Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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Announcing a Microsoft VLSC update with “Add Open License” coming in April

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Announcing a Microsoft VLSC update with “Add Open License” coming in April

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Over the past few months, we have been informing you about a series of planned updates we have been deploying to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Services Center (VLSC) to address the majority of the access issues people were having.  During this same time, we have been reaching out to Microsoft Partners and customers from around the world to provide us direct input on VLSC and suggested improvements through things like: VLSC Usability Sessions, Live Meeting interviews, phone interviews, scenario walk-throughs, onsite hands-on usability test sessions, the EMEA Channel Partner Conference, Partner 1:1’s in my office, and many more. 

Today, I want to once again say, “Thank you,” to all of you that have participated in any of these numerous feedback sessions we have conducted as well as to all of you that have provided your input and feedback on ways to improve the Microsoft VLSC experience as we approach the next stage in the VLSC rollout.  As I have said many times before, we do take your input and feedback seriously here at Microsoft, and today I am happy to announce that an update to VLSC with “Add Open License” will be coming in April, 2010, which includes several of the suggested improvements (visual, functional, and experience) that you have provided to us.  Let’s take a look at some of the things included in this April release:

VLSC Site Navigation – One of the things we have heard is that the top items many of you come to the VLSC site for are:

  • Download your software
  • Access your Product Keys
  • Administer your permissions/settings

As such, we are making reaching your desired destinations easier and more intuitive through a new navigation bar:

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We have pulled “Downloads” and “Product Keys” to the main navigation bar and out from under the “Software” tab where they used to be to make it easier to find and get to (1-click).  Also, we heard these specific terms for the buttons to be used by many people during our feedback and input sessions.

We moved the User account settings under the “Administration” tab instead of being under the “Settings” tab where they used to be based on feedback that this is where many people expected to find these things and it made sense to include them here with the other items that used to be under “Administration” before.

Here is where you will find the things you are looking for under the new navigation bar in this VLSC update:

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 Product Key Management – In order to make it easier to access and use your product keys on VLSC, we are:

  • Providing a link to download all product keys to a local file directly from VLSC so that you can have and access them offline
  • Reformatting the product keys page on VLSC so that Product Keys do not wrap when displayed
  • Providing the ability to view a subset of product keys via the Relationship Summary > License Details page, so that you can see what product keys are associated with a specific License ID
  • Providing background processing with e-mail notification when keys are available to view when product key requests take longer than 20 seconds to return for companies with large quantities of product keys

Here is a preview of some of these changes that you will see:

Download All Product Keys & Non-wrapping key display

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View Product Keys for a specific License ID

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Be notified by email when keys available for agreements with large numbers of keys

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Add Open License feature – Ability to “Manage on behalf of” for Microsoft Partners.  Are you a Microsoft Partner that has had a client tell you to “Just take care of it” for their Open License Agreements, meaning they want you to get their product keys, download the software, manage their Software Assurance benefits, etc.?  Add Open License provides a way to access this capability when your client has asked you to “manage on behalf of”:

  • Establish Non-Administrative User rights for an Open License Agreement (Why you don’t need to be an Admin)
    • Rights include:
      • View Open License information
      • Download licensed software
      • Access product keys
      • View and manage Software Assurance benefits
      • View and manage Microsoft subscriptions
  • Use “Add Open License” when you have been authorized to manage the Open License Agreement on behalf of the customer
  • “Add Open License” feature does not grant Administrator permissions.  Use “Request Permissions” if you need Administrator permissions

Where you can find and access the “Add Open License" feature, once released:

VLSC Main page in “Track Licensing Info” box

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VLSC New User Registration Confirmation

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Relationship Summary Page

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License Summary Page

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Under “Administration” tab in Navigation bar

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Help and Support – We are also making some updates to several of the help and support resources:

  • Provide direct links to self-help resources directly on the Product Keys page
  • New Product Key Activation Information pop-up to direct users to Product Key self-learning
  • More consistent terminology and clearer error messages (No, they didn’t take my suggestion, yet... :-)  )

Training and Resources – We are/have updated several of the Partner training and VLSC resources located on the VLSC Page on MPN.  (Note that all of these resource materials will be available in localized language form starting April 4th.)

In addition to these updates coming in the VLSC release in April, you may have noticed some of the recent usability updates we’ve put in place based on your feedback, such as:

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- Easier to find FAQ links on various VLSC pages, making it easier to find the answers you need to “how-to” questions on VLSC

An updated VLSC error page for “timeout” errors (Often resolved with “Back” and trying again):

image - Yes, the really long error code is still there; however, it now contains a couple simple things to try that often alleviates the timeout issue that caused the error screen to come up in the first place

On another note, here is a quick suggestion for all of you Partners:  Make sure that when placing an Open License order with your Microsoft Authorized Distributor, you are not only providing them with the client’s full, accurate information (Company name, address, business email, etc.), but make sure that you are also providing all of your accurate information as the Reseller (Company name, address, business email, etc.).  I have heard from some Partners that while they are providing all of the accurate Customer information, they have not been making it standard practice to provide the business email associated with their Windows Live ID as the “Indirect Business Email” or “Reseller email” when placing an Open License order.  You will want to start doing this on every Open License order you place.

We do appreciate all of your input, feedback, and patience through this experience, and again wish to express our gratitude for everything you have done.  Be sure to check out the VLSC page on the Microsoft Partner Network portal (MPN) for a full list of training materials, FAQs, and more.  Also, I would once again like to offer a huge, “Thank you,” to all of you that have participated in the numerous feedback, usability, walk-through, testing, etc. sessions we have been conducting to get feedback and input on things to include in upcoming VLSC releases to help provide you with a great VLSC experience.  We greatly appreciate it.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER clip_image001and RSS clip_image002
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
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  • Eric this is great news. The pains experienced in the transition were numerous and cost us a partner and Microsoft revenue when we couldn't get access to the software or keys that we had always previously had access to.

    Having the ability to manage clients software is an added service we have always provided. The new features will allow us to do that again hopefully. Well done to you and your team for constantly striving to fix the issues for us partners.

    Andy

  • Eric - Thanks for thaking our feedback seriously and responding to it promptly.

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