Our instructor Paul taught 21 private MIM and Azure AD training courses to IT teams at organizations in Europe and North America in 2019 – and 94% of students rated him as excellent. Here he gives an instructor’s perspective, and why he enjoys private training.
Since I became a trainer at Oxford Computer Training in 2010, I’ve taught our Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) and Azure AD training courses to many hundreds of IT professionals from across the world – both on public courses in our UK and US classrooms, and through private on-site courses. There’s never a dull moment!
I particularly enjoy training IT teams privately, and 2019 was a bumper year. I visited customers in the UK, US, Canada, US Virgin Islands, Germany, and Ireland, and some team members attended the training via Teams/Skype.
On public courses it is essential I cover all the course content module by module, and to the letter. But private courses all have a different flavour – and I’m delighted that many more are already in my calendar for 2020!
When arranging a private course, our sales manager Mark Forbes and I will often talk to a customer to establish specific requirements. It’s a great opportunity to pinpoint areas to focus on during the course.
Flexibility to cover areas of particular interest in depth
On private courses, we can spend time on the topics that are most relevant to a team’s environment. It’s simply not possible to do this on a public course – what is pressing for one student may be largely irrelevant for another.
The private class made it possible to have side conversations and identify one or more approaches for solving the challenges and problems that we have observed in our organization’s MIM deployment. Charles, Senior IAM Architect, US
The complexity of MIM and Azure require that a student has an understanding of all the components. But if, for example, a customer needs their identity system to provide data to their Security Information or Event Management system, we can spend more time on working out how to feed this data out.
Recently, when teaching our MIM Advanced course to an IT team at a UK university, I was able to help when students said they will not be using the reporting component of MIM but required data to be fed to Splunk.
Another recent example was when an IT team in the US taking a private Azure AD course told me they had a problem syncing device information to the cloud when they had created the on-cloud device object by using Autopilot. On the course we cover the Azure AD Connect sync engine, and how it applies its rules to different object types, so we were able to take the time to investigate the rules for devices, and what specifically was missing in their implementation. We were able to access their system, and together we quickly identified what had been incorrectly configured. I helped them work it out. It’s a great feeling when you see what you’re teaching immediately being put to good use by the students!
Interesting challenges and problem solving
Interesting questions and challenges are frequently raised by students on our public courses, but the most fascinating ones tend to come up on our on-site private courses. On private courses, our customers are typically members of the same IT team, and are therefore more relaxed in the presence of their colleagues. Any thorny issues they have been wrestling with, either individually or as a team, usually emerge early in the teaching week. And this makes it particularly interesting for me.
Creating organization-specific workflows, set ups and demonstrations
Students on private training often want to create workflows that complete a particular process specific to their implementation – such as running powershell scripts, creating user objects, or creating and populating groups. All these topics are covered in our public courses, but private courses enable us to concentrate on their very specific requirements in greater depth.
Interestingly, most of these options could be completed in either Rules Extensions in the MIM Synchronization Server or workflows in the MIM Portal. There are a lot of organizations that would rather not have to open Visual Studio and recompile dlls to achieve any customization or configuration in their systems. On both public and private courses this always leads to interesting discussions about methods for completing the task.
For one IT team taking a private MIM Expert course, we went beyond the course content to look at group synchronization. The training comprehensively covers syncing groups and members from the MIM Portal to AD – but this particular customer wanted to sync groups from AD to the MIM Portal, to manage membership of existing groups. The fact that it was a private training session meant we could spend time together setting this up, and I could clearly demonstrate the process in context rather than just discussing it.
Paul is a great teacher, really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about all things MIM! He’s happy to answer all questions and explain in detail not only why but how to implement the solution. It was very helpful to work through labs with colleagues on this private training. Kyran, Server Infrastructure Officer, UK