As many of you will have noticed, today heralded the launch of our brand spanking new and shiny Partner Portal.

In response to feedback from you guys, we've made some significant changes that will help you find relevant information faster.

Karina Silva, our Partner Communications Manager is the person behind the new look site and I spent a bit of time asking her few questions about the changes and what she'll be doing now she's unchained from her desk.

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So, Karina, its great to have you guest starring on my blog –I know you’ve been chained to your desk for the last few months working on the new Partner website – tell us about the changes Partners will be able to see to the Portal.

Thanks Lorna. This is a very exciting time for our Partners and Microsoft Australia. We’re launching today a new Australian Partner Portal! – This is in answer to feedback from Partners who told us they need quicker and direct access to relevant resources in order to support their everyday and strategic business goals. I’ve always heard Partners saying that they know all the information they need is on our Partner Portal but it was just too difficult to find.  We fused this partner feedback with Web best practices to streamline navigation and organise content around the critical tasks that partners need to accomplish and I believe the new Partner Portal is a huge step forward on our mission to deliver best-in-class online destination for our partners.

I know I hear a lot from Partners about it being hard to find stuff on the website – will these changes help our Partners find what they really need?

Absolutely. The new Partner Portal presents an improved search engine that has a relevance rating of 94%. In addition, a more intuitive streamlined navigation guides partners to find the content that they need quickly and easily. We are increasing our content by 75% but all the resources have been brought together for the Australian market, so partners don’t need to be diverted to the global site anymore, improving their user experience. Another key feature that partners will love is “personalisation”. When Partners sign in on the Home Page they will receive content relevant to their membership level. Also, we introduced the “View Your Membership” section that help partners easily access their partner account information such as Partner ID, program administrator, competencies, membership expiry date, etc.

   

You play a rather large part in creating a dialogue between Microsoft and partners. What else does your role cover?

As the Partner Communications Manager for Microsoft in Australia, I look after the overall Partner Communication Plan to ensure Partners are receiving critical information on time and help them plan ahead their training activities, engaging in customers campaigns, participate in partners and customers events, take advantage of offers and promotions and ultimately help them win in the market place. The Partner Initiative Calendar is an example of bringing this promise into reality. We just launched a new version of this calendar that Partners can download from our website. Other examples of how we help our partners stay up-to-date with all the relevant news & updates is via our Monthly Partner Newsletters, this is a benefit of the Partner Program that thousand of partners enjoy every month. If you are not receiving the newsletters you need to associate your email account to your partner organisation. Your program administrator in your company can help you with this. It’s pretty simple.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

During the week, I like to get out of bed thinking that I will help partners make a difference. In the last 1 ½ years I have been working with many of our Partners on promoting their success stories via Partner Testimonials and Case Studies which is very rewarding. On the weekends, most definitely get me out to bed playing soccer for Mosman Soccer Club. I’m Argentinean what did you expect! :-)

How do you filter the Microsoft jargon to talk real speak to partners?

This is key in order to clearly communicate our messages. Best way to combat the Microsoft jargon is to speak the customer language. At the end of the date, Partners and Microsoft’s goals are around understanding customers needs and making sure they have the best experience with our technology and during business with us. Speaking the Customer language is the step one to succeed on this journey.

What celebrity do you look like?

I have always been told that I look like Neve Campbell.

What do you like most about working in the partner organization within Microsoft?

I really enjoy to be part of an organisation that has genuine interest in helping partners grow their business and succeed in the market place. There are not other things that we think about in our team but improving the partner experience with Microsoft and make their life easier!