“It’s always great to win,” said Martin Kalsbeek, president of Ingram Micro Canada, at the third annual Impact Awards held in Toronto.
And Kalsbeek’s comments were the overall sentiment during the event, which is put on by Microsoft Canada to recognize innovation among its registered, certified and gold certified partners.
The awards show, held this year at the Carlu Theatre, saw more than 25 solution providers from across Canada win. The event drew a crowd of more than 200 people. The program received approximately 318 submissions from the channel, which was up more than 100 from last year, said Micrsosft Canada president David Hemler.
“Two things blew me away,” he said. “The number of submissions was way up from last year, and they all rated very close. All the nominees were competitive.”He added that the solution providers are sending a message to Microsoft Canada that “partners are doing some outstanding stuff on our platform.”
Hemler, who is originally from Minneapolis and hosted his first Impact Awards, said Canadian solution providers build intelligent solutions for Microsoft customers and “it’s not just a marketing slogan.”
Another newcomer to the Impact Awards was Kalsbeek, who said the awards program helps Ingram Micro build the business better with Microsoft. “They have a great formula here with this recognition program. It goes a long way in recognizing partners and the work they do in collaboration.”Ingram took home two awards: One for distributor of the Year-OEM and the Northern Lights award for Distributor of the Year.
Mary Anne Yule, vice-president of CDW Canada, said she was surprised by her company’s triumph. CDW won for Top Value Added Reseller (VAR) of the Year – Revenue.While CDW’s award was based on revenue, Yule said the company brings a certain level of innovation in its business model to Canada.
“SMBs have an appetite for the CDW model and we are unique here in the Canadian space. It works for customers and the manufacture partners like Microsoft and ourselves.”The big winner of the evening was SoftChoice, which captured four awards: – Marketing Innovation Award – Enterprise, -Top Large Account Reseller (LAR) of the Year – Volume Licensing Sales;-Top Large Account Reseller (LAR) of the Year – Academic Sales – Healthcare; -Top Large Account Reseller (LAR) of the Year – Academic Sales – Education.
Lora Gernon, director of partner sales, at Microsoft Canada, and one of the driving forces of the awards competition said the partners this year submitted more sophisticated solutions that delivered better return on investment.
“Partners are responding to customer business and the technology is getting more interesting in the market. “The partners have gained expertise in collaboration, security and integrating more and more.
“That is part of the innovation I see,” she said.Microsoft Partner Program Impact Awards were open to systems integrators, large account resellers, direct market resellers, value-added resellers, distributors, systems builders, authorized education resellers, certified partners for learning solutions, Microsoft certified partners, independent software vendors, channel suppliers, Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) Partners and Original Equipment Manufacturers.