Microsoft Vendor process – some issues and how I resolved them

    Feb 1, 2017 4:28:13 AM by Jen Stirrup

    As you will know, I  have been working extremely hard on the UK Power BI Summit.  One thing to note: If you are thinking of setting up a community event, I would recommend that you engage with Microsoft as a vendor. It will put your conversations on a more equal footing. I am still not a bona fide vendor because some of the Microsoft offices still cannot ‘see’ me, and it will help you to have the vendor status.

    I am not a vendor, and this became the equivalent of a ‘mute’ button when i was trying to engage people in my event –  people couldn’t do anything to help, because I was not a vendor. I wanted to try and do the best possible for my event, so I decided to go through the process.

    Becoming a Microsoft vendor is not a quick or easy process and I want to help you, dear Reader, so it is easier for you than it is for me.  The reasons for the complexities in the process are as follows:

    Becoming a Microsoft vendor means that you need a Microsoft account, which is fine. Now, there is a well-documented difference between a Microsoft account and an Office 365 account. There is a fantastic blog about it here. Now, the problem occurs if  you have a Microsoft account that has the same name as an Office 365 account. The vendor system will reject you if you have a Microsoft account that has the same name as an office 365 account, and the two are linked together.

    When you go through the Microsoft vendor process with an email address that is identical for a Microsoft account and an Office 365 account, then it bounces you out, and your application for becoming a vendor is rejected. The whole Microsoft Office 365 / Microsoft Account issue, differences and distinctions are terribly confusing.

    What do you do? You need to restart the vendor process again, but you need to use a Microsoft account that does not have an identical Microsoft Office365 account LINKED to it.

    So here is what I did:

    I attempted to go through the process by using an email address that was a Microsoft Office 365 account and a Microsoft account. For the purposes of illustration, let’s call it jen@jenstirrup.com which is the login for both Office365 and the Microsoft account.

    After a week or so, I got an email to say that my application was rejected.

    I spent another few weeks raising it as a support issue, and eventually told that I was to restart the process, and to speak with the Microsoft sponsor to restart the process. Now, I didn’t want to restart the process without understanding WHY it was rejected so I did my own research because I’m a clever girl like that, and I had a hunch that it was due to the login (no evidence, just a thought that I decided to follow up). Here is what I did:

    I took my Microsoft Office 365 email address which I will mark in orange so it is less confusing!!! (jen@jenstirrup.com), and de-linked it from the Microsoft Account settings page for jen@jenstirrup.com – I will mark the Microsoft Account in blue.

    I then tried to set up a separate Microsoft account with the same e-mail address jen@jenstirrup.com 

    This attempt was refused, and I was told to wait 48 hours.

    I waited 48 hours, and, after a few attempts of setting up a New Microsoft Account for jen@jenstirrup.com with the same Microsoft Office 365 account(jen@jenstirrup.com), the new Microsoft Account jen@jenstirrup.com was set up. I will set this to be the colour green. There was no magic here; I just kept trying until it worked. This meant I had three accounts now:

    • jen@jenstirrup.com – my Office 365 account
    • jen@jenstirrup.com – the original Microsoft Account which then reverted to an outlook address
    • jen@jenstirrup.com is my new Microsoft account which I set up for the Vendor process, which wasn’t linked to anything.

    With my new Microsoft account,  jen@jenstirrup.com, I could then go and restart the Microsoft vendor process again. The confusing thing is that they all have the same name and I have tried to clarify it by giving them different colours to show that they are different accounts, just called the same thing. 

    After my new  jen@jenstirrup.com was set up, I then restarted the Microsoft Vendor process again, over at payment central.

    Once again – the process failed.

    During the Microsoft vendor process, the system asks for your IBAN number, and then it does a lookup to get your details. You will have an IBAN number, but your bank does not always display it for you. Therefore, make sure that you have it.

    Unfortunately for me, when I was going through the application service, Microsoft’s IBAN lookup / verification process failed. This produced a ream of error messages about an unrecognised IBAN. I have been through lots of similar vendor processes for other large companies, and I knew for a fact that my IBAN number was correct and confirmed. I didn’t type it in wrong, in case you think I am that dumb :)

    I waited until the next day and tried again, and this time, the process seemed to work.

    I then checked with the Microsoft vendor people, and I was told over the process of a week, that my process hadn’t gone through, and they could not see me set up in the system. To be fair, I had not had an ‘Welcome’ email to indicate that i was a vendor yet.

    I double checked the vendor system, which showed success – but nobody at the Microsoft vendor offices, in the US or in Dublin, could find me. Super confused!!

    I logged back into the Microsoft payment system, and I noted that I now had a number next to my company name. Rather than ask  the team to search by name, I gave them the number. After another few days delay, someone in the US has come back to tell me that they can see me in their system, and they sent me a screenshot of my details.

    I noted that the ‘search term’ for my company name was not the same as my actual company name; it was a contracted version. So, instead of ‘Data Relish’ it comes up as ‘DATA RE’. This would explain why the US and Dublin teams could not find me, and I was lucky to spot the number next to my name.

    I have sent the screenshot to Microsoft UK who say that they can’t find me, and it may take another few days for the details to come through to them. So, although I still have a wait, I feel I am getting somewhere.

    Lessons learned:

    The Microsoft Office365 / Microsoft Account setup is confusing. It is affecting all sorts of systems, including the vendor account system.  I really hope it gets sorted.

    I now have two Microsoft accounts: jen@jenstirrup.com (the original) has now reverted to an outlook.com address. I have my new shiny Microsoft account   jen@jenstirrup.com  which is completely on its own, and it is not connected to anything – it remains my vendor account address. My office365 address remains unchanged.

    Although it’s too late for my current event, I think it is easier to engage as a vendor. I understand that other community bodies do this, and I was not on the same footing as them. I am not sure if I will ever arrange another event again but at least I will have this vendor footing now.

    Recommendations:

    • If you are going through the Microsoft vendor process, set up a new Microsoft account dedicate to the vendor process and being a vendor.
    • I should have set up an account such as jen_vendor@jenstirrup.com and this would have been ok.
    • Be prepared for unexpected issues, like the IBAN problem. This means you should get your application done as early as possible.
    • Be patient. Lots of big systems, and some Azure AD issues somewhere.
    • Keep asking for updates. Everyone else is probably confused, too!

    I hope that helps and that, you, dear Reader, have a successful experience in the vendor setup process. I’m blogging this in order to save you from some of the issues that I had.

    Tags: SQL Server Windows Administration

    Jen Stirrup

    Written by Jen Stirrup

    Jen Stirrup is a Microsoft-certified Business Intelligence Consultant who has been delivering SQL Server based solutions for over ten years.