Microsoft will use its third annual New Zealand partner awards to increase the recognition opportunities for partners focused on technology that improves business productivity.
Partner group manager Nick Fletcher says the addition of Unified Communications Solution of the Year, along with Enterprise Content Management and Portals and Collaboration awards, are driven by market adoption and the current economic environment’s demand for productivity gains and reduced costs.
“We want to showcase three key technology areas where we think our software and the work done by our partners has an ability to improve baseline productivity for our customers,” says Fletcher. “They’re even more relevant given the current economic situation.”
Some of last year’s awards — including Distribution Partner of the Year, Licensing Partner of the Year, Business Productivity Solution of the Year and the Microsoft Rising Star of the Year — have been revamped. New or amended awards include Platform Partner of the Year, Reseller of the Year, Deployment Partner of the Year, Solutions Star of the Year, Licensing Star of the Year and Microsoft Services Ready Partner of the Year.
A prominent category in previous years - the Technology Advocate Award, won in 2007 by IGA Systems and in 2008 by Provoke Solutions — has been replaced. The overall number of categories will increase from 16 to 19.
Fletcher says Microsoft hopes for a substantial increase in submissions in 2009.
“Last year, we had 81 submissions from 35 unique partners.
“That was up from about 71 in the first year, 2007.” This year its target is 100 submissions from 40 organisations.
There were 15 award categories last year, including two new additions. Those new categories placed equal fifth, ranked by number of submissions, encouraging Microsoft to continue to offer them this year.
One was the Microsoft Rising Star Award, designed to recognise either an individual working for an established partner organisation, or an innovative new organisation that has grown its market-share and made a positive impact on customers.
The other new category was the Software Plus Services Award, aimed at rewarding partners who implement a blend of on-premise software and online web services.
Microsoft selects its judges internally. Fletcher describes them as “subject matter experts” from across its marketing, sales and services teams. Because they work with many of the partners making submissions, as well as with their customers, the judges’ names are not publicised.
“We’re using people with strong market experience and a view across multiple partners and solutions to assess the impact made with a customer, and then say with confidence what was innovative about it,” says Fletcher.
Projects submitted to the Microsoft Partner Awards must have been implemented between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009, with the submission deadline on 26 June.
The submission forms will be made available on the Microsoft website from today, with winners announced at an awards dinner at the Auckland Museum on 27 August.
2009 Microsoft New Zealand Partner Awards categories:
Business Productivity - Enterprise Content Management Solution of the Year Business Productivity - Portals & Collaboration Solution of the Year Business Productivity - Unified Communications Solution of the Year Core Infrastructure Solution of the Year Application Platform Solution of the Year Software Solution of the Year Microsoft Software + Services Solution of the Year Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution of the Year Microsoft Dynamics ERP Solution of the Year Learning Solutions Partner of the Year Citizenship Solution of the Year Partnering Award of the Year Platform Partner of the Year Reseller of the Year Deployment Partner of the Year Solutions Star of the Year Licensing Star of the Year Small Business Specialist of the Year Microsoft Services Ready Partner of the Year