Data#3 Achieves Prestigious Microsoft Azure Expert MSP Designation with Help from ISSI
Data#3 is a leading IT services and solutions provider and Microsoft’s largest Australian partner. To cement its cloud leadership position, Data#3 went through a lengthy and rigorous process to attain the prestigious Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Services Provider certification. The designation placed Data#3 at the top of Microsoft’s MSP partner community and is helping it win new business. Data#3 was assisted in the process by ISSI, which helped the company identify its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the MSP requirements.
Pursuing the Microsoft Azure Expert MSP Designation
Data#3 delivers IT services and solutions to customers across a range of industries, with a focus on the health and education verticals in both the public and private sectors. The Brisbane, Australia-based company has more than 1,200 employees who provide cloud and mobile computing, security, data and analytics, consulting, and project services.
Phil Redmond, General Manager of Service Solutions at Data#3, says the business is focused on growing annuity services in its different service areas. Gaining the Azure Expert Managed Services Provider designation was an important step for the company’s growth.
“In our work with Microsoft we saw how important the Azure Expert MSP designation is to their engagement with services partners,” he says. “When we considered the changing Microsoft selling programs, the market opportunity around Azure managed services, and the differentiation factor against our competitors, the decision to pursue the Azure Expert MSP certification was straightforward.”
“The work we did with ISSI helped us grow the skills, experience, and certifications of our team to meet increased expectations of customers. Having this level of expertise from sales, presales and into delivery has increased our ability to position and win new business.”
Phil Redmond, General Manager, Service Solutions, Data#3
Finding Areas for Improvement with ISSI Gap Analysis
During discussions surrounding the Azure Expert MSP certification process, Microsoft recommended that Data#3 work with Information Security Systems International (ISSI) because of ISSI’s depth of experience in preparing cloud partners to achieve MSP certifications.
Part of that process is the ISSI Partner Transformation Gap Analysis (PTGA), which ISSI has performed for more than 100 companies globally. The PTGA compares a partner’s current capabilities against industry best practices. It includes discovery sessions across key cloud capability areas with a detailed report of identified gaps, such as maturity ratings and recommendations for gap closure and best-practice implementation. ISSI also provides information on partner growth potential, margins, and potential profitability of its cloud practice.
“The original ISSI gap analysis was a well-structured process,” says Redmond. “It included on-site workshops with follow-up sessions conducted virtually. The gap analysis identified specific areas for improvement and rated the shortfalls in capability against audit requirements.”
“ISSI told us what we were doing right and made suggestions for improvements, which were concentrated in areas where we didn’t have experience.”
The output from the analysis shaped a plan implemented by Data#3 to address its gaps, and helped the company identify the required organizational resources to work on the recommended improvements.
“We continued to work with ISSI following the gap analysis to make sure we stayed on track, with a particular focus on areas we wanted to improve. That included DevOps and delivery of Azure Managed Services to customers using a cloud management platform,” says Redmond. “The ongoing feedback provided by ISSI gave us the confidence that we were proceeding well.”
Generating More Opportunities with Customers
Data#3 increased its Azure-certified staff by 189 percent year-over-year based on the work and recommendations provided by ISSI. This increase included sales staff, solution architects, delivery consultants, and managed services engineers.
“We have targets with Microsoft to maintain certification numbers as part of our Microsoft Gold competency requirements,” says Redmond. “We also have targets associated with requirements under different Microsoft incentive programs. Equally important, the work we did with ISSI helped us grow the skills, experience, and certifications of our team to meet the increased expectations of our customers. Having this level of expertise from sales, presales and into delivery has increased our ability to position and win new business.”
Laurence Baynham, Data#3 CEO and Managing Director, emphasizes the importance of the achievement for the company’s service to its customers. “The certification aligns with our tremendous growth in public cloud with Microsoft and positions us firmly as the leading public cloud provider in Australia,” says Baynham. “As an Australian business, we are pleased to have gained this prestigious certification with Microsoft. This distinction provides confidence to customers who are seeking Microsoft Azure expertise.”