Organizations develop certification programs when they want to create preference in the marketplace for certain types of people or technology. Certification validates the efforts of people who have invested their time and energy to learn how to implement a certain standard or best practice. And certifications are a very powerful tool for driving market adoption of a standard or skill set.
But how do organizations — including for-profit companies, nonprofit consortia and others — determine that they need a certification program in the first place? Moreover, what factors should an organization consider before putting a certification program together?
There are a number of considerations an organization should undertake before setting up a certification program. The chief ones are the program’s foundation, scale, legal issues, pricing and the need to anticipate problems before they appear.
• Foundation: Building a strong foundation is crucial because, by their nature, certifications are intended to alter the way people buy and sell goods and services, so a solid sense of the program’s goal must be present from the beginning. The foundation should establish the standard competence level.
• Scale: When setting up a certification program, an organization should expect to interact with an entirely new set of customers and, if it’s a consortium, perform an entirely different set of services. The organization will be opening itself up to the possibility of interacting with anyone who wants to be in its marketplace, not just its existing members. Therefore, it must consider and anticipate the…
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