Microsoft honours top partners at Impact Awards

Microsoft Canada includes its Impact Awards with its Worldwide Partner Conference, honouring a pared-down class of top partners ahead of the start of WPC.

Microsoft Canada president Janet Kennedy presents a jersey to Canadian partner of the year Cloud IT at the 2014 Impact Awards.

Microsoft Canada president Janet Kennedy presents a jersey to Canadian partner of the year Cloud IT at the 2014 Impact Awards.

WASHINGTON, DC – For the first time, Microsoft brought its annual Impact Awards away from its familiar environs in Toronto, honouring its top partners as part of the kickoff to its Canadian regional keynote ahead of the start of the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference here.

Big winners included some “traditional” Impact Award stalwarts, with Hitachi Solutions Canada (formerly Ideaca) and ProServeIT both taking two awards, while Navantis and CMS Consulting both took home one. But it also highlighted some of the newest members of the Microsoft Partner Network, the “born-in-the-cloud” solution providers who are making their mark.

One such winner was Montreal-based Cloud IT, which took home the international award of Country Partner of the Year for Canada, as well as Cloud Partner of the Year for Canada East, despite being just a few years old as an organization.

“A few years ago, all we wanted to do was be at WPC,” said Steve Noel, executive director of Cloud IT as he accepted the international award.

The Impact Awards this year were a very new format. Typically, the company has presented its Canadian partner awards in a late year (generally November) gala dinner and ceremony in the Toronto region. This year, the company came in with a much smaller list of categories – 14 categories plus the one international award – compared the very long list of award categories that have been the hallmark of recent Impact Awards. Microsoft Canada channel chief Jason Brommet said that was intentional.

“The Impact Awards were previously based on competencies, but now we’re making them more Canada—specific and focusing on geographies as well,” he told “We felt it was getting a little too diluted, and we wanted to create broader categorizations based on the solutions our partners are developing.”

That said, there will likely be some room for additional categories the next time Microsoft presents the Impact Awards, scheduled for next year’s WPC in Orlando, Brommet said.

The channel chief suggested that categories for next year’s Impact Awards would be published by the end of the month, with “earlier indications” of the categories made available to partners even sooner than that.

Although the format and venue were significantly different, the tradition of a gala dinner remains. Microsoft Canada hosted winners and finalists at a posh event at the Folgers Shakespeare Library here Monday evening.

“I’m thrilled with the group we have, the finalists and the winners. We had a great lineup of incredible solutions that represent the DNA of Canada,” Brommet said of this year’s class. “I love what I’m seeing in Canada, where a partner like Cloud IT, that didn’t exist four years ago, can win Partner of the Year. It reflects on what we’re seeing in the market, and what we’ll continue to see in terms of that movement, that rapid expansion.”

A full list of Impact Award winners is below. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists from!

Infrastructure Innovation Award – CMS Consulting

Innovation in Dynamics ERP Award – Hitachi Solutions Canada

Innovation in Dynamics CRM Award – Navantis

Mobile Innovation Award – Macadamian Technologies

SMB Canada West Cloud Partner of the Year Award – IT North

SMB Canada Central Cloud Partner of the Year Award – VI Professional Solutions

SMB Canada East Cloud Partner of the Year Award – Cloud IT

Big Data – BI Innovation Award – Hitachi Solutions Canada

Enterprise Public Cloud Innovation Award – Orckestra

Citizenship and Community Award – Sela Canada

Business Productivity Innovation Award – ProServeIT

Partner Hosted Cloud Innovation Award – IWeb Technologies

Windows Experience Award – new this year – I3 Solutions

Winning Together Award – ProServeIT

Country Partner of the Year – Cloud IT