Back in November we launched the new Partner Membership Center with several updates to make managing your membership in the Microsoft Partner Network easier based on input and feedback we’ve been hearing and receiving from partners, including the integration of the former Transition Tool into the Partner Membership Center itself.  Since that time, we continue to listen to your input and feedback and look for ways to make your experience with the Partner Membership Center even better, and this weekend we’ll be making some more of those updates.

Last night I sent out a quick tweet to my followers on Twitter stating, “FYI - Partner Membership Center going offline around 2 pm PST tomorrow for new updates. Back online by mid-Sunday,” just to let people know that the Partner Membership Center on the Microsoft Partner Network portal would be offline for a bit this weekend.  What I thought I would do here is give a quick overview of just some of the things we’re doing this weekend, since you are actually at the core of a lot of it based on the input, feedback, and suggestions you have provided.

For the updates below, you will see these in the “Competency Summary” section of the Partner Membership Center, which you access by clicking the “Competency Summary” tab in Partner Membership Center.  (Click image to the right for full size) image

Simplifying accessing Microsoft Licensing Online Assessments and Sales & Marketing Assessments

Today in Partner Membership Center, if there are Microsoft Licensing Online Assessments or Sales and Marketing Assessments required for silver or gold competencies you are working towards, you will see the image to the right displayed under that competency when you expand the requirements: image
image When you click on the “Business Assessments” title (which is hyperlinked on Partner Membership Center), it takes you to the “Business Assessment Requirements” page on the Microsoft Partner Network portal so you can learn more about them and see the ones available.

Feedback we have heard is, “That’s great that you take me to the information page, but how do I know specifically which one I need?  Why not just take me to the specific assessment required?”  Great feedback!  Well, guess what?  One of the changes being made this weekend is to do just that.  After the updates, you will be able to click and be taken right to the Microsoft Licensing Online Assessments or Sales and Marketing Assessments vs. having to find them on the overview page.

Less clicks to navigate to competency requirements in Competency Summary

Today when you are in the Competency Summary section of Partner Membership Center, it shows you the competencies you have or have taken action towards attaining. The default level is silver, since that would be the first level to attain, as you can see to the right. image
image When you click the blue arrow next to the competency, it expands the list of requirements to show you where you stand towards attaining them.  Again, default is silver to begin with.
To see where you stand against the requirements for the gold level for that competency, you first click on the “Gold” listed below the competency name to switch it to display “Gold” in the name… image
image Then you click the blue arrow next to the name again to re-expand it to show the requirements at the gold competency level, as well as your progress against them.

Feedback we have heard is, “It would be much simpler and save me time if I could just toggle back and forth between the silver and gold requirements by just clicking the ‘Silver’ or ‘Gold’ words below the competency name and the expanded list would just re-populate vs. having to keep re-expanding the list with the blue arrow.”  Again, great feedback on a way to save you time and make it easier to see the information you want!  Guess what’s coming this weekend?  Yep, we’re making this change as well.

This next update takes place in the “Customer References” section of the Partner Membership Center.  You access this under the “Customer References” tab. image

Making it easier to understand how to assign references to attain gold competencies

In Partner Membership Center today, you can assign customer references to the various competencies you are looking to attain by using the “Assign” button next to a reference’s listing (or re-assign if they are already assigned to a specific competency and you want to change with one they are associated with).  You can see a non-assigned and an assigned reference in the image to the right. image
image When you click the “Assign” button, it provides a drop-down list of all of the competencies so that you can pick which one you want it applied to.  Since silver is the first level you attain (higher level of requirements for gold competency), you can see that “Silver” is listed in the competency name list.

Feedback we have heard is, “We are planning to attain the gold competency level right from the start, but I cannot see how to assign a reference towards the gold level, just the silver level.  How do we do it?”  Great question!  In actuality, when you assign a customer reference towards a competency, it goes towards the minimum requirements, either silver or gold.  To make this easier to see, we’ll be revising the drop-down list shown in the second image above this weekend to just display the competency names themselves, not with “Silver” included I the name.  That way you can simply choose which competency you want to apply it to and that’s where it will go.  It’s a relatively minor change, but it will definitely help address several of the questions and misunderstandings we’ve seen, which will save the partners time and confusion.

There are several other updates we’ll be making this weekend as well, including one our Microsoft Online Service Provider (MOSPA) partners will really like, but I’m not going to spoil all of the fun here.  I just wanted to provide a quick overview of some of the types of updates you’ll be seeing so that you knew why we’ll be taking the Partner Membership Center offline for awhile this weekend.  As noted in my tweet yesterday, the Partner Membership Center will be going offline around 2:00 pm PST today and should be back online by mid-day on Sunday PST.  (Between you and me, I have some insider information that it could be up sooner than mid-day Sunday, so let’s see)  Smile

Thanks again for all of the input and feedback you’ve been giving us on how we can make your experience with our online tools easier and better.  Keep the feedback coming!

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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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