Merit Mile and Microsoft Hosting University

Satisfying one’s thirst for quality of work is typically compartmentalized into one or two categories. Our latest creation, Microsoft Hosting University, represents the perfect web-marketing trifecta for Merit Mile: highly strategic, uniquely creative, and an in partnership with a world-class client. If you strip all web marketing business pitches to their essence and remove all industry buzz-words, you arrive at the core of the task. In the case of Hosting-U, we recognized that we needed equal parts creativity, database functionality, and intuitive navigation. In other words, we needed a best-of-breed business-to-business web presence that any company, even the world’s largest software producer, would be proud of.

In the worldwide IT community, it’s no secret that the reseller channel moves all the product and drives bottom line revenue. Similarly, within Microsoft, their Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) Resellers and Partners “make the market” for web serving, database management, and hosting on the Windows platform. However, as much as SPLA is critical to their success, Microsoft did not have a dedicated, intuitive online portal focused on SPLA. Enter Merit Mile. bq. “As an agency, we always enjoy the thrills of bringing ideas to life. Hosting-U was a 35-day courtship from concept to completion, and demonstrates the marriage of intuitive presentation layers atop a sophisticated database driven web experience – a compelling testament for Silverlight and PHP on Windows.” ??-Mark Reino, President, Merit Mile Communications?? Simplicity of communication and ease of use: The first thing a visitor to Hosting-U realizes is that the content is organized in a fashion that makes sense to the SPLA community. In virtually any context, a site visitor will be drawn to one of three “spheres” of learning: Build, Manage or Scale. Unlike other sites in the B-to-B industry, Hosting-U does not attempt to force-feed an engineer’s vernacular downstream to the partner channel.

In essense, everything a SPLA partner wants to learn about is housed in one of these three “spheres” of knowledge. Version Control with XML Scripting: Catering to the needs of SPLA business partners remains the goal of Hosting-U. Sharing updated marketing and product collaterals with the user base was a no-brainer. But doing so while communicating with Micosoft datacenters in dynamic fashion allows Hosting-U to serve up regularly updated assets without version-management concerns. PHP on Windows, What?! Perhaps the boldest step taken within Hosting-U is that it was built in PHP (and hosted on Windows web and database servers, of course). Some may call this a giant leap, others may simply not care, but the fact still remains that Microsoft is well aware of the pervasiveness of PHP and is proactively developing solutions for this large and growing marketspace. For those with browser or platform constraints, Hosting-U’s Silverlight default site also redirects to a Flash-based iteration in one-click. Whoever says Microsoft does not support open community architectures hasn’t yet experienced Hosting-U. Better yet, as our client states, “Microsoft is the next Microsoft”. Stay tuned for more on Microsoft Hosting University.