Today the astute eyes of James Barrett
noticed the following in the fine print on
MS's partner pages
and once shared, it raised my eyebrows too.
Small Business Specialist Community Program Enhancements
Note: To ensure your enrollment in the Small Business Specialist Community program, you must meet program requirements by June 13, 2007.
Good news is that apparently it is the end of a grace period for those that have not gone the full mile (some might criticize 20' and I tend to agree but that is for another post). Here is the wonderful Paige Boesen's clarification on this date's meaning.
This website update has to do with the non-compliance initiative – SBSC partners were previously enrolled on an "honor system" and system checks indicated that a number of companies participating in the program still needed to complete their MCP exam or sales assessment. Additionally, based on an upgrade of the Partner Membership Center and a change to multi-location reporting for SBSC, one office might be compliant, but another might be in a situation where they need to complete these requirements to keep the entire company active in the SBSC program.
Affected partners received e-mails (sample attached) for the past few months explaining their specific situation and providing resources available to assist them with these scenarios, and as of the deadline this week – if action wasn't taken, SBSC status will be lost. However, my team is still "at the ready" to address partners that want to take action at this stage, and we can ensure maintenance of SBSC status based on our guidance. The best team to work with is the SBSC Experts, via e-mail or telephone (live humans are available ). Here's their contact info – and it is also included in the e-mail:
- Email the SBSC Support Team <mailto:email@example.com>
- Call SBSC Support Team 888-298-6303
A few blogs were posted about this initiative:
- SBSC Non-compliance Vteam blogged details about the benefits of multi-location reporting for SBSC (primarily multiple listings in the Partner Locator Tool), along with other program upgrades: http://blogs.msdn.com/mssmallbiz/archive/2007/05/05/2438557.aspx
- In response, SBSC partner Vlad Mazek chimed in encouraging partners to take action towards compliance: http://vladville.com/2007/05/is-that-an-sbsc-logo-in-your-window.html