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David Ratcliffe, President, Pink Elephant

If you're interested in what we're doing here at Pink Elephant, then feel free to post a comment - I'll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


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    Recent Entries

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Official Statement From Pink On The Increased ITIL Exam Fees From January 1, 2014

    I’ve already blogged a few times on this subject.

    I’ve attached the official statement we’re making available to our customers explaining what we’re doing about the ITIL exam fee increase that becomes effective January 1, 2014.


    Unfortunately the increase has become unavoidable, but we’ve come up with some interesting tactics for keeping costs down overall for our customers.

    The important points to note are:

    1. Our ITIL Education prices and pricing strategy will change on January 17.
    2. All ITIL exams will cost more.
    3. After January 17 customers will be able to buy Live Classroom, Virtual Classroom & Self-Paced Online ITIL courses from the Pink website with or without exams.
    4. The total cost of courses with an ITIL exam goes up in many instances, but actually goes down in some (due to other cost savings we’ve been able to make).
    5. Until January 17 everything remains unchanged. So buy now and avoid paying more for your ITIL exams in 2014!

    If you have any questions or comments please feel free to get in touch with me right here by posting a comment, or call our Customer Service Representatives.

    (0) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/18 at 01:03 PM
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    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    Hindsight v Foresight

    We often talk - usually in a rather cynical way - about “the benefits of hindsight”. But great leaders, really great leaders, can think through issues and connect dots to come to a very clear picture of the future - foresight. Combine this reasoning with the ability to speak eloquently and plainly and you often can have no doubt, and no misunderstandings, of the message the leader wants to get across.

    One of my favourite examples comes from the eve of the American Civil War. William Tecumseh Sherman, famous for his ruthless methods once the war was underway, made this chilling and severe finger-wagging speech to the confederate states as they were threatening to secede from the Union.

    You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.

    If only we had such clear thinking and speaking from our leaders today.

    (0) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/11 at 04:20 PM
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    Thursday, December 05, 2013

    Q & A On ITIL Exam Price Increases

    Why are some Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) reporting different % price increases for ITIL exams?

    I’ve seen quite a few comments through various social media channels this week showing some confusion about what’s going on behind the scenes when it comes to the new cost of ITIL exams.

    Some seem to be under the impression that Axelos is charging everyone different rates because different ATOs are quoting different price increases. At first glance that may seem odd, but if you understand how exams are provisioned and sold by Exam Institutes (EIs) then you’ll see how different ATOs can report different price increases. Here’s what I mean:

    1. Axelos does not actually sell ITIL exams.
    2. Axelos charges a royalty to the Exam Institutes (EIs) for each exam the EI sells.
    3. The EIs are all charged the same royalty for the exams they provision to their customers. So each EI has the same cost to bear.
    4. The EIs are free to set their own prices for exams.
    5. So any ATO could, and should, shop around for the best deal.
    6. You can imagine that different ATOs will end up paying different prices for a variety of reasons (volume of exams bought; whether paper or online exams; payment terms negotiated; any other added-value services they might require; etc.)
    7. From my narrow view of this market (I’m only privy to the arrangement Pink has with our EI) my guess is that ATOs have probably paid anything between US$75 - US$250 per exam (my very rough estimate).
    8. No matter how much anyone pays for an exam, Axelos receives the same royalty payment from the EI.

    So keeping all this in mind, if the royalty goes up - it goes up by the same amount for everyone. The price the ATO will pay will need to increase, but the % increase will differ based upon the price the EI charges its ATOs.

    For example, say an ATO pays $100 to the EI for an exam. And say the EI pays Axelos a $50 royalty out of that $100. If the royalty were to go up to $100, then the exam would now cost $150 and the ATO experiences a 50% increase in its exam fee.

    However, if another ATO was already paying $200 per exam; and the royalty change was the same - $50 to $100 - then the new exam fee would be $250 and this ATO would see a 25% increase.

    The % increase all depends on how much the ATO is paying the EI for the exam. That’s why there are variances in % increases.

    The figures I’ve used in my example are made up by me. They’re for illustrative purposes only.

    (1) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/05 at 01:51 PM
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    Tuesday, December 03, 2013

    The Good News, Bad News & Lessons Learned From “The Great ITIL Exam Fee Increase Scare Of 2013”

    I already blogged about the frustrations we’ve experienced waiting for the final details of the impending ITIL exam fee increase.

    In fact, here at Pink HQ there’s been a LOT of hot air expounded in the past 3-4 weeks about this, culminating in a “Hot Air Fest” lasting a couple of days at the end of last week! The target of our frustrations being the ITIL Accreditor (Axelos) and the EI community (Pink’s primary EI being PeopleCert).

    Between those two “groups” they’ve just taken way too long to roll out this major change. In the process I believe they lost sight of the impact on their customers - the ATO community and the exam students themselves.

    Anyway, while we were waiting for the Accreditor and EIs to sort things out we didn’t just sit on our hands. We went into a huddle and came up with some policy statements about how we wanted to handle this situation.

    Firstly, we took the bull by the horns and reached out to the CEOs at Axelos & PeopleCert to let them know what we thought. I can’t give you a verbatim report of those conversations, but what I can say is that it felt good! We managed to get our concerns across loud and clear. In return we received assurances that this was not what we can expect in future. Acknowledgement of a decent lead time when rolling out changes is now embedded into the thinking of the “powers that be”. So there’s been a big “lesson learned” right there. I can tell they’re more than a bit embarrassed by the way things have unfurled and they won’t let this sort of thing happen again.

    Secondly, I challenged our team to come up with ways we can save on costs to mitigate the increase in exam fees for our customers. After all, our customers keep telling us they’re being challenged to do more with less. Budgets get frozen (at best) or reduced year after year in IT. That’s just the way the world works. In order to reign in escalating expenditures we all have to look at ways to increase efficiencies and productivity. At Pink we shouldn’t think we’re any different. Our first reaction at a time of stress like this shouldn’t be just to pass on increases to customers. I’m not saying we can always absorb every increase in costs, but we should at least try to look for savings we can pass on. It’s the right thing to do. It would be just plain lazy and arrogant to do otherwise.

    So, with that commitment in mind - what happens next? Well, let’s take a big breath and acknowledge the bad news.

    We now know that ITIL exam fees are going up by almost 100%. So what are we, at Pink, going to do about it? I always like to look at the opportunities that come along with problems. The problem here being the impending increase in costs. So how can that provide us with an opportunity?

    We’re looking for cost savings anywhere we can find them in our Education business. By reducing costs elsewhere then hopefully we can avoid charging our customers more for training, even when the exam fee has increased. There are still more sums to be done, and we need to work through changes to some of our processes to see if our ideas for cost savings definitely can be realized. But in the meantime we’re going to absorb the increased exam costs as best we can and look at things again early in the new year. So that’s the good news! if you look at our website you’ll see training courses today cost the same as they did last week. And we’re not going to increase prices in the foreseeable future.

    It would be irresponsible of me to say prices will never go up, but at least I can tell you there’s no increase planned right now. If we do have to make some increase, then it won’t be for a while yet.

    So take advantage - book your ITIL training & certification with confidence now! Whether you want to do a course next week, or in January, or next July (whenever) register now and you’ll pay today’s fee, no matter what the price might be later.

    (3) Comments
    Posted by David Ratcliffe on 12/03 at 01:49 PM
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