GUEST BLOG POST: Why apply for Microsoft Partner of the Year? The answer: Why not?!

[caption id="attachment_24043" align="alignright" width="300"]Dean Martin_headshot October 2015 (2) Dean Martin WPC Experience Ambassador[/caption]


Hello Partners,

I have the pleasure of being in the role of Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) Experience Ambassador, where I get the opportunity to ensure every aspect of WPC is focused on you, our partners. My priority is to create experiences at WPC that provide you an environment to discover new business opportunities with Microsoft and other partners through our keynotes, sessions, networking opportunities and more. One of the most exciting things I look forward to at WPC is celebrating the great success of your efforts through our Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards, but I also look forward to hearing each year about how we celebrate our Australian partners through the Microsoft Australia Partner Awards (MAPA).

I’m often asked about the difference between the two award programs and if it’s better to submit nominations in one program vs. the other, so I thought I’d take some time to help explain the two programs – and why it’s invaluable that you participate in both.

What’s the difference between the Microsoft Australia Partner Award (MAPA) and the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards?

While these awards have a lot in common, they are also quite distinct from each other.

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards lets partners from all over the globe show us how they are combining their innovation and expertise with our technologies to build best-in-class solutions. The submission tool is open now and closes on 7 April. We announce finalists and winners prior to the Worldwide Partner Conference in July (this year in Toronto, Canada) – and onsite at the event we take every opportunity we can to celebrate our award finalists and award winners. When you enter these awards you are competing against partners from around the world, so it really is your chance to step into the spotlight on an international stage. You can also compete against your Australian peers in the Country Partner of the Year Award. If you win this, you will receive this recognition at both the Worldwide Partner Conference and the Australian Partner Conference.

MAPA is all about celebrating the Australian partner network. So under these awards you are competing against your local Australian peers. You must submit your nominations via the MAPA tool (which will be available from 4 April) with a later deadline of 16 May. The MAPA winners are announced at the Australian Partner Conference in September.


Which awards should I enter? Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards or MAPA?

Winning either a Microsoft Partner of the Year Award or a MAPA is an amazing endorsement for your company. Why not increase your chances to be recognized and enter both? Just make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the individual award categories you decide to submit under. It really is important to read the criteria carefully because the last thing you want to do is spend hours crafting your amazing submission to only find out you didn’t win because you weren’t eligible to enter in the first place.


Why are the questions for MAPA and other Country Award Programs different to the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards? Wouldn’t it be easier if they were the same?

This is something I am asked often, but the reason why we don’t use the same questions is because each program has its own objectives. For example, the questions for MAPA are set by the Microsoft team in Australia to reflect the strategic imperatives for that country. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards are based on competencies, public sector and citizenship efforts, alliances and other marketing or industry initiatives within the Microsoft Partner Network that are relevant to a global audience. .

We are just a small partner so I don’t think we stand a chance – is it really worth our effort entering?

It is definitely worth your effort. In fact I know the Australian team is really keen to shine the spotlight on our regional partners. This also goes for new partners. It doesn’t matter how small or big you are, or how long you have been in business. If you are doing amazing things for our customers, and you tell your story the best way possible, you stand a really good chance. Please don’t shy away from entering the awards. You could be our next winner. And the effort you put into your submission is a great way to help you revise and further improve your existing marketing materials.
What can I do to give my company the best possible chance at winning?

Our culture is focused heavily on growth mindset right now. This is about constantly learning and improving, overcoming roadblocks, taking risks, failing fast and learning from those failures to be more successful in the future. These traits – having a growth mindset, being creative and innovative and solving tough problems for your customers – is what we want to see in the awards. Also, show us how you are innovative, how you’ve been successful by partnering with Microsoft to solve your customers’ problems. Most importantly – show us how you differentiate yourself.


Good luck with your submissions and don’t forget you can find a wealth of information and resources here:

Worldwide Partner Conference MPN Partner of the Year Awards Microsoft Australia Partner Awards


I look forward to seeing you at WPC in July!