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Microsoft Partner Incentives Payment Tool
What is Partner Incentives?
Partner Incentives is a platform that allows users to enroll in a program, track earnings, manage claims and monitor  payments.

There are two primary types of users of the Partner Incentives Platform. Internal Microsoft employees and External Microsoft Partners.

External Microsoft Partners (small mom and pop computer repair shops, to your Dells and HP’s of the world) might utilize the PI Platform to determine program eligibility, enroll in eligible programs, submit claims, view earnings, monitor payments and track help tickets.

Internal Microsoft Partners (Microsoft employees) might utilize the PI Platform to review claims made by 3rd party partners to validate proof, request more information and help external partners to submit or resolve tickets.

Problem Space
As was commented by the recent CI audit, the current Partner Incentives platform does not automate operational compliance validations on payments, resulting in a highly manual and lengthy processes prior to payment release.  This puts the proposed payment scale for FY15H2 at high risk if not remediated.  Since on-time/accurate payment and compliance are #1 priority of Partner Incentives, a new investment into creating this payment compliance automation and management is requested as a priority.
Proposed New Payment Management Screen created by Stakeholder – Ted Rachuna, Capability Manager; Payment Operations at Microsoft.
Key Problem areas
•Tables and widgets are visually overwhelming creating high cognitive load on the user by giving them too much information.
•Alignment and display of information is confusing.
•Too many primary and secondary functions on pages that result in user confusion.

Success Metrics
•PI tool can automate all payment compliance requirements, reducing manual work to target of 1,000 payment validations per hour, or less.  This represents an estimated 98% reduction in manual Ops work.
•Operations can easily be aware of manual overrides due, budget deficiencies, metrics, etc., and track the same for audit purposes easily in the tool.
•Operations no longer needs separate SAP access to manage payments, and reduces the risk of potential human error having to maintain 2 separate tools.
•Support can easily facilitate payment queries and trace payment rejections and remediate.
Partner can see their expected payment date.
Some initial thoughts from UXD 
This would be a very complicated tool to understand, research, build, and implement. The requirements documentation was rather lengthy., housing 11 pages with 10 features, most with multiple requirements illustrated by 4 use cases. The data for this document came from months of conversations with Ted and other Internal Microsoft Partners (users on Ted’s team) and research into how the different roles would use the tool in an ideal situation. These were conducted by surveys, customer interviews, and hands on manipulation with a functioning prototype built in Excel. We discovered a few edge cases and hiccups along the way but thorough more discovery and deep diving into requirements we were able to fill holes and come up with a fully functioning solution.

Use Case number 1: Orlando
Orlando needs to be assured that all 1,000-ish pending payments next month for the Managed Reseller program are compliant, and are ready to be released prior to their due date.  After logging into the PI tool, he selects the MR program tile, selects the ‘Payments’ link, and then selects a date range for the entire next month.  Upon execution, the screen populates all of the pending payments for every partner in the program in the coming month.  These all display the exact amounts and payment currencies that each individual partner is anticipating receiving.  There is also a column of USD equivalent, so that Orlando and his team can compare total Worldwide amounts against Worldwide budget.  Orlando and his Worldwide team have the ability to sort between payments associated with different Microsoft Regional Operating Centers, so that they can regionally be managed and administered.

Each payment is listed under headers of: payment status, program due date, program, ROC, geography, partner name, payment type, payment method, payment amount (in payment currency), payment currency, and payment amount in USD.  Besides these, there are status indicators of green/yellow/red on payment compliance validations, and if actions are required.  Orlando can drill into each.  When he does, a pop-up appears with details of each compliance validation point (pass/fail), and explanation on fails.  He can also drill into each payment amount to see a pop-up of associated claims, or rebate & accelerator earnings.  These also link to the area of the PI tool that can deliver him more details on how the payment amount was derived.
First pass at Payment Tool concept – Completed In Illustrator
This rework addresses many visual concerns but leaves out many requested need by the stakeholder, as illustrated in the use case above.
Excel prototype with some manual functionality:
Requirements document:
Make and Break list:
 Upholds the UI standards by PI
 Clean ux allows information to be parsed much easier. Each section is clear to their function.
X It falls short in requested needs.
X It doesn’t list half of the features in the table
X The filter only works for 4 of the results of the table
√ BAP is a fantastic rework, but again doesn’t fully provide the requested information for global and regional data.
2nd pass at Payment Tool concept – Completed In Illustrator
This concept works in all of the table data that needs to be presented on the page. This is to illustrate our “break scenario” The stakeholder absolutely insists that all table information needs to be shown on the page is relevant and needs to show for the user in the payment tool to meet Minimum Viable Product standard
Suggestions from UXD
Eliminate horizontal scrolling by filtering down basic functions into the table by prioritizing content and allow an expanded view of the table when filters are applied. Card sorting methodology is used here. As we understood more about the use cases and types of users we discovered there is no way to prioritize this information. It is all equally important and needed.

Stakeholder Feedback
Wants all table columns to display above the fold and in full width view at all times. Ability to show/ hide table columns/ rows would be available ONLY after filters are applied. This is a deal breaker.
3rd pass at Payment Tool concept – Completed In Illustrator
This concept works in all of the table data that needs to be presented on the page by reorienting the content in the table.
Solving the Problem
All table data is displayed in this view. One potential problem is that BAP insights will be well below the fold.

Stakeholder Feedback
Addresses content, BAP insights is important but can be drilled down into another way or accessed via a link, tab, or another method.
3rd pass at Payment Tool concept (BAP portion) – Completed In Illustrator
BAP insights is completed and overall feedback is that the association with the colored bands to the percentages and original ask is worked in and nicely displayed.
Stakeholder Feedback
Stakeholder is happy with the concept, BAP insights IA mapping can be addressed as a backlog feature. For now it will exist below the table of data. Stakeholder is also okay with this content being below the fold.
3rd pass at Payment Tool concept – Completed In Illustrator
Exploring filter lists that would allow the user to show/ hide Payment Actions based on individual needs at the time of payment. 
Below the content is filtered by Program – Hosting, Partner – Dell. The results shown on screen are the three geographical locations listed within the regional operating center for Dell that are pending payment, requiring action based on Pass/ fail criteria.
4th pass at Payment Tool concept – Begin Building the Prototype in Axure
The primary purpose of this build is to show the stakeholder how UXD proposes content interaction in the tool.
Exported HTML, CSS, JQUERY and Site Map
Preview of working HTML code
Building out the interaction
In this interactive model the user can collapse and expand the functions menu to manage payments. This allows functionality to be hidden when not in use and the use is interacting with table data. 
This tool is currently in development by the Partner Incentives team. It is very complex and has taken multiple build cycles to address feature implementation and functionality. 
Microsoft Partner Incentives Payment Tool

Microsoft Partner Incentives Payment Tool

Partner Incentives Payment Tool