If you have aspirations to put a SharePoint app on the Office Store here are a few tips to keep in mind. There are a few things to know that are not very obvious about the process.
Tip #1 – There can only be one associated Microsoft account with the seller profile, and it cannot be changed.
The first important things to note is in regards to the Microsoft account you use to set up the profile. Only one account be associated to your seller profile and once it is, there is no way to change it. Keep in mind this is the preview and this could change at RTM but for now it cannot be changed. This means you will be the only person with the ability to access the account and submit changes. If you are working on a team where multiple resources need the ability to update the profile or submit a new version of the app, I would suggest creating a new generic Microsoft account. This way the account credentials can be shared and not associated with any particular person’s personal account.
Tip #2 – There are multiple approval steps that can take weeks to get through
To help visualize the process I created the diagram below. I split the process out into 2 major sections. The first section is the “seller profile setup”. Once you have your account profile set up and submitted it can take anywhere from 1-4 days to be approved. If you want to know more about what kind of information is required I have provided a link to the MSDN article on that topic at the end of this post. One thing to note here, you are able to submit your application before the profile is approved but it will not be added to the app store until both your profile and app are approved. The second approval step is labeled the “Commerce Approval” below. You are required to provide financial account information (Bank or PayPal), W9, and tax information for your account. This approval step does not take long to complete and is usually turned around in 1-2 days. Finally, once the financial account and tax information has been approved, you are able to submit your app for final approval. This is the longest step in the process and there is no ETA for completion. Based on information I obtained at the “Apps for Office Jumpstart” on campus in Redmond, it could take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. Turnaround time here depends on how many apps are being submitted at a particular time. You are notified via email when your app has been approved.
Tip #3 – Bank/PayPal and tax information is required even if your app will be free in the store
The first step in the app approval process requires you to provide payment information and tax. This can be either a bank or PayPal account. Either way one of them is required even if you plan to make your application fee in the app store. In addition W9 taxpayer Identification and certification information is required. Depending on the company you work for, this can be difficult information to secure or obtain. Knowing this tip can help you follow up with the right groups to get the account information needed to complete this step.
What this all equates to is time and preparation. Hopefully these quick tops will give you a few things to think about as you plan to put your own SharePoint application on the office app store. As for general SharePoint 2013 readiness be sure to check out Quests Webcast Series: Five Ways to Prepare for SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2013 Migration & Pre-Migration Readiness Solutions