Microsoft is pulling together its Australian and New Zealand businesses into a single, combined A/NZ region, a move that is expected to see more trans-Tasman cooperation between the respective countries’ partner business teams.
Until now, Microsoft New Zealand has been part of Microsoft’s broader Asia Pacific business, reporting to Singapore. As noted by sister publication Reseller News, for the past four years, the company's Australian business has been what is called internally a "D7" — one of seven countries around the world that had everything in-country and no shared services.
With the merging of the two regions into a single A/NZ entity, it is hoped the vendor will be more aligned to those businesses in its customer base that straddle both countries.
“[The move is] really important because it recognises the similarities between our two economies in between the two marketplaces,” Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall told ARN.
“It also, importantly, recognises the similarities in our partner network because, in fact, 70 per cent of our partners are common. We have Australian and NZ enterprises that span both markets.
“In a way, with Microsoft coming together across Australia and New Zealand, we’re mirroring many of our partners because they they've been serving both markets together for some time,” he added.
Worrall stressed that the move was not expected to result in any redundancies across the two businesses.
“Nobody [is] leaving the firm as a result,” Worrall said. “That reflects the reality that our business is growing rapidly. We’re always looking for great talent and wanting to develop the talent we have.”
The expected synergies, from Worrall’s perspective, are less likely to occur in headcount and more likely to occur in how the combined business manages its client and partner relationships, the ultimate outcome of which is anticipated to see the company serve the market more efficiently.
Worrall noted that the move would allow the vendor to look at customer and partner relationships more holistically with both the Australian and New Zealand arms of the company working in concert.
At a leadership level, it is understood that things will remain largely unchanged, with Worrall, as Microsoft Australia’s managing director, remaining in the role he has held since the beginning of 2017.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Australia chief partner officer Rachel Bondi will remain in her role overseeing the partner business in the country.
Across the Tasman, Microsoft New Zealand managing director Vanessa Sorenson is expected to continue in her role leading the business in the country, while the company’s Kiwi partner director Matt Bostwick will also remain in his role.
What will change, however, is that the senior leadership team across the Tasman will work more closely than previously, with Bondi and Bostwick expected to have more to do with each other as they manage the partner network across both countries.
“So, what's going to change? I hope and expect our clients will see we are more agile, more responsive and better attuned to their outcomes,” Worrall said.
According to Bondi, the new chapter in Microsoft's A/NZ operations brings significant opportunity for its partners in the combined region, thanks to increased partner-to-partner collaboration and a fresh perspective on customer needs on both sides of the ditch.
"Most of our customers in this region operate as A/NZ entities, and we believe by coming together we can enhance our impact," she said in a blog post. "Microsoft’s investment in A/NZ with four data centre regions in Australia and another planned for New Zealand has created important digital foundations on which we can build a better future."
News of the combination comes in conjunction with Microsoft's Inspire 2021 event, which arrived this week with a series of big-ticket announcements.
Among the new developments Microsoft had saved up for this year’s event was the vendor’s move to introduce new benefits for independent software vendors (ISVs) that want to build and market Modern Work apps for Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Viva, the company’s employee experience platform.
Microsoft also revealed it has decided to reduce its fees for transactable offers on its commercial marketplace to 3 per cent, a substantial drop from the industry standard fee of 20 per cent — a move that is likely to put pressure on competitors, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), to lower their own marketplace fees.
“We see more ISVs on the platform, which is creating more investment,” Microsoft Australia’s director of ISV partnerships Lizelle Hughes told ARN. “We’re able to optimise that and pass those savings onto our ISVs, they can choose to reinvest that in two different ways, list a set price, or list a second price for CSPs [cloud solution providers], providing margins for CSPs.”