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Rising stars shine at Microsoft NZ 2015 Partner Awards

Wave of new partners challenge the status quo with leading cloud and mobility solutions.

Rising star companies shared the limelight with some familiar faces on the winners’ podium at Microsoft New Zealand’s 2015 Partner Awards event tonight.

Now in its eighth year, the annual Partner Awards exists to recognise excellence in the IT sector from those companies that integrate Microsoft solutions into their products and services to accelerate innovation and go above and beyond customer expectations.

In congratulating all finalists and winners, Brent Kendrick, Microsoft New Zealand’s SMB and Partner Director, noted the impressive range of entries for the 2015 Awards, which saw a significant increase in the number of partners who had never competed before.

“The quality of entries this year has been truly outstanding, and shows the extent to which partners have been joining Microsoft on our journey of transformation towards becoming the productivity and platform company for a mobile-first, cloud first world,” he says.

“We know that a cloud-first world requires new and different ways of reaching customers, and I’m glad to see some really good marketing work happening inside many of our partners.

“Your efforts and strength of engagement have made New Zealand number one in the world in terms of year-on-year growth in the number of Gold Competency partners.”

A full list of award categories, finalists and winners follows:

Cloud Awards

• Cloud SMB

Finalists: Atmospheric, Kinetics, SoftSource, The Full Suite

WINNER: Atmospheric

“Having recently rebranded, Atmospheric was previously known as Network Agents,” Kendrick says.

“Atmospheric have uniquely leveraged marketing resources to grow their cloud customer base. They have worked hard to retire servers and are leading the surge into the cloud in the SMB space.”

• Cloud Enterprise

Finalists: Datacom, Enlighten Designs, Sitecore, SoftSource

WINNER: Datacom

“Having won this same category last year, Datacom started with SAP Test and Development but has now gone on to completely transform customer Zespri’s global business by moving a significant amount of business services to Azure and managing their infrastructure and applications worldwide,” Kendrick says.

“They have pushed the boundaries of what is achievable on the Azure platform and Datacom has expanded Zespri's capability to manage environments worldwide – to over 53 countries, and migrated nearly 400 servers into the cloud.”

• Cloud Platform

Finalists: NV Interactive, Provoke Solutions, Timely, VMob

WINNER: NV Interactive

“This award carries the hallmarks of NV Interactive’s innovative design approach to web and mobile solutions,” Kendrick says. “The challenge was to scale blackcaps.co.nz to meet future demand including six intense weeks of the ICC Cricket World Cup.

“NV took New Zealand Cricket on a comprehensive digital journey which involved their web and mobile properties migrating to Azure. The blackcap’s website was reimagined as a modern responsive web experience.”

• Hosting

Finalists: OneNet, SoftSource, MHA Cloud Computing

WINNER: MHA Cloud Computing

“MHA demonstrated leadership in an innovative and positive partnership with Microsoft, clearly aligning its business strategy with Microsoft's cloud transformation, incorporating Office 365, Azure and Lync solutions as part of their service offering,” Kendrick says.

“MHA's video case study on FreshMax provides a refreshing insight to their positive and successful working relationship with their customers.”

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Competency Awards: Core Infrastructure

• Devices and Deployment

Finalists: Datacom, Dimension Data, Fujitsu

WINNER: Fujitsu

“Fujitsu implemented a first of its kind solution for a New Zealand enterprise government agency, with its implementation of Windows 8.1 solution at the Ministry of Primary Industries,” Kendrick says.

“The customer is extremely happy with their Windows implementation, and are well positioned with Windows Phone, Surface Pro 3 and soon to include Windows 10.”

• Datacentre

Finalists: Datacom, Spark Digital

WINNER: Spark Digital

“Spark Digital's work at Downer shows how a change of infrastructure can really improve how a company operates,” Kendrick says.

“The hosted services provided by Revera, a subsidiary of Spark Digital, offer best-in-class private and partner-hosted cloud capability.”

Competency Awards: Application Platform

• Data Analytics

Finalists: Enlighten Designs, Montage, Stellar Consulting, Theta

WINNER: Stellar Consulting

“Stellar Consulting have provided a comprehensive BI platform to their customer, handling the challenge of complex data integration across multiple source systems,” Kendrick comments.

“Their solution for Toyota New Zealand is recognised for the innovation and software development for managing complex Meta data and data integration.

“The customer also benefited from the latest SQL server platform for performance reporting and Analytics.”

• Windows App Developer

Finalists: Lazyworm Apps, Marker Metro, Joint (NV Interactive and Intergen)

WINNER: Marker Metro

“Marker Metro created a Windows 8 application for Plunket that benefited from the strong integration of Dynamics CRM, Azure Active Directory and SQL,” Kendrick adds.

“Plunket’s ability to serve New Zealand children has been revolutionised through functional, user friendly technology.”

Competency Awards: Business Productivity

• Collaboration and Content

Finalists: Datacom, Enlighten Designs, Intergen, Leapthought

WINNER: Leapthought

“Leapthought's Fulcrum application provides a unique, best-in-class solution for Capital Infrastructure Projects such as those at Auckland Transport,” Kendrick adds.

“These projects are large and complex in nature with multiple government and commercial organisations involved. With Fulcrum, Leapthought is competing in new markets in and outside of New Zealand and utilising the strength of the Microsoft stack.”

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• Communications

Finalists: Dimension Data, Lexel, UCFX

WINNER: UCFX

“UCFX demonstrated how Microsoft Partners can revolutionise the market with a fresh approach and partner-oriented strategy,” Kendrick adds.

“From zero channel partners this time last year, to having over twenty trusted channel partners today, UCFX are delivering value to customers in the communication space like never before.”

Competency Awards: Business Applications

• CRM

Finalists: Adaptable Solutions, Datacom, Intergen, Koorb

WINNER: Intergen

“Intergen has developed a mature Dynamics practice, partnering well in delivering cloud technologies for CRM and other solutions,” Kendrick says.

“Intergen is helping PGG Wrightson transform faster and optimise their salesforce.”

• ERP

Finalists: Intergen, Koorb, Sable37

WINNER: Intergen

“Intergen has done outstanding work with New Zealand Oil & Gas over the last year with their implementation of Dynamics AX R3,” Kendrick says.

“Along with many tasks turned into automated procedures, Security and Database logging have seen unprecedented improvements for NZ Oil & Gas.”

Individual Awards

• Presales Technical Specialist

Finalists: CodeBlue: Henry Min, Provoke Solutions: Alan Marshall, Spark Digital: David Ollason

WINNER: Alan Marshall, Provoke Solutions

“Alan’s level of knowledge, work and commitment to Microsoft platforms demonstrate his outstanding performance as a trusted advisor to his customers and someone who remains laser focused on delivering value to their business,” Kendrick adds.

Segment Awards

• Education

Finalists: Cyclone, New Era IT, pcMedia

WINNER: New Era IT

“New Era IT have great scale across schools with the solutions they offer, from hybrid cloud on hyper-v, to Lync, Office365 and BYOD,” Kendrick adds.

“They were also able to provide evidence of partnering and had hard dollar proof points of the value they are providing to schools.”

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• Innovation Technology for Good Citizenship

Finalists: IT Engine, Koorb

WINNER: Koorb

“It was clear from their submission that the solution Koorb is providing for Plunket is going to have long term positive benefits not only for the organisation itself, but for New Zealand as a whole,” Kendrick adds.

“We were impressed by their commitment to future-proofing the solution, as well as the care and attention given to ensuring deployment and utilisation by the Plunket nurses was a smooth process that would bring enduring results.”

• Learning

Finalists: Ace, Auldhouse, Kinetics, pcMedia

WINNER: Auldhouse

“Auldhouse addressed market research by identifying an opportunity to educate the market on why certification matters through a highly successful marketing campaign,” Kendrick adds.

“Consistently high calibre trainers and classroom learning experiences for both partners and industry clients, make Auldhouse an excellent choice for both technical and end user IT skills development.”

• Volume Licensing

Finalists: Fujitsu, Insight, Northcom ICT, Spark Digital

WINNER: Insight

“Insight are showcasing exceptional performance backed by solid operational excellence and a strong customer focus,” Kendrick adds.

“Insight have successfully been able to leverage their knowledge, experience and data intelligence to develop a number of sales tools and services that not only differentiate their value proposition to the market, but ultimately help fulfil their customer’s needs. They have cracked the code on attaching online services to enterprise license agreements.”

• Marketing

Finalists: Intergen, Kinetics, Origin IT, Provoke Solutions

WINNER: Provoke Solutions

“Provoke’s (Closer Look Cloud) was a best in class example of a fully integrated marketing campaign,” Kendrick adds. “Their campaign was born to promote adoption of Azure for enterprise cloud customers.

“Provoke has grown an in-house marketing capability to the extent that they are able to offer digital marketing services to the market. They have also shown willingness to share their marketing insights with other Microsoft Partners.”

• Rising Star

Finalists: Lazyworm Apps, Origin IT, Timely, VMob

WINNER: VMob

“VMob’s strategy is based around helping retailers connect customers with relevant offers via a real-time mobile app,” Kendrick adds.

“They do this by leveraging contextual data about the customer with their offerings delivered on Microsoft Azure.

“This has enabled them to secure large global accounts like McDonald’s in the USA, Netherlands, Sweden and Japan as well as some local customers.

“Their rapid growth and forecasted projections are impressive along with the references from their existing customers. VMob is truly a ‘rising star’.”