Microsoft recently published a blog about its latest developments in helping its Partners blaze a path to the Cloud. This got us thinking about the long standing Partner relationship Altus Dynamics has with Microsoft and the benefits that relationship gives us and by extension our clients. We interviewed our CEO and in-house cloud expert, Colin Dickinson, for his thoughts on the Microsoft Partner Network and their latest Cloud developments.
Katherine: Why did Altus Dynamics join the Microsoft Partner Network?
Colin: 11 years ago when Altus Dynamics was founded, we made a conscious decision to build our solutions on Microsoft platforms so joining the Microsoft Partner Network was the next logical step. What appealed to us was the significant benefits we would receive in exchange for being part of the Network. The training, support and events all helped us specialize our consultants, stay on top of the market and ahead of our competition.
Katherine: How does the Partner Network support companies like Altus Dynamics?
Colin: As a start-up organization back in 2003 we needed to build a customer base from scratch. Microsoft’s specialized teams, for example the Education or Public Sector teams, provided advice and opportunities for us to pursue and grow our base. Aligned with that, Microsoft does a fantastic job at providing training to its Partners – both for the senior management teams, as well as for the Partner employees. As part of the Partner programme, they offer certifications and training courses for the Competency Programme for our employees, covering the latest developments in Dynamics NAV or CRM. It ensures that those working with the platforms have the most up to date product knowledge.
For senior leadership they offer expertise and advice on running a business and provide training in specific areas of the market. These training events are often highly focused and of very high quality, tailored toward current market trends. Over the last several years ‘Cloud’ focused events have become very popular with the increased market demand and buzz around the Cloud solutions.
We also have a Microsoft contact who helps in tightening up business process and growth strategizing within Partner companies.
Katherine: What are the benefits Altus Dynamics has gained from being a Partner?
Colin: Our whole business is based on being a Partner. Our business is run on the Product, the People and the Platform. We could have the first two, a product to sell and great people to sell it – but because we are using a Microsoft Platform our clients are familiar with it, they trust the solution and trust the support and product development that will come with it. This gives us an edge over, other, more vertically focused competitive offerings.
Since we specialize in such a niche market, working exclusively with non-profits, government, and education organizations, we are Microsoft’s go to Partner for public sector ERP and CRM leads. These organizations, and Microsoft, trust that we have the experience in providing solutions tailored toward their needs. Microsoft supports us and we implement solutions on their platform, expanding its market penetration. Everyone wins!
Katherine: You mentioned the Competency Programme earlier, what does this represent?
Colin: Microsoft recognizes their Partners depth and breadth of knowledge in specific products and services by providing Gold and Silver competencies. There are a number of criteria a Partner must achieve to be awarded a competency such as Certified Professionals, customer references, revenue targets etc. These competencies give our current and future clients the security that they can trust we have the product knowledge and implementation expertise. It demonstrates our knowledge in a measurable way to our clients and prospective clients.
Katherine: Microsoft makes huge investments into research and development. How does their investment into the Cloud impact Altus Dynamics and its clients?
Colin: Microsoft spends billions of dollars a year on product research and development. They are dedicated to being innovative and providing cutting edge solutions.
In Dec. 2013, Microsoft launched a new program, “Cloud OS Networking”. This new programme allows hosting Partners who are qualified to offer Windows Azure based products including Dynamics NAV within their own data centres, for sale to end-users - Altus Dynamics to our Clients. The objective of this program is addressing data sovereignty fears that exist, not only in Canada, but also in many other countries in the world. By immediately adding local data centres in 90 different jurisdictions across the Globe, Microsoft has – in one quick move – addressed the most significant hurdle standing in the way of quicker Canadian adoption of the Public Cloud. Additionally, as the number of servers on-line grows, so do the economies of scale bringing down the cost of ownership and the cost for clients of deploying in the Cloud. This could significantly accelerate the adoption of Microsoft solutions in the Public Cloud in Canada.
Katherine: Any concluding thoughts?
Colin: I am astonished by the level of training and support Microsoft provides to ensure we can deliver the best product and services to their clients – we are very pleased with being part of the Microsoft Partner Network.
As data sovereignty issues are top of mind for Canadian Public Sector organizations, we are pleased to see Microsoft making advancements in cloud security options. We believe that as these types of programmes get more fleshed out, more of our clients will start to take advantage of Public Cloud for their software solutions.
To read the two articles that inspired this interview click the links below:
We also recently wrote a blog about Microsoft becoming the only Cloud vendor to receive European Union’s Data Protection Validation – read the complete article here.