Microsoft innovation partner Aware Group has appointed The Instillery founder Mike Jenkins to chair its board.
Hamilton-based Aware Group offers a blend of productised professional services, managed services and software to enable the rapid adoption of emerging technologies for enterprise and government clients with a focus on AI, big data, and robotics.
Jenkins said he was pursuing a new chapter in his tech career focused on unleashing the potential of kiwi owned niche market leaders to accelerate growth and supporting enterprises and government agencies navigate the digital world.
Founded in 2016, Aware Group offers its Aware AI platform, which it said had grown rapidly and consistently at 80 per cent plus a year in a competitive global market historically dominated by large internationally owned consultancies.
At its inception, Aware Group had five team members and a handful of local kiwi clients. Today it has more than 40 senior consultants, analysts and technical engineers in offices across Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the USA.
It also claimed a stable of more than 200 global clients.
Aware Group co-founder and CEO Brandon Hutcheson said Jenkins’ appointment would allow him to focus more on accelerating the execution of Aware Group’s new three-year plan, including a Series A capital raise and a number of new acquisitions.
“His experience, lessons learned through extreme growth, navigating the business through the uncertainty of COVID and mergers and acquisitions bring a new wealth of complementary skills to an already stacked executive leadership and supportive team of directors here at Aware Group,” Hutcheson said.
The technology landscape was changing quickly, he said.
“With COVID accelerating enterprise and government agency adoption of this new technology, my team at Aware are uniquely positioned to activate the right balance of custom and productised tech in partnership with these enterprise organisations for maximum impact.”
Jenkins said after a decade of “liberating enterprises from traditional IT providers”, he had quickly come to realise data was the new black.
Many enterprises were investing huge sums in next generation tech which should deliver the promised value but in practice had only delivered mediocre results, he said. One of the reasons these organisations struggled to realise their dream was because neither their organisational cultures nor their operating models were suitable for the new ways of working.
“If there isn’t a culture of putting data at the heart of everything that you do – essentially allowing the right data to get to the right people at the right time – then you can hire the smartest data geeks (with love) in the world but you won’t see any return,” Jenkins said.
To address such challenges, Aware Group had “bottled” its experience into easy to procure and consume services and software products, such as Aware AI, he said.
Aware Group was recognised as Microsoft’s Azure partner of the year at the tech giant’s Malaysia 2021 partner awards. Last year it was also a finalist in four local Microsoft Partner Awards including data and AI, business applications, security, and digital and application innovation awards.
In March, Jenkins was also appointed chair of Auckland-based Salesforce partner Be Intelligent.