HPE wins IT Certification Council 2020 innovation award



  • HPE recognized by IT Certification Council for innovative, new testing solution
  • Remote certification methodology brings cost-savings and simplicity

Industry-first practical exam methodology enables true, secure remote testing in “anywhere, anytime” fashion

Each year, the IT Certification Council (ITCC) recognizes an organization who has created a product, service or initiative that resulted in a positive impact to its company or the IT certification industry.

I’m thrilled to share that the ITCC has announced HPE as the winner of its annual innovation award for the development of a new type of certification exam: HPE Scalable PBT with SmartItems™ and Configurable Hardware Environment.

Addressing a systemic problem

Today, most practical exams are either delivered on virtual machines or executed in a remote test center on live hardware. The result is a costly, fractured testing process where our partners lose valuable time from their employees travelling to remote test centers and equipment must be shipped to and from premises. Thus, we sought to develop a new practical, performance-based exam that was efficient, scalable and cost effective to deliver.

In developing the solution, we maintained that it needed to replicate, as closely as possible, the real-world environment, all while maintaining some of the highest levels of security available.

Our innovative, “anywhere, anytime” testing solution

The solution is a first of its kind certification exam that allows candidates to remotely test on hardware with grading on the hardware provided through APIs. It combines a practical exam running on real hardware, with new Discrete Option Multiple Choice (DOMC) and SmartItems™.

  • Real hardware: By using real HPE hardware instead of virtual machines, candidates experience a much truer testing experience, even remotely.

  • DOMC: This multiple-choice method reveals possible answers to multiple choice questions one at a time for increased security.

  • SmartItems™: By delivering the same question differently for each user, we are able to reduce the effectiveness of copying and selling tests.

All in all, the solution embodied a true-to-real-world testing process, while offering some of the best security protocols. By using APIs instead of simulators, candidates are able to interrogate actions directly on our hardware. And thanks to the DOMC and SmartItems™ components, our exam is highly secure, ensuring the validity of the certification even with its remote and simulated nature.

Since we developed the testing process to be remote from end-to-end, we’ve eliminated costly travel for participants, proctors and lab attendants, as well as the shipping of testing equipment. Through implementing an automated custom grading engine, we also removed the human factor from the scoring process for accurate and instant results.

Clear benefits for HPE, partners and candidates

By developing a new type of practical exam that draws from the best parts of real-world and virtual testing, we’re able to deliver impactful benefits across the board.

  • For candidates, they can spend less time travelling and out of the office, and those not able to travel for any reason are still able to take the exam. The test offers a consistent experience and accurate measurement of their skills with closely represented real-world job tasks. Lastly, automated scoring provides immediate, non-subjective results.

  • For partners, this new method of certification is more budget-friendly at more than half the cost of previous exams. They also face less disruption from employees travelling, reducing time out of office.

  • For our certification and learning team, the new solution is simpler and more cost-efficient since it involves fewer logistics like proctor travel and equipment shipping. This leads to additional cost savings.

Embracing a new path for IT certification

HPE was the top ranked in the following categories: “Level of Innovation”, “Measurable Results of the Impact” and “Value of Lessons Learned for the Industry”. The ITCC judges noted HPE's use of new technology and how the project was much higher risk than other submissions. The ITCC judges also acknowledged the dedication to innovation not just in IT certification, but in HPE’s cooperation with numerous vendors and partners.

It is with great pleasure that we recognize the wonderful and innovative improvements that HPE made for its certification program and most importantly for their candidates. It is truly a paradigm shift for IT certification, not only with the technology but with the partnership across multiple vendors that was created. Congratulations to HPE for bringing partners together to solve a comprehensive problem and for being our 2020 Innovation Award recipient,” said Kristin Wall, ITCC Board of Directors Chairperson.

By bringing together partners and vendors from across our community, we were able to address a systemic problem all current certification programs are facing. Our solution demonstrated that not only could we design a new, better method for testing in terms of logistics and scalability, but that we could offer it in a way that still provided significant cost-savings to our partners,” said Janet Lehr, Global Certification Exam Manager at HPE.

This new practical exam method presents a competitive advantage for HPE and we are excited to see the positive impact on our partners as we deliver it on a global level. Furthermore, as many organizations are embracing flexible and distributed work policies, we are proud to be able to offer such a remote solution, in which candidates are still able to participate in all aspects of the testing process.

About Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company that helps organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere. Built on decades of reimagining the future and innovating to advance the way we live and work, HPE delivers unique, open and intelligent technology solutions, with a consistent experience across all clouds and edges, to help customers develop new business models, engage in new ways, and increase operational performance.

For more information, visit: www.hpe.com.