It was time to celebrate achievement in the channel at the annual Microsoft Impact Awards, held at the Liberty Grand in Toronto.

This year’s awards brought two separate award presentations together from Microsoft Canada.

Lora Gernon, manager, partner sales and marketing for Microsoft

Canada, said over the years the subsidiary has had different types of awards given out during different times of the year.

“The reason we brought them all together is so that the partners can share and get recognition within their peer group and make it one very special event,” she said.

Frank Clegg, president of Microsoft Canada, has been to all Microsoft award shows and he said he has seen a change in the value proposition from partners over the years.

“Twelve years ago (the partners) helped us delivery licensing, helped us track systems and worry about deployments. They still do those fundamental things. But you have seen tonight some amazing examples of solutions that are being delivered to the customer. They have evolved into implementing, designing, building and supporting some very complicated solutions to our customers,” Clegg said.

A total of 17 solution providers, along with six distributors, one vendor and one training centre took home some hardware.

Nick Foster, vice president of SoftChoice in Toronto was on hand to pick up two awards: the Northern Lights Award and the Top LAR Academic Licensing Sales FY03.

According to Foster, Softchoice won for helping customers with anti-piracy in both large and small companies. He said all have to learn how to manage or recognize the benefits of compliance.

“This event represents a maturing of Microsoft and its partners. It is leading edge and they see partners as crucial to their success,” Foster said.

For Xwave Solutions, winning the Top LAR Volume Licensing Sales Growth FY03 award reinforces the commitment the company made in Microsoft. Currently, 170 of Xwave’s 2,300 employees are Microsoft trained professionals.

“We bet our business on Microsoft,” said Paul Khawaja, general manager of Xwave. “When it came to training our technical people the first place we went was to Microsoft solutions. When it came to training our sales force it was all around Microsoft business solutions. When it came to providing solutions to the market place it was based on Microsoft solutions. So we placed a strong, strategic bet around Microsoft technology.”

Xwave developed several solutions with Sharepoint portal, Biztalk, Content Management Server for customers such as the Greater Toronto Airport Authority and the Department of Corrections.Trios Training Centres Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont. took the prize for CTEC of the Year Award.

A very excited Wendy Callaghan, senior director at Trios, said the key to winning was to make an impact with the customer internally and externally. Trios built a learning program for the government that will touch every employee, she said.

“We strive not for the award, but for excellence inside the customer and to truly make a difference,” Callaghan said.

“Tonight is about recognition and thanks,”” said Clegg. “”We want to recognize everyone in the room for the tremendous about of effort that they put into helping our customers meet their needs. At the same time, I want to thank them. Everybody here who was nominated has a tremendous amount of expertise on Microsoft technology and they have invested a tremendous amount of time and energy understanding the customer environment, building the solution and helping them implement it. So I would say recognition and thanks are the cornerstones of the Impact awards.””

Other winners include: Doxess (Community Leadership Award), DapaSoft Inc. (Customer Experience Award), Hewlett-Packard Company Ltd. and Microworks.ca (Tied for Marketing Award), Jovaco Solutions, Inc. (Microsoft Business Solution Adds Award), Cogsdale Corp. (Microsoft Business Solution Deal of the Year Award), Salentica Systems Inc. (Microsoft Business Solution Rookie of the Year Award), Abacus Enterprise Solutions (Microsoft Business Solution Sales Achievement Award), Ship2Save.com (.NET Software Vendor Award), ASAP Software (Northern Lights Award), 3-Soft (Northern Lights Award), Tech Data (Northern Lights Award), Microserve Business Co. (Sales Award System Builder), Mini-Micro Supply Inc. Canada (Sales Award VARs), Avanade Canada, Inc. and EDS Canada (Tied for Service Organization of the Year Award), Synnex Canada (Top Distributor OEM Sales), I-Legend (Top Distributor OEM Sales Growth), Ingram Micro (Top Distributor – Open License Sales FY03), Hartco Corp. (Top Distributor – Open License Sales Growth FY03), Eprom Inc. (Top Channel Supplier Award for Best year-over-year growth), Software Spectrum (Top LAR Volume Licensing Sales FY03), Insight (Top LAR Open License Sales FY03), and 3-Soft (Top LAR Open License Sales Growth).

Other nominees include: Selentica Systems Inc., 3-Soft, Abacus Enterprise Solutions, I-Legend, Software Spectrum, Softchoice, EDS Canada, CGI, Tech Data, Trios Training Centres Ltd., Elco Systems Canada, Avande Canada Inc., Eprom, Doxess, Ingram Micro, Gentronics Canada Inc., Cogsdale Corp., DapaSoft Inc., Syspro Software, Hewlett-Packard Company Ltd., ASAP Software, CDI Education, Insight, Navantis Inc., Microworks, Mini-Micro Supply Inc Canada, Xwave Solutions, Synnex Canada, Options Software & Consulting Inc., Ship2Save.com, Jovaco Solutions, Inc., Hartco Corp., AMCP, and Pronexus Inc.

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