Q&A with Tech Impact Awards Judges

Orla McGrath, Microsoft
Orla McGrath
Global Partner Solutions Lead, UK

Orla joined Microsoft in March 2021 to lead the commercial partner organisation. She joined from Microsoft partner Accenture where, over the past decade, she had been at the forefront of building its software as a service business through her leadership roles of the Cloud First Applications business and most recently, leading the Salesforce Business for the UK and Ireland.

Orla has spent over 25 years in the technology consulting sector and is a passionate believer in ecosystem partnerships and believes those companies that will thrive in our tech sector will be those that partner most effectively, shaping unique and differentiated propositions for the benefit of their clients.

Having been the Diversity and Inclusion Representative for Europe at the Accenture Technology business, Orla is keen to keep driving a more inclusive workplace where diversity can thrive.

Born and raised in Ireland, Orla has made London her home for the past 20 years with her family. She loves keeping fit outdoors, running, hiking and cycling and focusing on the wellbeing of family, friends and employees.

Why have you agreed to be a Tech Impact judge?

I feel honoured to have been asked to be a judge, particularly because the ambitions of the Tech Impact Awards align so well with our aims at Microsoft – to harness innovative technologies to drive positive change and support partners and our collective customers to accelerate their net zero ambitions.

Digital innovation will be critical to ensuring climate progress, providing opportunities for organisations to streamline operations, set accurate targets and understand where and how they can make the most impact. As we enter what the UN has called the “decade of action”, it will be crucially important for the channel to meet growing customer demand for this innovation - for the good of their business, their customers and for the good of the planet. The Tech Impact Awards will be a brilliant moment to showcase partner organisations that are rising to the challenge, demonstrating to others how they can use their skills and resources to accelerate sustainability and push positive change.

Name an easy win for resellers and MSPs looking to become more sustainable

The road to net zero was never going to be easy. For every organisation, it will naturally require determination, investment and commitment throughout its operations. The channel is by no means alone on this journey, suppliers, peers, and, of course, Microsoft are on it too – and we must all work together ensure everyone can take the steps necessary to reach net zero.

Promisingly, our recent research revealed six key areas where partners are best placed to support organisations reach their net zero ambitions. These include: harnessing decarbonisation tools to accurately calculate, track and report on scope one, two and three emission; recognising current skills gaps and investing in in-house training to upskill employees; working with suppliers, customers and each other to unlock opportunities to improve sustainable supply chain management; and utilising advanced technologies and analytics to deliver insights that accelerate pathways to net zero.

Partners with effective measurement and reporting strategies will find their journey to net zero much smoother and more predictable. Those who capitalise on this to offer solutions and guidance to their customers will also be able to drive broader progress too.

What advice would you give tech solutions providers weighing up whether to enter these awards?

Collaboration will be critical to ensuring that the technology industry can meet its sustainability ambitions. If we all work together to deliver the positive change that is needed, we can be at the forefront of not just our industry’s road to net zero, but the entire UK’s. That’s an exciting prospect, one we must grasp with both hands.

 Partners will be essential to driving this teamwork and knowledge sharing and the Tech Impact Awards present a great opportunity to highlight best practice as the channel progresses on the road to net zero. I’ll be on the lookout for nominations that identify how partners are working with each other, with customers and with other industries to deliver a brighter future for everyone.