By now you have probably noticed our new look and new branding, launched in late December to reflect our vision for SIS as we enter a new era in our history. These are just the first of a number of improvements you will see as we begin a new decade of growth and ongoing partnership with you.

We are continually adding new clients and increasing the number of systems we support – a trend which will serve to strengthen the voice of the NASPA group and provide additional feedback for future product enhancements.

Here are just a few of the ways we are working to serve you better.

NASPA Work Groups

The National Association of SIS Partner Agents (NASPA) is currently forming two separate work groups to provide the SIS team with user input and suggestions on on-going product enhancements.

Each of the two groups will focus on one of the following:

  • Enhancements to Partner XE certificates and forms
  • Future enhancements to the Partner XE product

We value the input provided by NASPA and appreciate their role as a clearinghouse of ideas. If you are interested in participating in and contributing to either of the two work groups, please e-mail NASPA Board President John Heinsz at john@hsgr.com.

Product Enhancements

As we continue to work in conjunction with NASPA to enhance our agency management system, our immediate focus is to improve the overall function of Partner XE’s forms and certificates.

We have received reports from some Partner XE users of slower than expected response times. Our investigations have found, thus far, that the response issues stem from a combination of local network, internet, and product interaction.

We understand the importance of product performance to your business. We have a team working to improve the efficiency of the system, looking at all aspects – from the client application to the networks, servers and databases.

Our next product release, planned for the coming months will target the concerns with forms, certificates, and response times. We also plan to have one to two more releases by the end of this year based on NASPA’s direction and your feedback.

Operations

In order to improve our operations and ensure that we are always up to date with the most recent security releases from Microsoft, we have redefined our maintenance windows to include a Wednesday update in addition to the long standing Sunday update.

Our new schedule is as follows:

  • Operating System Updates: Wednesday 10:00 PM to Midnight Eastern Time
  • Major Product Updates: Sundays 6:00 AM to Noon Eastern Time

The Wednesday night update is intended to keep the system current with Microsoft’s latest operating system patches. Microsoft releases their updates on the second Tuesday of the month which we will then deploy in a managed fashion the following night.

While these updates will typically only take place once a month, we are reserving the slot weekly in order to be able to accommodate any emergency updates that might arise.

Sundays were chosen for the major updates, simply because our records show this to be the least used time on the system. As always, we will still make our best effort to announce well in advance if we plan to use that allotted time.

If you haven’t yet taken a look at our new website, or subscribed to the RSS feed for our new blog, we hope that you will take a minute now and do so. For the month of February, blog topics will focus on getting the most out of Partner XE’s marketing capabilities. March topics will cover Software as a Service.