Helen Robinson takes Microsoft reins from Peat

Helen Robinson takes Microsoft reins from Peat

Microsoft’s small and midsize business and partner director, Helen Robinson, has won promotion to head the company’s New Zealand operation, and wants to keep channel success a high priority.

Robinson, who began her IT career as a “general dogsbody” in 1982 and has since been Australia New Zealand vice president for CRM (customer relationship management) software vendor Pivotal, takes the reins from Ross Peat in July.

“Customer success and their use of technology is always number one priority and that doesn’t change,” she says. “The way we reach that market is to help our partners be successful and help them really see the value in what they do.”

Robinson describes her appointment as “quite contrived”.

“Microsoft is very smart in how it operates and has been successful in bringing on people who can fill that next level up.”

She says Microsoft has an exciting year ahead with the release of new products, especially Office 2007 (Office 12) and Vista, and it will be important to educate and prepare partners.

She also aims to continue Microsoft’s trend of year-on-year growth in New Zealand, and pays tribute to Peat’s tenure in this regard.

“We’ve had huge market success for years and that doesn’t just happen by itself. I feel very honoured to accept responsibility from Ross.”

Much of Robinson’s early career, in the mid-1980s, involved analysing the IT and software needs of small and medium businesses at a time when many such firms had no computers. “I gained a huge breadth of knowledge of a diversity of industries,” she says.

After starting her own consultancy in 1987 and working in software from the late 1980s to the 1990s, she started Pivotal’s New Zealand operation in 2000 and was country manager until 2002. She was then its Australia New Zealand managing director and vice president, before joining Microsoft last year.

She says Microsoft will spend the next month looking for a new SMS&P (small and mid-market solutions and partner) director, and it is too early to say if there will be any other team changes as a result of her appointment.

Peat says he plans to spend time on recreation and family, and a number of personal business projects.

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