Technology vendors love a partner ecosystem.
The partner program inside any given enterprise software vendor is typically billed as key place for platform-level collaboration with a view to enabling successful integrations, co-developed innovations and an all round tighter approach to aligned engineering.
In truth of course, there’s always an element of ‘keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer’ and many vendors will think of partner connections (even if at a 1% subliminal level) as a route to gaining just a little extra insight into what related vendors in the industry are doing.
Partner programs give rise to industry conference satellite booths across trade shows, they engender an all-round good-natured level of (gender-neutral) bonhomie and they also enable companies to issue partner awards on an annual basis.
Looking at a specific example to attempt to uncover some deeper trends, data streaming pioneer Confluent, Inc. (the data streaming platform to set data in motion, or so it says on the packet) has received the 2022 Microsoft Commercial Marketplace Partner of the Year award.
Now let’s just be clear, Microsoft is massive.
Due to its size, scale and scope, Microsoft doesn’t have one type of partner of the year… Microsoft has an Azure partner of the year, a business applications partner of the year, a business excellence, industry, modern work, security, social impact and then a subdivided international territory global distribution of partner awards.
But, all of that said, the Commercial Marketplace Partner is among the most prestigious of the awards in that it is customer-facing and shows some extra relevance to real users in real world real deployment use case scenarios.
In the case of Confluent, the company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.
“Through a strong partnership, Confluent and Microsoft enable organizations to connect data across their business and Microsoft Azure services in a fast, secure, and scalable way. This helps speeds up the development of real-time applications for companies to innovate and set themselves apart from competition,” states the companies.
Intelligent connective tissue
Confluent’s cloud-native offering is designed to be the intelligent connective tissue enabling real-time data, from multiple sources, to constantly stream across an organization.
“Data streaming and cloud are two of the biggest forces driving innovation for companies today,” said Vinod Devan, global head of partner ecosystem and business development, Confluent. “Together, Microsoft and Confluent make cloud-native data streaming effortless, so organizations can quickly build more personalized customer experiences and efficient enterprise operations. We’re honored by this recognition and will continue working closely with Microsoft to unlock real-time data feeds across every business.”
To provide the fastest path for Azure customers to get started with data streaming, Confluent is available through the Azure Marketplace with single sign-on. Also, customers can easily manage their accounts with unified billing and start for free with a 30-day trial of Confluent on Azure.
With Confluent’s deep integrations across Azure’s services, such as Cosmos DB and Synapse Analytics, companies can easily connect to existing data services to build real-time, data-driven applications.
The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered outstanding Microsoft-based applications, services and devices during the past year. Awards were classified in various categories, with honorees chosen from a set of more than 3,900 submitted nominations from more than 100 countries worldwide.
Beyond the bonhomie
In fairness and summary then, it’s clearly not easy to bag one of these awards and Confluent will have spent countless hours (not just doing what it does with its customers) putting in the detail and devotion needed to complete its partner award submission in the first place.
Does this mean that partner awards really do extend beyond accepting a bent piece of glass on stage and getting a handshake from the global partner chief? Short answer: actually yes it does i.e. there’s human wellbeing and work effort recognition here and there’s key branding prowess that Confluent (or any of the other winners) can justifiably use a core validation point to underline its go-to-market technology proposition.
Will Confluent award Microsoft at its own events this year and going forwards? It’s rude to ask, hush your mouth.