Performance-Based Certification Platforms: Is DIY Really More Affordable?

Since the dawn of the Pinterest era, DIY has become ubiquitous with crafters building home decor on weekends.

Unfortunately, most certification managers don’t exactly associate the term with the same level of enthusiasm. And that is because they are often building new exams out of necessity, not love.

Creating a performance-based certification platform in-house involves several moving parts, such as exam design, platform programming, latency testing and more.

SMBs that can only devote one to three team members are the most likely to experience setbacks due to trial and error. Budgetary constraints, unfamiliar technical specifications and poor contractor communication are often additional cause for frustration.

Most of the certification managers we meet at conferences wish they could hire someone to manage and execute PBC for them. However, they assume that doing so would be out of budget.

They are surprised when we tell them that often isn’t true. Their jaw drops even more when they learn they may actually be overspending on contractors who don’t fully deliver!

Honestly, we understand their confusion; there are very few instances in life where the easier option costs less:

Want a custom company Website? Hiring an agency will cost around $50,000 compared to the hourly rate of in-house talent.

Want a newly renovated kitchen? Hiring an architect, designer and contractor will cost thousands more than remodeling with your spouse.

Want freshly prepared meals when you come home from work? Personal chefs are expensive!

Much to our disappointment, premium services often cost more. With that said, newly developed technologies are increasingly challenging this assumption — PBC exam development is no different.  

Are You Ready to Learn More?

Schedule a demo of TrueAbility’s performance-based certification platform and see for yourself how a platform-based solution can help you launch and scale performance-based certification quickly and more affordably than ever.

Performance-Based Certification Platforms: DIY vs. Providers

Performance-based certification platform providers are able to deliver more value for less money than DIY plans for a simple reason: They have already built the necessary technological infrastructure to create PBC exams.

Existing templates allow platform providers to customize deliverables for various needs. This structure makes the partnership advantageous to most DIY solutions for four distinct reasons:

Faster Timelines

Instead of cobbling together a solution — with the assistance of in-house developers and consultants — over 12 to 16 months, certification managers can jumpstart progress with full-service, platform providers.

TrueAbility completes projects 4 to 6 weeks, on average, after receiving client prep work. Since our world-class developers have already built a robust testing platform, we’re able to quickly begin exam customization and testing for most projects.

More Scalable

Certification managers who partner with platform providers will benefit from the provider’s experience. The provider has already built unique features for past projects that can be adapted to meet exam wants, needs and concerns.

Additionally, the platforms’ capabilities have already been vetted in real-world scenarios. That means certification managers can have complete confidence in their adaptability for future iterations.  

Conversely, most DIY solutions are minimum viable products that aren’t designed to scale. Should the POC prove successful, it will most likely need to be rebuilt to accommodate program growth.  

More Affordable

Understandably, most of us associate DIY with savings. Again, it’s why we choose to tackle small home improvement projects without the assistance of designers, contractors and manual labor.

Unfortunately, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to performance-based certification platforms. Depending on available in-house talent, it’s not unusual to spend north of $1.3M on a single proof-of-concept (POC).

That’s because developing a robust platform requires specialized talent you will need to either outsource or hire:

  • UX/UI professionals to help craft the user experience.
  • Full-stack developers trained on Linux or Microsoft platforms to develop and maintain the necessary software.
  • Devops engineers familiar with a range of cloud computing platforms to deliver the underlying computer infrastructure.
  • Cyber security engineers to help secure the environment from unauthorized access.
  • Data scientists to evaluate the efficacy of your program.

Factor in additional costs for software licenses, IT infrastructure and exam delivery, and that figure could be even higher. Conversely, you could partner with a performance-based certification platform provider like TrueAbility that creates POCs starting at $25,000.

Stronger Competitive Edge

A reputable platform provider can execute low value activities on your behalf, before and after launch. We handle exam registration, delivery, proctoring and grading so certification teams can focus on creating and promoting exceptional programs.

Exam design, grading design and exam advocacy are the types of activities certification teams should be focused on. Why?

Because these are the things that differentiate one program from the next, and ultimately, increase brand recognition. Unfortunately, certification managers are often surprised at how much time they spend tech troubleshooting, proctor training and grading post launch. Just ask Lauren, a TrueAbility client who was routinely answering 2 a.m. phone calls from exam takers before she found us! Many clients have reported regaining 40+ hours a month after partnering with us.

DIY or Don’t?

In most cases, outsourcing PBC development and delivery is the superior choice for resource-strapped certification teams.

Lower costs, more reliable environments and more time to focus on high-value activities are just some of the benefits that have made the decision a no-brainer for our clients.

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