20 Mar 2015
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Rising stars shine in Microsoft NZ Partner Awards

By Heather Wright

Intergen (pictured) and Provoke were the big winners at last night’s Microsoft New Zealand 2015 Partner Awards, each picking up two awards, in an awards night that saw rising stars sharing the winner’s podium with familiar faces.

The awards, now in their eighth night, saw a wave of new partners challenge the status quo with leading cloud and mobility solutions.

Among the newcomers to scoop up an award was UCFX, a company established last year by former Microsoft man Brent Colbert – onetime organiser of the Microsoft Partner Awards. UCFX beat out Dimension Data and Lexel to take out the communications award in the business productivity competency section.

Microsoft says UCFX demonstrated how Microsoft partners can ‘revolutionise the market with a fresh approach and partner-oriented strategy’.

“From zero channel partners this time last year, to having over 20 trusted channel partners today, UCFX are delivering value to customers in the communication space like never before.”

Brent Kendrick, Microsoft New Zealand SMB and partner director, says the awards attracted an impressive range of entries this year, with a significant increase in the number of first-time entrants.

“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.

And the winners are…

The awards ‘recognise excellence in New Zealand’s IT sector by integrating Microsoft solutions’.

This year’s awards saw the inclusion of two new categories, Rising Star Partner of the Year, which replaces the SMB and Midmarket segment awards, and Marketing Partner of the Year.

Intergen took home the both the CRM and ERP awards in the Business productivity competency section.

Microsoft says the company has developed a mature Dynamics practice on the CRM front and has done ‘outstanding work’ with New Zealand Oil & Gas implementing Dynamics AX R3, on the ERP front.

Provoke was also a dual winner, claiming the marketing award while Provoke’s Alan Marshall won the presales technical specialist individual award.

VMob took home the Rising Star.


Cloud SMB

Winner: Atmospheric

Comment: “Having recently rebranded, Atmospheric was previously known as Network Agents. 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

Winner: Datacom

Comments: “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. 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

Winner: NV Interactive

Comments: “This award carries the hallmarks of NV Interactive’s innovative design approach to web and mobile solutions. The challenge was to scale blackcaps.co.nz to meet future demand including six intense weeks of the 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.”


Winner: MHA Cloud Computing

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


Devices and Deployment

Winner: Fujitsu

Comments: “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. 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.”

Data centre

Winner: Spark Digital

Comments: “Spark Digital's work at Downer shows how a change of infrastructure can really improve how a company operates. The hosted services provided by Revera, a subsidiary of Spark Digital, offer best-in-class private and partner-hosted cloud capability.”


Winner: Stellar Consulting

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

Winner: Marker Metro

Comments: “Marker Metro created a Windows 8 application for Plunket that benefited from the strong integration of Dynamics CRM, Azure Active Directory and SQL. Plunket’s ability to serve New Zealand children has been revolutionised through functional, user friendly technology.”


Collaboration and Content

Winner: Leapthought

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


Winner: UCFX

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



Winner: Intergen

Comments: “Intergen has developed a mature Dynamics practice, partnering well in delivering cloud technologies for CRM and other solutions. Intergen is helping PGG Wrightson transform faster and optimise their salesforce.”


Winner: Intergen

Comments: “Intergen has done outstanding work with New Zealand Oil & Gas over the last year with their implementation of Dynamics AX R3. Along with many tasks turned into automated procedures, Security and Database logging have seen unprecedented improvements for NZ Oil & Gas.”


Presales Technical Specialist

Winner: Alan Marshall, Provoke Solutions

Comments: “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.”



Winner: New Era IT

Comments: “New Era IT have great scale across schools with the solutions they offer, from hybrid cloud on hyper-v, to Lync, Office365 and BYOD. They were also able to provide evidence of partnering and had hard dollar proof points of the value they are providing to schools.”

Innovation Technology for Good Citizenship

Winner: Koorb

Comments: “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. 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.”


Winner: Auldhouse

Comments: “Auldhouse addressed market research by identifying an opportunity to educate the market on why certification matters through a highly successful marketing campaign. 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

Winner: Insight

Comments: “Insight are showcasing exceptional performance backed by solid operational excellence and a strong customer focus. 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.”


Winner: Provoke Solutions

Comments: “Provoke’s (Closer Look Cloud) was a best in class example of a fully integrated marketing campaign. 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:

Winner: VMob

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

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