Microsoft is building on the success of its Partner Solution Profiler with the development of a new user ratings tool, Pinpoint.
Pinpoint was announced at the vendor’s worldwide partner conference earlier this year and is currently being trialled in the US.
In comparison to the Solution Profiler tool, Pinpoint has a new user-friendly interface with more powerful search features, reviews and ratings of companies and their offerings along with a profile of the company, products and services.
Customers will be able to search for a partner based on a number of attributes, such as vertical specialty, and then contact them directly.
While there’s no word yet on the local release, Microsoft group manager of partner strategy and marketing, Nick Mayhew, was already touting forthcoming features.
“Pinpoint will be further developed to allow for ‘try and buy’ solutions offered to customers,” he said. “Our strategy is to provide an infrastructure to allow our partners to attract more customers.
“We’re providing confidence to customers that other customers have seen, used and valued the solution they have bought from that partner.”
Customers will also have the ability to rate a partner through Pinpoint. Mayhew said the customer would need to have a Windows Live ID to participate.
“In a sense it means that you can’t be anonymous in order to do a rating,” he said. “We’re not going to get any disingenuous behaviour from one reseller on top of another because it’s just too hard, but it’s easy enough for a customer to do a rating. It’s still very much in beta version.”
Mayhew said both Partner Solution Finder and Pinpoint will co-exist for a period of time. Microsoft’s goal globally is to double the amount of customer leads offered to partners from 250,000 to 500,000 through Pinpoint and the Partner Solution Profiler.
Locally, there are up to 800 Microsoft certified and Gold partners using the Partner Solution Profiler tool.
“There’s a lot of work going around helping our partners to understand this tool. We’ve got some really strong evidence to suggest that it’s worth the effort and there’s some business being generated through this tool,” Mayhew said.