LOCAL independent software vendors found the Microsoft worldwide partner conference worthwhile as it placed New Zealand firms under the spotlight.
The conference was held in Toronto last month and one company that travelled to the event was Orbiz. CEO Philip Verstraaten says the company made important contacts that opened overseas channels for its mobile software developed with .Net technology.
“It was absolutely worth the trip and will lead to long term benefits as we developed a network of powerful contacts,” he says.
“Microsoft is the best partner organisation in the world, particularly for ISVs.”
David Warren of FirstBase, which was the only New Zealand company among 800 nominated for partner awards at the event, says although it did not win the award, attending the conference presented great opportunities.
These include gaining an understanding of Microsoft’s future strategy with its technology and networking with fellow partners and Microsoft representatives. “Knowing where Microsoft technology is heading is important for a development organisation and so is meeting the people that are important to you.”
A group of around 10 ISVs exhibited at the conference with funding assistance from Microsoft and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Microsoft New Zealand partner group manager Steve Haddock says the New Zealand contingent found the country enjoyed a high level of awareness, which they could trade on.
“New Zealand has a very good brand and has a good reputation as a country with creative people,” says Haddock, adding Microsoft’s global vice president for partner sales and marketing, Allison Watson mentioned New Zealand’s innovation in her keynote address at the conference.
Haddock plans to leverage off this image to ensure the local team stands out at the next conference, when he aims to assist at least 20 local ISVs to attend. “We will brand ourselves as being from New Zealand.”
The local partners were treated to a gala dinner hosted by the New Zealand High Commission in Canada, which Haddock says signifies the support the government shows for local companies wishing to extend their reach offshore.
This support, he adds, could help local ISVs develop into multinationals that contribute back to the New Zealand economy. “There is the potential for millions or even billions of dollars to be re-invested in the local economy if we can make a few ISVs into multinationals.”
Meanwhile, despite not winning in Toronto, FirstBase is still celebrating as it won an award for innovation in the health sector at the Health Informatics conference last week for a project it developed with Northland Health.