You think we don’t but we really really do…


 


… listen (and care)


Hi! My name is Chris Pirie, and I lead the MSL Global Sales and Marketing team, the MCTs who read this blog will also know that I just spent three years running the MSL product development team – ie the team that builds our MOC, Microsoft Press, certification, and elearning products. We are really excited by the growth in our business worldwide, and the innovation we are bringing to market including a whole new generation of MOC courseware, digital reference books, eLearning, live online classes (MODL), and soon to the world of technical certification. 


As the director of sales, you can imagine that I am very invested in your satisfaction with our program. I would not have supported a move to one exam provider—or one particular provider—if I felt that you would not, in the long run, be happy with the result. I believe you will. In the meantime, your comments on Trika’s earlier post make it evident that not all of you share that opinion… Some of your responses were expected, some of them are disappointing—but in any case I respect your opinions, and I want to ensure you that we take them seriously, but I also would ask you to take some time understand our objectives.


We are in the midst of the greatest product launch wave in Microsoft’s history and businesses and people are hungry for knowledge and skills on a massive range of new technology from Office 2007 through Silverlight to Windows Server 2008.  The Microsoft learning team is investing heavily in building a broad range of great content and partnerships to help people get skilled up. We also know that certification work as a powerful endorsement of an individuals skills, over the last ten years millions of individuals have leveraged our certification programs to validate their skills and knowledge and move their careers forward. I feel a deep personal responsibility that individuals who invest time, money and effort in achieving certification have a best in class experience, and should be able to feel really great about what that certification means. I also have a professional responsibility to make sure that Microsoft certifications are broadly available, are a reliable indicator of abilities, and offer the very best customer experience.


Wait a minute, I hear you cry, how does taking choice away improve my customer experience? – The answer is that in the medium term a single vendor will allow us to innovate quickly and drive excellence in the customer experience – We must for example, address security issues, get exams into market more quickly, include performance based testing and emulations, offer worldwide coverage,  radically enhance the perception of the value of certification, and invest in a preparation and benefits program that is peerless in the industry. We believe that we can achieve all of this faster with a single delivery provide and focus our and their energies 100% on these objectives.


But I also want to reinforce that we are getting your feedback—good and bad—and as always, taking it seriously. As Trika said, all feedback from msledp@microsoft.com, comments in the newsgroups and on this blog, comments from discussions with our trainer community and face to face at July’s Worldwide Partner Conference; all of these are being documented and addressed as we work daily of the business transition.


 


Prometric will be our partner in certification over the next few years.  They are being held to very high standards and expectations.   To ensure accountability and success in this effort, Prometric is making major investments in key areas that will be important to customer satisfaction, program development, testing innovations and test center coverage.   Prometric will work with Microsoft to create strategies and programs that improve the candidate experience exams incentive and test preparation tools and some world class innovation in testing.  You can find more information in the following links below. 


 


·         For recent updates, please go to the Frequently Asked Questions document FAQ  


This document will be updated regularly so please check frequently.


·         To subscribe to regular updates from Prometric, please register here:  Subscribe Now


·         If you have a specific question not covered in the FAQ, you will receive a personalized answer by sending to:  msledp@microsoft.com


·         For partners:  to sign up with Prometric right now, go to:   Sign Up


 


I believe we can move quickly on an agenda of world class customer experience and I know I can rely on you to keep the feedback coming through the transition and as you see us roll out the benefits and innovation that this focus will deliver. Again thanks for your passion and enthusiasm for Microsoft and Microsoft certifications, I want to make this program the very best in the world, and your feedback will help us do that.


 


Chris Pirie


Comments (43)

  1. Andy says:

    MCTs Rule!

  2. hartplaza says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your article, I read it with great care.

    It all sounds very good, including the FAQ you pointing to. I am willing to give Prometric (and MSL) the benefit of the doubt, and give you guys the change to proof you all made the right decision,….. as soon as they fullfil one point out of the faq, the global coverage,…… I gues I can live with a little disadvantage, but not with traveling have our country to a testing facility…

    so, as soon as Prometric gets better global coverage (near mine area) I will (have to) start testing with Prometric, and we will sea how it turns out.

  3. Robert Frey says:

    I will have the same issue, there is not a testing area within convenient travel distance, where as Vue has had coverage wherever I have been.  Hopefully I can finish my next 3 tests before the end of August so I can achieve another certification before I will not be able to do any more testing.

  4. Alice says:

    Hopefully "Prometric is making major investments in key areas that will be important to customer satisfaction" means that their user-unfriendly website will be improved soon.

  5. Niall M says:

    We have one Prometric site in Dublin whereas we had more than 5 VUE.. I hope that they will expand otherwise the waiting times to do exams will be horrible. The new certifications will be gone by the time we get to exam!

    Hopefully Prometric will pull the finger out and invest in getting centres into countries and getting the coverage required otherwise there will be very few MCPs certified in the comming year

  6. Jay says:

    I just don’t see Prometric being able to keep up with demand in any reasonable fashion, not within the next few months. They’ve already had a horrible track record, how is promising to make "major investments in key areas" going to change the fact that they are a sub-par exam provider?

    Still, a horrible decision in my part, but that seems to be par for the course for MSL over the past few years.

  7. Chance says:

    So, by "in the medium term", you’re implying that it’s going to take Prometric a while to heal the relationships they’ve seemingly damaged heavily over the years by some unreasonable practices?  Here’s a few suggestions on this (and yes, they are nice 🙂 :

    1.  Reach out to those sites that have been testing centers in the past.  If they had a bad record, put them on a lengthy probationary period of, say, a year.  Maybe they’ve changed their own practices in light of those issues.

    2.  Target those educational institutions that are already Vue sites.  If they are willing to distribute MS exams through Prometric as well as current offerings through Vue, they will be doing themselves a favor in the long run.  This is especially true with mid-size to large community colleges that offer programs centered around Windows-based systems.

    3.  GREATLY improve the customer experience.  Have staff that are knowledgeable on the testing software and caring customer relations folks.  It’s easier to enjoy taking a test when you know that if something goes wrong in the middle of an exam (happened to me the other day and it was fixed in 5 minutes thanks to the proctor and the tech guy at Vue!) and it can be resolved quickly.

    Also, Chris, you mentioned the "medium term".  What is the fix for the short term (from 1 September to whenever the "medium term" begins)?  Local testing centers are going to be hit hard by the drop in traffic and if individuals have to travel greater distances during the recruiting period, candidates are going to be less inclined to take an exam even if they are ready.  While the whole "testing center within 30 miles" thing is great, it will definitely take a while to get there.  600 major markets in 30 countries is ambitious, but what about the smaller communities?  While this isn’t a huge issue for me personally (There are other sites to go to, but I’d have to take more time off from work than I already do just to take an exam), I think there needs to be a little more thought given to the transition process to allow more time for Prometric to do this right if it’s going to be done at all.

    One thing I’ve always learned is never believe the hype until you see it happen.  It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how this sole EDP proposition unfolds.  

    It’s a pity that MSL partnered with an organization that has to fast-track updates and upgrades to staff and technology to get ready for this.  I still think Vue would have been a better choice.

  8. Bob G. says:

    Bitch, bitch, bitch. That’s all you people can ever do.

  9. Lee says:

    Well, good to see someone has put their head above the parapet to justify the decision.

    If you put all the NLP and subliminal marketing babble to one side, this seems to be Chris just trying to reinforce the decision that has been made, whilst dis-regarding the majority of views and opinions vented on this subject previously.

    To my mind if you were in the middle of the greastest product launch wave you’d ever encountered, you’d want to rest easy knowing that the technicians and engineers, looking to upgrade their certs, would have the best possible testing experience available. Not annoy them by changing everything.

    This choice was made for you (MSL), by the majority of people deciding to test with VUE. Because the experience is better! No brainer.

    I’d be interested Chris, in knowing what your experience of taking MS technical exams has been like?

    Sadly, this whole fiasco is another example of MS’s inability to listen, and just plough on, dis-regarding it’s customers. Bump’in and thump’in is all well and good, but when the collective voice is yelling at you, informing you you’ve made the wrong decision, then you better watch out.

    This is horrendously negative, but we should look on the bright side, when people stop taking exams and getting certified on MS technologies (for whatever reason: Distance to test centre, poor test experience, bad customer support) market rates will go up. And hey, more money in the pocket is never a bad thing is it, Prometric, Microsoft?

  10. Peter Read says:

    I’ve never had dealings with Prometric, so I’ll reserve judgement.  But VUE have always been fantastic in my opinion.  I still can’t get my head around MS not deciding to get Prometric to do the tech ed on site exams if they’re really as good as VUE….

  11. Jonathan says:

    My God Chris! Can you not read our overwhelming response to this move; we aren’t posting this stuff because we are bored. At least have the respect to acknowledge our position and consider it, instead of the canned corporate response “we are doing this and it will add value blaa blaa” — whatever

    If you truly care – reconsider the move to Prometric, fix whatever problems you have with Vue and make your customer base happy. That would prove you care. Right now your words are empty.

  12. jbramwell says:

    All I can say is "WOW"!  You’d think with such overwhelming response, that a company would stand up an notice their own customer’s requests.  It will be interesting to watch this one play out over the next year or two and see how it not only affects the number of Microsoft MCPs but Microsoft’s relation with their customers as well.

  13. Chris Pirie posted this an article on Trika’s blog today called You think we don’t but we really really

  14. Mike says:

    Thanks for posting Chris, but unfortunately you didn’t really give us any new information or really directly address any of our concerns.

    I guess no matter what we, as customers, say or ask for in regards to this change we’re simply stuck with it and forced to go along for the ride.

  15. Bob G. says:

    Someone who finally gets it!

  16. Pedmil says:

    Call the ghostbusters.

    I really thought that Microsoft would like to improve on exams Reliability.

    As far as I can see the strategy is cutting on the number of Certified technician, maybe this way the customers (companies) may think that is being harder to get certification and the guys that are certified are really good technical force.

    The way I see it the solution Microsoft got, to cut on certified people is to make it difficult to get to the testing center, and deteriorate testing experience.

    I’ve done 9 exams with prometric (my first 9 exams) and then changed to VUE took more 7 exams (3 of these were BETA) all successful, thank goodness since left Prometric I’m not a braindumps guy anymore because my testing experience improved a lot not only in quality of the testing room but also in sympathy and more important reliability.

    Please take your conclusions. Thanks Chris for listening …

  17. Chance says:

    While I do still stand by my earlier comments, the time I had to post earlier was relatively short.  I would like to add some additional commentary on this response from MSL:

    >>I feel a deep personal responsibility that individuals who invest time, money and effort in achieving certification have a best in class experience, and should be able to feel really great about what that certification means.

    If you feel a "deep personal responsibility" to those of us who take the time to certify and subsequently learn the new technology, then why outwardly endorse a decision that most, if not all, of the community were not made aware of until it was apparently a done deal?  

    >> I also have a professional responsibility to make sure that Microsoft certifications are broadly available, are a reliable indicator of abilities, and offer the very best customer experience.

    Then apparently you are failing in that responsibility.  By eliminating the EDP with the with the widest availability world-wide, you are eliminating the "broadly available" piece.  By eliminating Vue as an EDP, you are eliminating the provider that almost every one of us has had the best experience with.

    >>  Wait a minute, I hear you cry, how does taking choice away improve my customer experience? – The answer is that in the medium term a single vendor will allow us to innovate quickly and drive excellence in the customer experience

    On what terms?  What MSL is doing by this decision is frustrating those who have spent years happily spending their hard earned money (or their company’s money as the case may be) to invest in themsevles and their careers by certifying their skills.  Are we expected to believe that the short term headaches are going to actually provide a return or are we expected to deal with the inconveniece of having to take time off of work to take an exam only to be told that there are technical difficulties that prevent us from taking an exam?  I can guarantee you that were that to happen with any real frequency, it would rapidly deplete the pool of candidates willing to endure that frustration for long.

    >> We must for example, address security issues, get exams into market more quickly, include performance based testing and emulations, offer worldwide coverage,  radically enhance the perception of the value of certification, and invest in a preparation and benefits program that is peerless in the industry.

    While I do agree that there are issues that need to be addressed, a majority of these issues do not fall on the community.  

    -addressing security:  This is an issue for the EDPs to address and I believe that Vue is making better progress in China and India on this.

    -getting exams to market:  What have you learned from the Vista exam debacle?  MSL historically rushes exams to market before product information tested on is fully developed?  Where’s the logic in that?  Evaluate and verify the exam content and release the exam no earlier than 90 days after the product goes RTM.

    -include performance based testing and emulations

    I’ve been saying all ong that this will go a long way in weeding out the "paper MCSEs".  I really do believe that this needs to be implemented as a sort of capstone exercise for the MCSE, MCITP:EA and SA, and MCA.  There are other possibilities for the developer certs as well.

    -offer worldwide coverage

    See previous comments about removing Vue.  I still say keep the EDP with better quality and wider availability..and that would be Vue.

    -radically enhance the perception of the value of certification

    Then present these ideas in a clearer way for HR folks.  After all, a majority of the time it’s HR staffers that are reviewing resumes anyway.

    -invest in a preparation and benefits program that is peerless in the industry.

    There’s so much that free out there.  Why not give an MCP more?  If they attain a certification, then provide encouragement for higher level certs.  How?  Provide more than just a certificate to hang on a wall.  For example, provide complimentary first year Technet direct subscriptions as a reward for attaining a higher level cert such as MCSE or Visual Studio packages for certificed developers.  

    >> We believe that we can achieve all of this faster with a single delivery provide and focus our and their energies 100% on these objectives.

    Then you should have chosen Vue.

    As I stated earlier, Prometric is having to fast-track infrastructure upgrades and bring people in to help move this along quickly.  Realisticly, this is going to delay alot of the implementation of requirements that Microsoft will require.  I still say that IF this push to Prometric is going to succeed, then the implentation should be staged and not just given a short-range end date.  

  18. The Bertie Bowl says:

    To Niall M of Dublin there are more than 1 Prometric testing centers in Dublin but you can’t find the other 4 on Prometrics website you have to visit CompTIA’s website to list the other 4 centers! Have to laugh at Microsoft when they think Prometric are more competent than VUE! Prometric can’t even get their own website in order let alone anything else.

  19. Alex says:

    One reason for so fulish decision is obviouse.

    Microsoft enterprise development tools is far behind JAVA. VUE site built in JAVA technology is much more faster and reliable than Prometric site built in Microsoft. So you can see the result. "My relatives are more close for me, even…"

  20. Stephen Rea says:

    The problem is simple. This is lip service after the fact. I’ve seen it before (too many times to count). You only say you listen to us after you change something and remind us how much you listen and care about our ideas and thoughts on topic.

    I’m tired really. Do what you want. It is after all not my company, nor my concern for that matter. I told Lutz how I felt and I got a semi-sorted reply, but again it is all done postmortem. You have seen all the comments her, but truth be told it isn’t just the MCP, MCT, or the MVP community that is wholly upset about this. The WPC came and went and I know both MSL and Prometric heard a mouthful about the incumbent decision. I see some irony in all of this though, and I don’t think I need to go into it again, but I will ask a simple favor of you. Don’t tell us you care and don’t tell me you listen to any of us when you choose to only do things like this after the fact. I think a lot of that I’ve seen is the direct result of Martin and Lutz following each other around from company to company with little more than destruction in their respective paths. I think I’m rather tired of both of them at the moment, as I assume I will be of you soon.  I don’t know you Chris, so I will not make any singular comments about you.

    .rev

    Microsoft Certified Trainer

  21. Wesc says:

    Wow. I think VUE is superior as well, but the venom I’m reading is strange and unexpected. I suppose the only thing that could possibly sooth these people is… nudie pics.

    No, VS is far behind exactly no one in the enterprise dev. space, and MS has no reason to make a change like this because of a single web site using Java. There’s a reason, but that’s not it.

    We don’t have enough data to know whether it was a good decision yet. Perhaps VUE was unable to make the investments necessary to align with MSL’s goals. Perhaps it would have affected a large number of test centers, and the economics didn’t pan out. Perhaps Prometric showed an eagerness and commitment to go the extra mile in delivering everything that MS wanted, how they wanted it, and by when. Speculation is pointless, and actual *anger* in the face of incomplete information seems odd.

  22. For those of you interested, I emailed Prometric and have some results on recent issues, such as Test Center Location and Customer Care.

    See Prometric Cares: http://blog.certguard.com

  23. MCP says:

    Who is Chris and why is he pretending to be Trika posting on her blog…or is Trika really Chris and there’s something ELSE Microsoft isn’t telling us.  Come on.  Stop feeding us crap and expect us to tell you it tastes good.

  24. Chance says:

    The answers from Prometric are canned and straight from the FAQ.  

    (holy cow!! a short answer from me this time!!!)

  25. Bob G. says:

    Thursday, July 26, 2007 4:51 PM Robert Williams muttered:

    "For those of you interested, I emailed Prometric and have some results on recent issues, such as Test Center Location and Customer Care.

    See Prometric Cares:"

    Post it here dude. Attempting to drive traffic to your web site from here is lame.

  26. Bob G. says:

    You people finally understand what the crap is you’ve been eating.

  27. Catwalker says:

    I’m sorry.  All I heard was "Blah, blah, blah, I’m a dirty tramp."

    $1 to one of my favorite MCPs

  28. Catwalker says:

    I agree whole heartedly with Lee, .rev, and Chance.  This  is all words and no substance.  We think you don’t care because you demonstrate time, and time again that you don’t.  We have evidence.  This decision just piles it on.  I will remain with my decision not to take any further MS certs.  There has been nothing in it for me so far and it looks like it just gets worse from here.  

  29. MCSE says:

    Nice try chris…that was such a lame speech..maybe you should try jazzing it up !!! you guys dont care about us…

  30. Gerry says:

    I’m really happy as a MCT that I get the chance to move my career away from MS to Cisco.  What I have seen of new course materials and exambehavior is really leaving us in the cold outside!

  31. Gerry says:

    I’m really happy as a MCT that I get the chance to move my career away from MS to Cisco.  What I have seen of new course materials and exambehavior is really leaving us in the cold outside!

  32. Aaron says:

    For me it’s a simple matter of availabilty.  The nearest Prometric center to ME is on the other side of Nashville while a VUE center is about 5 minutes from work.  Not a huge deal, but driving through Nashville is always a pain.

    Well, that on top of the fact that the Prometric center is an absolute dump… one where my machine has actually locked up during a test before.

    I can’t say I understand or approve of the decision to "broaden" the experience by eliminating half the centers, but I’ll accept it and deal with it because… Hey, what choice do I have.

  33. John T Bradley says:

    I am an independent MCT since ’95 and former ATEC/CTEC Manager.

    Training centers and Academic Institutions that are currently offering Microsoft classes and have a VUE test center onsite will most likely have little choice but to open a Prometric test center now. While this will take some time, I suspect that the number of Prometric sites will increase rather quickly in the coming 6 months worldwide. The CTEC I managed was both a VUE and Prometric Test center. Since Cisco is going with VUE, those training vendors offering both Cisco and Microsoft training will most likely maintain both.

    We have to recognize that Microsoft had a bid process and that VUE lost. We in the public will never really know all the decisions that led to Microsoft’s choice to select Prometric over VUE. It sounds to me that Prometric’s proposal/bid was more convincing than VUE’s and others testing companies.

    The lurkers and participants to this blog are avid Microsoft junkies, who have VALUABLE and in-depth knowledge of the VUE, Prometric, Certification, Training, and technologies that Microsoft – and its competitors, develop. I can only hope that Microsoft’s MSL team has felt some sort of pressure from – at a minimum – the MCT community that there are serious challenges that Prometric has to overcome in the next few years to win approval and support from the MCT community and the academic and commercial training channels overall.

    I do believe that MCTs (independent and staff) are on the front lines of promoting Microsoft Technologies. When they are happy and enthusiastic, they act as a powerful force to recommend more training, certification, etc – which, in turn, helps to shape the I.T. folks getting trained and/or certified . The students turn into “Microsoft disciples” of a sort, which, in turn, helps to build Microsoft customer base (from individuals to corporate to government, etc) as these “trained /certified folks” are able to recommend and purchase Microsoft technologies in “the real world”. After all, while Microsoft is a large corporation with many channels and ways of making money, the primary cash flow is from the sale of its software, right? And the main purpose of the training and certification divisions of Microsoft is to ensure – from a marketing point of view – that they can build brand loyalty for their products.

    I believe that Microsoft has benefitted from the training channel’s feedback. The feedback has been a valuable resource for promoting reasonable suggestions "from the field" or “from the frontlines”.  The feedback from the training channel/MCT community should be taken seriously on this issue.  Just as Metrics That Matter have acted on suggestions from the field, Prometric should be given the ability to use browse the MCT newsgroups to read feedback from the MCT community to understand where they need to improve. Either that, or comments should be collected and forwarded to Prometric officials.

    What should worry the MSL and Certification teams is that Microsoft seems to be undertaking a radical change in their certification marketing. After a very successful campaign (lasting over a decade) to build up brand-identity with the letters "MCSE" and "MCP", Microsoft changed the model – and essentially will try to undergo a radical change in the "I.T. world’s psyche" to now suggest "MCTS" and "MCITP" as the new premier certifications to prove oneself in Microsoft “Network Administration” technology.  I understood adding low level and mid level certs like "MCDST" and "MCSA" (as it seems as if this is the trend – just look at Cisco with their recent additions of low and mid lever certs). I also understand that the addition of the MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect) certification is a natural fit (and follows other vendors – Novell ECNE/Master CNE, Cisco CCIE) – although the MCA needs more marketing, IMHO, to catch on. But, forgoing the "industry-standard" MCSE designation starting with Windows 2008 and beyond is puzzling.  

    Now, Microsoft decides to go with a single exam vendor. Perhaps it made sense to single-source curriculum book printing/distributing. But, limiting customer choice and test center availability worldwide seems at odds with the mission of promoting certifications and testing – no matter if they chose VUE or Prometric or another. To have that single exam provider be Prometric over VUE – sheesh! Purely from a customer satisfaction point of view, from the hundreds of students and customers I have had and from personal experience with both vendors as a “test taker”, it is hard to reconcile this choice.

    Not knowing all the reasons, one can only surmise that were some major financial and structural changes that Prometric was willing to work with Microsoft on to provide Microsoft future rollouts of certification tests. Perhaps Microsoft will be moving towards the “performance-based/simulation” exams that Cisco regularly employs and that Novell had with their old “Service and Support” exams? I wonder if Prometric committed to developing test engines to support such types of these tests?  Or, perhaps Microsoft identified a security problem with the test engines with VUE? Maybe Troytec was a VUE test center? (Only guessing).

    In any event, I can only hope that Microsoft and Prometric will be working together to improve some of the core complaints that have arisen from the training channel:

    1. Removing barriers to becoming a Prometric Test Site (such as the Prometric minimum commitments for numbers of tests given/month).

    2. Encouraging VUE sites to switch (I understand this is already occurring).

    3. Finding out ways to improve customer service. (Further training call center folks, providing real escalation paths – other than having “Ken Rosen Fix Everything”.

    4. Working on enabling same-day testing. (If I recall, Prometric did do this at one time. The test center just needed to perform another download of test data).

    5. Figuring out a way to emulate the ease of use of the VUE website for being able to look up history, book exams, locate test centers, etc.

    A flip suggestion would be to suggest that Prometric buy the Pearson VUE division outright from Pearson to merge the best from both companies. But, I think if MSL and Prometric can work on improving the core complaints – it just might work. Whether it does work or not – we basically have NO choice but to accept the situation.

  34. AdamV says:

    I agree with Aaron, the Prometric centre I use have to do some work to make this a reliable and equitable experience.

    Exam 1: two or three lockups, had to go get help twice to log me back in

    Exam 2: about 6 or more lockups. After the second one (still only about ten minutes in at this point) they gave me the password so I could log myself back in

    Exam 3: They had my name on a printed sheet but I did not appear on screen to even start. Eventually started exam nearly an hour late, which put me under more pressure as I had a fixed finish time when I had to leave (and had planned on this basis). Machine only froze a little bit this time and came back of it’s own accord (this time it seemed related to viewing exhibits).

    Why do I use this centre? It’s in a good location and they advertise plenty of time slots. The other centre about the same distance away do not show many time slots and basically discourage anyone taking exams who have not trained with them. Their loss.

    By contrast, to take my MOS master I had a great experience with Certiport, a proctor in the room at all times in case of problems (there were none though) and thoroughly enjoyed  doing four exams back to back.

  35. Erwin Blonk says:

    My experience with Prometric (and predecessors):

    First exam in 1993. Did a load of them since with no problem whatsoever. Over the last year I ran into problems three times (exams aborted, once before starting them, once just after the start and once 3/4 through the exam). Initially it wasn´t solved in a satisfactory manner. I responded to a mail announcing the move to Prometric, replied with what happened and how I fell about it and a few days later Prometric called me, heard me and made up.

    It happened on the same site (where I did 90% of my exams) and I have used other sites since.

    So, how I feel about it now? I have no problems, I just want to do my exams with as little add-ons around it as possible. Overall I´m OK with Prometric but the bare statement that one provider is better than two or more doesn´t hold water. Any company, except for the very smallest, should be able to work with multiple providers easily and more effectively than with one.

  36. Kevin Tunis says:

    Chris, we are a Microsoft Certified Partner and one of the requirements is to have so many MCP’s per competency. Problem is that every center we have checked into in this area say’s that it is a testing center for VUE or Prometric. Now the other issue, we can find training in other locations but we are looking at several hours driving time 8 – 12 hours one way. I had talked to Vue about becoming a corporate training center for our company but this has been slow in response. We are trying everything we can to have our people Microsoft Certified; it is just difficult since we are in such a remote area – it would be nice if they could do this virtually. Chris, any suggestions on how we can get our people certified without them driving 8 – 12 hours, spending more money on hotels and taking time away from our business?

  37. Kevin Tunis says:

    Chris, I probably ought to clarify that second sentence.   “Problem is that every center we have checked into in this area say’s that it is a testing center for VUE or Prometric.” That is they say that they are a testing center – their listed as testing centers, but they really do not have anyone to test people at these locations.

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  39. Chris Pirie says:

    Hello. Thanks for your many comments to my last post…. Jonathan said “…we aren’t posting this stuff because we are bored. At least have the respect to acknowledge our position and consider it…”

    I have to say, I’m not posting here or reading your comments because I’m bored, either. I’m doing it because I do respect your position and I want to know what you think. I didn’t expect to post something here and suddenly change your mind – only time and good experiences will do that. We have a program of 2 million people around the world; not everything we do is going to work for everyone. But we stand by this decision, and I stand by your right to disagree, or (Gerry, Catwalker) to walk away. I hope that won’t happen, but I understand that it could.

    I’m not able to post here more than once a week, but I read every day and pass comments on to the transition team, overall I’m very pleased that feedback is ‘for the most part’ constructive. – Key issues are relayed daily to the team who are busy signing up new centers worldwide – you should know that the team is in process of onboarding for over 2,000 sites worldwide, which should make a massive impact on the ‘local availabilit comments, but of course you have many other valid points.

    As John points out, we had a bid/proposal process and I can’t give you details of that. I also know many of you would have liked to provide feedback early on. Customer sat was part of our decision making process; but we could not for confidentiality reaons do the open request for customer feedback that I think you would have liked to see.

    JBramwell, Jonathan, Lee, we do take notice and we do hear that not all of our customers agree. And, yes, of course I am here to reinforce this decision. We made this with careful consideration and confidence that, for the long term and for most (if not all) of our customers, it is the right decision. Tell us, after the decision goes in to practice, if we made the wrong move. I don’t think that will be the case.

    Hartplaza, Alice, Niall, Robert, ChanceX5: Thank you for the constructive comments. I think we will deliver.

    Chance, a lot of your comments reach beyond just this decision to our cert marketing and MCP program. A different discussion, but great points. I know you have strong feelings about the EDP discussion. If you’d like to talk, send your number and I’ll phone you.

    Adam, Erwin, Aaron, others who have concerns about exam delivery at Prometric: please send those to msledp@microsoft.com so we can prioritize appropriately.

    Trika’s posting on August 2nd

    http://blogs.msdn.com/trika/archive/2007/08/02/ok-what-now.aspx

    Does a good job of responding to other specific concerns, but in addition your feedback to my post have helped us focus on the following issues as we move forward;

    1. Removing barriers to becoming a Prometric Test Site (such as the Prometric minimum commitments for numbers of tests given/month) ultimately a Prometric decision but we’ll seek to infulence.

    2. Encouraging VUE sites to add prometric testing – started and ongoing.

    3. Finding out ways to improve customer service. (Further training call center folks, providing real escalation paths – other than having “Ken Rosen Fix Everything”.

    4. Working on enabling same-day testing at more Prometric sites

    5. Figuring out a way to emulate the ease of use of the VUE website for being able to look up history, book exams, locate test centers, etc.

    These are just part of a multi year campaign we have launched to promote the value of certification and to improve customer experience aropund all aspects of the program including test taking, benefits, test security, and market awareness. Stay tuned to hear more as wel roll these out.

    As always thanks for your passion and engagement.

    Regards,

    Chris

    Chris Pirie, Microsoft Learning

  40. Flair says:

    No – I don’t think that you really understand – we are no more interested in decisions like: "eat or die"

    We are interested well minded people who can think, speak and read. We are not interested in "oh sorry – confidential"

    we like transparent decisions (as I provide my customers with an open mind – no surprises, no scared) maybe your company is surprised about the strong replies about your decision maybe you tell us "we hear" but go away … not at all we can understand your position when you let us stay with no or little information – should we think about presents for decision makers given from Prometric?! (original said by a representative of a huge company)

    I’ll give you a chance of course, but no more surprises – communication is still bad and not centralized! (all this kind of blogs – ok -might be a good idea but why not linked from mcp.ms.com/mct?) Why not a full focused clear streamline of onging decisions (no marketing-bla) on the secure MCT-Site at all?

    Why not open communication or special newsletter trough mct/mcp-channel???

    So we have only "bla" or angry peers. Testing expirience with VUE was great and Prometric should build a better website at the very first – count the clicks from start to locate a favorite test center – horrible.

  41. Spirou says:

    I fear the Moment that I first have to find and use a Prometric Testing Center.

    VUE I could just call, even hours before starting the exam and it would work out fine.

    No way to understand why an OBVIOUSLY WORSE "Testing Experience" is chosen over one that just did a perfect job. Quality was not the point. But what was ist Then..

  42. Ben says:

    Well, Prometric is…..interesting experience:) on the one site they are really doing great job, being the only MS exam vendor, however on the other they can really be pain in the a… if you know what I mean:) My experience with them is quite huge and I can say that Vue would be the better choice..