: Windows 7, Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010, Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS), and many other products became available. Is your company—or your clients—ready for the new technology?


    I'm a Senior Microsoft Consultant and I work for Ultima Business Solutions, focusing on new technology implementation and technology road mapping. Besides being an MVP, I also belong to Microsoft's Springboard Series Technical Expert Panel (STEP).  I'd like to share my thoughts with you about tackling new technologies, and hear from you about your approaches and suggestions.


    New technology imposes challenges to companies, and to IT managers who will need to solve them! It will require resources, training, and adoption evangelists. You need to identify within your company the people able to drive the new project forward, and empower them with training and adequate resources.


    Step Back to Move Forward

    The introduction of a new technology is an excellent time to take a step back and analyse what the company needs to achieve and if a specific technology is really the best solution to meet that need. This is a resource intensive task as you will need to involve people from different ranks and departments, but "stepping back" before you move forward is worth the time and effort.


    Stepping back is hard! Most companies usually spend 70-80% "fighting fires" and only 20-30% on doing improvements and deploying new technologies. You will have to take some people away from fire fighting.  You may need to hire a contractor, or someone to join the team and lead the project, or an external consultant to train the team and help with the project.


    New Technology Challenges and Solutions

    Some time ago, a colleague and I were taking a course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) about developing and managing a successful technology and product strategy. We developed a graphical representation of the challenge of implementing new technology.


    In my view, the reason why people are reluctant to change to a new technology is there are not enough complementary assets to a new technology. This lack makes support and management more difficult. Complementary assets are the combination of tools, resources, knowledgebase, supporting software and any other item or information that might make using that technology easier.


    You can overcome the lack of assets by training and certifying your staff, and therefore increasing the amount of available assets within your company. New technologies create an opportunity to motivate people and introduce them to new challenges. Assigning new technology to the correct people will make the project a success. Providing them with training and certification will also boost their confidence and perception of the company and, going forward, you will have a more skilled team.


    If a company has Windows XP and wants to move to Windows 7, it won't happen overnight. To get started, we analyze the current state of their technology and where they want to be, without considering specific technologies.


    Reviewing the existing network is obviously critical. We asked one client with 25,000 desktops how many applications were running. They said about 150. When we analyzed their network and did application discovery, it turn out they had about 700! Most were custom-built for small departments and many were incompatible with Windows 7. We needed to investigate other technology solutions, including virtualization.


    After we review the available technology, we put together a proposal of best-case scenarios of the technology available.


    For a Windows 7 and Office 2010 deployment, we use Microsoft's Optimized Desktop Proof-of-concept Jumpstart (http://iwsolve.partners.extranet.microsoft.com/ddps/readiness_training.asp) to get customers up and running quickly. We also rely on the Springboard Series - Technical Proof of Concept for Joint Development of Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. The Springboard Series (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/default.aspx) includes demos and tutorials.


    Please add your comment below to tell us how you manage implementing new technologies.

  • |

    Many of you have been asking us to collect our Windows Azure training and certification resources in a single place—and we’re happy to oblige.

    Just published: our new Windows Azure Training and Certification Portal, where you can review learning plans, watch snacks, find training, and prep for exams on Windows Azure. We’ll update the site as new resources become available.

    Find training resources for Windows Azure

  • |

    If you haven't already, you might want to check out the latest installment of Bytes by MSDN, Live @ DevConnections 2010.  The latest series of Bytes by MSDN features 17 influential community members and Microsoft developers,  interviewed at DevConnections 2010, talking about user-experience, the cloud, mobile, and a variety of additional topics that they are passionate about.  Check back weekly for the next installment in the series or subscribe and take it on the go!  For you IT Pros, you'll probably prefer the Bytes by TechNet series.  These interviews are only 10 - 15 min's long and contain great knowledge nuggets (tasty bites...or is it bytes?!?).  Check out the interviewee list on the RHS of the home page...you might see someone you know!

  • Manager to Manager Best Practices
    While we were at TechEd North America last June, more than 250 IT managers, IT professionals and developers stopped by our ShoutIT video booth to share their stories. Now we're sharing some of those stories with you.

    Jay Gattani discusses why his Microsoft Certification is important him both as an individual and as a manager in this Manager to Manager Best Practices Video. Watch Now.

  • Welcome back and Happy New Year! May the new year bring you success and joy!

    I hope Microsoft Certifications made it to your list of new year's resolutions and you may be browsing our certification web pages or Born to Learn for some background information. Well, now there's an app for that: 'Certifications l Learning' is a very helpful Microsoft Learning Resources App, made for Windows Phone 7. That's right, an application that helps you find and prepare for Microsoft Learning Certifications as well as Learning resources. You can find it on the Windows Marketplace today.

    What does the app do? Well, it helps you search for any Microsoft Certification exam or Microsoft Learning Plan. The app allows you to search by technology or by exam number. It will then provide all exam details, exam objectives or learning plan steps. You can locate a training center (GPS location hook coming soon:-)) and view the latest articles on Born To Learn as well.

    If you have a Windows Phone 7 device, you can install it today! The app is Free! To locate the app, search for “MCP” or 'certification' in Windows Marketplace (using the Zune software)

    For those of you without a Windows Phone device, I’ve included some screen shots. Enjoy!