Altum Group’s CIO named as “Microsoft Visionary” in the Microsoft First Awards

Peter Messervy-Gross profile image
Peter Messervy-Gross
Chief Information Officer
Published: 1st Dec 2022

Altum Group are finalists in the inaugural Microsoft First Awards for Security and Compliance. Peter Messervy-Gross, Chief Information Officer, and his team, have pioneered a streamlined security posture using the latest Microsoft technology.

Thanks to their leading role, they have been recognised as a finalist in the competition from a strong group of applications.

Altum Group’s information security has gone from strength to strength by putting security first while not sacrificing efficiency. As the champion of this approach at the company, Peter Messervy-Gross, their “Security Visionary”, explains the process by saying, “Altum’s ‘Microsoft First’ journey began two years ago when we engaged Softwerx to give us some guidance. First, we aligned our commercial strategy with Microsoft’s technology stack, and then we took advantage of those solutions. In the past year, we’ve achieved a 40%+ increase in our Microsoft Secure Score posture.”

The benefits to Altum Group extend right across the company, from top board-level impact, right down to the experiences of end user employees. Microsoft Secure Score and Azure Advisor now form part of Altum Group’s core Board metrics. The company developed an ITIL-aligned governance-focused PowerApp, which was foundational in helping achieve security certification. It also uses the M365-E5 licence to enable its staff to work securely, anywhere and at any time. This has enhanced staff’s work-life flexibility. Peter went on to comment that, “We mentioned these gains in our award application and are delighted to be finalists.”

The prize Altum Group’s CIO won included a trophy, an engraved pen (“Microsoft Visionary”), a water bottle, a digital swag pack and a personalised bottle of champagne. Although this was the inaugural Microsoft First Award, the organisers were impressed by the number and quality of applications. The independent panel of experts for the award included a senior exec from Microsoft and the CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum

David Smart, MD of Softwerx commented,

“Altum Group’s entry stood out straight away. Reaching this finalist position as a Microsoft First Visionary reflects Peter’s forward thinking and their approach is a model of best practice.”


Alex Hilton, CEO of The Cloud Industry Forum was on the judging panel. He commented,

“Altum Group and Softwerx’s Microsoft First strategy are setting the standard for security modernisation. Where there was complexity, they now enjoy streamlined security. Where there were gaps and overlaps, they now have coherence. This is a security win-win that other organisations should adopt.”


Chris Lines, Territory Channel Manager, EMEA & APAC, Tech For Social Impact at Microsoft was on the judging panel and commented,

“Altum Group’s Microsoft First security strategy is boosting not just cyber resilience but also productivity and competitiveness. Peter and his team have championed their Microsoft security journey by quickly taking their cyber defences to a whole other level.”



“Microsoft First” for security considers Microsoft solutions first before third parties. IT teams across the UK are quickly taking advantage of a Microsoft First strategy for security. The results speak for themselves.

Microsoft is transforming the security landscape, making enterprise-grade security more easily accessible to mid-market organisations. To raise awareness about this opportunity, Softwerx launched the Microsoft First Awards in 2022 in partnership with Microsoft and the Cloud Industry Forum.

The awards have two main aims. The first is to highlight the benefits of Microsoft Cloud Security optimisation for organisations. The second is to recognise those champions (‘Microsoft Visionaries’) within their organisations who are the real drivers of innovation.