What Would MEF-CECP Certification Mean for Provider Network Health?! (Part 3 of 3)

So, as we argued in Part 2, not only would service providers and customer-facing personnel at vendors benefit from CECP Certification, but so would engineers (hardware, software, system, testing) inside of companies deeply involved in developing products for Carrier Ethernet.  

For example, if we start looking at how many engineers, architects, hardware and software experts inside of chip/ASIC, system, and software vendors there are (excluding their professional services teams, which we already considered in Part 2) that will benefit from CECP Certification, we’d have quite a number!

(Take, for example, the non-overlapping, non-operator members of bodies such as the MEF, OIF, ONF, Broadband Forum, TMF, ATIS, and ETSI.) We would easily have between 250-500 telecom eco-system companies that are not operators, with at least 100 being of substantial size. If these 100 companies needed even 50 certified staff each that would be another 5,000 CECP candidates. Likewise, if the remaining 275-odd companies needed even 10-15 staff to have this background, we’re talking of another 4000+ CECPs!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Once you add the number of such professionals in the eco-system globally to the totals we computed in Part 2, the numbers are no longer so small. If not hundreds of thousands, they are easily in the low tens of thousands (and possibly much more, since we’ve been quite conservative throughout). In fact, taking the 12,000 – 16,000 of Part 2, and adding to it the 9,000+ above, we’re looking at well over 20,000 potential CECPs,  (provided (and this is a big “provided”!) there is adequate understanding within the eco-system that the time and capital invested in such certification (and the knowledge enhancement process leading up to it) provides returns many times that investment. in the medium- to long-term.)

What would such an education mean for carrier/provider network health? 

Well, here’s the thought…

An MEF CECP Certification requires one to acquire a pretty in-depth knowledge of Carrier Ethernet, its applicability, and allied technologies (which is also borne out by Asad’s experience and from Sam’s blog post). So obtaining such a certification would mean that, right out the gate, we’d have a better educated and technology-aware workforce.

Better knowledge about Carrier Ethernet would give people (both inside a company, and across companies (across operators, across an operator and a system vendor, or across an operator and a software provider)) a common language to discuss Carrier Ethernet with (I’ll attest to the fact that I’ve seen enough crossed wires in technical communications in my time advising companies to state that this alone is the cause of significant time expense and profitability leaks within companies – a leak that is easily pluggable, with little dependence on external factors, one of the easiest to plug in fact, but often ignored, or worse, never adequately realized!). This, in turn, would lead to much clearer communication between the operator, vendors, software providers and the like. That is, between the eco-system players as a whole (witness the questions we got on the Linked In group as Asad prepared for the CECP).

The clearer communication would actually lead to sharper, more sophisticated and better product design (and also service design, for an operator) – leading to products/services that have greater functionality, while also being more economical. All of this, in turn, would lead to superior network design and, therefore, efficient network operation, which would lower an operator’s cost, thus lowering TCO! The end result, therefore, would be improved network health!

So, there you have it, my assertions that:

i)        The total addressable market for the MEF CECP Certification ought (because of the arguments I just made in this sequence of posts) to be deemed to be in the 10s of thousands at least, and all of the eco-system players should be educated on the value of it and the corresponding benefits flowing from it (admittedly, I’ve not made a thoroughly researched numerical argument, and  it can certainly be strengthened with more numbers, facts, and figures; but just going by gut-feel size of the industry, and the implications I’m outlining above, I don’t see why this wouldn’t be the case).

ii)      Such certification can have a significant positive impact on the industry, by enabling greater efficiencies arising from solid knowledge, and savings on time wasted spinning one’s wheels in critical design and deployment phases, due to lack of adequate knowledge of the subject, the concepts, the terminology, and lack of an unambiguous vernacular.  The widespread (and upcoming) deployment of Carrier Ethernet is what makes this a needed and worthwhile endeavor.

iii)    That were this to happen, we’d definitely have a lowering of operator TCO, and thus improved network health!

So, going back to what we started this entire sequence of posts with: If this is so obvious, why is it not happening? Why aren’t we seeing people taking the MEF CECP in large(r) numbers (yet)?

What this requires is educating two camps.

  • The first is the executive leadership at all these companies, to effect this change in mindset, which is that this is actually profitable for these companies: educating a few tens of engineers to be CECP’s is a very small investment relative to the cost of re-testing a chip or a router, or, worse, redesigning it! Similarly, educating staff at other eco-system players leads to better understanding of operator needs (due to improved communication facilitated by a common language) and thus to better design of software and tools.
  • The second is the engineers and staff themselves, so they may appreciate how the investment of time and effort in preparing for and giving the CECP exam, actually helps them become better at designing equipment and software, and, thus, networks & services. Thus, making them better at their jobs, and more valuable to their companies and clients. 

Given the MEF’s historic and yeoman role in bringing awareness of Carrier Ethernet to our telecom community, it would make sense, I believe, as part of “spreading Carrier Ethernet knowledge” to also educate companies on the value of CECP certification for staff beyond the obvious set of network architects, network engineers, field engineers, senior system architects, and so on.

Just as the MEF evangelized the value of MEF Certification (and got system and carrier companies to participate), so could it evangelize the value of MEF CECP Certification (but to the engineering community from the larger telco eco-system), as this could again be a significant contribution to the community.

Of course, it cannot just be the MEF’s role to do so. Indeed, industry experts and leaders at companies that realize this also can play the evangelist role (both within and outside their organizations), and help the industry embrace the concept and it’s value.

No, you say? You hold a different view? Well, let’s have at it, and hear what you have to say – either for or against the motion! So, don’t delay, and share your views below!


Metanoia, Inc. has consistently been a leader in bringing the eco-system’s focus to carrier-centric issues. If you would like to contribute to, participate in, or have a suggestion about our recent initiatives, write us at initiatives@metanoia-inc.com or comment on this blog. To be involved in the current ongoing discourse, write to Dr. Vishal Sharma at vsharma@metanoia-inc.comor call +1 650-641-0082.

Our industry-leading Provider Network Health Assessment Service is an amalgamation of a decade+ of experience working in the carrier-ecosystem, and uniquely designed to deliver strategic and technical expertise to operators via a series of flexible Service Packages. For details, and a representative case study visit http://www.metanoia-inc.com#NHAS. To reserve a Strategy Session to brainstorm your needs, reach us at experts@metanoia-inc.com or +1 650-641-0082