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International expansion for NZ technology innovator

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Today Provoke Solutions Ltd announced that it has established a presence in the United States with the opening of its Seattle branch and the appointment of its first U.S. based employee.

This expansion is in line with Provoke's well publicised international growth strategy. In November 2010 Provoke CEO Mason Pratt announced plans to take their successful Kiwi brand offshore and his 5 year vision for '5 offices on 3 continents'.

"Since our early days we have held strong ambition to become an international Kiwi company" says Pratt. "New Zealand needs more global businesses to help it grow and prosper, and we are determined to be a part of that". The registration of the Seattle office is a significant milestone towards achieving Provoke's vision and represents office number three on a second continent. They are also well advanced in developing a presence in South-East Asia and hope to make a similar announcement in early 2012.

US employee #1 is Chris Johnson, an ex-pat Kiwi, 9 year Microsoft veteran, and one of the world's leading SharePoint experts. Most recently Johnson held the role of Senior Technical Product Manager on the SharePoint product team at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington. His recruitment is a major coup for the company who pride themselves on employing the 'cream' of the industry's talent.

"Chris joining Provoke further cements Provoke's position as one of the world's leading SharePoint development and integration specialists. We are proud and delighted to have him joining the team" says Pratt. Johnson has recently finished running the U.S. SharePoint Conference 2011 in Anaheim, California for over 7500 attendees.

"I'm really honored and excited to be leading Provoke's U.S. expansion. It's fantastic to be bringing the Kiwi 'can do' attitude here. The U.S. 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.

I've worked with Provoke a lot over the years and have enjoyed watching them develop into New Zealand's premier Microsoft partner and a SharePoint powerhouse. They are constantly seeking to innovate and push SharePoint's boundaries and the opportunity to be part of that was too good to pass up. I am really looking forward to becoming one of the Provoke animals (as Provoke staff refer to themselves)." says Johnson.

US customer #1 is also on board but details can't yet be released.

The next 6 months will see the team in Seattle grow, with a combination of Kiwi and local employees working to grow Provoke's US footprint. Plans to have 12-15 staff on the ground within 12 months further demonstrate the aggressive growth objectives Provoke's management team have set themselves. "We're serious about this" says Pratt. "The U.S. is a big market and we are not taking it lightly. We are looking to create scale fast and quickly grow our presence."

To gain extra support Provoke have approached New Zealand Trade & Enterprise regarding the Beachhead programme, which will hopefully provide access to contacts, resources and local expertise. Mason Pratt has talked to a number of companies who 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 announcement of Chris Johnson's addition to the Provoke team coincides with another strategic hire in New Zealand. Alan Marshall is one of the country's leading SharePoint specialists and has recently signed up with the Provoke Auckland team. Marshall's reasons for his move to Provoke were based on the recognition Provoke have for delivering quality SharePoint solutions backed by a highly skilled and motivated team.

"Their strong relationship with Microsoft, only strengthened by opening an office in Seattle and contributions to the community, provide them with access to the latest technologies and skilled people to deliver outcomes for their customers." says Marshall.

"Alan's imminent arrival will again bolster our capability in the SharePoint space given his reputation in the New Zealand market. Alan has been recognised as Microsoft New Zealand's only 'Virtual Technical Solution Specialist' (VTSP) for SharePoint, which is testament to his skill and experience. This will certainly help to ensure Provoke remains as the #1 SharePoint shop in New Zealand" says Pratt.