Microsoft Inspire 2018

Crimson Line is proud to have been one of a handful of South African partners to attend Microsoft’s Inspire conference in Las Vegas this past July. The largest of its kind, Inspire is an annual conference that serves as a platform for collaboration and learning between Microsoft and its partners, with the ultimate end goal of supplying the highest level of service to Microsoft’s end-users.

As a specialist in cloud migration we are excited about Microsoft’s commitment to the growth of cloud services in South Africa and the broader continent. They have already announced their plans to build data centres in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, expected to create 165,000 jobs through 2022. The infrastructure they are laying is proof positive that Africa is seen as a ripe market for accelerated growth in cloud-related services. In the second quarter of 2018, Microsoft gained more market share in the cloud business than its main competitors, a whopping 3 percentage points in the three months, according to research group Synergy. It’s clear that Microsoft’s star is on the rise in this division, and there’s a good reason to bet on continued growth.

Microsoft makes smart use of local businesses who have a deep understanding of the intricacies of their markets. Becoming a Microsoft Certified Partner requires proof of business performance, and an outstanding track record of service delivery. There are also exams in place to ensure that all Partners are experts in their specific fields. Specialization was much spoken-of at Inspire, and the message of the importance of being an expert in a given field to best service clients stuck with me long after leaving the conference. Our business celebrated its 20th anniversary since founding this year so we have a deep grasp on what is happening in this market. As we pair this knowledge and degree of specialization with Microsoft’s range of products and excellent partner-support, local clients are seeing the value in switching over to solutions suggested by Crimson Line.

It’s not a one-way-street though, partners aren’t just sales reps for Microsoft. As working relationship matures, we are being fed relevant leads that they have gained through their marketing activities and assist us in co-selling solutions. The level of partnership that we are seeing is moving businesses like Crimson Line away from being just resellers, to a space of empowered service-providers with a relationship built on true partnership.

When we decided to shift our business to a narrower focus, we could not have dreamed that so many years down the line our strategy would dovetail so perfectly with the most exciting and fast-growing provider in cloud technologies. Microsoft has a dedicated partner development management team with knowledgeable cloud architects, strategists and technical specialists, and our business plugs right in to that structure. If our business was less focussed, then we potentially would not be in the great position we are in now with a direct line to the source of the service we provide – or in a space to say we are ready for whatever the future of the cloud is.