Participating in the ServiceNow Certified Master Architect program

If you’re a ServiceNow Architect, aim to become one, or work with Architects, this article could be useful for you!

I wanted to share with you my experience of the excellent ServiceNow Certified Master Architect (CMA) program that I’m lucky to be a part of.

Wait… What is that Certified Master Architect program?

ServiceNow has created a new “elite” program, to train and certify specialists, way above the “Implementation Specialist” level.

This is a six-month program, including 2 weeks of on-site trainings, and 4-6 hours per week of live webinars! This program is currently only offered to registered implementation partners and internal customer facing ServiceNow consultants. This program and certification is not intended for customers.

A typical participant is expected to be a veteran leader in the ServiceNow field, having successfully delivered many large, complex, global multi-product projects on the ServiceNow platform. They are required to have a special blend of technical expertise and soft skills in sales conversations and also post sales deliver domains allowing them to manage and communicate best practice advice and guidance with customers.

The curious may have a look at the CMA FAQ.

Why a new certification?

As in most domains, specialization and expertise are ranked by their difficulty and the experience required to achieve them. Graduating from High-School is easier that achieving a Doctorate. ServiceNow is aware that its current certifications range does not fully cover the expertise required for its eco-system.

The CSA/CAD/CIS tiers were useful for ServiceNow jobs like “Admin”, “Developer”, “Technical Consultant” or “Solution Consultant”, but were not covering others like “Business Analyst” or “Solution Architect”. This is why ServiceNow is working on two additional tiers: “Architect” and “Master Architect”.

There is no official information on “Architect” level certification, but I do believe it’s being prepared. In the meantime, ServiceNow has launched the final level of the pyramid, for Certified Master Architect (CMA). As with similar certifications, the number of certified people will probably be capped.

Master Architect Role Description

The Master Architect will be responsible for providing the overall guidance and structure for creating and maintaining the designs for the main services of the company ensuring the required business outcomes are delivered. The position involves management of a small team of Technical Architects. All designs created by the team should align to the architecture principles of ServiceNow and should be reusable, reliable and adaptive. The role also will provide a technical gateway between the initial designs agreed in the sales conversations through to the delivery cycles with the project managers, business analysts, solution architects and developers. (see attached PDF for the full suggested job description.)

Program Pilot Year

I’m part of second session, and for the pilot year of 2019, the program implies no costs. This program has not really been announced to the public, as communication mostly went thru ServiceNow Partner Managers and Partners. I do hope this new certification will announced at Knowledge and other official events, as to raise awareness on the Master Architect qualification.

Initial Impression

It’s very exciting to meet so many talented experts! The program focuses on making us learn a bit of every domains, and essential soft skills. This is an approach I already applied as a strategy for my own professional development, so I’m fully enjoying the program!

How is the CMA certification exam?

The Board review will be the culmination of the program. It’s made up of a case study that candidates will be given on the day to review and prepare for an hour presentation to be delivered to a panel role playing customer representatives. The outcome of the board reviews will determine whether or not the student has passed.
Candidates turn up at the allotted time to a global ServiceNow location, they are given the customer use case and instructions. They have 120 minutes to review the case study (7–10 pages) and prepare a design either on Flipcharts and/or a PowerPoint presentation.

Candidates are given 30 minutes to present and defend their solution in front of a panel of ServiceNow experts. Candidates will also have 30 minutes of Q&A with the panel. Should the presentation last only 20 minutes, then the Q&A will extend to fill the complete 60 minutes.

Questions can occur during the presentation. Candidates are be scored on: Platform Capabilities Knowledge, Integration Knowledge, Domain Knowledge, Effective Presentation Skills, Understanding Customer Outcomes.

I want to participate! How can I register?

There is about 25 participants per sessions.
Don’t overlook the minimal requirement:

  • 5 (five) current certifications must be held at the time of application submission:
    • Certified System Administrator
    • Certified Application Developer
    • CIS – IT Service Management
    • + 2 other CIS certifications (e.g. HR, Discovery, etc.)
  • Evidence of involvement as an architect or technical lead in at least 6 large/global ServiceNow projects or programs
  • ITIL Foundations Certified
  • 5+ years of significant ServiceNow and consulting experience
  • Experience of presenting to large  audiences

Applications for the next cohort, focusing on the Asia/Pacific/Japan area, open 18 November 2019. The applications are open for about 2 weeks.
Pricing for this program is yet to be finalized. It’s currently free and will become chargeable in 2020. Travel and accommodation to the on-site events will be the responsibility of the candidate or candidate organization.
The plan is to run three cohorts a year one in each region: APJ (February 2020), Americas (June 2020) and EMEA (September 2020).
Have a look at the CMA FAQ page for the latest information.

What are the expected commitments?

Estimated time commitment will be 6-8 hours per week, including group work and self-study.
Candidates are required to attend all in-person cohort group activities located at a ServiceNow office either in America, Europe or Australia.
Candidates will produce and deliver original content including whitepapers, blogs, webinars, and videos.
Be aware that there are heavy requirements for the Certification Maintenance (Maintaining required certifications, Demonstrate ServiceNow Thought Leadership, Ongoing Professional Development, Project and Customer Delivery Maintenance cycle is over two years, and certifications will be reviewed at the end of each cycle. If the maintenance points, as defined in the Maintenance Program document have been gained, the candidate will be re-certified as a CMA for another 2 years.

The current cohort at the end of the first on-site event in Amsterdam.

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