Earlier today in my The new Microsoft Partner Network is here! post, I mentioned that here at Microsoft, we are continually working to enhance your experience with Microsoft, to make it easier to do business with Microsoft, and to simplify your navigation of and access to resources and benefits from Microsoft.  Today you have the opportunity to have your voice heard directly on one of these initiatives, the Microsoft Partner Network site.  I would strongly encourage you to please provide your input and feedback, then encourage your peers to give their input and feedback as well because your feedback will be highly regarded in the evaluation of this. 

Here’s where we want your input…  We’ve heard from partners that they are looking for ways to make it easier to find the information they want and need on the Microsoft Partner Network site.  Last year to help with this, we launched a new search platform on the Microsoft Partner Network site based on the Bing and Fast search platforms.  The feedback we received on that update was great, but we are still striving to make it even easier.  To that end, we launched a new “trial” Microsoft Partner Network main page with the launch of the new Microsoft Partner Network.  This new homepage came online yesterday and will be up for a limited time to see what partners think of it and how well it helps them; however, we launched this new homepage ONLY on the Worldwide Partner Network portal, so let me show you how you can test it out and give us your feedback.

When you navigate to the Microsoft Partner Network site today, check up in the upper left-hand corner to see which Microsoft Partner Network site you are on, your local subsidiary portal page or the Worldwide Partner portal page.  Here’s an example:

image

As you can see in the example to the left (click on the image for full size), this page is the Canadian subsidiary Microsoft Partner Network portal page, not the Worldwide Partner Network portal page.  As such, it still shows the original Microsoft Partner Network portal design we’ve had for awhile, not the test page we’re trying out.

To get to the Worldwide Partner Network Portal page to see the new design we’ve launched and want your input on, simply do the following:

Click on the “Change Location” link next to the country name currently showing on the Microsoft Partner Network portal page.  (Click image to the right for full-size) image
From the drop-down menu that appears on the new page, select the “Worldwide Partner Portal Home Page” option, and click on “Go.”  It should be the option on the top of the list.  (Click image to the right for full-size) image

Now that you have done this, you should be presented with the Worldwide Partner Portal Home Page that shows the new re-design we launched based on partner input, feedback, and portal usage that we believe will help simplify partner’s ability to find, access, and consume the information, benefits and resources they are looking for.  Here is a snapshot of the new design from today:

image One thing you will hopefully notice about the new design is that it is meant to be much cleaner with far fewer words and easier to find/use navigation.  Across the middle of the page, you will find top interest items, like the new Microsoft Partner Network, Microsoft Cloud Services, Microsoft Lync, and Microsoft Office 365.  You will also notice that the Bing/Fast search capability that I mentioned at the beginning of this post is still included in the upper right-hand corner of the page, so I would highly recommend still using this, but also, we have added new navigation tabs along the bottom, which revolve around top items partners look for, ask for, and access.
For instance, you will notice that if you hover the “Your Membership” tab, the menu expands to reveal top items related to working with and managing your membership in the Microsoft Partner Network, including: Prepare to Renew, Renew Your Membership, Buy a Subscription, Earn a Competency, and Manage Your Account. image
image As you know, cloud computing is a very hot topic right now and helping partners engage in and be successful in the cloud is a strong focus for Microsoft.  As such, you will notice the second tab, “Opportunities in the Cloud,” which includes: Join Cloud Essentials, Enroll in Cloud Accelerate, Explore Cloud Services, Learn about Azure, and Learn about Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
In the third tab over, we have information for our software development partners.  This tab is appropriately named, “Software Developers” and includes links to: Get Azure Platform Ready, Get Your Action Pack, Earn the ISV Competencies, Add Your App to the Marketplace, and Build Demos for Customers. image
image The fourth tab over is designed for our solution provider partners and is the “Solution Providers” tab.  Inside this tab you will find: Get Your Action Pack, Close Sales Faster, Earn a Competency, Become a Small Business Specialist, and Add Your Company to the Marketplace
Finally, in the “Your Benefits” tab, we have resources associated with the benefits you receive based on your membership in the Microsoft Partner Network.  Here you will find things like: Explore Core Benefits, Download Your Software, Build a Practice Faster, Download Your Partner Logo, and Get Technical Support. image

By putting the information that partners look for and use often directly on the main page in short menus with logical sorting and names, we think this new design should help partners more quickly and easily find, access, and consume the information that is of most interest and most helpful to them.  For those of you that have gotten used to the top ribbon bar that existed on the former Worldwide Partner Network portal page, you will notice that it is still included in the new design, directly above the center band.

Now, once you’ve tried out the new design and compared it to the design of your local country’s Microsoft Partner Network Portal homepage, we would love to hear your input and feedback on the new design and if it is easier to use, if it makes finding the information and resources you need/want simpler or quicker, if you like the new layout or not, etc.  Remember, tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Something I always remind partners of is: “If you like the changes we make, tell us, because if you don’t we may just change it back based on no feedback thinking you really didn’t care for it.  If you don’t like something, tell us that too so that we know what about it you don’t like and we can take that into consideration for future updates and designs.”

to make it really easy to provide your input on our new homepage design, I’ll give you three options to submit your feedback on this:

1) At the bottom of this post, there is a comments field where you can submit your comments directly to me.  Simply enter in your comments and click on “Post.” image
2) You can submit your input and feedback to us through my online feedback form, which allows you to enter in your comments and feedback and click “Submit Items” to send them to us. image
3) You can click on the “Feedback” link at the bottom of the Microsoft Partner Network Portal page and enter in your feedback there to submit to the web team. image

Again, I would strongly encourage you to please provide your input and feedback on this new Microsoft Partner Network Portal homepage design, then encourage your peers to give their input and feedback as well because your feedback will be highly regarded in the evaluation of this.  Enhancing your experience with Microsoft, making it easier to do business with Microsoft, and to simplifying your navigation of and access to the resources and benefits from Microsoft that you want/need is a very important focus for us and I look forward to your feedback as we work together to achieve our joint goals.

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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