Best Mobile Apps for Microsoft Partners' Internal Use
Here are the top five mobile apps to help partners navigate the Microsoft channel from day to day.
- By Scott Bekker
- May 31, 2012
1. Microsoft Partner Info App
Every Microsoft partner knows that keeping track of Microsoft is like keeping on top of 30 different companies all doing related but uncoordinated things. One of the best internal Microsoft efforts to bring all the relevant blog entries and Twitter feeds into one handy place for partners is the Microsoft Partner Info App. Eric Ligman, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group's global experience lead who developed the app, so far has been unsuccessful
in getting Apple to include an iPhone version in the App Store. Versions exist for Windows Phone (version 18.104.22.168, less than 1 MB) and for Android (2.0, 548k).
The Windows Phone version has eight main tiles on the homepage -- Products, People, Countries, Perspectives, Partners, Events, Offers and Manage. Products is a collection of 39 blogs. Most are from specific product groups, but the list includes non-product blogs such as Demo Showcase, Download Center, Eval Center, Malware Protection Center, Microsoft Press, Solution Accelerator, Virtual Labs and Volume Licensing. People includes blogs from six high-profile Microsoft executives -- Jon Roskill, Eric Ligman, Julie Bennani, Karl Noakes, Frank Shaw and Joe Belfiore -- and other Microsoft program-related blogs. The Countries tile holds 25 Microsoft subsidiary blogs, and Perspectives includes individual blog entries from various sources. Partners collects Twitter traffic using canned hashtag searches for popular partner topics, including the Worldwide Partner Conference (#wpc12), the Microsoft Partner Network (#mpnlive), Most Valuable Professionals (#mvpchat and #mpvbuzz), SharePoint (#sharepoint), Exchange (#MSExchange), Lync (#lync) and SQL Server (#sqlserver or #sql2012). Events covers various Microsoft events, Offers links to incentives and Manage takes users to the Microsoft Partner Portal for managing account information.
A new "support" button at the bottom of the app provides handy phone numbers and e-mail addresses partners can use to access Regional Service Centers. [DOWNLOAD: Windows Phone | Android]
2. Gear Up Mobile
When the sales or marketing team needs to come up with some copy explaining some of the Microsoft technologies underlying a partner's latest solution, it can be hard to find concise explanations. Enter Microsoft's Gear Up Sales Toolkit. While it started as a printed document and online resource, Microsoft also made Gear Up information available as an app for Windows Phone. Gear Up (available in both United States and worldwide editions) describes itself this way: "The Gear Up Sales Toolkit is designed primarily with the seller in mind, but is used broadly across Microsoft and by thousands of partners as a way to stay up-to-date. Gear Up gives you essential baseline selling information (what to sell and how to sell it) for most Microsoft licensed products and services in one easy reference."
Main subject chapters cover priorities and guidance; Microsoft Cloud Computing; products and services; licensing; and programs and resources. Version 22.214.171.124 is free and less than 1 MB to download to Windows Phone. [DOWNLOAD]
3. Mobility Partner
One Microsoft Partner Competency comes with its own app. Partners with a gold or silver competency in Mobility gain access to the Mobility Partner app, which includes competency benefits updates and marketing and sales resources. Using the app requires signing in with the Windows Live ID associated with the partner company's competency. The download is relatively large at 8 MB for version 126.96.36.199. [DOWNLOAD]
4. Microsoft IT Showcase
The Microsoft IT department has long served as Microsoft's first, best customer for deploying, testing and building best practices around new Microsoft software. This month, Microsoft made available a 1.0 version of a Windows Phone app chock full of articles, videos and audio detailing how Microsoft IT implements projects -- of interest to partners helping customers implement Microsoft-based infrastructure. [DOWNLOAD]
5. Microsoft Tag
Microsoft partners attending the Worldwide Partner Conference in July in Toronto will be playing Tag. Microsoft Tag barcodes will be part of attendees ID cards for exchanging contact information and getting more information about vendors. Microsoft Tag is available as an app for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and other platforms. The technology is built into the Bing Visual Reader in Windows Phone 7.5. [DOWNLOAD: Windows Phone | Android | iPhone | BlackBerry]
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.