AppSource, Commercial Marketplace, ISV Connect Program, Partner Center

Publishing apps on AppSource – Getting started with the BizApps ISV Connect Program – Part 1

Last year I wrote about the process of publishing apps on Microsoft AppSource. It was a series of three blog posts and the first one can be found here. After that Microsoft changed the ISV program and all existing ISV partners got the chance to enroll with the new program. This article and a following will be dedicated to the ISV Connect program and the publishing process as it is today. The purpose is to shed some light over what has been changed and what steps that need to be taken now if you want to get your apps up on AppSource.

The inspiration to write about this subject again came out of a comment to one of my blog posts from last year. It had been spotted by Brian Levenson, Business Program Manager for Microsoft’s Commercial Marketplace, who suggested a collaboration for updating it, to include the steps needed now that the ISV program had changed.

Some time went by and I changed employer. At the new company I am now involved in product development and we are about to get some apps into the publishing process. Therefore, I thought it was perfect timing for taking on this mission – to dig into the details, becoming up to date with the new ISV program and the changes in the publishing process. All to bring some clarity into what steps are needed now that the program has changed both for myself as well as for writing it down here. Thank you, Brian Levenson, for inspiring me to write about this subject again!

In this article we will look at the terminology and what is what when we talk about the old and the new ISV program. Then we will bring some clarity to what has been changed compared to when I wrote about AppSource last year as well as what needs to be done if you have had your apps on AppSource before but did not enroll with the new program. Later in part 2 we will dig into the details of the process of getting your apps up on AppSource as it is today.

Terminology – what is what?

Let us start with the terminology and a few words about the different parts mentioned throughout this article.   

Microsoft AppSource – This is the place where customers can find your published apps (and now also Consulting Services!)
Cloud Partner Portal – The old portal where we registered offers, it is not used anymore.
BizApps ISV Connect Program – The name of the new ISV program
BizApps ISV Addendum – The agreement ISV partners signs when joining the new ISV program
Revenue Sharing – A part of the new ISV program. We now share part of the revenue with Microsoft.
ISV Studio – A new place where ISVs can check their apps.
Partner Center – The new centralized portal where Microsoft partners manages different programs, e.g. MPN (Microsoft Partner Network), CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) and Commercial Marketplace.
Commercial Marketplace – This is where we manage our offers now and it is the starting point for the offer registration part when publishing apps on AppSource.

The BizApps ISV Connect program

The old ISV program was changed last year, the launch of the Microsoft Business Applications Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Connect Program took place in mid-July 2019 and this new ISV program is managed in what is called Partner Center.

The new ISV program came with new documentation and Microsoft included the story of how the platform has been separated from the Dynamics applications, how they have rebuilt Dynamics 365 into apps – with their words “Azure, could-native apps that uses the Common Data Service”. I hope you all are familiar with this – Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been transformed into a number of Model-Driven Apps.

Microsoft also described how this separation is meant to empower ISVs to get the ultimate flexibility. Now ISVs can either extend the first-party applications or we can build our own unique apps without any Dynamics parts at all.

Into the new ISV program the concept of Revenue Sharing was introduced. It is also called a “Co-sell” business model, which basically means that partners now share a part of the revenue with Microsoft. The revenue sharing percentage is 10% or 20%, for what Microsoft calls “Standard tier” and “Premium tier” and it is applied per app. You can read about it as part of the signing process for getting enrolled with the program, in the BizApps ISV Addendum. This article will NOT dig deeper into Revenue Sharing or other parts of the addendum, but you need to be aware of the fact that the new ISV program comes with Revenue Sharing and I will leave it up to you to learn and understand the details.

One other change is that Microsoft wants to ensure better quality of the apps on AppSource and as a step towards that, the apps will need to be recertified on a regular basis. This is a good thing I believe, if you have your apps on AppSource, of course you want your apps to be compliant with the latest version of the platform. 

There is also a new “ISV Studio” in which partners can verify their apps.

ISV Studio

The Cloud Partner Portal now belongs to the history chapters

In my AppSource series of blog posts from last year I went through the entire process from creating an AppSource package, uploading the AppSource package to an Azure Blog Storage, preparing for registering an offer and registering an offer in the Cloud Partner Portal. It is not only the program which has changed since then, the process of publishing your apps has changed a bit as well.

The old steps to create an AppSource package and uploading it to an Azure Blob Storage remain. What has changed is the place where you register and manage you offers. Instead of creating offers in the Cloud Partner Portal we now register offers in the new centralized “one place to rule them all” (yes, I stole that phrase from one of the Release Plans from last year, it said “One Admin center to rule them all”. I believe I was not the first one to steal it though. 😉), them being different commitments and partnership types with Microsoft – Partner Center.

The Cloud Partner Portal now belongs to the history chapters and all Microsoft partners who chose to enroll with the new program got their existing offers migrated to a new centralized portal – Partner Center. In Partner Center it is under the Commercial Marketplace that all ISV partners manages their offers.  

What is this Commercial Marketplace?

The Microsoft Commercial Marketplace includes Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace. During the offer creation process, you define the intended audience by product category and industry and those settings determine whether the offering appears in Azure Marketplace, Microsoft AppSource, or both. When browsing the storefronts, customers can apply filters and search according to category and industry.

The below picture is taken from here and it shows the different product types we can register as offers in Partner Center. Our Power Apps and CDS based products or extensions to Dynamics 365 will be available on AppSource and the Consulting Services we register will be available both on AppSource and Azure Marketplace.

Types of products we can register as offers and where those offers will be displayed.

Here is a blog post from no other than Brian Levenson himself, published just a few days ago, where he gives us an excellent introduction to the Commercial Marketplace!

What about my apps on AppSource registered within the old ISV program?

All of you who had your apps on AppSource before the new program was introduced, if you have not made an active choice to enroll with the new program – then your apps are probably not available on AppSource anymore. You probably got several e-mails from Microsoft, telling you about the migration process from Cloud Partner Portal to Partner Center, with information about the new ISV program and with a link to the new agreement.

Message found in the Microsoft Docs

If you did not complete with the enrollment but still want to get started with the new ISV program, do not worry, just navigate to the Partner Center. In there you can choose to enroll with the Commercial Marketplace, when you have signed the agreement and set up a Billing Profile you should be able to see your previous offers in draft mode in there. If you do not, make sure you are logged in with the same account that you registered your offers in the Could Partner Portal. You always have the possibility to register new offers in there, but it will save you time locating your draft offers instead.

It is the same procedure if you are an aspiring ISV partner and it is the first time you want to get an app up on AppSource, go to the Partner Center and choose to enroll with the Commercial Marketplace in order to get started. I will show you the details in my next article.

This was the first blog post of two about the new ISV program. In the next article we will get more practical and go through the steps needed nowadays in order to publish an app on AppSource as well as let you in on where you can find more detailed information about the publishing process.

Stay tuned and Happy Apping getting started with the Commercial Marketplace!

Read more

BizApps ISV Program Overview – Start page with info about the program.

BizApps ISV Program Guide – Overview of the ISV Connect Program, .pdf format.

BizApps ISV Addendum – Agreement that needs to be signed, info about Revenue Sharing.

Marketplace Publisher Guide – Start page for the Commercial Marketplace.

Marketplace Partner Hub – Videos and recordings.

Marketplace Community – Commercial Marketplace has its own Community!

Partner Center – Centralized place for Microsoft partners.

ISV Studio – Aso read about it in this article from the Power Apps blog.

AppSource – This is the place where you want your Apps and Consulting Services to appear!

FAQ about the migration process – Cloud Partner Portal to Partner Center.

Here is a blog post from the Dynamics 365 blog, which describes the ISV Connect program.

Here you can find more blog posts with related content from Brian Levenson.

In my next article I will provide you with links which has more of a “How to” approach for registering offers and getting your apps up on AppSource.

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