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Satya Nadella Praises Yorktel, RedBit For Innovative Uses Of Microsoft Technology

Some of the ways that channel partners have leveraged Microsoft’s products during the global coronavirus pandemic have been ‘pretty stunning,’ according to Nadella.

Some of the ways that channel partners have leveraged Microsoft’s technology during the global coronavirus pandemic have been “pretty stunning,” according to CEO Satya Nadella.

Nadella specifically cited the work of Yorktel, an Eatontown, N.J., collaboration and managed service provider, and RedBit Development, a Canadian software consulting, design and engineering company based in Burlington, Ontario.

“These are the types of partners doing hard work in communities that needed solutions in a constrained world of COVID, and it was fantastic to see that,” Nadella told CRN.

Yorktel worked with City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center in Duarte, Calif., and its surrounding clinics in other cities. The organization needed more effective and efficient collaboration tools than its existing disparate systems, and the pandemic and remote work sped up the initiative by two years, according to Jeremy Short, Yorktel’s senior vice president of Microsoft solutions. Yorktel, No. 156 on CRN’s 2020 Solution Provider 500 list, is completely managing City of Hope’s audio-visual, digital signage and wayfinding needs.

“We standardized City of Hope on Teams, Teams Rooms systems and Surface Hubs,” Short said. “That includes voice integrated with Cisco CallManager. It’s a plus for Microsoft that they can, in a healthcare environment where Cisco is kind of required, be parallel. We implemented interoperability using Pexip between (City of Hope’s) legacy Polycom video conferencing systems and Teams.”

Yorktel, which has earned nine Microsoft Gold competencies and three Microsoft Silver competencies, was a launch partner last year for Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium.

Nadella noted Yorktel’s implementation of Teams in City of Hope’s COVID-19 isolation units to enable patients and doctors – and patients separated from their families -- to communicate.

“We’ve implemented (Microsoft) Surface Hubs inside the exam rooms, which is a new use case for whiteboarding, communication and patient medical information system interaction,” Short said.

Microsoft’s rivals could not have provided the same technology capabilities, according to Short.

“It was a partial Zoom compete and it was a partial (Cisco) Webex compete, and we were able to wind those down as we were lighting up Teams,” Short said. “The same thing is happening on the security side as well. Now it‘s progressing into the security and endpoint management services from Microsoft.“

RedBit, meanwhile, helped Toronto-based Second Harvest expand its food distribution program nationally amid a 40 percent increase in demand and created a grant portal to distribute federal COVID-19 relief funding to charities. Second Harvest is a “food rescue” charitable organization that connects excess food -- from farmers, processors, manufacturers, distribution centers and large retailers -- with people in need.

“They went around and essentially created a system of connecting all of the food, solving the hard challenge in the pandemic: How can they scale a nationwide effort around food security?” Nadella said. “That was fascinating.”

It took RedBit three weeks to rescale and optimize the group’s platform on the Microsoft Azure cloud with a new feature that enabled non-food donations such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper. RedBit also launched a mobile app integrated with Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 to make it easier for donors to donate food, and it created a grant portal in less than a week.

RedBit’s work earned it 2020 Microsoft Community Response Partner of the Year honors -- a new award recognizing partners providing innovative solutions in response to the pandemic. The company was a finalist for Microsoft’s Social Impact Partner of the Year Award.

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