Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa has been named as a Microsoft Silver Partner with an Application Development Silver competency, positioning the company within the top five percent of Microsoft partners worldwide. This marks an unusual move for a company within the office automation space, according to Kevin Derman, partner strategy and programs lead at Microsoft South Africa.
The competency puts Microsoftâ€™s stamp of approval on Konica Minoltaâ€™s bizhub Extended Solution Technology (bEST) solution, which enables the seamless integration of bizhub devices into a range of third-party document management solutions, in this case Microsoft SharePoint, to help automate and streamline workflow and control costs.
Says Derman: â€œIt is extremely rare that a company playing within this sector sets its sights on an Application Development competency. This move certainly stands testament to Konica Minolta South Africaâ€™s confidence in its product and provides local businesses with the assurance that it can stand up to the rigorous testing process required for Microsoft certification.â€
There are two possible routes to obtaining a Silver competency in Application Development, Derman explains, certification or product testing. â€œKonica Minolta South Africa decided to submit its product for our testing processes and earned a certification on the Windows 7 Platform ready test. The Microsoft Platform Ready Test Tool essentially inspects the application to uncover common application vulnerabilities and compatibility issues, and provides detailed remediation guidance.
â€œIn addition to these tests, Konica Minolta South Africa ensured that staff had passed the required Microsoft Licensing Assessment, demonstrating that the company has the requisite licensing knowledge, and also provided three successful customer references.â€
â€œOur existing bEST technology user base has attested to two clear benefits â€“ an increase in productivity and a more efficient use of information,â€ explains Konica Minolta South Africa product manager, Mohammed Vachiat. â€œThe seamless integration between our digital multifunctional devices and SharePoint has allowed users to scan documents using the bizhub, which are then automatically routed to the correct location within SharePoint using meta data recognition.
â€œThis means that a process that could have taken up to three days previously now take mere minutes.
â€œHaving Microsoftâ€™s stamp of approval on the bEST application will help us to differentiate ourselves from our local competitors by being recognised as a trusted expert. It also provides our customers with a sense of confidence and surety that the solution has been tested and designed to function correctly on Microsoftâ€™s operating systems.â€
The Application Development competency can also assist with Konica Minoltaâ€™s leverage of new Microsoft technologies, including the Windows Server and Windows 8 operating systems, the Windows Azure platform, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 development system and emerging cloud-based and web business models.
â€œMoving forward in our partnership, Konica Minolta South Africa plans to adopt additional Microsoft offerings to take to market, with the intention of becoming a certified Microsoft reseller,â€ Vachiat explains. â€œThis is in line with our changing role as a trusted document management solutions provider, shifting away from a purely hardware focus to a greater emphasis on applications.â€
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