Microsoft’s announcement of its Canadian IMPACT award winners was a key part of the innovation theme at the regional Canadian keynote on the first day of the 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.
TORONTO – The hard news here was that Dynamics CRM Online is now being sold in Canada. But most of the time at the regional Canadian keynote which kicked off the first day of the company’s 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference was spent on messaging around the need for partner innovation. That messaging was not new, but the company stressed that adapting quickly to a changing world has become more important than ever.
“The path to the cloud is long, and we run into roadblocks,” Jason Brommet, Microsoft Canada’s channel chief, told the partners assembled in the Roy Thomson Hall. “It zigs and it zags, and we may have to alter course as new competition enters the market. That’s the reality of the world today, a word that has changed. There are new risks, but also incredible new opportunities.”
Brommet said that 88 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 no longer exist, with only 61 of them remaining. He also referred to the well-known quote from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch that if ‘the rate of change on the outside exceeds the change on the inside, the end is near.’
“That’s equally applicable for Microsoft as it is for you,” Brommet told the partners.
Brommet said that evolving shape of the channel in Canada was visible all around the room.
“We are all becoming ISVs, or as I refer to them, IP service providers,” he said. He further pointed out some of the changes in the Partner of the Future as defined by IDC. Partner focus is shifting from broad to specialized. Differentiation is increasing. Alliances have evolved, as partners have moved from do-it-yourself to emphasizing collaboration with other partners.
“Equally it’s about innovation, whether this involves business models, capabilities or skills,” Brommet said.
Brommet cited Microsoft Canada partner data on partners moving into the cloud as evidence of this innovation.
“We have had incredible results this year,” he said. “With Office 365, we have had a 50 per cent year-over-year increase in the number of partners. With Dynamics CRM, we have had a 100 per cent increase. With Azure we have had an 800 per cent increase, and we still need a lot more partners there.”
Brommet highlighted several non-traditional Microsoft partners, like Medicine Hat Alberta-based Kinitisense, which makes a motion analysis software solution that accurately measures movements from eight joints, neck, and back, and is used by clinicians and physical trainers. The company estimated that the Azure Cloud has increased their overall sales in Canada by 30 per cent.
Continuing along the innovation theme, the company then announced the winners of its 2016 IMPACT awards, which are being made public at WPC this year. They were presented by Microsoft Canada President Janet Kennedy, and Charlotte Burke, the recently appointed SMS&P [small, midmarket solutions and partners] lead.
The Application Development Innovation Award went to Canadian Health Systems.
Navantis won the Citizenship and Community Award.
The Data and Insights Innovation Award was won by Dimensional Strategies, with Brommet stating that “everyone needs to be in this space.”
The Enterprise Cloud Packaged Solutions Award went to New Signature Canada
Orckestra was the winner of the Enterprise Cloud Platform Innovation Award.
The Enterprise Cloud Productivity Innovation Award was picked up by Softchoice.
The Hybrid Cloud Innovation Award went jointly to Long View and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Two awards were presented for Microsoft Dynamics. The Innovation in Dynamics CRM Award was copped by Adoxio, while the Innovation in Dynamics ERP Award was awarded to UXC Eclipse Canada.
Architech walked off with two of the new awards this year, the Internet of Things Innovation Award, and the Open Source on Azure award.
MediaValet won the Modern Marketing Innovation Award.
Three SMN Cloud awards were presented: SMB Cloud Packaged Solution Innovation Award went to ProServeIT; the SMB Cloud Platform Innovation Award was awarded to LixarIT; and SherWeb won the SMB Cloud Productivity Innovation Award.
The Winning Together Award this year went to Telus with Cisco and NetApp.
Finally, while Infusion was actually announced as Microsoft’s Canadian country partner of the year last month, their execs also got to come up on the stage for their picture with Kennedy and Burke.
Janet Kennedy then took the stage to recap some of the highlights over the past year in Canada, including the opening of the two datacentres in Toronto and Quebec City, and the recent opening of the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre in Vancouver, which doubled the size of Microsoft’s workforce in Vancouver.
Kennedy emphasized the momentum Microsoft is enjoying with the Azure Cloud and how the new data centres are helping stimulate that here.
“We had 188 customers willing to go into preview with us with the Canadian data centres in February,” she said, noting that this compared with 30 customers in India. “A big reason for bringing these here was the public sector. The public sector has specific requirements to have data centres here. We are excited about the momentum we are already seeing, with 250,000 seats of public sector customers closed already. This country is hungry for ISVs on Azure to take the costs from the infrastructure and move it up into the cloud.”
A new announcement was also made.
“As of today, we are now selling Dynamics CRM Online in Canada,” she said. “The new Dynamics AX is also now in preview [beta] and will be sold in September in Canada.”
Kennedy also stressed that a big theme at WPC this year compared to last year is digital transformation.
“The addressable market for Microsoft globally is 500 billion. With the partner ecosystem it’s 2 trillion, and with the opportunity around digital transformation, its 4.5 trillion. We need to move beyond thinking about just products like SQL 16 or Windows 10 to capture this market.”
Of all the elements of digital transformation, Kennedy said how you transform your business model was probably the most critical.
“You will see this over and over in the next three days at WPC,” she stated.