Earlier this year, Microsoft released an OCS R2 learning Portal – you can find this at: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/ocs2007/r2/default.mspx. It contains some training resources for OCS R2. However, the page is both out of date, and is short on links. I have some more details to add to this page:
- As noted, the OCS R2 Resource Kit is available. This is a must have book! The book is excellent, but it appears rushed and needed a better technical editing. Hopefully that will happen in the next release of the book!
- The Portal discusses the OCS 2007 R2 exam. The exam number is the same exam number as for the RTM exam, although the contents have been updated to reflect the new features in R2. If you have already passed the earlier RTM exam there’s no need to re-sit it. There is also a voice exam,but it’s not listed in the OCS Learning Portal (yet).
- The portal describes the training available for OCS (on a linked page). This page lists 5177/8/9 (and clinic 6447A) which was RTM courseware (and fairly poor) and should probably be avoided. An updated version of the official courseware, released as CWL course 50214, was released, but the quality was so poor it has been withdrawn until remediation can be completed and properly tested. When this updated course is available, I’ll post here! I am anxious to see the updated courseware. The updated labs look good.
- The portal also lists the OCS Ignite course (50024A), but this material is both RTM only and not being run very often (although I can certainly offer it if clients really want it). A much better course is the OCS 2007 R2 Ignite content – course 50232A. This focuses on the R2 release, although it can be used to teach new to product folks. I teach this a lot and love it – but beware trying to do it in 3 days. With the right instructor, this course can easily fill 4 days and 5 (if the delegates are new to OCS). The labs are great too.
- Finally, the page does not mention the updated Voice Ignite workshop. Voice Ignite for OCS 2007 R2 has bee been created and is available.
- Note that all the courseware discussed here is Courseware Library content, content authored by a 3rd party with MS just acting as a reseller. Quality of CWL material has been variable, but MSL and the UC team are ensuring that all the courseware is good and fit for purpose. So you can book this training with confidence that the material is good.
OCS 2007 R2 is now in the field and customers should start to evaluate it for your organisation. If you have not yet deployed OCS at all, R2 is a natural next step. A new version of OCS, OCS “wave 14’ will be going into beta some time in the new year and is scheduled for release later in 2010 – dates are not yet firm on either the beta or RTM. Once I get more information, I’ll post it here.
OCS is a rich and complex application – if you are planning on deploying it, you could usefully do with some training. But before booking on the course, make sure you get a good trainer – someone who has been working with the product for a while and can explain the product and it’s values and can dive deep into deployment, configuration and support. Investing in some training would be a good thing!