The winners of Microsoft New Zealand's 2021 partner awards went above and beyond for customers during difficult times, Microsoft said today.
Given lockdown restrictions in Auckland, the awards were celebrated without a physical event.
Regardless, the awards recognised outstanding partners of all sizes that delivered innovative technologies enabling their customers to 'achieve more'.
This year, Microsoft's two big award winners did a double act, having already been celebrated internationally at the global Microsoft partner awards in September.
Fusion5 won New Zealand 2021 partner of the year for creating new Azure solutions, building a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product for HR and payroll, and for its ambitious plans to digitally transform 90 per cent of New Zealand’s universities through data and Dynamics 365.
Similarly, Auror was named as the inaugural NZ growth partner of the year, for the work it does to help protect companies around the world to stop retail crime.
“Year after year our partners blow us away with the pioneering transformations they deliver for their customers," said Matt Bostwick, partner director at Microsoft NZ.
"This year, despite us having to deal with more than their fair share of challenges, they have managed to go above and beyond once again and it’s been another incredibly tough process to choose an individual winner for each category.”
The eleven other category winners were chosen for their outstanding efforts continuing to empower customers.
The modern work award winner was Vodafone NZ, which helped Pāmu Farms become free range, rapidly adopting a modern working environment through using Teams to create their Vodafone Teams Connect Solution.
CCL took away the Azure migrate award for supporting Dunedin City Council by modernising its IT and migrating their systems to Microsoft's Azure cloud. This provided modern digital services for Dunedin residents, and helped to reduce costs.
DXC Technology was awarded the business applications award for supporting Westpac NZ on its own digital transformation journey, using Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to automate the bank's systems helping them to manage their data more effectively.
PwC New Zealand’s work to support the Earthquake Commission through data management utilising Azure Synapse saw it take out the data and AI award.
Ingram Micro NZ took out the channel development award for its work with a range of partners and resellers, providing support through Microsoft cloud solutions in the new cloud marketplace.
LawVu’s Azure-based platform for the law industry provided a cloud-first future, which saw it secure the emerging SaaS award.
The security award, meanwhile, was presented to Defend, which worked with Foodstuffs North Island to protect New Zealand's food and grocery supply chain.
Other awards were presented less about work and more about fun. Aware Group won the digital and application innovation award for assisting Ryman Healthcare in designing an Olympic Games-style event that took place in July using HoloLens mixed reality headsets.
Healthcare has also been a strong focus area, particularly in the fight against breast cancer. Theta took away the cloud for good award through its work with Breast Cancer Foundation NZ to create a virtual assistant bot which helped with enquiries for the 2021 pink ribbon breakfast events.
Volpara’s SaaS award saw it develop an AI-enabled platform that supported healthcare providers to improve breast screening through advanced technology, and Surface award winner SecureCom helped Mercy Hospice digitally transform with Microsoft 365 and Surface devices so it could operate more flexibly during and after lockdown.
“I feel extremely lucky to be part of a network that is truly dedicated to making the lives of New Zealanders better, whether it’s in the workplace, in care, or in society in general," Bostwick said.
Highly commended partners in the various categories were:
- Azure migrate award: Unify Solutions, which worked with Te Tari Taiwhenua the Department of Internal Affairs to help it migrate RealMe to Azure.
- Business applications award: Fusion5 worked with Metroglass to help it transition to a one-business platform on Dynamics 365 enabling a single source of truth across the business, reducing cost and complexity.
- Cloud for good award: Delta Insights worked with Autism New Zealand so they had more time to focus on supporting people with Autism and their whānau by streamlining business processes using Dynamics 365.
- Data and AI Award: Datacom helped Sealord combine thirty years of historical data covering four million square kilometres of ocean using the Azure Data Platform, helping the company to work towards sustainability goals.
- Digital and application innovation award: Enlighten Designs worked with Carters to build a new mobile app on Azure so it could easily supply building materials for tradies from online to on-site.
- Emerging SaaS award: FlexiTime worked with freelancers and employers worldwide helping to make contracting fair and payroll easy.
- Modern work award: Spark Business Group worked with APEC 2021 to deliver a digital solution using Teams for, enabling global leaders to connect virtually during the pandemic.
- SaaS award: Cin7 worked with retailers to provide innovative inventory and order management so retailers could provide e-commerce ordering and delivery flexibility.
- Security award: Unify Solutions worked with Fidelity Life to secure customer data using Azure Sentinel and Microsoft 365.
- Surface partner award: Acquire and Mobile Mentor worked with T&G to create a fresh device management experience with Microsoft Surface.