Imminent Azure arrival a boon for MS SA partners

Microsoft SA MD Zoaib Hoosen.
Microsoft SA MD Zoaib Hoosen.

Despite the tough economic climate, Microsoft SA posted "by far the best results in the past five years", said MD Zoaib Hoosen.

Speaking at the Microsoft Partner Awards 2018, held last night in Sandton, Hoosen told channel partners: "Every segment in the business made its full year numbers. And even though I didn't think we could top FY 2018, Q1 2019 has already shown we're sustaining the momentum, with Q2 having a rich and healthy pipeline too."

In the past year, Microsoft restructured its partner engagement programme, One Commercial Partner.

"It was a heavy reorganisation and we asked very different things of our partners in the past 12-15 months," Hoosen said, adding Microsoft strengthened its commitment to a joint go-to-market approach. "Perhaps for the first time, as an OEM and channel, we're aligned on the same things."

Azure plays its part

The company has announced the landing of two Azure data centres in SA before the end of the year, which ties in with a wider company focus on shifting to the cloud.

"In the past 12 months, there's been amazing cloud growth and energy. The hyperscale cloud hasn't landed in the country yet, and still we're seeing the growth. Our customers have responded to the fact that there's an opportunity to leverage in the new world and they're all getting ready."

Carel du Toit, CEO of Mint Group, accepting the MD's Partner of the Year award.
Carel du Toit, CEO of Mint Group, accepting the MD's Partner of the Year award.

Channel partners that responded the best to these changes helped narrow down those companies worthy of winning awards.

"What we looked for in the winners were those companies that were transforming the fastest; those embracing the new while honouring the old and driving the three cloud environments: Dynamics, Office and Azure. I found it encouraging how the channel has responded to the changes Microsoft is asking of them."

Among the winners, three companies scooped three awards each: Karabina, First Technology Group and Mint Group, with the latter receiving the Managing Director's Partner of the Year award.

Hoosen said of Mint: "They've been extremely innovative, building solutions across the Microsoft workload and enabling clients to digitally transform. Their cloud growth has been off the charts phenomenal, and they were also the first partner to successfully migrate a customer's SAP platform to Azure."

In announcing the winner, Hoosen mentioned AccTech and Ascent Technology as other shortlisted finalists for the MD's award.

Speaking to ITWeb, Carel du Toit, CEO of Mint Group, said winning the awards had been a humbling experience.

"It means we've made the right bets, driving the right workloads with Microsoft and we've got the right investments in our people.

"It further shows that what we did two, three, four years ago matters and our strategy is paying off. Because we don't have the market cap, we have to have the attitude and our skilled people with a passion for technology. We invest 10% of our turnover in training, because people are at the centre of everything we do."

Winning partners

  • Managing Director's Partner of the Year: Mint Group
  • Licensing Solution Provider of the Year: Dimension Data
  • Business Top CSP Provider of the Year: Tarsus on Demand
  • Top CSP Reseller of the Year: First Technology Group
  • CRM Partner of the Year: Mint Group
  • ERP Partner of Year: Karabina
  • Cloud Platform of the Year: BUI
  • Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Partner of the Year: Karabina
  • Hybrid Platform Cloud Partner of the Year: AccTech Systems
  • Industry Application Development Partner of the Year: Karabina
  • Modern Workplace: Mint Group
  • Software Asset Management: First Technology Group
  • IP Co-Sell Partner of the Year: Ascent Technology
  • Consumer Distributor and Sub Distributor of the Year: Axiz
  • Retail Partner of the Year: Incredible Connection
  • Intelligent Edge Device Partner of the Year: Mustek
  • Best New Practice: Ascent Technology
  • Partner Influenced Azure Consumption Growth: First Technology Group
  • Best Go-to-market Execution: XContent
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