Bekker's Blog

Blog archive

Microsoft Partner Awards Shine Spotlight on COVID-19 Efforts

The 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards are filled with stories of Microsoft partners rapidly retooling their offerings or crafting bespoke solutions to meet the urgent pandemic-related needs of customers -- from companies to nonprofits to government agencies.

Microsoft on Monday released the list of winners of the 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year awards, which included winners in 49 categories, finalists and country-level winners.

Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster called partners' efforts inspirational in their ability and willingness to meet the moments of the last few months.

"Through it all, our partners have been working and innovating, building technologies across the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge that allow organizations of all types to connect, operate, and carry on. We've seen amazing displays of agility and creativity as partners navigate a new world for their businesses, while still supporting customers and building new products and services," Schuster said in a blog congratulating the winners. The Monday announcement comes a week before Inspire, Microsoft's annual partner conference which, like most industry events this year, is being held virtually.

The awards process this year was stretched out due to the coronavirus, with the deadline for submissions pushed back by three weeks to May 12. Even with all that partners were going through in their businesses and on behalf of their customers, Microsoft received 3,300 submissions for the awards -- up from 2,900 a year ago, noted Melissa Mulholland, director of Partner Enablement and Profitability for One Commercial Partner at Microsoft.

"Despite COVID-19 and the extension of the deadline, to still have an increase in humbling," Mulholland said. That partners from 100 different countries set aside time during the crisis to put together submissions speaks to the marketing and business value of winning the award, she said. "It really signals that they've got a capability as well as success that customers really value."

Like partners who are broadly having success in this challenging environment, many of the award winners shared a common attribute. "It's those that were able to respond with clear solutions, whether it's helping the government in being able to track cases to being able to help schools get remote learning off the ground. [It's really about] coming out with creative and timely solutions," Mulholland said.

One such partner was RedBit Development in Burlington, Ontario, which won the first-ever Community Response Award. That award was created at the same time the award deadline was extended in April, a time when health care, education and business infrastructures were all straining under the weight of the burgeoning pandemic.

"This new award offers recognition to partners that are providing innovative solutions or services to help solve challenges for our customers and community during the COVID-19 pandemic," Schuster said of the award.

RedBit, a software consulting, design and engineering company, won for its work helping Canada's largest food rescue charity, Second Harvest, take its food distribution program national and support a grant portal as the COVID-19 emergency was causing a 40 percent increase in demand from food-insecure families.

"In just three weeks, RedBit rescaled and optimized the platform on Azure, added a feature to enable non-food donations such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper, and launched a mobile app integrated with Dynamics 365 to make it easier for donors to donate food. On top of all of this, RedBit created a grant portal in under a week, to support the equitable distribution of federal relief funding to appropriate charities across the country," RedBit explained in a post about its Inspire Award submission.

Another social contribution award, Microsoft Partner of the Year for Social Impact, also went to a partner dealing with a COVID-19-related emergency for a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower young people through recreation and community building.

"With COVID-19, the nonprofit had to close 90 percent of its operations and stand down thousands of critical workers. When the Australian Government launched the 'Job Keeper' program to help COVID-affected organizations continue paying for staff wages, the organization needed to process over 5,000 employee records in a short timeframe to obtain the much-needed funding securely and compliantly," Microsoft's description of Barhead Solutions' winning entry read. "Within two days, Barhead and the nonprofit partnered to build a PowerApp leveraging Microsoft Power Platform to process the employee records, thereby ensuring 5,000+ employees were paid during this global pandemic including cooks and catering assistants, housekeepers and coaches."

Among the many other coronavirus-related solutions in the winning entries were:

  • Accenture/Avanade in the United Kingdom won "Modern Workplace for Firstline Workers." Working with national health organizations to help care teams stay connected from a safe social distance, the partner used Teams and Microsoft Bookings in separate solutions. Accenture/Avanade created "Nightingale Connect," a collaboration service enabled by Teams to allow an emergency temporary hospital system to coordinate operations nationally. The Microsoft Bookings solutions allowed doctors and patients to have virtual visits.
  • Rapid Circle in the Netherlands won the "Teamwork" award for, among other things, spinning up a Teams application in one weekend that helped a hospital assess the suitability and availability of hospital beds. The application delivered savings in time and costs that Rapid Circle was able to turn into a repeatable solution for other health care businesses.
  • PTC in the United States won the "Manufacturing" award for an augmented reality effort that helped ramp up production of ventilators needed for treating severely ill COVID-19 patients. PTC's solution is called Vuforia Expert Capture. From the Microsoft award description: "The UK government approached a consortium of industry partners for assistance with rapid manufacturing of ventilators amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. PTC and Microsoft provided Vuforia Expert Capture on Azure and HoloLens2 to record the entire ventilator build process and create supporting material at no cost. The outcome successfully increased peak output of 50 units per week to 1,500 units per week."
  • Leading Learning Partners Association (LLPA) in the Netherlands won the "Learning" category with a rapid retooling of its training procedures. "In a matter of days, 52+ countries quickly mobilized from in-person classroom training to virtual and hybrid deliveries due to COVID," the Microsoft description for LLPA read.
Modern Workplace Award Winners

Apps and Solutions for Microsoft Teams

  • Winner: Klaxoon (France)
  • Finalist: AkariSolutions Ltd.
  • Finalist: AskMeWhy
  • Finalist: ThoughtWireCorporation

Calling and Meetings for Microsoft Teams

  • Winner: Continuant (United States)
  • Finalist: Communicativ| de Teams Specialist
  • Finalist: Enabling Technologies Corporation
  • Finalist: Orange Business Services Global

Modern Endpoint Management

Modern Workplace for Firstline Workers

  • Winner: Accenture/Avanade Inc. (United Kingdom)
  • Finalist: Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corporation
  • Finalist: Long View Systems Corporation
  • Finalist: SnapNetLimited

Project and Portfolio Management 2020

  • Winner: ProActiveA/S (Denmark)
  • Finalist: PROJECTUM ApS
  • Finalist: WicresoftNorth America
  • Finalist: Sensei Project Solutions

Security and Compliance

  • Winner: Threatscape Limited (Ireland)
  • Finalist: Delphi Consulting
  • Finalist: Glück & KanjaConsulting AG
  • Finalist: ThirdSpaceLtd.


  • Winner: Rapid Circle (Netherlands)
  • Finalist: AkariSolutions Ltd
  • Finalist: RSM Product Sales LLC
Business Applications Award Winners

Dynamics 365 Business Central

  • Winner: NAB Solutions AB (Sweden)
  • Finalist: ABC GROUP B.V.
  • Finalist: Cooper Parry Group Ltd
  • Finalist: WiiseSoftware Pty Ltd

Proactive Customer Service

Connected Field Service

  • Winner: Accenture/Avanade Inc. (Germany)
  • Finalist: Content and Code
  • Finalist: Hitachi Solutions America Ltd.
  • Finalist: HSO Nederland B.V.
  • Finalist:RSM Product Sales LLC

Modernize Finance and Operations

  • Winner: HSO (Netherlands)
  • Finalist: Accenture/Avanade Inc.
  • Finalist: Fullscope Inc.
  • Finalist: GWS Gesellschaft für
  • Finalist: Warenwirtschafts-Systeme mbH

Intelligent Sales and Marketing

PowerApps and Power Automate

Power BI

  • Winner: Slalom Consulting (United States)
  • Finalist: Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corporation
  • Finalist: Pragmatic Works Software Inc.
  • Finalist: Tallan Inc.
Azure Award Winners

AI and Machine Learning

  • Winner: Accenture/Avanade Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: Altius
  • Finalist: Axilion Ltd.
  • Finalist: Concurrency Inc.

Application Innovation

Azure Influencer

  • Winner: ReadyMind (Mexico)
  • Finalist: FCamaraConsultoria e Formação
  • Finalist: Neudesic
  • Finalist: Slalom Consulting

Data Analytics

  • Winner: Informatica (United States)
  • Finalist: Catapult Systems
  • Finalist: Infosys Limited
  • Finalist: CAPGEMINI Technology Services SAS

Data Estate Modernization

  • Winner: Wipro Technologies - Global HQ (Switzerland)
  • Finalist: Cognizant Technology Solutions Philippines Inc.
  • Finalist: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
  • Finalist: TimeXtenderUS

Datacenter Migration

  • Winner: DXC Technology Services (United States)
  • Finalist: Infosys Limited
  • Finalist: Intercept
  • Finalist: Cognizant Worldwide Limited


  • Winner: Accenture/Avanade Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: Arinco
  • Finalist: Embee Software Pvt. Ltd.

Internet of Things

  • Winner: Mariner (United States)
  • Finalist: Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corporation
  • Finalist: Iconics Inc.
  • Finalist: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

Mixed Reality

  • Winner: Taqtile Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: 北京商询科技有限公司
  • Finalist: Meemim Inc.
  • Finalist: Trimble Inc.

OSS on Azure

SAP on Azure

Industry Award Winners


  • Winner: JDA Software - Global (United States)
  • Finalist: VE BILISIM H A.S.
  • Finalist: Linker Networks
  • Finalist: Technosoft(SEA) Pte. Ltd.


  • Winner: DuggaAB (Sweden)
  • Finalist: Applied Cloud Systems (ACS) (joint nominee)
  • Finalist: Business IT
  • Finalist: HaldorAB
  • Finalist: NetApp


  • Winner: Ernst & Young LLP (United States)
  • Finalist: Envision Group
  • Finalist: Esri
  • Finalist: Seeq Corporation

Financial Services

  • Winner: Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom)
  • Finalist: UIPathNew York
  • Finalist: PowerObjects-An HCL Technologies Company
  • Finalist: Finastra


  • Winner: Cognizant Worldwide Limited (United Kingdom)
  • Finalist: Accenture Spain/Avanade Spain (joint nominee)
  • Finalist: Genetec Inc.
  • Finalist: Knowledgelake Inc.

Health Care

  • Winner: Accenture/Avanade Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: apoQlarGmbH
  • Finalist: Illuminance Solutions
  • Finalist: WWT


  • Winner: PTC (United States)
  • Finalist: Blue Yonder (formerly JDA Software)
  • Finalist: Icertis Inc.
  • Finalist: AVEVA Solutions Limited

Media and Communications

  • Winner: CSG Systems Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: AdPushup Inc.
  • Finalist: Avid Technology Inc.
  • Finalist: Teradici Corporation



Advisory Services

Alliance Global SI

Alliance Global ISV

  • Winner: Adobe Systems Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: VMware Inc.
  • Finalist: Icertis Inc.
  • Finalist: HashiCorp

Customer Experience

  • Winner: Insight North America (United States)
  • Finalist: CodeTwo Sp. z o.o. Sp.k.
  • Finalist: (India) P Ltd.

Community Response

  • Winner: RedBitDevelopment (Canada)
  • Finalist: ACS
  • Finalist: FiveP Australia Pty. Ltd.
  • Finalist: NetApp
  • Finalist: NTT DATA Philippines Inc.

Diversity and Inclusion Changemaker

  • Winner: AkariSolutions Ltd. (United Kingdom)
  • Finalist: RedManeTechnology LLC
  • Finalist: Concurrency Inc.

Indirect Provider

  • Winner: Ingram Micro (United States)
  • Finalist: Crayon AS
  • Finalist: Rhipe Limited
  • Finalist: Tech Data Corporation


Partner for Social Impact

Global SI Digital Transformation

  • Winner: KPMG (Global)
  • Finalist: Cognizant
  • Finalist: Infosys

Commercial Marketplace

  • Winner: Fortinet (United States)
  • Finalist: Flashgrid Inc.
  • Finalist: Barracuda Networks
  • Finalist: Check Point HQ United States

Microsoft for Startups

  • Winner: Uncrowd (United Kingdom)
  • Finalist: Egress
  • Finalist: ThroughPut Inc.
  • Finalist: Web3 Labs

Solution Assessment

  • Winner: Unify Cloud LLC (United States)
  • Finalist: 10th Magnitude

Surface Hub

  • Winner: DataVisionDeutschland GmbH (Germany)
  • Finalist: Red Thread Spaces LLC
  • Finalist: AVI-SPL
  • Finalist: Whitlock (joint nominee)

Surface PC

  • Winner: CDW Logistics Inc. (United States)
  • Finalist: 株式会社大塚商会
  • Finalist: Bechtle Logistik & Service GmbH
  • Finalist: Softcat Plc.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 14, 2020