Microsoft partners and customers who have been complaining for months about problems accessing their software due to problems with Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), take heart. Microsoft is preparing to roll out a "version 3.5" of the site, incorporating new fixes and updates, before the end of April.
(I saw the news about the VLSC update via Richard Gibbons' "Rich from Bechtle" blog. Gibbons has been keeping close tabs on the VLSC problems for the past few months.)
Eric Ligman, Global Partner Experience Lead with Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, blogged about the coming changes at the end of March. From his post:
"I am happy to announce that an update to VLSC with 'Add Open License' will be coming in April, 2010, which includes several of the suggested improvements (visual, functional, and experience) that you (partners) have provided to us."
Among the 3.5 features on tap:
- A new navigation bar, designed to make it easier to find where to download software, access product keys and administer permissions/settings
- New product-key management functionality, including reformatting of keys so they don't wrap when displayed; a link to download all keys to a local file directly from VLSC (for offline access); and a new view allowing customers/partners to see which product keys are associated with particular license IDs
- Add an open license feature, which is the ability to 'manage on behalf of' for Microsoft partners. This feature will allow partners (with customers' permission) to directly get keys, download software and manage Software Assurance contracts for customers.
The Register reported VLSC access problems back in December, 2009. On January 11, Microsoft officials publicly acknowledged and apologized for the problems via the company’s SMB Community blog, attributing the difficulties to a new registration system. VLSC access problems continued for months for a number of Microsoft partners and customers.