Five local independent software vendors (ISVs) had their moment on the global stage at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Texas, this month.
ActionThis, ActiveDocs, IPFX, Mindscape and Voola Software were represented on a New Zealand-branded stand at the event, which attracted 12,000 attendees from 8000 Microsoft partner from 145 countries.
The stand was jointly funded by Microsoft New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), giving the ISVs a unique opportunity to find resellers for their software from around the world.
While he says it is too soon to announce any major wins, the exercise was a success, according Ed Robinson of ActionThis, who was the original proponent for the stand.
“The Worldwide Partner Conference attracts business people who are looking for opportunities. Many of them come here with open chequebooks. For a New Zealand ISV this is one place where you can sell your stuff to potentially thousands of customers.”
ActionThis left the conference with a number of strong leads, says Robinson. “We met a lot of potential partners. We don’t think it could have gone any better.”
Voola also generated a high level of leads from its presence at the conference says CEO David Inggs. “The event consistently attracts high-quality Microsoft partners interested in improving their businesses. This focus allows companies like Voola to capture this audience, relay the value we can add to their company and rapidly build a formal channel with them. No other event can compete with this high level of engagement with decision makers from the Microsoft partner channel.”
Although representatives from the five ISVs paid their own way to the event, having a stand funded by Microsoft and NZTE was a great boost, says Robinson.
The New Zealand-branded stand not only promoted the individual companies, but local innovation as a whole, says Robinson. “What we really exhibited was New Zealand. With New Zealand being the primary brand, it made the stand very approachable.”
Inggs agrees: “The New Zealand-branded stand was an excellent way to open informal discussions with attendees, and then evaluate if any of the companies on the stand could enhance their business.”
Sharing the stand created a sense of camaraderie among the different companies, says Robinson. “We all pitched in together to support each other and we had a lot of fun on the stand, which helped draw people in.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of specially designed t-shirts supplied by Microsoft New Zealand, featuring an upside down world map with an enlarged New Zealand at the top, also attracted people to the stand.
Microsoft partner group manager Nick Fletcher says the stand not only benefited the ISVs represented, but also provided a focus point for the 37 attendees from 26 local partner companies who attended the conference.
Based on this year’s success, Microsoft hopes to support another stand at next year’s conference in New Orleans, says Fletcher.