Posted by Diane Golshan, Managing Editor for U.S. Partner Communications.

ColorDiane%20Golshan_jpg If you saw Jon Roskill’s keynote at last year’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles in person or online, you may recall that he spent time talking about the four key areas in which the Microsoft Partner Network provides resources—Marketing, Training, Internal-Use Software, and Partner Technical Support—and encouraged you to take full advantage of them. During his presentation, Jon commented that we had heard your feedback that finding and utilizing those resources and benefits could be challenging, and noted that his team was working on a new website to help simplify the experience. You may have even had the opportunity to participate in some early usability testing while at WPC.

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I am delighted to announce that starting today, there’s a new online destination for partners in the United States. The design, features, and functionality of your new Microsoft partner portal address the most common partner feedback about the partner website, and make it easier to find relevant information and resources as well as get answers to your questions with robust support functionality.

The design of the new partner site is cleaner and more consistent with other Microsoft sites, and uses graphics and links to better organize content and display to you available content. Throughout the site, we recommend links to content relevant to a specific page that are most commonly used by partners or that reflect new or updated information.

My Top Five Favorite New Site Features

While I want to give you an opportunity to visit the site and experience it for yourself, here are a few of my favorite new site features and functionality:

  1. Connection to Microsoft Partner Network support from every site page. At the top of each page, you’ll see “Contact Microsoft Partner Network.” Click “Microsoft Partner Network” and go directly to the Partner Network Support gateway. There, you can use our automated support agent, or connect to a live agent during business hours.
  2. “Downloads” is now a specific section of the site, and accessible from the top bar, making it easy to get to and utilize your software benefits obtained through attaining competencies or purchasing a subscription.
  3. Each of the site categories, listed across the top, has a short menu of the most commonly used information related to that topic. Want to go straight to the Partner Online Technical Communities? Simply click Support, then choose “Support communities” from the menu. Need to pass assessments to attain a competency? In the Training menu, select “Pass assessments” and go straight to that page. Looking for information related to serving public sector customers? From Community, click “Public sector” and see links to Education, Government, Health and Life Sciences.
  4. The Partner Learning Center page (Training > Partner Learning Center) includes a nifty list of the latest training courses and links you directly to them on the Partner Learning Center.
  5. Site search works beautifully, and we have added search within each category, too. I have used both extensively over the past several weeks as we have been working to add U.S.-specific content to the site, and have been really pleased with how accurate the results are. And, if your preferred way to find content is through external search sites like Bing, the site is optimized for that, too.

I hope you will enjoy using the new partner portal, and find that it is a much-improved online experience that lets you get to the information and resources you need to manage your relationship with Microsoft, strengthen your Microsoft practice, and grow your business. Before you head out to the new site (http://aka.ms/uspartner) to check it out, here are a couple of things to know:

  • Confirm that your default partner portal site is the United States site. This link: http://aka.ms/uspartner, will take you directly to the new U.S. home page, but you may want to click at the top of your browser window where it says “United States” and select United States from the locator menu to set this as your default portal.
  • You will have the best experience when you sign in with Windows Live ID. If you have trouble signing in, click “Contact Microsoft Partner Network” at the top of the page to access support.
  • You will still manage your Microsoft Partner Network membership in the Partner Membership Center, but you will find better instructions about what you need to do within the Membership section of the new site. And, support is close at hand, through the Contact Microsoft Partner Network link.