How to bridge the talent shortage with skilling via Microsoft Learn
We all know that the worlds of tech and business are constantly evolving. Your team must simultaneously continue skilling to keep pace with the demands of the industry while helping customers see the value of the latest technical advances, deploy them, and achieve a meaningful level of utilization. To help you ensure your team is up to date on the skills they need today (and tomorrow), Microsoft invests in skilling programs that align with the most in-demand areas in the industry.
According to a recent LinkedIn article on the fastest-growing skills, customers are looking for proven abilities in digital marketing, finance, data analysis, project management, and programming. The article notes that, worldwide, 150 million more jobs requiring technical skills will need to be filled in the next five years. Investing now in skilling your team to meet this demand in a way that builds on your areas of expertise and points of differentiation can set you up to pull ahead of competition.
Whether you’re seeking graduates fresh out of college or professionals making a career change, you want to ensure that they either have or can acquire validation of the latest skills that customers require.
Where the skills shortages are—in tech and beyond
Within these in-demand roles are specific in-demand skills. Some of the most in-demand skills right now are high-level computing skills in business intelligence, data analytics, and cybersecurity as well as cloud computing. A LinkedIn report on in-demand technology skills to learn in 2021 adds AI, machine learning, product management, and customer relationship management (CRM) to the list of most urgently needed skills.
This trend is recognized among Business Applications partners. As one partner noted, “The future projects of Microsoft Dynamics 365 will include more intelligence and cognitive services, using companies’ data proactively to digitally transform businesses. This will increase workload.”
The LinkedIn report also highlights other key skills which can provide added impact to a technical career, including sales, customer service, and marketing skills as well as the ability to learn efficiently.
With digital transformation turning all companies into digital companies, as noted by Satya Nadella in his recent Ignite 2021 keynote, even less-technical positions increasingly require technical acumen. Advances in quantum computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and other emerging technologies are changing the way jobs across organizations are performed and are creating a skills gap across all industries.
The combination of digital technologies and advanced manufacturing, for example, is driving new supply-chain capabilities and increasing the demand for professionals who can validate that they have these skills. As the digital transformation of industries continues, partners need administrators, managers, finance and operations consultants, and others who can demonstrate their proficiency in a particular set of technical skills.
If these are the current and emerging skills shortages expected to face partners and customers, what are the paths to bridging that gap? The answer is to build and validate skillsets within your existing and incoming workforce.
Validating skillsets with Microsoft certifications brings value
Over 50 percent of partners surveyed predict that their Dynamics 365 workloads will increase by an average of 53 percent in the coming year. The ability to compete for this additional workload will be largely influenced by your ability to differentiate and demonstrate unique expertise in a given area.
Development programs alone aren’t enough to properly prepare companies. The Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report notes that “the rate of technology change exceeding skills development programs is a leading cause of organizational skills gaps.”
To address this gap, what is needed are learning programs that are regularly updated and support attaining and maintaining certifications. For Business Applications partners, the most effective way to do this is to hire workers with skills and certifications in Dynamics 365 or skills and certifications in Microsoft Power Platform, or upskill your existing workforce to validate their expertise.
Individual partners recognize the value of validating their skills, with 80 percent of respondents agreeing that Dynamics 365 certifications are important for increasing earning potential. Plus, 74 percent listed “understanding business models” and “having business acumen” as hard skills that would make them more attractive to customers.
Use Microsoft Learn to skill up your workforce
Microsoft Learn is a comprehensive training program based on roles and the skills needed to perform those roles. It is available to help you prepare your workforce with the knowledge they need to earn the Microsoft Certifications that validate their skills.
Microsoft Learn identifies skills for each role with job task analyses, market research, and industry experts, and then aligns them with classes and other learning experiences, so you can be confident that this training will prepare your teams to meet your customers’ needs. Training choices on Microsoft Learn include free, self-paced classes online, hands-on labs, and instructor-led training, all of which can provide a path to certification.
Choose the right role-based certification for you
There are 23 different Dynamics 365 certifications offered as well as training focused on developing the technical skills needed for today’s finance and operations roles in business. For example, there are courses on the fundamentals of finance and operations in Dynamics 365 or dozens of available Dynamics 365 finance and operations classes. Microsoft Learning Partner Dynamics Edge offers real-world, instructor-led training in Dynamics 365, as does Microsoft Learning Partner Global Knowledge.
Some of the numerous other finance certifications, include:
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate (pass Exam MB-300 and Exam MB-310)
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Functional Consultant Associate (pass Exam MB-300 and Exam MB-320)
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate (pass Exam MB-300 and Exam MB-330)
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Commerce Functional Consultant Associate (pass Exam MB-300 and Exam MB-340)
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate certification (pass Exam MB-300 and Exam MB-500).
- Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert (pass a prerequisite and Exam MB-700)
Individuals with Microsoft Certifications make partners stand out. To learn how attaining a silver or gold status as a Microsoft Partner can attract new customers, check out Differentiate your business by attaining Microsoft competencies. And to see how certifications can help partners drive customer success, read Maintain your edge with Microsoft Certifications.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stresses, “Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn.” Emphasizing the importance of continued skilling and leveraging Microsoft Learn to attain and maintain industry-recognized certifications throughout your team will help close the skills gap in your organization and boost differentiation among customers.
To learn more about Alithya's partnership with Microsoft and the industries we serve, visit our Microsoft Partner page.