We’re pleased to announce that two members of the Acorio team, Carleen Carter and Greg Mest, have achieved ServiceNow’s new Certified Master Architect designation.

This program is another milestone for Acorio in setting the bar for what it means to be a premium ServiceNow consultancy. To us, premium means both certified technology experts and cross-platform excellence.  For example, since NOW first rolled out product-based certifications in 2017, Acorio has consistently ranked in the top ten in all global firms and is one of the few (if not the only) partner organized around these discreet ServiceNow product suites, for example, HR, Customer Service, and ITOM.

The Certified Master Architect program is also a major advance for ServiceNow in their on-going mission to develop a bona fide army of qualified technical consultants to power the digital transformation ServiceNow customers are clamoring for. Almost like becoming a CPA, becoming a ServiceNow Certified Master Architect takes intensive training over nearly 6 months and culminates in a killer test to ensure that only the best of the best pass.

In fact, as of this publication date, there are 24 total ServiceNow Certified Master Architects in the universe! (Yep, and we have two!!)

While ServiceNow is continuing their product-based certifications, the CMA program is definitely something new and different – it’s like comparing a paper airplane to the real thing. The CMA program comprises of a selective, application-only team of experts who undergo a deliberate and intensive measure of both their platform-wide technical expertise as well as their consultative chops.

But let’s rewind a little bit… How did the Certified Master Architect program even start?

Designing a Gold Standard

Some of the genesis of the CMA program can be tied to ServiceNow’s platform growth over the past 18 months. As the platform expanded, clients have started asking for more transformational results, making projects exponentially more complicated (and, fun!).  Along with that evolution, ServiceNow and the Partners involved in some of these transformational programs have recognized that a new kind of consultant was needed – one who could “go deep” into the details of the CMDB with the technical managers, but also position and prioritize the business needs for the C-suite.

About 9 months ago, ServiceNow approached Acorio and about six other partners (from the 600+ partner ecosystem) to join a steering committee to design a certification program that would foster the development of this ‘new’ consultant. Together, the steering committee discussed the hard and soft skills that are the epitome of a platform consultant and used them to design the 6-month training course.

From the steering committee, a handful of partners were given the chance to nominate up to four of their ServiceNow experts. Overall, 25 consultants from both ServiceNow and Partners were chosen for the first CMA class – and they embarked on a six-month journey of weekly online meet-ups and lectures along with three in-person evaluations.

What most impressed me about this program was that it didn’t center around – “go learn this” content and then pass a test. The type of evaluations our consultants worked through wasn’t something you could wing or memorize. Instead, the Certified Master Architect course asked our applicants to marry a lifetime of technical knowledge with current market trends and needs, apply those insights to specific business problems in different companies and industries, and to solve for the client.

It also, at its core, asked the CMAs to focus on the human, consulting, element of technology advisory work. And by that, I mean, being able to translate the ServiceNow platform from the theoretical or the uber technical into practical business terms, and to break it any element of the platform down piece by piece for in a way that every person in the room can understand.

World, Meet Carleen and Mest

As I thought about who among us would best represent Acorio in the first wave of CMA applicants, I knew who to tap on the shoulder. In fact, I cannot think of two people who so embody the tenets of exceptional technical chops married with a consultant’s sensibility better than Carleen Carter and Greg Mest (who, for a host of undisclosed reasons, usually goes solely by his last name.)

Carleen Carter: IT Consultant Extraordinaire

Employee 99 at ServiceNow before she joined us almost five years ago, one of the things I so admire about Carleen Carter is that she never leaves anyone behind in a conversation. With a unique combination of creative thinking and an illustrious technical background, she can take any conversation and make it consumable by anyone. With a personality as big as her experience, she can also control a room – and has been known to show up at ServiceNow events in full-out Acorio red, with cowboy boots to show off her blend of Cali-cool and Texas twang!

But it is truly Carleen’s technical background and passion for what’s (architecturally) right that set her apart from other consultants I’ve worked with in my career. I admire how she never fails to fight for the right decision for the client – architecturally and strategically – by showing everyone in the room the long and short game based on her experience in the platform.

“Carleen has always been a presence. She comes from a background in ServiceNow where often times she was the only female in the conversation. Her humble humor, ability to quickly get her point across (without being condescending) and almost infectious excitement makes her a first-rate consultant, one that the ServiceNow industry is lucky to have”

Greg Mest: The James Bond of ServiceNow

Greg Mest. With his underlying aura of suave and perhaps diabolical independence, he is often the most interesting man in the room. He may appear a little reserved, but rest assured, if you’re sitting in a room with him or even just sharing an IPA, he is meticulously skilled and tactical. A clear thinker and communicator, he uses his background in project management to think quickly on his feet when working with ServiceNow customers.

“Have you ever met someone where you know they are a very special dinosaur unicorn? Because that’s what Greg really is. He has this unachievable or incomparable level of professionalism and skills (plus, have you heard him play the piano?). We have a few clients that they will only listen to ideas that come from him, even if someone else said the same thing. He has that effect on people when he is working, just clear, consistent, and exceptional.”

Needless to say, if you’re a ServiceNow customer who is working on implementing any part of the platform, you want to have a consultant like Carleen or Greg in the room with you. The CMA program is now the gold standard for ServiceNow. It’s a new target for Partners to reach, to ensure that we’re continuously elevating our level of professionalism and a new box for customers to be looking to fill when they are in the RFP stage.

Congratulations again to Carleen, Greg, and the other graduating members of the Certified Master Architect program inaugural class. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to elevate the ServiceNow platform and Partner ecosystem.

NOTE: This content was originally posted by Marci Parker on May 4th, 2022 on the Acorio website at https://www.acorio.com/servicenows-new-certified-master-architect/ The Acorio brand retired in April 2023 after acquisition by NTT DATA. Some links may no longer work.