MICROSOFT partners were given a high-level outlook of the vendor’s strategies for the coming year at its Australia and New Zealand partner conference in Queensland last week.
Around 70 New Zealand representatives joined over 500 delegates at the event where Microsoft’s regional director for Australia and New Zealand, Steve Vamos, outlined opportunities the vendor is focusing on over the next 12 to 15 months.
On top of the list is security, which Vamos says is a huge priority for most companies and is where around 80% of IT budgets are spent.
“Security has to be embedded in everything we do,” he says.
Vamos says opportunities remain in the small and medium business space, around the Microsoft Business Solutions suite, as well as in providing customers with streamlined IT infrastructures to give them operational efficiencies and increased productivity.
“The emphasis is on putting better business processes in place and we have the power to do it — it will be the next breakthrough,” he says.
Vamos says Microsoft has been strengthening its customer and partner relationships, becoming simpler to deal with.
“We are better articulating the business value of our products and solutions in the context of customer business needs,” Vamos says.
Several streams of training and information sessions were presented at the conference based on topics such as security, mobility, competing against Linux, the partner programme, Microsoft Business Solutions, dealing with SMBs and generating sales leads.
A number of the sessions will be repeated in New Zealand at partner events scheduled for November, says Microsoft New Zealand partner group manager Steve Haddock, while key messages from the conference will also be communicated to local partners through partner account managers.
“You can not underestimate the power of networking — I have seen some amazing connections made and partners met with people like Steve Vamos, Kirsten Baxter [Australia partner group director], Ross Peat and John Ball [Asia-Pacific region partner director].”
This contact took place through a number of formal and social events, including a dinner held exclusively for New Zealand attendees.
Axon account director Simon Goode says while not all the sessions on offer were of equal relevance, the information gained from just a few made attendance worthwhile.
“Overall the conference has been great but the value I got was primarily from networking, hearing Microsoft’s strategies and seeing some bits of technology I do not normally have the time to see,” he says.
Ron van Twuiver, business development director of Wellington-based Network Pro, says the main value was in meeting people in similar businesses and spending time with Microsoft representatives.
“I have also been exposed to a lot of information that I will think hard about how to use in my own business.”
Louis van Wyk attended the partner conference courtesy of Microsoft.