Association Releases Telecom Credential

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The bond between telecommunications and information technology is getting stronger day by day with emerging trends such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and technology integration. Thus, it seems logical that the Association of Telecom Management Professionals (AOTMP) would include IT/IS managers to be among top candidates for its Certified Telecom Management Specialist credential, said Jim Lybrook, executive director of AOTMP.


“We’re finding the responsibilities that we certify people on are falling more and more to the technology side of things than to telecom departments,” he said. “(Telecom and technology) are becoming one and the same. More and more technology people are becoming responsible for telecom, and the voice portion of telecom is becoming more integrated with technology every day. We think it’s critical for people on what has traditionally been known as the technology side to understand the telecom side as well. VoIP is a perfect example of it all coming together.”


Experts at AOTMP, which has been in the telecom cost and information management business for about 15 years and dealt with about 5,000 different telecom environments, recently realized that while there were certifications around the technical side of telecommunications, there were no programs dealing with administration. “Customers continually told us that there were no standard processes, no standard procedures, no standard methodologies and no standard best practices in telecom management,” Lybrook said. “Another thing we continued to hear is that there were certifications for everything under the sun, but there were no certification programs for telecom management professionals.”


Accordingly, three months ago, the organization launched the Certified Telecom Management Specialist program, designed to teach and validate the skills and knowledge required to successfully conduct inventory, negotiate contracts, validate invoices and manage budgets. The AOTMP training and certification process takes place at boot camps held in Indianapolis, Buffalo, N.Y., Tampa Bay, Fla., and Las Vegas, with other locations to be added next year, Lybrook said.


“It is a hands-on (program) to get everybody to understand the concepts behind what we teach them,” he said of the boot camps, which last five days and are held six times per year. “It’s not a lecture type of class. We actually take sample contracts and sample invoices, and we create real-life scenarios for the people to work through”


Lybrook added that AOTMP had planned to roll out the certification program in separate two- or three-day modules, but “the customers said, ‘No, if we’re going to do a certification, we’d just as soon knock it out in a week.’ The main reason for it, from a customer’s perspective, is if they’re going to be out of the office, they’d just as soon be out of the office for five days and get it knocked out, rather than have to make a couple of different trips somewhere or do it over the course of a year. They’d rather just do it and get it over with.”


AOTMP is planning to expand its credential curriculum sometime during the first quarter of next year, Lybrook said. The organization will be rolling out two additional certification levels–expert and basic phases–some time during the first quarter. The Certified Telecom Management Specialist will then become the mid-level credential of the three. AOTMP also plans to release an organizational telecom certification, in the same vein as ISO 9000.

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