Monday, November 14, 2005

thanks to debbie...hfb has some answers about mspp 2.0

first things first...

yaso to debbie, the sweet rsc staffer i chatted with on the phone earlier today. she was very kind and very patient with yours truly while i asked all sorts of questions about the new partner program interface.

thanks to her efforts...your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy has some answers to the questions i raised in my original post. goes:

tiered hierarchy - a tiered hierarchy consisting of an organization plus an "hq" branch location should be in place for everybody who had only a single location before the upgrade. but don't panic. it doesn't really affect anything. and you will continue to use your previous partner id when contacting rsc or anybody else.

access rights - there is a quick way to check a given person's access rights, both at the organization level, and the branch level, which debbie walked me through. if you have the proper right, you go into requirements & assets -> manage people -> associated people. at the bottom of the page, click the hot-linked name of any person you want to check. it will show what administrative rights they have, if any, and whether those rights are global for the entire organization or local to a single branch location.

microsoft approved - this is a new approval status for references, and is a permanent addition. evidently, they've seen plenty of issues with spam filters picking off the reference e-mails to customers. so much so that they've implemented a secondary approval mechanism, in which microsoft willl attempt validate that the e-mail address is linked to the real company, and if successful, will go ahead and flag the reference as approved. this process takes 4-6 weeks from the date the reference is obviously, if you need some references asap...customer approved is still the way to go.

competency points - the points assigned for your first 2 competencies have changed exactly like i outlined in the first post, altho there is one interesting wrinkle. even tho the 1st competency only garners you 30 "qualifying" points...which means they are actually counted toward your partner points are also awarded 20 competency "bonus" points. think of these like a "cushion," that can be drawn upon should some unforeseen event a change in personnel or some such thing...that would cause your company to drop a level in the partner program. in other words...these 20 points are a little bit of insurance to help keep you at your current level, but do not count toward your initial attainment of that level. i know...clear as mud, right?

small business specialist points - debbie did verify that the points for sbsc are on their way, but will not fully be awarded until january 6, 2006, as i mentioned previously. i did notice, and debbie also verified, that at the current time all sbsc holders should see 1 point being awarded for their sbsc, said point being a placeholder more than anything else. if i had to guess...i'd say the exact amount of points that will be awarded for sbsc is still being discussed, even tho all anyone has seen mentioned up until this point is the number 25. however, it just makes logical sense that if the number was decided...the points would have been awarded during this rollout.

ok, so i should prolly fess up that it's not really a guess concerning the debate about sbsc points...but i can say in all honesty that i didn't hear that from debbie.

saving customer references - there's a very simple explanation why your friendly neighborhood happyfunboy couldn't find a way to save customer references for later...there isn't one! now, i will say that entering a customer reference with the new system consists of nothing more than filling out 3 short screens of info, and then a completing an optional final review before submitting...the speed of which totally rocks compared to the old system!

even so...i'm seriously missing the save capability. with the old system, i'd often start a reference and fill in the basic info, then save it for the primary consultant on a project to add all the details. or...sometimes i'd have a few free minutes to get some references entered, but might not be able to get final permission from the clients to send them on for a day or two. or...i might just get interrupted with a client call, and have to save it for later. we all multi-task all the time. i guess i'll just have to get used to entering and submitting in the same session...but to seems like the lack of a save capability in new reference system will discourage the submitting of references. and that runs counter to ms' implied goal of encouraging more partners to earn competencies, since competencies require references.

like i blogged about in the first post, and which debbie verified for me, i did lose a reference i had spent about 15 to 20 minutes entering and double-checking. if that happens more than once or twice to most folks...they won't ever try to submit a reference can bank on that.

i'd suggest that add the ability to save references in progress, but set the system to delete saved references that aren't submitted after one month from the initial save date. that would keep old references from clogging the system in perpetuity, and still allow for reasonable use when drafting references for submission.

login issues - i saw absolutely no issues with the login process or account permissions after about 9a cst. which rocks...way to go blue badges!

rsc being slammed - as expected, the partner regional service center for the states is getting inundated with calls concerning the changes.

so...seriously everybody...

be polite and be professional for pete's sake!

i will say...even tho debbie admitted they were still undergoing some training...she was right on and knew the answer to every question i asked except for 1, which is far and away better than previous experiences i've had with the rsc.

and i think it's pretty fracking sad that someone on the rsc would be so relieved to get a friendly call. especially since...if you as a partner had been paying even a tiny bit of attention to the partner'd have known all this was coming.

so..for debbie...and her friend sitting next to her who was peeved that debbie had gotten a "nice" call...heh...and the rest of the partner team folks...

a big round of applause!


Anonymous Matt Hawley said...

Hey happyfunboy - I'm a dev on the new partner membership center, and just to let you know, I'll be taking your comments and sending it to management & the devs. We're super excited that things are going great and are always looking for suggestions.

11:44 PM  
Blogger happyfunboy said...

welcome to the funcave, matt!

glad you stopped by, and that my insanely long posts about the new pmc and the rollout might be of some help to you folks on the dev team.

as i work with pmc some more, will prolly post little things here and there.

but, in case it don't come through in my 2 posts so far...pmc really seems a vast improvement over the old doubt about that.

heh...and i really hope that debbie and her pal get a chance to see this post. :)

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is Richard Flynn and I am the Microsoft Director resposible for the development of the Microsoft Partner Program.

Thanks for the positive words and feedback. We appreciate it and worked hard with many partners to incorparte partner feedback into the new program.

I heard clearly the feedback on saving a reference midway. We'd hoped to make the process easy enough (especially compared to the previous version) that you could complete in one sitting. That said, I'll see what we can do in our next release.

Thanks again for the feedback. Microsoft cares and is commited to being every partner's best vendor.

9:55 PM  

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