Thursday, 30 October 2008

Oops!... They Did It Again

Okay so I missed the Internetwork Expert live announcement but I used my valuable study time to watch the recorded session and I am glad to say it was well worth it.

There has been plenty of new about the Cisco 360 program but in my opinion Internetwork Experts announcement is even bigger news, especially if they pull off even half of the things that were mentioned in the video. If they do they will blow Cisco's 360 program out of the water.

For those of you that do not feel like sitting through the video I will go through the high points for me.

IE tried to work with Cisco they tried everything they could to partner with Cisco but they just could not agree. It seems to work with Cisco IE would have paid a very high price, they would have had to have become a Cisco Learning Partner (CLP) to join the 360 program. Being a CLP means you cannot sell or market outside of your region so that would be North America (NA) in IE's case which would have been very bad for me, a whole heap of other people, and IE themselves as 50% of IE's customer base is outside of NA. They would have had to scrap their existing products and utilized the authorised training materials. As well as this the emerging markets discounts and the whole ethos of the company would have had to have changed.

So the Brians (I did not realise what a big Cisco fanboy Brian Dennis is wait till you hear his product evaluation process :-) ) and consequently IE have decided to go it alone. Great decision I say as I never wanted IE to join the 360 program anyway, and based on all the reasons stated in the product announcement it seems it was a no brainer from IE's point of view.

So what are they doing to compete with the 360 program, well they are releasing their CCIE 2.0 program. (Why does everyone use this 2.0 crap I get so bored of reading about Web 2.0 and I have no fecking clue what it is really about, besides if IE deliver they should call their program CCIE 3.0 because that is how far ahead of everything else out there it is.) So what is the CCIE 2.0 program all about well there are loads of components some of which I will list below :
  • They will release perpetual product updates and so sections will be released as they are done. Easier for IE as for example individual labs can be released as they are ready rather than having to wait for 10 or 20 labs to be complete to release a whole workbook. It is great news for the customer as well as will will keep getting constantly updated content.
  • They will release assessment products that recommend what areas you need to brush up on and what products and books will help you.
  • There will be a new series of CoD's that will sit between the current two CoDs that delves much deeper into individual topics in 15 to 30 and maybe 40 minute sections (about time somebody realised that 45 minutes is about the longest most people can pay attention for and that 3 hour videos are not really the best thing for working people)
  • You will have access to instructor drop in sessions where you can join an instructor online and watch them do a lab or join in a class (good for seeing the different approaches of the different instructors)
  • Printed products and DVD's will still be available they will just be a snapshot of the product release at certain time periods.
  • Polymorphic labs (Poly-Labs) will be available that will expose your weak points and ensure that you find the areas you are not a hot shot. (these sound awesome)
  • They will have customer relationship managers that get in touch with you and see how you are getting on (Personal Trainers for the CCIE world, work those labs baby work those labs :-) )
  • A service that recommends which parts of the documentation or Ciscopress books you need to read to brush up on areas you do not understand or are weak in.
  • There will be associate and professional level training released in the future (CCNA, CCNP, CCVP, etc)
There is a lot more to it (might be best to watch the video I am rubbish at summarising things) but they main problem they are trying to solve with this program is probably the most difficult thing about studying for the CCIE namely "where are you in your studies and where are you going/needing to go". The dynamic feedback mechanisms, contact with instructors and assessment products are designed to give you this feedback and therefore save you time in preparing for the CCIE. (I almost think they wrote this whole program especially for me, because I am stuck in "where am I and where am I going land". As well as the fact anything that cuts down the number of hours I need to study for the CCIE and consequently reduce the complaints about how much time I spend on my computer has to be very good thing for my marriage at least :-) )

The last point to mention is that all this stuff is available free of charge to people who have purchased the end-to-end program. For those of us (I am included in this) who have some of the products you will be able to upgrade to the end-to-end program and receive discounts for the products you already own. If you do not need all the extra stuff (the instructor interaction, Poly Tech labs and all that jazz) your existing products will still be upgraded free of charge under the investment protection program.

One final thing if you are planning on doing your CCIE Voice order IE's Voice CoD + Workbooks now and Brian D will upgrade you to the full Voice end-to-end program when it is released which will save you some major cash. (By the way he does say this in the video but please double check with IE before you buy just to be on the safe side).

I am hugely excited about this news and am now thinking of which of my wife's jewelry I can sell to raise the funds to get my account upgraded to the end-to-end program. On second thoughts I better think of something of my own to sell as touching let alone selling my wife's stuff is a LTM (Life Threatening Move).

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