Microsoft plans to open an office in central Christchurch by February, with an initial staff of three. Services director Dave Thompson, who has spearheaded the planning, says Microsoft will hire a branch manager, a technical account manager and a person in a pre-sales/technical role.
Thompson says the team may expand to five in the short- to medium-term and hopes the office will be in the CBD or as nearby as possible.
“We've been thinking about Christchurch for some time and we believe the time is right. If you look at some stats, it’s the second largest city in terms of population and it’s a growing market. There’s so much innovative software development there and there are a lot of partners who build on our platform.”
Microsoft already has offices in Auckland and Wellington, and the third branch is more about enabling closer contact with companies Microsoft deals with than making more money, says Thompson.
“The basis of this business case is getting closer customer commitment and satisfaction. It’s not based on driving high volume or revenue growth. We’re just not spending enough time pressing the flesh with them and you have to be there to do the business.”
Microsoft’s most active user group is Christchurch-based, says Thompson.