Provide a brief description of the Initiative.
CMS Consulting has developed custom courses focused on deployment working closely with ATS Managers at Microsoft. Courses include the Microsoft Infrastructure Boot Camp, Exchange Ignite, and Architecting Microsoft Server Virtualization Solutions with Hyper-V technology and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. • The Inspire Course is a four day course that assembles the most important information about core Microsoft infrastructure products such as Active Directory, Exchange, Windows Server, System Center, Forefront, and HyperV and ties these to real world examples and experiences gained from implementing these technologies. The Inspire course accelerates learning and adoption by focusing on the key decisions that Senior IT professionals have to make every day. This training solution increases the speed of deployment and implementation of Microsoft software by providing IT professionals responsible for building, maintaining and managing network infrastructure environments with the tools required understanding and fully leveraging Microsoft technologies. With the increased understanding and appreciation of these tools, we discovered that organizations were *81% more likely to deploy these new technologies. • The Exchange Server course is a three day, 300 level course which includes VM images, lab documents, slide modules, and additional supporting documents on this new release. The course is intended for experienced IT Professionals who are concerned about delivering messaging to the Enterprise. The course increased deployment rates by 100% and students indicated that they would consider new technologies that were not previously on the radar including Unified Access Gateway, Operations Manager, MS Load Balancing MTS, EDGE servers, and Hyper-V. • The Architecting Microsoft Server Virtualization Solutions with Hyper-V technology and System Center Virtual Machine Manager Technical Training is a two-day, instructor-led course that provides students with in-depth knowledge in planning and designing a virtualized datacenter infrastructure using Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. The course is intended for IT architects interested in designing a virtualized datacenter environment utilizing Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. Students attending this course indicated a 70% increase in the decision to deploy the new technologies into production. Additional solutions that customers are planning to deploy after taking the course that were not previously on the deployment schedule included Windows 2009 Server, Snapshot, Configuration Manager, ForeFront Server, MAP 4.0., SCCM, SCOM and DPM. Working closely with the Canadian Microsoft team, CMS tailored the unique courses to specific verticals and delivers a custom course that addresses the requirements of each particular customer group. Marketing is focused on these verticals and allows us to deliver this course to a highly specialized group of individuals and facilitate learning and exchange ideas and concepts with fellow IT professionals. Together with the Microsoft team, CMS identified a general lack of client knowledge of how specific Microsoft technologies can benefit their organization and simplify daily IT activities. By identifying the customers that were not taking full advantage new technologies or of the tools already purchased, we have been able to address the organizations that would benefit most from investments already made and implementing these. Our trainers are in-the-field senior consultants who are able to use best practices and experiences gained from actual projects to greatly enhance the training experience for students. Our custom courses can train up to 24 students at one time, reduced training time and travel expenses and are often subsidized by Microsoft to offer a very budget friendly training course.
Describe what makes this Initiative original or innovative in the application of IT to a group of customers or solution, and/or in presenting an established approach in an innovative and creative way.
Together with the Microsoft team, CMS identified key customer challenges and problems that Virtualization solutions could solve for specific customers. The training programs were then created to address these unique concerns and included a targeted focus on areas that clients could potentially gain business advantage including the ability to maximize resource utilization through server and desktop consolidation, and the provisioning of streamlined virtual environments. Clients indicated that prior to the training they had not seriously considered these new technologies, once the training was received they felt 70%+ more likely to deploy. The impact of the training on their senior IT staff helped gain confidence in both the product as well as their ability to successfully deliver the solutions. Clients now feel confident that by implementing these new IT infrastructure solutions, they can rely on lowering overall operational costs, reduced capital expenditures, and improved overall service levels for their employees.
Describe how this Initiative benefited the solution provider with improvement in interest, leads, sales, revenue, or other factors. What changed? Provide evidence of measurable improvements in leads, sales, revenues, etc.
Our virtualization training solution has grown our overall technology opportunities in both our training and consulting business areas. The training business has experienced a 50% increase in courses and student attendance. We have also found an increase in our delivery of Virtualization services. Microsoft clients are attending training and discovering new technologies and solutions that were previously not a scheduled project. In seeing and experiencing these technologies first hand in our training environment, organizations are now deciding to implement the technology. Often these organizations approach our senior consultants to assist in the scoping, planning and deployment of these additional solutions. The Microsoft team has also experienced an increase in the deployment and license sales within their target areas.
Describe how this Initiative strengthened the solution provider’s relationship with their vendor. What changed? Provide evidence of this strengthened relationship.
Our Microsoft Training solution demonstrated expertise in all of Virtualization Management, Server Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, and Application Virtualization areas by pulling together our experience gained on client projects and creating custom courses with the Microsoft team that address the key barriers identified to hinder deployment within target organizations. CMS is able to present a unique approach to training by offering courses that are delivered by senior Microsoft consultants with hands on experience in real world situations that address the key barriers to deployment. Working closely with the key Microsoft product managers and ATS’s, the program was very successful in addressing customers who could benefit from the training, ensure that the marketing message was geared to these customers and in turn drive deployment. We have been able to use client references and feedback forms, Microsoft team feedback and joint customer press releases to show a direct connection between training and increased software deployment/implementation to help Microsoft attain goals of software deployment and sales. • Key questions on our feedback survey include: • What was the most useful to you – most common answer – introduction to new Microsoft products. • Did this training provide you with the appropriate level of information to move forward with your deployment – 95% respondents answered yes • As a result of this training, I am more likely to deploy additional Microsoft infrastructure? On average, 95% of students replied yes with SCCM/SCOM and Exchange as top contenders. • Specific course results include; The Inspire course has resulted in an 81% increase in the deployment of additional Microsoft Infrastructure technologies, and an 86% increase in Microsoft Infrastructure knowledge and skills. Clients also indicated that due to the training received, clients are looking to implement additional technologies that were not previously on the deployment schedule including Direct Access, Exchange, ForeFront Server and more. The Exchange Ignite course has resulted in a 100% student rating of being more likely to deploy Exchange. 73% of the students would recommend the solution to colleagues, and as a result of the training students are looking at new solutions that were previously not part of deployment plans including Unified Access Gateway, Operations Manager, MS Load Balancing MTS, EDGE Servers, and Hyper-V. The Architecting Microsoft Server Virtualization Solutions with Hyper-V technology and System Center Virtual Machine Manager course has yielded results such as a 70% increase in the decision to deploy the technology in production after the course. Additional solutions that customers are planning to deploy after taking the course included Windows 2009 Server, Snapshot, Configuration Manager, ForeFront Server, MAP 4.0., SCCM, SCOM and DPM.
In what ways did this Initiative go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
Our solution has helped clients in various industries improve their IT environment by deploying and optimizing Microsoft technologies including; Exchange Server 2010 which has helped clients enhance the information worker experience as well as making administration easier. Clients are better able to take advantage of key new features include email archiving, more powerful retention policies, automated rights management email protection, easier inbox navigation, enhanced voice mail capabilities and calendar sharing capabilities with people outside their organization for better collaboration. Our students were also introduced to the new single platform for high availability and disaster recovery, role-based administration and user self-service. Options such as running the technology on premise or in a hosted environment were reviewed. Students were experienced IT Professionals who are concerned about delivering messaging to the Enterprise and at the completion of the course, these professionals were able to articulate the core scenarios and architectural requirements for Exchange Server 2010, successfully install and deploy an Exchange Server 2010 Server and fully understand integration of Exchange Server 2010 with other applications. Students of our Architecting Microsoft Server Virtualization Solutions with Hyper-V technology and System Center Virtual Machine Manager Technical courses were given in-depth knowledge in planning and designing a virtualized datacenter infrastructure using Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. The course is focused on IT architects interested in designing a virtualized datacenter environment utilizing Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. Once completed, students were able to design a server virtualization strategy, including planning for virtualization server workload capacities, licensing, and management. Install Server Core and MAP 4.0. Successfully design a Server Virtualization Infrastructure with Hyper-V, develop a Virtualization Infrastructure Management Framework with System Center Suite, export and import virtual machines using SCVMM and much more. This knowledge helped clients deploy more smoothly and Students in our Inspire course were given an in-dept overview of the core Microsoft Infrastructure products including Active Directory, Exchange, Windows Server, System Center, Hyper-V and Forefront. This course accelerates learning and adoption by focusing on the key decisions that these senior IT professionals have to make each day. Best practices are identified along with those ‘gotchas’ that are too often learned the hard way. All sessions are delivered by a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner consultant and include a minimum of 70 percent real-world demonstrations. The sessions also follow a student guide designed to provide all of the material presented throughout the four days and is directed at IT generalists, infrastructure specialists, decision makers and general consultants.