Partners in crime: How Auror built world-leading crime-prevention technology on Microsoft Azure

 |   Microsoft New Zealand News Centre

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Smart crime prevention specialist Auror is on a roll, being named Microsoft’s first Growth Partner of the Year for New Zealand. How has it gone from small Kiwi start-up to global master of digital detection in less than a decade?  Auror’s ANZ Regional Director, Kaye Harding, shares the company’s journey and why Microsoft Azure is a crime-fighter’s best partner. 

Home-grown company Auror was created in 2014 after founders, Phil Thomson, James Corbett and Tom Batterbury recognised there was no effective technology being used to report, solve, or prevent crime.

The idea was simple: provide retailers with an easy to use, standardised platform to record and report details of an incident, then analyse the data to reveal criminal patterns that would help retailers stop future thefts and shopliftingin their tracks. When looking for a technology partner to build its masterpiece, Auror chose Microsoft Azure for its ability to scale, resiliency and Microsoft’s global network.

Less than 10 years later and the business has gone from having just four customers in New Zealand, to more than 30,000 around the globe, including the world’s largest retailer, Walmart.

To celebrate Auror’s success, Matt Bostwick, Partner Director at Microsoft New Zealand, recently spoke to Kaye Harding, Auror’s recently appointed Regional Director ANZ, on the secret behind their award-winning rise.

“We’re proud to have provided them with the Azure infrastructure, and we’re really excited to see how much further and faster they can grow, and what their success can teach other New Zealand tech innovators about growing their own global ambitions,” says Bostwick.

With over fifteen years’ experience in the tech sector at major companies like Xero, Datacom and Microsoft, Kaye has built up an abundance of knowledge and skills to help grow products globally. According to Kaye, the key to growing a great partnership is that it goes two ways.

“From my experience working in tech companies, the more we’re open to collaboration and the closer we get to work together, the more both of us get out of the partnership,” she says.

Kiwi business, global network

What has worked well for Auror is that many retailers are already with Microsoft. Retail partners have a preference for Microsoft Azure and Auror’s relationship with Microsoft has helped it build a stronger and more enticing proposition – especially as it expands into global markets.

“Partnering with a large, globally recognised organisation like Microsoft means that Auror has been able to build credibility quickly with retail customers. For those larger retailers, it’s an added level of comfort – they know what they’re getting into with the Azure platform, and therefore Auror,” says Kaye.

Navigating the journey

Partnership is a core theme of Auror’s growth strategy. Kaye believes tech companies should share ideas more and partner in new regions and markets to help gain the maximum benefit for both themselves and their customers. Collaborating on solving the skills shortage is an example of how this could help the entire tech ecosystem, working together to bring more people into the industry.

“Building on diversity and inclusion within the sector is key. We’re always learning and evolving and challenging ourselves and it’s a key consideration when we’re choosing the businesses we partner with. Microsoft’s 10k Wāhine programme is a great example of how instead of separately trying to expand the talent pipeline, partners can come together on shared initiatives and learn from each other,” says Kaye.

“Our community has so much knowledge and experience that we could all benefit through sharing and collaborating, helping to create a better tech ecosystem.”

The sky is the limit

The business now has offices in Melbourne, Australia to support its      growing presence in retail and with police as Auror is already working with over 40% of the Australian retail market. Auror also recently established a North American office in Denver, Colorado, and it’s     working with large US retailers like Walmart to expand its proposition northwards. The opportunities for growth are immense, with over 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the US alone.

“We continue to work alongside Microsoft and their team on product development and exploring other complementary avenues where we could work together. The fantastic thing about Azure is that it provides us with the platform and infrastructure to easily scale and deploy into new markets like the US and Canada, with the UK coming up very soon,” says Kaye.

“I have every confidence that Auror will become one of the biggest tech companies in the next five years, and I’m really looking forward to riding the rocket ship together!”