By Carlos Restrepo
Chief Revenue Officer
I know you. You’re dedicated to your mission.
You’re also worried, however, about the current state of affairs. Who thought we’d ever have to shut down in-person testing facilities? Or delay exams? Or expand eligibility windows? But we have had to, and we don’t know exactly when that part of the business will completely re-open safely, or if at all.
To help you meet the current challenge, as well as establish a solid foundation going forward, I’d like to offer a solution and a new way to think about the Business of Certification.
Traditionally, discussions about the Business of Certification have addressed the nuts and bolts of establishing and running a certification board. They’ve detailed legal and regulatory questions, and shared best practices for all levels of the governing body, among other issues. They’ve also focused on a single-stream revenue model – one based on the fees associated with testing and conferring status. Unfortunately, we’ve discovered how fragile a single-stream revenue model can be.
A New Model for the Business of Certification
Agilutions is proposing a new way to think about the Business of Certification – refining what the term means and understanding how it will help us both maximize the value we provide and establish a solid financial foundation. Using a new perspective, we can continue to deliver on our mission while meeting financial challenges along the way.
…create financial stability by diversifying their revenue streams, specifically by developing relationships within their certification universe.
In both models, boards will continue to establish performance standards, test for those standards, and confer certification status on those qualified – providing the industry the trained, ethical practitioners it needs. That is the primary work of any certification board. In the new business model, however, I suggest that boards create financial stability by diversifying their revenue streams, specifically by developing relationships within their certification universe.
By that, I mean building relationships with registered programs, corporate sponsors, education providers, accredited facilities and those offering careers in the field, among others. Your current interaction with these groups probably could be stronger and definitely could add value and provide additional revenue sources.
For example, you currently work with a number of education providers. In this new model, you would ask the provider for a registration fee to register their company as a preferred provider with the board. You would then ask for an application fee for each course they offer and for the renewal of courses. In exchange, you would help market the courses of preferred providers to potential students, thereby extending the reach of those programs.
Students would be served by receiving instruction that has been vetted by the certification board. They would be assured that the information is the highest and most relevant content possible and that it could help them pass the board exam in addition to satisfying continuing education credit hours. The board would also verify and maintain student records, removing that chore from the provider or the student.
By building relationships and value to your affiliates and students, you can establish trusted education for students, more exposure for providers and financial stability for the board, even in the face of future disruption.
Technology Is Critical
I don’t think technology is critical just because I sell technology products. I compare programs that have the proper tools, for example, to track and analyze certification programs, issue micro credentials, and develop affiliate services like registered programs or accredited facilities, to those that don’t. The difference is easy to see.
I believe the boards that actively pursue additional revenue streams will continue to fulfill their mission. Those, however, able to develop different types of certification and become nimble enough to compete or partner with providers like Google, IBM or LinkedIn will thrive.
Choosing the right technology, a Certification Management System (CMS), that facilitates the traditional model and allows for transition to the new Business of Certification model is a key…
Choosing the right technology, a Certification Management System (CMS), that facilitates the traditional model and allows for transition to the new Business of Certification model is a key to developing a vibrant, multi-stream business. It is a key to creating value and increasing revenue. How exactly? Don’t worry; we’ll have quite a bit more to say about technology soon.
What’s Coming Up
In the coming weeks, we will share our ideas in a blog series. We’ll talk about making the new model of the Business of Certification work for your organization, including our suggestions for creating additional value and new revenue streams from it. We’ll also share stories from our customers who have used technology to increase their revenue.