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RCP 350 Spotlight: Applied Information Sciences

Among our top 350 Microsoft partners in the United States is an awardee that was also among the first members of the original Microsoft Certified Solution Provider program in the early 1990s. Its pioneering nature continued as it adopted Azure when it was still code-named "Red Dog." It also lists the development of its own cloud adoption framework before Microsoft's as further evidence of its leadership.

Applied Information Sciences (AIS) clients range from startups to Fortune 100 companies and include state and local governments, as well as defense and national security agencies. It approximates a sales mix of 50 percent government and 50 percent commercial. It also estimates that 95 percent of the services it delivers are centered around Microsoft technologies with a focus on building solutions that impact its customers' mission.

Broad Engagement
AIS engages broadly with Microsoft, with its marketing manager working closely with its Microsoft Partner Development Manager (PDM). Its salespeople participate enthusiastically in co-selling activities with Microsoft. Its office of the CTO -- which includes solution directors, architects, solution specialists and others -- maintains close relationships with counterparts in the Microsoft technology community. Its CTO is a Microsoft MVP who has worked with Microsoft for more than 20 years. And its chief consulting officer maintains strong active relationships across Microsoft's executive leadership.

It also has dedicated teams for various vertical industries such as insurance, financial services, health and life sciences, and government, who align closely with their counterparts in the Microsoft industry-focused teams.

AIS executives regularly participate in partner advisory councils (PACs) to help guide Microsoft's partner program development. It's also a member of the Business Apps Inner Circle.

Competencies and Awards
AIS' impressive array of competencies and record of awards won speak volumes to its commitment to Microsoft technologies and customer success.

Having recently grown from 500 to 700 employees, AIS has earned over a dozen Microsoft Gold Competencies, including Application Development, Application Integration, Cloud Platform, Cloud Productivity, Collaboration and Content, Data Analytics, Data Platform, Datacenter, DevOps, Messaging, Project and Portfolio Management, and Security.

Starting in 1996 as Microsoft Partner of the Year, AIS has consistently excelled over the years, most recently winning 2013 Regional Azure Partner of the Year, 2017 Worldwide Partner Award for DevOps, 2018 U.S. Partner of the Year for Azure Performance, 2019 U.S. Partner of the Year for Business Applications - Dynamics 365 for Sales, and the 2020 Worldwide Partner of the Year for Power Apps and Power Automate Award.

Investments: Partnering Beyond the Partner Program
AIS Chief Growth Officer Aarish Gokaldas says, "We don't ever come to an exchange with Microsoft empty-handed," emphasizing that the key to an effective Microsoft relationship is to always maintain a solid quid pro quo in which Microsoft supports AIS and AIS supports Microsoft. "We are investing heavily in resources," explains Gokaldas, "in terms of strategic personnel with technical talent."

Given the current shortage of available skilled individuals, Gokaldas adds, "We are investing heavily in training. We bring in individuals that don't know anything about the Microsoft ecosystem and we provide internal training and professional development to get them spun up to the point that they're able to then go support our clients and have a mission impact.

"We invest heavily in intellectual property," he continues."We are building out our own IP that we're overlaying on top of Microsoft's technology. And then we invest in things like our marketing in campaigns to get get the message out that provides mutual success to both AIS, as well as Microsoft."

Gokaldas concludes, "And we're investing heavily in our sales and proposal side, putting skin in the game in terms of building out solutions, building capture with client engagements. We are never just sitting on the sidelines and relying on Microsoft to go in and do the work, relying on Microsoft to go out and build out the solutions. We're in lockstep with them. Or in some cases, we are leading."

To Boldly Go
"We're not afraid to venture into the unknown," explains Gokaldas. "We were an early adopter of Azure before it was called Azure. We understood the value of cloud, the value of migrating off-premises. And we were an early adopter."

AIS values its role as a beta tester for many Microsoft initiatives, including the early Azure, Power Apps, Power Automate and more. "We developed and built out a business dedicated to Power Platform of things like Azure Kubernetes. We saw beyond the value when it was created to the value that would would eventually be achieved when it matures.

"We are very much working in conjunction with Microsoft at the forefront of the technological landscape," concludes Gokaldas. "So things like our cloud delivery framework, our cloud acceleration hub, our...product focused around self-service, cataloging for the Azure environment, are all things that we're able to bring to bear to a client that helps accelerate their Azure journey."

Posted by Howard M. Cohen on August 20, 2021


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