Certifications, How To Use Them In Your Buying Process

"Marketing leaders do not have time to muddle through finding the right experts, certifications cut through the noise." -Doug Sisko, Managing Director Adapt USA

Adapt Office

Decoding Certifications

A question that comes up from time to time with clients - and also when I worked in-house as well – was how do I incorporate and use the idea of Certifications in my selection and buying process? 

On the surface, this question seems rather facile and almost unnecessary, as of course a higher number indicates more qualification, right? That being said, a slightly more nuanced analysis yields deeper insights for you, your potential team of consultants, and ultimately the SaaS provider in question.  

Certifications – Tips for Making the Right Choice

Certifications is a Measure of Vendor Commitment

  • The number of Certifications is a proxy for the vendors’ true investment in the platform. Many vendors can signal they do Salesforce or a Contentful or SAP, but a practical measure of their real commitment is progress in their certification program. I don’t recommend using the exact number in comparing between partners (how Group X has 11 devs, Group Y has 9, Group X must be better), instead use this number to help you remove the truly committed from the pretenders in your search.

Non-Certified Talent Can Reduce ROI For You (and all Parties)

  • Certifications are a signal to the market that helps define who the truly qualified practitioners are in the marketplace. This is good for you, this is good for vendors, this is actually good for Platform Technology. Nonqualified consultants undermine the value of qualified experts, poor implementation leads to bad perception of the Cloud Offering. This then erodes the overall ROI of a technology investment from the brand. Non-qualified developers produce less output for you, undermine platforms, and undermine people putting the work in.

    Let’s provide another thought exercise. If you hire developers who have not used a specific technology before (but you are told theoretically they learn on the job because they are “really smart and done CMS”), you increase the risk of a subpar implementation, which will ultimately be judged on that underwhelming experience ultimately by your Top Management Team (CFO/CMO/CEO). Somebody will be assessed and blamed. That will then have an impact on your Platform evaluation, which will lead to your Account Executive being judged as well, and their risk of account Churn (the risk of you leaving that Platform) – and they will then try to remediate the situation.

    I find purchasers who have more experience under their belt perform this root cause analysis more often, and they’re able to see the factors more clearly on implementation success and their sourcing strategy.  They are more intentional in thinking about their overall platform experience, ROI, and TCO. 

Ensuring the Right Fit and Avoiding Costly Mistakes

  • Measure Twice, Cut Once. You need signals to figure out the right team members to complement your existing team. Use Certifications as one means to understand what is the right fit to upskill your team while. Using non-differentiated “smart developers” can lead to greater cost-overruns, and ultimately two to three build cycles that ultimately lose you credibility, and ultimately endanger your position with a consumer base across all industries looking for digital and omnichannel presence for its brands.

Why We Invest in Contentful Certifications and Omnichannel Mindset

We are proud to be early adopters in this space as we view Composable as a Strategic means for brands to get to the market faster, and also get to where your consumers are. We truly believe Digital Storytelling by Contentful is a true means to accelerate your brand presence, especially for brands who can see the future and deal with the next hype cycle. Revenue, growth, and marketing teams need deep customer insights, demand generation skills, coupled with brand innovations to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Certifications Allow Us to Get to the Point

To that end, I am proud of our team at Adapt for investing in clear signals of our commitment to this space by pursuing certifications and adopting the latest platforms to drive your success. This includes thinking about technological advancements like Generative AI beyond the buzzwords and developing a platform strategy that surpasses the hype.

This is about Technology, but this is about using Technology as Strategy First in a highly dense marketplace in 2024. Use certifications not necessarily as your total strategy but as a means to streamline.

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About Doug

Doug is the Managing Director and co-founder of Adapt Agency USA, overseeing the digital solutions practice for Adapt Americas, focusing on creating inclusive and sustainable user experiences. With nearly 18 years of experience in professional services, strategy, and operations, Doug advises companies and organizations across various sectors, including enterprise and high-growth companies, with a strong emphasis on ESG and CSR.

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