How Microsoft Partner of the Year winners are planning for FY23
Microsoft kicked off its new fiscal year in July with its annual Partner of the Year Award winner announcements. The yearly awards recognize significant established and up and coming partners across diverse industries and technological use cases. MSCloudNews reached out to several award winners to learn about their latest perspective on going to market as a Microsoft partner, what customers are asking for, and their outlook for the rest of FY23.
Meeting market needs
Many supply chain technology companies focus on only one segment of the supply chain, but Microsoft Global Automotive, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, and Retail & Consumer Goods finalist Blue Yonder focuses more broadly on warehouse and transportation management, commerce capabilities like order management, and shop floor management, says Carl D’Costa, SVP and General Manager for Worldwide Partner Success. Over the years, Blue Yonder has acquired smaller technological companies to grow its portfolio and currently has over 3,000 customers. A typical Blue Yonder customer is a large enterprise, but the company is increasingly expanding its business to target large SMBs by building integrations with Microsoft Dynamics. D’Costa explained:
Supply chain is unlike CRM or other widely deployed SaaS segment, because supply chain is ripe to move to SaaS with only 11 percent of supply chain deployment customers using cloud-based SaaS. Most are traditionally on-prem, so the market opportunity for Blue Yonder moving our segment to the cloud means there is a huge opportunity with Azure.
Insight Enterprises received the Canada Partner of the Year Award and its CISO was recognized by Microsoft as an industry changemaker of the year. The company also won a Partner of the Year Award for its work as a manufacturing industry partner. Paul Erhardt, VP of Insight Enterprises told MSCN:
Application modernization as well as data and AI were the two key things that really drove our excellence in that category. Taking AI from an app [modernization] perspective, and refactoring, rewriting apps into the cloud—we leverage a lot of native Azure capabilities there. We focus on accelerating Microsoft clients to help them build modern data warehouses.
For its part, WANdisco, which self-describes as a “data activation” company, featured on the list as a finalist for the 2022 Microsoft Rising Azure Technology Partner of the Year Award. Chris Cochran, WANdisco’s VP of Alliances said that Hadoop data migrations remain a core part of WANdisco’s business, but massive quantities of data are becoming available at the edge from sources like IoT sensors and autonomous vehicles. WANdisco views this data as a big opportunity and recently concluded two projects with major automakers to migrate petabytes of IoT data from the edge. “We’re trying to monetize at the edge and support high-definition data capacity,” Cochran said.
Managing data is a big part of what local governments do and a key area of focus for Accela, according to Chief Operating Officer Tom Nieto. The company won the Microsoft US Government Partner of the Year award, and has started working with customers to support Azure data warehouses, while simultaneously building up its Azure PaaS and security support. Local policymakers often have access to massive amounts of data, but no easy means to analyze it. In one recent project, Accela helped a large city government create live data dashboards to view gaps in community engagement for a broadband strategy. Nieto explained that embedding Power BI and analytics into Microsoft-based solutions has been a winning model for their clients.
A lot of agencies really run in silos. With the rise of [municipal] CIOs and really informed elected stakeholders, they’re thinking about how to deliver to end clients and communities in a much more cohesive way. For instance, residential building [contractors] often have to go to multiple agencies, which is a big pain especially across jurisdictions [and we can help to streamline that business licensing process].
Investing in Azure
Partner of the Year award winners have each chosen to invest in Azure in different ways. Blue Yonder made the choice years ago to focus exclusively on customers that use Azure. As a result, Blue Yonder uses Azure building blocks throughout its products, relying on IaaS, middleware, and AI technology for instance. Because of the significant component of Microsoft technology in its products, it is building integrations with Teams and working closely with Microsoft’s internal sales teams. D’Costa said:
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