Today, Microsoft announced the public beta for Microsoft Office 365. More than a new version of a familiar product, Office 365 transcends the firewall to enable unprecedented collaboration and sharing across PCs, phones, and browsers. For Microsoft partners, Office 365 brings opportunities to reach new customers and develop new revenue streams. To help you take advantage of these new opportunities, we would like to introduce you to the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace, powered by Microsoft Pinpoint. image

Microsoft Pinpoint was introduced in the U.S. about two-and-a-half years ago, and has enabled Microsoft to connect thousands of small- and midsize customers to our large and diverse partner ecosystem to find solutions that help solve their business challenges. To date, more than 25,000 partner organizations are listed in Pinpoint, with more than 7,000 applications and 12,000+ services offered by Microsoft partners.

Recently, Microsoft has begun using the Pinpoint platform to create Product Marketplaces. Product Marketplaces differ from the Pinpoint marketplace by giving partners the opportunity to showcase how their applications or services extend or enrich the platform of a specific Microsoft product. So far, we have launched the Windows Azure Marketplace and the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. In conjunction with the Office 365 public beta announcement, we’re announcing the beta launch of the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace. Partners who service and deploy on Office 365 are invited to create a new profile in the Office 365 Marketplace to attract new customer prospects.

If you are wondering how to get started with the Office 365 Marketplace, below we offer Q & A that should help you take advantage of this exciting opportunity. If you have additional questions, leave a comment on this blog post or ask us by email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Diane Golshan and Tina Hanson
representing the U.S. Partner Team



Q. What does it mean that the Office 365 Marketplace is in “beta”?
A. The beta version of the Office 365 Marketplace includes an initial catalog of solutions that customers can find through links from the Office 365 website. When Office 365 is released and becomes generally available later this year, the Marketplace will no longer be in beta, and the catalog will be larger, with an improved web experience. The Office 365 Marketplace will not support commerce when it launches. Additional features to support the marketplace will be added in 2012.

Q. What will customers find on the Office 365 Marketplace?
A. Initially, the Office 365 Marketplace will primarily showcase professional services, such as partners that provide guidance on how to plan and adopt the cloud (Online Services Advisors, Cloud Essentials Pack subscribers, or Cloud Accelerate members), or help run the deployment of Office 365 within a customer’s IT infrastructure. Independent Software Vendors (ISV) that have migrated their current BPOS applications to Office 365 will be able to promote their offering, as will ISVs that have worked through the Office 365 beta and have commercially available applications that can be consumed by Office 365 customers.

Q. I have a Pinpoint profile already, and am eager to promote my listing in the Office 365 Marketplace. What do I need to do?
A. If your company has a Pinpoint profile already, you do not have to create a new profile. From your Pinpoint Dashboard, you can select your solutions tied to Office 365 and “promote” them by tagging the specific field that enables you to enter the Office 365 approval process. For the Office 365 Marketplace requirements, refer to our “How to Create an Office 365 Marketplace Profile” document at https://partner.microsoft.com/US/40163736. Having a Pinpoint profile does not mean you will automatically appear in the Office 365 Marketplace.

Q. My company is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, but does not have a Pinpoint profile. How do we showcase our offerings in the Office 365 Marketplace?
A.  By creating a profile for the Office 365 Marketplace, your profile will automatically be featured in Microsoft Pinpoint for additional customer exposure, so it’s a worthwhile investment of time to craft a well-written profile that will promote your company in the best possible light to attract prospects. Here are the steps to take to get started.

    1. Understand the Office 365 Marketplace requirements, by referring to our “How to Create an Office 365 Marketplace Profile” document at https://partner.microsoft.com/US/40163736.
    2. Review the Pinpoint Profile Guidelines to learn how to create a successful profile. Your profile will include:
      • Company overview
      • Your featured software applications or professional services name
      • Description of your software applications or professional services name
      • Your company’s website address
    3. Initial profiles will be created through Solution Finder and will then be routed to the Pinpoint team for editorial review. It may take up to two weeks for your profile to appear on Pinpoint and they will provide feedback if your profile does not meet the requirements to be published and what action you will need to take to meet the guidelines.
    4. Once your Pinpoint profile is live, you will manage future profile updates through the Pinpoint Dashboard. Refer to the steps above for partners who have an existing profile.

Q. Where can I get help with Pinpoint and Product Marketplaces?
A. Try the Microsoft Pinpoint FAQ at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/PartnerFaq first. If you have a more technical or complex question, use the Customer and Partner Support Web Form at https://support.pinpoint.microsoft.com/default.aspx?productkey=pinpoint&mkt=en-us. There is a service-level agreement of three (3) business days for support, but they are often able to respond to and resolve issues within 24 hours.