Microsoft has given its partner portal a major facelift, bringing together all channel content under a single locally hosted umbrella. Partners previously had to login to three separate portals depending on their certification level.
With the new portal, partners sign in via one site and will be immediately recognised by their membership level (gold, silver, etc) and competencies. The vendor has also introduced a toolbar on the homepage giving partners the ability to manage their full membership details.
In addition, Microsoft Australia has bumped up the number of pages hosted locally from 150 to 1500. It has also integrated search functionality, as well as refreshed events and skills content.
Partner director, Pip Marlow, said the portal would benefit partners in three ways: by cutting back the number of pages they needed to navigate; increasing the local relevance of information; and simplifying access to member details.
"This will help them to find the relevant information they need as quickly as possible," she said. "By hosting locally, rather than in the US, we're ensuring we're talking about the local market, local readiness campaigns, information and events."
Microsoft has 14,000 partners nationally. The former partner portal sites attracted an average of 40,000 unique visitors each month. Rather than increasing traffic, Marlow said it was hoping partners would spend more time on its site.
"We'll be monitoring closely to see how long users are spending on the site, and how deep they are going," she said.
Microsoft small business specialist, Elise IT, has worked with the vendor for the past six months. Business owner and director, Steve Morris, said the partner portal offered a wealth of local sales and marketing material in an easily accessible format.
"I've got a technical background, so sales and marketing is not something I know much about," he said. "There are lots of campaigns and tools. For example, I can add our logo to documentation and jpegs and ship out. There are also case studies, which are helpful in seeing where there are gaps in the marketplace."