Who is your buddy? Thoughts about the ISV Buddy Program


Recently Mark and I were talking to some of the folks behind the ISV Buddy program about some concerns we had.  The concerns came from people on our teams that had experience in the program but, when put to the test, neither Mark nor I had actually signed up for the program.  Rather than just relaying a message we decided to sign up. 

Filing out the internal profile was a little too painless and in less than 24 hours I had been matched with a buddy who had already sent me mail.  My buddy is from DlhSoft.  I’m not exactly sure how the matching process goes since the information I was able to fill out about myself was rather limited.  I’m not sure they had much to go on when they selected me or even if they had a choice.

I had mixed feeling about this.  Not from my perspective, since, I’ll do whatever I can to help out someone supporting the Microsoft platform.  What if I’m not really the person best suited to answer my buddies questions and all I can do is play message monkey from those in the know back to my buddy?  I hope this doesn’t get in the way of forming a quality relationship between an ISV and Microsoft, which I believe, is part of the intent of the program.  At this point, however, it’s too early to know.  If there was too much information and choosing going on I might never get picked as a buddy. 🙂

My second concern is around the nature of 1-1 relationships to drain the overall community knowledge.  For example: I’ll forward any bug about VS sent my way to the proper team, but then that bug won’t be available for the community to see on the Product Feedback center.  If there are general questions and answers they will only benefit the individuals rather than the community if the Q/A had occurred in a public forum.  Am I crazy?  Would this concern anyone else?

I’m not all skeptical. Already I’ve sent mails back and forth with my buddy that have helped me understand, in a deeper way, how one company is taking advantage of our platform and uses our technologies.  This knowledge is something that could benefit every Microsoft employee who receives similar information about their customers.  To often; people developing products lose focus on exactly who and how real people use their technologies and these types of relationships allow you to gain that additional perspective.  I look forward to helping out my buddies by answering what I can and finding answers I don’t have.

Are you signed up?  Is your company?  How much of an impact has this program had on you?  What could we(Microsoft) do to improve it? Would you want me as your buddy?

Comments (6)

  1. Ron says:

    I needed help with Sql server and send a message to my microsoft buddy but never got a response back. Before sending the question to my buddy, I had posted it on the MSDN managed newsgroups but did not get a reply. I atleast expected some kind of response from my buddy.

  2. typemismatch says:

    I’ve had three buddies so far …. none have ever answered my emails … MS keeps telling me they’re no longer buddies after waiting about month per buddy! ….

  3. I’ve had my ISV buddy for a few months now, and he’s helped me through some issues.

    However, his product was cut nearly six weeks ago, and his six weeks of job hunting are nearly up.

    Funny…based off of your comments, I find the ONE ISV Buddy who actually responds and helps, and he gets laid off this week.

  4. Mark Levison says:

    My buddy has been very helpful, mostly in putting me in touch with the people who can help solve my problems.

    If I have any issues with the program is the information that was used for matching was far to generic.

    I’m one of only a handful of people doing WinForms/No Touch Deployment. I would have liked a buddy who knew these areas better than I do. (No insult to my ISV buddy who is doing an excellent job).

    The one-to-one relationship does have the advantage that some is responsible for your needs and that questions don’t just get dropped on the floor.

  5. josh ledgard says:

    Good to start seeing some positive responces after the first two strikes against the system. I wonder if the people getting responces are just less vocal.

  6. We just wanted to address the various and valid concerns that you’ve have posted here. The most important being that for those ISVs who are not receiving replies from their Microsoft buddies, please contact us at budsup@microsoft.com so that we can address those specific issues. We are also available to assist with any urgent questions you may have in the meantime.

    As for the matching process, we had to balance what we asked from ISVs and employees (time, frustration levels, etc.) with the depth of the match. Matches are made on one or more item from each profile category so the more focused the profile, the tighter the match will be. The top priority of the program is to put a face to Microsoft and create a personal connection between employees and ISVs. That said, Microsoft buddies are definitely expected to 1) answer questions directly if able, 2) track down answers via internal resources, or 3) escalate the issue to the ISV Buddy Team (us) for further research.

    Right now, we’re working on a new version of the matching tool which will allow ISVs to choose from a list of available employees that match their profile request in real time. ISVs can also choose to wait for a better match as employees continue to sign up each day. We also love the concept of sharing the solutions found through the program with everyone in the program but are not set up currently to do so. We’ll definitely give this idea some serious consideration.

    Please remember that this is a program that employees volunteer for in addition to their normal job responsibilities. Employees are expected to reply to requests within 72 hours, but if you don’t hear back from your buddy right away and you have an urgent issue, feel free to use the budsup@microsoft.com alias or contact Microsoft Product Support Services for extremely urgent issues.

    If you have an ISV Buddy Program success story that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to see it!

    Thanks!

    ISV Buddy Team