Microsoft expands partner awards with retail presence

Microsoft expands partner awards with retail presence

Entries in this year’s local Microsoft Partner Awards are up by 24 on last year, however the number of companies entering did not reach the vendor’s targeted number.

Partner director Brent Colbert says it received 102 entries, up from 78 last year, but says there were multiple entries from some companies, such as Gen-i.

“It does take a bit of work to fill in the submissions. With the finalists, 28 partner [companies] have been recognised across those 15 categories, and two individuals recognised as well. We’re really pleased with the level of entries, but also the breadth of partners recognised in the finals.”

The company had hoped to attract 100 entries from 40 companies, but Colbert believes the drop to just over 30 firms entering may be due to market consolidation and partners concentrating on business.

“I know there are some partners who are not ready this year, but next year they have got quite a bit in terms of awards submissions.”

A few surprises have emerged, such as Dick Smith NZ making the shortlist in the new Reseller of the Year category.

Colbert says the vendor decided in March to widen the focus of the local partner awards.

“We weren’t just looking at a solution partner perspective. We have PCs that go through Harvey Norman and Dick Smith. A number of those retailers have been very innovative in terms of the way they go to market especially around products like Office Home and Student.”

Partner programmes manager Bernadette Ah-Loo says it received 18 submissions for the Business Productivity categories, with 12 for Portals and Collaboration, four in Content Management and two in Unified Communications.

Colbert says widening the awards’s focus helped attract other first-time entrants, such as Eclipse Computing in the ERP Solution of the Year award.

Eclipse Computing has been operating in the local market since January, 2008. General manager Andrew Cronin says it came into New Zealand on the back of a merger with Microsoft partner E1, which he says offered limited Microsoft services at the time of the merger.

Cronin says it entered the awards after completing a large Dynamics implementation for a freight company.

“It was complex because the customer had remote weigh bridges [in] different locations all over New Zealand. We built a very solid solution where trucks would drive onto the weigh bridges, get weighed and the information would be sent back to the main server. The client satisfaction was right up there in terms of how we handled the project and implemented the solution.”

Axon has the second highest number of finalist placings, including two employees, Geoff Clow and Nigel Burn, in the new Solutions Star of the Year category.

CEO Scott Green says this category was one where it had a number of employees who deserved to be recognised.

“We had a lot of positive support from others in the team to recognise both Geoff and Nigel. They do a great job [in solutions] and those who were involved in the application process felt strongly enough to nominate them.

“It is a good opportunity to use it [the awards] as a benchmarking exercise, where our best is put against the best from other players in the industry that do similar things to us.”

Gen-i has taken seven finalist places including one in the new category Reseller of the Year.

“We have done a lot of investment in taking our licensing services to market for customers, which is why we’re in that category,” says head of procurement services Andrew Allan. “This [Reseller of the Year] nomination is a reflection of the change in the way we are doing that and the investment we have made around software licensing.

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