Kiwi Provoke takes flight

Kiwi Provoke takes flight

Feet in the US, eyes on Singapore

New Zealand-based Microsoft partner Provoke has opened an office in the US and appointed its first American employee, the company has announced.

The new office, located in Seattle, is a step in the company’s international expansion plans. The next will be the opening of an office in Southeast Asia, which should be announced in early 2012.

According to Provoke’s CEO Mason Pratt, the plan is to create a hub in Singapore, to serve as the company’s regional headquarters.

Since our early days we have held a strong ambition to become an international kiwi company,” says Pratt, adding that “New Zealand needs more global businesses to help it grow and prosper” and Provoke is “determined to be a part of that”.

Provoke has a five-year plan to set up “five offices in three continents.”

The first US employee is Chris Johnson, a US-based New Zealander, nine-year Microsoft veteran and SharePoint expert. Prior to joining Provoke, Johnson held the role of senior technical product manager at the SharePoint product team at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

“Chris joining Provoke further cements Provoke’s position as one of the world’s leading SharePoint development and integration specialists,” says Pratt. “We are proud and delighted to have him joining the team.”

“I’m really honoured and excited to be leading Provoke’s US expansion,” says Johnson. “It’s fantastic to be bringing the kiwi ‘can do’ attitude here. The US market loves our approach and attitude to problem solving and I am really looking forward to growing the business and bringing export dollars back to NZ.”

The company has already won its first US customer but says it cannot reveal any further details yet. “It is a huge head start for us,” says Pratt. He adds that the company is in talks with other “very high profile global brands” and expects to make some big customer announcements in the coming months.

Provoke plans to have a team of 12 to 15 people working in the Seattle office within the next six months. “We’re serious about this,” says Pratt. “The US is a big market and we are not taking it lightly. We are looking to create scale fast and quickly grow our presence.”

Pratt says Provoke has approached New Zealand Trade & Enterprise regarding its Beachhead programme, which provides access to contacts, resources and local expertise. Pratt has talked to a number of companies that have successfully engaged the Beachhead team and is encouraged with the positive feedback. “I’m looking forward to what could result in a very successful partnership between Provoke and the New Zealand government,” says Pratt.

The company has also made a strategic appointment at its New Zealand headquarters. Alan Marshall is the newest SharePoint specialist to join the Auckland team. “[Provoke’s] strong relationship with Microsoft, only strengthened by opening an office in Seattle and contributions to the developer community, provide them with both access to the latest technologies and skilled people to deliver outcomes for their customers.” says Marshall about his new company.

Provoke was named Microsoft’s Country Partner of the Year in the company’s 2011 Worldwide Partner of the Year awards, last June.

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