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Azure, cloud and innovation

Lionel Moyal, commercial oartner lead at Microsoft South Africa

The first year of having Azure datacentres is being characterised by innovation and more is set to come, but skills remain a challenge.

Local innovation in the partner ecosystem is showing great results, locally and abroad. That was the theme of the Microsoft South Africa Partner Awards FY 2019, held at the Houghton Hotel, Johannesburg, on September 25.

The landing of two Azure datacentre regions in the country earlier this year has triggered much movement in the local market for cloud.

“The past financial year has been a great year, filled with exciting announcements and new innovations coming to market,” says Lionel Moyal, commercial oartner lead at Microsoft South Africa.

“There’s big demand for cloud services in South Africa. It’s been only six months but already we’ve seen customers moving to the cloud at a rate beyond our expectations. It’s been a real game-changer.

“We've moved from the early adoption to the mainstream; it's a cloud rush actually. There's more demand than our partner ecosystem can cope with which is why we're driving so much on the skills,” he says.

Digital transformation represents a significant opportunity, especially on the African continent, Moyal says, adding that the company will continue to invest in and grow services in the local datacentres.

The awards evening was branded with a theme around stars and astronomy, with each award winner receiving their own glass star trophy, but more impressively having a star named after the company.

With awards being given in 24 categories, the evening culminated with the managing director’s partner of the year award being handed to Accenture.

Moyal attributes Accenture’s success to its ability to help large customers transform at scale, as well as transforming its own operations.

“It's a company that's pivoted the entire business from being a traditional consultancy to having a big focus around Microsoft, and building an entire division focused on that, as well as hiring some great talent from the industry.”

He adds that Accenture has also adopted the culture of collaborating and co-selling with Microsoft. “And working with us to envisage what is possible, the art of the possible inside customers.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Willie Schoeman, MD, Technology, Accenture Africa says: “We strongly believe that Microsoft is going to be one of the, if not the, most important ecosystem partners globally and certainly here in South Africa. We're going to see hyper growth in most of the Microsoft technologies over the next 18 to 24 months.

“On the back of the hyperscale datacentres that Microsoft has launched it's going to expediate the movement to these technologies. If we look at the vibrancy of the ecosystem here tonight it's alive and kicking.”

Accenture was the only global systems integrator to have won an award, but Schoeman says that this is a good reflection on the state of the South African partner ecosystem.  

“In this country innovation is going to be the thing that sets us aside. Microsoft is incubating innovation and is well poised to make the most of these responsibilities and opportunities around innovation as we’ve seen from these successful smaller partners here today.”

The winners

Competency Awards
Modern workplace partner of the year - Altron Karabina
Cloud platform partner of the year - BUI
Software asset management (SAM) partner of the year - Vantage Systems SA
Data and analytics partner of the year - Altron Karabina
Artificial Intelligence partner of the year - Mint Group
Security partner of the year – BUI
Application development innovation partner of the year - Tangent Solutions
Cloud CRM partner of the year - Mint Group
Business Applications ERP partner of the year - Altron Karabina

Business Awards
Consumer and retail partner of the year - Tarsus Technology Group
Retail partner of the year – Makro
OEM partner of the year – Mustek
Licensing solution provider (LSP) of the year - First Technology
CSP indirect provider finalists - Tarsus on Demand
Top CSP reseller of the year - First Technology
Open source partner of the year - Tangent Solutions
Services partner of the year – BUI
Industry vertical solution partner of the year – Nebula

Strategic Awards

IP co-sell impact partner of the year – Citrix
Best go to market execution Partner of the year - Mint Group
Azure consumed revenue partner of the year – BUI
Top customer adds partner of the year - Ascent Technology
ISV partner of the year - IoT.nxt
Emerging partner of the year - Phulukisa Health Solutions

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