Neil McLoughlin, UK Field CTO
In our first part of this new series about Azure specialization and certification, we discussed what the Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) Advanced Specialization is and how to achieve it. Here we will talk about why your company would want to achieve it (aka benefits!) and share collaboration tips to help when pulling together your team, timeline and components for the initiative.
The Advanced Specialization can take between 3-6 months depending on how mature your existing processes and procedures are. You’ll need to prepare a lot of documentation and route through approvals in your organization, nominate employees to cover off on each required section and of course answer countless questions that emerge during the preparation process.
Company Benefits of Achieving the AVD Advanced Specialization
All of this undoubtedly causes organizations to at some point ask, “Will the ROI outweigh our time invested on the AVD Advanced Specialization?” The answer is an astounding yes. Looking at all of your internal processes, procedures, and existing designs to meet the minimum strict criteria set by Microsoft is a return on investment itself. Additionally, pursuing the specialization affords companies the ability to:
Differentiate from the Competition
When providing bids or statements of work you want to stand out as much as possible to seal the deal. Achieving the specialization shows your customers that Microsoft recognizes your ability to design, implement and support an AVD solution to the highest standards. Think of it as a prestigious diploma from a well-known university or graduating Magna Cum Laude. But the AVD Advanced Specialization isn’t just important for you to tell prospects once they’ve been introduced to your company, it can be the way that they find out about you and can drive leads in and of itself. For example, you issue a press release announcing the accomplishment and now companies looking into AVD can easily see your recent news and that you are a leader when it comes to understanding and mastering the technology.
Demonstrate Not Only Expertise but Breadth of It
Having to submit production designs, statements of work, processes etc, for the specialization speaks loudly for an entity’s AVD acumen. Additionally, the specialization requires a certain number of Microsoft certified staff per company, which shows an organization, not just an individual, can meet the high bar set by Microsoft. This is a selling point for customers and prospects because they can rest assured AVD expertise is baked into your company and across your staff and service(s), so they aren’t “locked in” to one expert and their packed work schedule.
Leverage Microsoft’s Keys to Success in Your Sales Process
When engaging a prospective client, the whole process of having an initial conversation and then progressing it through pre-sales, sales, design, implementation and support discussions can be a long and winding road. The specialization follows, and has your detail your approach to, this whole process so Microsoft ensures that when you enter into these talks you are speaking to the right people, in the right departments and with the right messaging and knowledge that will allow you to close the deal and bring the customer on board.
Collaboration Tips & Who to Involve and When
If you are still reading, we haven’t scared you away yet… good! Achieving the specialization is a huge collaborative effort involving many different teams at each stage of the process. It is not meant to be daunting because it is a team initiative involving many different departments all with their own roles and contributions to the overall achievement
Nobody can do this alone! Ensure the below teams and team players are involved in the actual implementation itself as early as you can to ensure success and keep progress moving forward and team members engaged and committed.
- Marketing – During the evaluation you will be asked how your company sells AVD solutions. Microsoft will ask to see marketing materials, look at your website and collateral to ensure your marketing practices are up to date.
- Pre-Sales and Consultancy– The statement of work is one of the most important documents produced as part of the sales process and is a focus of the evaluation so make sure pre-sales is aware of the initiative’s timeline and can supply the documentation. Once a SOW has been signed, typically consultants will produce a HLD and LLD Design document before implementation. This will be one of the most important documents and certainly the most detailed so most of the assessment will be spent on this document. We advise you assign the consultant(s) who authored it to speak directly with Microsoft during the assessment.
- Implementation – For larger environments an engineer will implement the HLD and LLD Design It’s advisable to have this person be a key player in the entire process also and have them on standby for the assessment in case the auditor asks any questions about the actual implementation itself.
- Project Handover – The auditors will ask about handover documentation – SLAs, support procedures and the like. If there are any service managers involved in the process, they will need to be kept informed and while they typically don’t have many actions to take, they may need to produce documentation or answer questions.
If We Use Nerdio, Why Should My Company Pursue the Specialization?
We have plenty of partners who hold this certification and also use Nerdio for all their AVD needs. The reason being is that Nerdio Manager sits on top of AVD, extending all of the native capabilities while adding big benefits when it comes to significant cost and time savings. In fact, we always say some of our best partners and customers are ones who know all about implementing native AVD and have tried it themselves because they immediately see the value Nerdio brings.
Putting everything into place for the AVD Advanced Specialization gives your company a solid foundation to deliver a complete end-to-end AVD deployment. But we all know the hard work doesn’t stop there. Leverage Nerdio to make each existing and new deployment easier to deploy, manage and optimize for maximum ROI. Our uniquely differentiated features around image management, PowerShell scripting, disaster recovery, and powerful automation ensure that your foundation will translate to scalable, reliable results for each of your clients and your overall Azure practice.
I hope you enjoyed this two-part series on the AVD Advanced Specialization. Keep an eye out for our next pair of educational articles on the AZ- 140 certification for individuals to distinguish themselves when it comes to AVD.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.