Transcript: All You Need to Know About an ACUCM Course

This transcript is from the VBlog “All You Need to Know About the ACUCM Course”

Hey everybody, Ralph Smith here. Guys, we’re gonna take a couple minutes out today and talk about something pretty exciting going on in the Cisco Collaboration space that actually started this week live on Monday, and that’s the release of a new custom in-house course we’ve coined ACUCM, which stands for Administering Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco Unity Connection. However, the acronym for ACUCM is a little bit shorter, so it kind of rolls off the tongue a little bit easier.

We’re going to take a couple minutes out and do a quick video hopefully, and really talk about what it is. I’ve gotten questions already in class. I got questions this week, I got questions last week in a different class. I’ve got a couple questions through, I want to say a mentor email and a direct email for some of you guys in the sale side saying, “Hey listen. Help me out. What’s this class? What does it fit? What does it do? It’s new.” So let’s talk about that.
ACUCM is basically the equivalent of our current offerings in the Collaboration, which is CCNA Collaboration. Half of that class is called CSED and that’s certification-based. That’s entry level into Cisco Collaboration Technologies. Then the upper level, the NP level, is CIPTV1.

What is ACUCM? How does it fit? Well, first thing out of the gate, is that this class is currently the only one that we deliver here at StormWind, in the Collaboration space at least, that has zero certification tied to it. That’s not a bad thing. That’s actually a good thing potentially for some of our students.
Now, why do I say that? Well, something that I’ve learned myself the last couple years here at StormWind, or even part of StormWind when I used to travel all over the place, doing 40 hour boot camps, is during my introductions, and I do it every single class I teach here. I teach six classes now, seven classes, with the new ACUCM. But day one I do an introduction. I talk about who I am, the course outline, the schedule. And then I ask, before we get started, “Hey guys, if you’re in the live class and you’re willing to participate, how many of you are here specifically because you’re interested in passing this exam at some point in time?”

What I’ve seen over the last couple years is … Again, this is not a bad thing, it’s not a metric to go, “Whoa. Wait a minute. Is that good or bad?” Don’t over think it. But what I have seen, is a lot of our students that are coming into my classes, at least my classes, they’re like, “Hey, no, I’m actually … certification’s neat and all, but I either don’t care about it. My boss doesn’t care about it. My job doesn’t require it, or maybe at some point in time, but I’m really here to kind of learn what’s new. I’m here to learn. I don’t really … Exam, eh, maybe.”

Taking that feedback in developing a course that kind of fits a very specific niche, I want to say potential client, or prospect, or student. Whatever term you want to use. And so we have a lot of students that are also entry level. Meaning that they’re either A, career changers. B, they’re legacy telephone and telephony guys or girls. They worked on the old systems, their company decided to migrate over to a new system, i.e. Cisco Collaboration, i.e. Cisco Call Manager, and they’re like, “Hey, I know Legacy Telephony. I had no idea how the Cisco stuff works.”
And so if you dump them in the CSED, that’s not a bad deal. They learn a lot of material, but a lot of that is certification-based. On this exam you may expect to see this, here’s the history. Here’s this, that, and the other. For the day-to-day engineer, who doesn’t care about cert, they don’t care about that. In a two hour class, they’re essentially kind of getting maybe some knowledge that they’re like, “All right that’s great, but I don’t think I’m going to remember that. I’m probably not even going to take notes.” Again, I don’t know. That’s just my speculation.
What is ACUCM? How does it fit? 100% certification free. No practice exams, no certs, no official certs, out of the gate. What’s that mean for the class itself? A lot less pressure, more laid back, more free-flowing, more show-and-tell, more stories, more here’s how stuff works in the “real world”.

This is a class that I think will do pretty well here at StormWind, because again I’ve had students last week in my NP level course, when I talked about this course earlier said, “Hey guys, if you’re interested come check me out in this new ACUCM course.” Like, “What is it about?” And I said, “It’s a fundamentalists course.” “Wow, I should probably be in that class instead.”

These are students in my NP level course. Now granted they have the all access package, at least some of them expressed they did. So they can do what they want. But I actually had a couple of students show up this week and go, “Hey, this is a little more my speed. I don’t care about the history, and the facts, and all that stuff that maybe on an exam I have to know. Just give me what I need for my everyday real life job.”
So at a basic level, that’s what this course covers. In fact, what we’ll do is let’s take a look at our website. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve looked at this today myself. If you go to our courses tab, if you haven’t done this yet. Cisco. Course. And we go down to my little slice of heaven, which is Collaboration, it’s right here. That is the acronym, again Administering Cisco Unified Communications and Unity Connection. It’s ACUCM. And if you take a look at it … We’ve definitely got to update that picture. I’m about 265 in that picture, I’m about 237 right now. Hope you can tell the difference, if not it’s okay, I’ll see you guys in a little bit, I’m sure.

Here’s a 10,000 foot view, but since you have me on video I’ll give it to you better. A couple things about this class. Questions I’m getting through the channels, mentor email box or more so for email from you guys directly, managers, directors, sales people is, does this class talk about Contact Center Express? Nope. Does it talk about Call Manager Express? Nope. Does it talk about Cisco Finesse or Cisco Spark, two new kind of hot new products that are slowly entering the Cisco Collaboration market space to compete directly with Call Manager? No. Nope, not yet. Those are pretty new, and they’re kind of a niche product that still hasn’t really penetrated the marketplace but it’s becoming slowly more popular.

Now again, if you really kind of look at this class from a 10,000 foot view, what is it really? If I was to super simplify it, A, it’s a fundamentalist course. Fundamentalist for what? Adds, moves, changes. What does that mean? As a student, you’re going to learn how to sit down at your desk, log into a Call Manager or Cisco Unity Connection voicemail, you’re going to add phones, you’re going to modify the phones, delete phones. You’re going to do the same with users, and that’s really the big foundational or focal point of the course. We’ll still learn about dial plans, call routing, but at a really, really kind of basic level.

In this class, everything is already built. The class is designed specifically for somebody who comes in day-to-day. They’re probably a level one, maybe one to three year engineer. Still kind of cutting their teeth, still getting a grasp on how everything works. That’s what this class focuses on.

Again, no Contact Center, no Finesse, no Spark, no Prime Collaboration. It’s literally two products. Call Manager, big boy enterprise, flagship application, PBX phone system. Cisco Unity Connection voicemail, That’s it. And a lot of my students, a lot of people out there, that’s all they have to deal with. That is their job. And so this class is designed for that demograph.

If you guys have any questions regarding anything else in the class, feel free to email me, directly of course. If you need to call me, need to set up a conference call, that’s fine. Again here are the outline. We’ll kind of slowly update some of this stuff as I update the class. You know this is a class we built in-house, want to go out and throw out a little disclaimer there though.

As a sales person you guys have the training in sales that I don’t have, but the one thing, I guess for myself to kind of just get it out there is, this is a class that I built myself from scratch but it is a derivative. It’s taking pieces of CSED NA level, CIPTV1 NP level, stripping out all the fat, all the history, all the certification stuff that people probably don’t care about, and then spicing it up a little bit. So now not only do we have sizzle but we have steak to go behind it.
There are other vendors that have a kind of similar class that still add a little more history and background and things like that. I think that’s more to kind of fill in the 40 hours in a week, so they can sell it as a 40 hour week class. We don’t have to do that, which is the beautiful thing about StormWind is, we have a lot more freedom and creativity. So that being said, take that for what it’s worth.

This class is something that will improve over time. Also worth honorable mention, I’ll throw it out there, is in some of my classes people come and they say, “Hey listen, I’m in CIPTV1, an official certification course. CIPTV2, an official certification course that I teach. What version of code are we on?” When they say that, they’re asking about Call Manager, the phone system. Now what version is this taught on? The other six classes I teach, two for CCNA Collaboration, four for CCNP Collaboration. Based on the official Cisco curriculum, is taught on 10.X code, meaning 10.5, 10.0. That’s what Cisco designed that course for.

Here’s the catch. Cisco Call Manager in live production right now, what they sell to customers, has already upgraded to 11.5. 12.0 is supposed to be released this month or next month. So we do have a small demograph of students, at least based on what they tell me when I ask the question, “Hey, you know, yeah I’m 11.5, and they’re in my CIPTV1 course, and I can’t talk about it because, or at least for certification type questions, it’s not relevant.”

Here’s the cool thing, we have the ability here at StormWind, a little bit, to basically use my demos, when I build the demo environment, to use the current versions of code. What’s unique about this class, it can potentially keep up with the current version of code because I don’t have to follow what Cisco follows in the official certification track for the most obvious reason, there is no certification for this class. And I think people are going to love that. They’re going to say, “Hey listen, I’m on 12.0 code, are we going to talk about that?” And I can say, “Matter of fact, we are.”
We might be one of the only training companies in the world that can actually do that. Again, don’t get too excited there just yet. It’s something we have to look at as far as being able to keep up with it, but I think it’s something we can manage.

So to put it in perspective, current certification classes are on 10.5, I already have software for 11.0. I’ve been using it in all my classes and people are like, “Wow, okay this is great. What’s the differences?” And I talk about one, and talk about the other, talk about the differences, and go from there.

Anyhow guys, that’s all I got. If you have any questions, of course hit me up, If you need a phone call or anything like that, also let me know. Again, clarification, fundamentalist course, Call Manager, voicemail. That’s it. It is live, it is instant replay, it is still eight days, it’s two hours a day. It’s epic, it’s fun. Zero pressure. Life is good.

Have a good one guys, and let me know if have any questions. Take care.

This transcript is from the VBlog, “All You Need to Know About the ACUCM Course”