Securing Value: The HP Certified Professional Program
The integration of HP’s and Compaq’s certification programs has been completed. The integrated program has taken root, and HP has fulfilled its promise of building a certification program that provides a solid value proposition for both certified professionals, as well as the companies that employ them. Part of this value proposition is a benefit strategy that is different from other programs.
A Certificate Worth Hanging
Traditionally, most certification programs are associated with technical training and the benchmarking of skills and knowledge alone. HP’s approach is to enhance that foundation by surrounding its certified professionals with the tools, information and methodologies that enable IT professionals to do their jobs more effectively. Another way the HP Certified Professional program “gives back” is by offering certified professionals opportunities to participate in exclusive events geared toward building a technical community and a knowledge network.
The HP Certified Professional program provides significant benefits to its members. These benefits allow the individuals to be more productive in their jobs, thus providing additional career opportunities, increased earning potential and overall job security. While HP is continually investing in new tools and the techniques necessary to deliver them, the latest tool that has been deployed is a Web portal designed exclusively for HP Certified Professionals.
New Web Tool
Realizing that certified professionals had more HP data than they knew what to do with, the program office went about creating a portal that uses a team of content editors to organize and manage content in a way that certified professionals can easily access. In April 2004, HP announced the Certified Professional Connection, which provides the community of HP Certified Professionals with convenient and easy access to technical and marketing information, HP training and education opportunities, and HP Certified Professional program information. While the portal categorizes and organizes a great deal of information that is publicly available, it also provides IT professionals with a proven tool that provides access to a lot of information that is not generally found elsewhere.
Electronic Delivery of Tools and Benefits
In addition to the Certified Professional Connection, the HP Certified Professional program has completed the final stages of rolling out a new method of deploying technical tools online. The program is referred to as “electronic tool fulfillment,” and supports several options in the electronic delivery of technical tools that ultimately will include a “benefits profile.” This will allow certified professionals to opt for either electronic delivery or physical delivery of tools.
Other benefits include access to tools like SmartStart, Onsite Agent Reference Set, Parts Reference Guides and NonStop Technical Update Training, all of which are available via online download of ISO images through a new system that became available in September this year.
While it is important for HP to provide its certified professionals with a substantial benefits strategy, HP is also looking at ways to maximize their investment as a means to increase the certification program’s value. This means making sure the right individuals get certified and that test content isn’t compromised.
Getting Serious About Exam Security
HP Certified Professional is taking a serious look at test security these days. Why? Unfortunately, there are candidates who believe they can get certified the easy way: without any training, studying or work experience involved.
Essentially, these individuals either cheat by memorizing exam items verbatim or by getting answers to the questions ahead of time to help themselves to a successful testing outcome. Let’s be realistic. These individuals are cheating themselves, HP and their customers. As a result, the HP Certified Professional program has come up with a number of actions to combat test cheating and exam piracy.
What can program participants expect? For starters, HP is creating stronger policies for non-disclosure of confidential test information, testing retakes and certification revocation. By putting these policies in place, HP is sending a message to its community, making it clear that cheating won’t be tolerated.
Prior to taking an HP certification exam, the individual must accept the terms within the candidate agreement. Those individuals who disregard the terms contained within the candidate agreement take the risk of losing their certification, in addition to possible legal ramifications. Candidates can review the terms of the candidate agreement by visiting www.hp.com/go/certification/security/.
HP has also retained the services of Caveon Test Security (www.caveon.com) to:
- Comb the Internet for test brain-dump sites.
- Conduct data analysis of exam results.
- Develop strategies for minimizing program risk through better test security practices.
By widely communicating its security efforts, the HP Certified Professional program hopes to educate its program participants about these important issues. Remember, we all know that stronger, more secure exams mean better measurement of job skills and more qualified individuals selling and supporting various HP products.
Information about the HP Certified Professional suite of benefits or security policies may be obtained by sending e-mail to the Americas program office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Stevens is the security manager for the Worldwide HP Certified Professional Program. Barbara Sandro is the marketing manager for the Americas HP Certified Professional Program.
What Are People Saying About the HP Certified Professional Program?
“UNICOM is a strong advocate for the HP Certified Professional program. Our organization takes advantage of the exceptional suite of benefits that are provided to our Master ASEs. The priority technical support allows them to obtain service from HP’s highest level of support with little or no waiting. UNICOM’s value proposition in terms of technical competency and our partnership with HP gets reinforced in the eyes of our common customers. And as a manager, I know the certification program is making sure my team has the technical readiness they need to support HP solutions. It’s something that I just don’t have to worry about.”
–Al Mendes, director of solutions consulting, UNICOM
“The Master SAN Architect certification taught me an enormous amount about SAN technologies that has made me much more confident when I work in those environments. I am the only HP SAN Master ASE in my company of over 120,000 employees. This has made me even more valuable to my company. This certification has broadened the support offerings that we can engage in with our customers.”
–Steve Austin, senior system architect, Northrop Grumman IT-CSLS
“Agilysys Inc. has benefited tremendously from our commitment to the HP certification program, a comprehensive program that ensures our technical readiness to design and implement complex solutions around HP systems, storage and software. Having these credentials helps Agilysys build instant credibility with HP and our valued customers, as well as providing Agilysys one more way to differentiate ourselves as a leader in the competitive reseller market.”
–Steve Lankard, director of solution architecture, Agilysys Inc.