Guest post by Tina Hanson, Partner-to-Partner Lead for the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team.
This Pinpoint Pointers blog series is about the customer-to-partner (C2P) connection: helping partners effectively use Microsoft Pinpoint, our technology marketplace and directory of Microsoft technology IT providers offering professional services and software, so customers can find their solutions and connect with them. In my Pinpoint Pointers #1 post, I answered a couple of common partner questions about customer prospects and offered tips to help you improve your profile to receive more prospects. In today’s post, I’ll talk about the Microsoft product marketplaces that are powered by Pinpoint, and answer questions I recently received specifically about the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace. Also, I’d like to invite you to join me on Wednesday, October 26 for a live webcast about how to make the most of your Microsoft Pinpoint profile.
First, though, I want to answer a question I should have more directly addressed earlier, about how Pinpoint works with the Microsoft Partner Network. The ability to list your company’s Microsoft-based solutions, including applications and professional services, on Pinpoint is a benefit of Microsoft Partner Network membership. I encourage all U.S. companies that are members of the Partner Network to take advantage of Pinpoint—about 100,000 customers visit Pinpoint and the product marketplaces each month to find a solution that meets their business needs. Shouldn’t your company and solutions be represented there?
If you have a question about Microsoft Pinpoint and how to use it more effectively to grow your business, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and it may be featured in a future Pinpoint Pointers blog post!
About Microsoft Product Marketplaces
Product marketplaces from Microsoft are targeted to business customers and give Microsoft partners (members of the Microsoft Partner Network) an opportunity to make their product-specific applications and services visible to those customers. These marketplaces are powered by Pinpoint, and when you create a marketplace profile, your listing automatically appears on Microsoft Pinpoint, too. Customers typically connect to these marketplaces—and find your solutions—through the related product’s Microsoft.com page, linked from “Find a Partner.” Currently, there are marketplaces for Microsoft Dynamics, Windows Azure, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft System Center. Each of these marketplaces offers partners information about how to get listed there, and optimize your profile for the customers who visit that marketplace.
If your company is an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), we recently launched the Microsoft Marketplace Connector for U.S. partners, which helps you find the most suitable Microsoft and third-party marketplaces for your solution.
Q&A About the Office 365 Product Marketplace
Question 1: What is the Office 365 Marketplace, and how do I get started?
Answer: Microsoft Office 365 is such a great story about helping business customers of all sizes take advantage of the cloud for increased productivity and collaboration, offering “virtually anywhere access” to email, documents, contacts, and calendars across most devices. For partners, Office 365 brings opportunities to reach new customers and develop new revenue streams. The Office 365 Marketplace is a key resource for customers looking for partners who build applications that complement Office 365 or who can customize the Office 365 deployment experience. Customers who select “Find a Partner” from the Support menu on the Office 365 page are taken to the Engage with a partner page (Fig. 1) that describes the many ways working through a partner will benefit them, and which then links them to the Office 365 Marketplace (Fig. 2).
Question 2: I’ve noticed there are two recommended partner lists in the Office 365 Marketplace. Under Browse by Category, there are links to “Top Cloud Partners” and “Office 365 Recommended Deployment Partners.” How do I get added to these lists?
To be considered for the Top Cloud Partners list, you must be enrolled in Microsoft Cloud Accelerate, and meet these requirements:
- Have an active profile on Microsoft Pinpoint;
- Have unique intellectual property (IP) that you offer for sale or for free;
- Your Office 365 Marketplace listing must clearly state which application or professional service you offer and how it integrates or enhances a Microsoft Office 365 product (at least one of these components: Office 365, Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online, Office 2010).
Once you’ve met the above requirements, all applications and professional services are subject to evaluation by Microsoft to ensure your solution adds value for Office 365 customers.
To be considered for the Office 365 Recommended Deployment Partner list, you must be enrolled in Microsoft Cloud Accelerate, and meet these requirements:
- Complete Office 365 deployment training; see schedule.
- Complete three customer deployments of Office 365.
Once you have completed the above requirements, Microsoft will review the list of eligible partners monthly, and you will be contacted directly for approval to be added to the list.