Two Australian ISVs have won the global best Microsoft partner awards in three categories.
Microsoft has awarded Sydney-based accounting software developer Professional Advantage two best-in-class awards, and .NET developer Brookstone Technologies one at its worldwide partner conference in New Orleans, US.
Winners were chosen from a group of five finalists, one from each of Microsoft's global divisions, in 16 categories.
Professional Advantage took out ERP Reseller of the Year for its Club Assist motoring club service provider package using Microsoft Great Plains software, OLAP and wireless technology to provide realtime direct access to back-end data and processing for mobile workers in five countries.
Professional Advantage also gained nearly two-thirds of all nominations submitted by other Microsoft partners to win the Partner's Choice Developer Award.
Derek Rippingale, joint MD of Professional Advantage, said Microsoft had about 4,000 ERP specialist partners. 'To be recognised internationally, it's certainly encouraging,' he said.
Rippingale said some of the company's success as an ISV could be attributed to its US presence. Having an office in the US meant it was easier for the company to keep its profile high with executives there, he said.
'Microsoft really encourages the networking approach. So from the vendor side of things it's important to be there locally and also from a customer side of things,' Rippingale said.
There was no financial prize, he said. 'We wouldn't do it for the money, but it helps organisations who are looking for other organisations to partner with to evaluate partners,' Rippingale said.
Another Sydney-based ISV, e-business software developer and service provider Brookstone Technologies, won the .NET Packaged Application of the Year for its Brookstone Virtual Office software, which uses workflow and mobility functionality in Exchange Server 2000 and Exchange Server 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server to provide CRM, marketing, document management and help desk capability on a wireless-enabled .NET platform.
John Stockbridge, director of Brookstone Technologies, said Microsoft hadn't stated why Brookstone had won the prize. However, he thought Brookstone Virtual Office had a high level of integration with Microsoft products such as SharePoint Portal Server, good breadth and scale.
'I think the breadth and scope of our offering opens up a wide range of capabilities for the SMB,' Stockbridge said.
He said choosing to develop for .NET was not due simply to the company's status as a Microsoft partner, since Brookstone was also a partner of J2EE advocate IBM. With J2EE, users often had to combine approaches and products from multiple vendors to build a whole mobility-focused environment, he said.
'If you have a Microsoft shop and are looking for a complete approach to a mobility solution then I would recommend people look at .NET,' Stockbridge said.
'We chose .NET because it is easy to develop an environment and also because a big part of our system is mobile connectivity, so you can integrate completely with PocketPCs and smartphones and now provide something useful that people can do with these devices.'
Microsoft Australia partner group director Kerstin Baxter said winners would get extra support from the vendor.