As the months went by, I procrastinated. Do I really need certification? I’ve already written a book about strategic sourcing, I do trainings on procurement related topics, and I blog about best practices. What will I learn from this experience? But as I thought more about what Shelley said, I decided that it was finally time for me to become “Certified”. If a CPO of a Fortune 500 company got value from it, then I certainly will as well.
The first decision I had to make was which certification to go for. While the ISM’s CPSM certification was certainly high on my radar, there are others out there. I decided to take a look at the certifications available for procurement professionals, and what value and knowledge come with each.
Capterra did a pretty good job detailing some of the top certification programs available today on their blog, so with a hat tip to Andrew Marder, I would recommend you check it out here. After reading this blog and doing some additional research on my own, I can tell you that I was surprised by the level of detail that goes into each of these certifications, we well as the time commitment. What I assumed was an online LMS driven test turned out to be much more comprehensive. These certs require independent study (even for highly experienced procurement pros), interactive learning and formal testing in a classroom environment. They also came with a much heavier price tag than I expected going in. That’s not to say they aren’t affordable, but the pricing did take me by surprise.
My initial research told me there are two certifications that would have the most relevance to my job, those being the ISM’s CPSM, which is by far the most well-known and well-respected of the certifications, and the SIG CSP (Certified Sourcing Professional), which goes beyond basics and into areas such as AI and big data – certainly major themes in any future of procurement discussion. Both certifications will certainly help any procurement professional become more proficient in their job, but they also come with a network of like-minded colleagues that are willing to talk about their experiences, which can be just as helpful for procurement pro’s trying to learn more about their industry.
After much debate, I decided to start with the ISM certification. I’ve been meaning to become a member of ISM and to get more involved with my local chapter, and I noticed that attending local chapter meetings counts towards recertification credits, which is a nice incentive for me to start going to them! I also thought that if I was going to start somewhere, it should be with the most well-established certification our industry has to offer.
Over my next few blog posts, I will talk about my experience going through the CPSM certification process, from both an operational perspective (the steps you need to take, costs, lessons learned), as well as from a knowledge perspective (What did it teach me? Can I use that information in my job?). I am looking forward to the journey, and to sharing my experiences. Stay tuned to find out if the ISM can teach an old sourcing dog new tricks!