After delays, delays and more delays, Microsoft is finally ready - well almost - to apply some fixes to the poorly executed Partner Sales Exchange deal registration portal and to roll out BI tools to track those deals.
PSE was launched early last year, already six months later than planned, as Redmond tried to make it infallible. But the online system was anything but, breaking when too many partner uploaded deals and becoming a costly administrative pain to manage.
Fast-forward another six months and Janet Gibbons, Microsoft UK director of partner strategy and programmes, told us that from 22 July the analytics tools will be in place. She admitted that Redmond had hoped to bring it to market "much earlier".
This will help solution providers and distributors track the life cycle of the registered deals: the agreements, the incentives, when they are approved and when the rebate is to be paid.
"We apologise for the delay, we understand the pain points within the market because we didn't have those tools earlier," she told us. "And we wanted to make sure that by the time we did release them they were really, really good, no issues, 100 per cent fit for purpose. So we took our time to get it right... but it did mean a delay, unfortunately."
Hardware-makers including Cisco already have BI tools that allow partners to track deals, so Microsoft's rollout of the new system drags it into the 21st century channel.
The cumbersome PSE system has a "roadmap of updates" that will make it more functional and responsive over the next 12 months, said Gibbons.
"It can take too long and is a bit clunky to enter volume opportunities, and more recently there's been some issues with syncing of data which I believe have been fixed. We know it's not been the best experience that we would want partners to have," she said.
"There is no one big refresh, it is a roadmap, some of this is invisible to partners because it's back-end stuff [though with] some of it they will see an impact. It's a big investment from Microsoft to improve that tool," Gibbons added. ®