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Could the end of Microsoft Dynamics SMB ERP exams be a good thing? An alternative view urges focus on other channel issues

by Jason Gumpert

Microsoft's decision to end certification exams for Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL has touched a nerve in the partner community. Veteran Dynamics professionals have voiced disappointment with the suddenness of the change, skepticism about the stated reasons, and pessimism about potential impact on customers.

But is the decision all bad? Some veterans of the SMB ERP channel have privately voiced an alternative view on the matter. The value of certifications had long since disappeared, they argue, and it may even be doing more harm than good. The question worth asking - maybe the next topic in the larger debate - is whether the certification process was already so broken that doing away with it (and perhaps starting from scratch with a brand new approach) could actually refresh the channel in some important ways.

Here are some of the contrarian arguments that have been put forth, and some rebuttals.

Point: Partner consolidation in recent years, driven in part by certification requirements, has hurt the customer experience. A lower bar for resellers could bring back higher quality boutique firms that couldn't survive before.

"The emphasis on certifications drove consolidation," one GP ISV told us.  "Now you have huge organizations that have the correct certifications, which provides cover to narrowly trained/untrained/inexperienced consultants.  Their size tends to increase specialization, so you have Implementers, Technical staff, Developers, Customer Liaisons, and so on, which tends to create an environment where no one person really understands all of GP or all of the customer's requirements."

Counterpoint: The product has moved on ...

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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