Last night Mike McRoberts hosted the Microsoft New Zealand Partner Awards at Shed 10, celebrating outstanding local business partners.
This was the 11th year of the Awards, and the new-look event saw the prizes streamlined to 11 key categories. Although each category was diverse, from Modern Workplace to Cloud for Good, all the winners were unified by a singular obsession – the customer.
A point articulated by guest speaker Cynthia Patterson, Fonterra’s GM of Global Technology and Services: ‘Often we get over-excited by what the technology can do, without pausing to consider what our customers really want it to do. Those are two slightly different things, but the distinction is a critical one.’
The secondary theme of the evening was speed of innovation. ‘In technology, as in life, the only constant is change,’ said Mike McRoberts, who captured the rate of change with a story about working in the newsroom 30 years ago, when the air was thick with pipe smoke and the clatter of typewriters. ‘Technology doesn’t progress smoothly, it moves in leaps. We are living through a leap, a time when tech is moving so fast it’s altering the fabric of society. So, it’s great to be here with some of the people propelling us into the next era.’
Barrie Sheers, New Zealand’s MD, then took to the stage, opening with the mantra of Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella: As a culture, we are moving from a group of people who know it all to a group of people who want to learn it all.
‘And some of the people who really teach us the most are you, our partners,’ explained Sheers. ‘You all teach us what is possible with our own technology. And we are privileged that New Zealand has one of the most innovative Partner ecosystems in the world.’
Commercial Partner Director, Phil Goldie, expanded on the theme of innovation, defining the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a time when, ‘We have more technological power at our fingertips than at any moment in human history. And it feels like together with our brilliant partner eco-system we can solve almost any business challenge.’
Goldie then presented the first award of the evening, the World-wide Microsoft Partner Awards, won by Intergen, who will be celebrated in Las Vegas at Microsoft Inspire in a few weeks.
Another key winner was Lexel Systems for their innovative approach to My Food Bag in the Modern Workplace category, described by one of the judges as a ‘delicious digital solution’.
Theta, a New Zealand-based IT consultancy, won the Cloud for Good Award for their use of Office 365 in collaboration with Emerge Aotearoa, a charitable community health provider. Michael Brick, Microsoft’s Director of Corporate and Legal, described it as a solution that embodies the Microsoft mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.
Datacom also came out on top with its Tourism New Zealand solution, which leveraged Cloud technology to promote the Land of the Long White Cloud. The solution empowered Tourism New Zealand’s employees to promote beautiful Aotearoa more easily no matter where they are.
Winner Lexel Systems – My Food Bag
Highly Com Intergen – SNAP 365
Applications & Infrastructure award
Winner The Instillery – The Cloud Savings Calculator
Highly Com Umbrellar – Digital Transformation
Data & AI Award
Winner Intergen – Foodstuffs
Highly Com Datacom – Vulcan Steel
Business Applications Award
Winner Theta – Downer facilities maintenance application
Highly Com Datacom
Surface Partner Award
Winner The Laptop Company
Channel Development Award
Winner Dicker Data NZ Ltd
Engaging Customers Award
Winner Timely Ltd
Highly Com Datacom – AIA ‘Ava’
Empowering Employees Award
Winner Datacom – Tourism New Zealand
Highly Com Lexel – My Food Bag
Transforming Products Award
Winner NV Interactive – NV Play
Optimising Operations Award
Winner Intergen – AB Equipment
Cloud for Good Award
Winner Theta – Emerge Aotearoa Office 365