MSP Partners Launches Managed Services Exam

MSP Partners is set to debut MSP Pro -- an online exam that allows managed service providers to "demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Managed Services Best Practices," according to a press release that will hit the wires May 26.

The MSP Pro initiative was developed by MSP Partners, CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association) and IPED (the Institute for Partner Education and Development, owned by Everything Channel). It includes the online exam plus a new membership tier for MSPs that want to join MSP Partners.

Now, for a subtle but symbolic word tweak: Back on March 31, MSP Partners originally positioned MSP Pro as an "accreditation" exam. But the word "accreditation" no longer appears in any of MSP Partners' plans for the MSP Pro online exam.

One possible reason: The MSPAlliance (MSPA) -- a rival association that already offers managed services accreditation -- on April 15 published an open letter to its membership. In that letter, the MSPA claimed that it had received nearly 1,000 letters and emails from MSPs that were concerned over vendor organizations playing "a governing and/or accrediting role in their profession."

MSPmentor researched the MSPAlliance's board-level concerns, but I found no evidence of an accreditation controversy in the industry.

Still, MSP Partners has decided to drop the word accreditation from the MSP Pro exam strategy. When I inquired about the subtle change, Jim Hamilton, executive director of MSP Partners, provided this perspective to me over email:

The new MSP Pro membership tier is exactly as previously announced.  The achievement of the MSP Pro designation requires significant effort and represents a major milestone for MSPs.   To achieve the MSP Pro designation MSPs must complete a comprehensive education program and demonstrate their proficiency in the materials through successful completion of an exam developed by industry authorities CompTIA, IPED and leading MSPs. The words accreditation and certification have many different meanings.  It was clear from our pre announcement that these terms generated some confusion, which distracted from our goal to clearly communicate the value of MSP Pro to the MSP community.  MSP Partners’ objective is to be the  leading source of MSP education.  The MSP Pro designation represents a significant achievement for MSPs that complete the current education program and understand the content.  MSP Partners is committed to the principle of cooperation with everyone in the MSP ecosystem.  We are also committed to delivering value and results and believe that MSP Pro delivers extraordinary value as we work with our many partners to advance the growth and success of the Managed Services industry.
The bottom line: MSP Partners, with assists from CompTIA and IPED, is moving forward with MSP Pro and managed services education. But potential accreditation competition between MSP Partners and MSPAlliance appears to have ended before it started.

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