Tech Data loans more to SMBs

1200px-Tech_data_hq_061006Tech Data is trebling the credit it gives SMB resellers to £1 million to boost growth for smaller partners.

Its Credit Elevator scheme offers resellers an initial credit line of £5,000, which will be increased automatically if the partner uses 75 percent of the credit in a month, and pays the loan on 30-day terms.

Tech Data credit services director Nick Tiltman said SMB sales growth was growing and by extending the upper limit on the Credit Elevator his outfit was making it easier for resellers to develop.

It means that the securing higher and higher levels of credit will not be a problem as new opportunities emerge they can take advantage, knowing that we will support them.  This move will remove barriers for customers who want to expand.



Microsoft helps cloudy upstarts

56f884651f7b35416b9b4ca955d350b3--pom-pom-mobile-cloud-mobileSoftware king of the world Microsoft has launched a new programme to help UK startups grow.

Vole is spending  $500 million to support Microsoft for Startups globally, with part of that money being used to help early stage firms in this country.

Microsoft UK scheme helps with sales, access to new community spaces, Office 365 and Dynamics 365  and includes development tools, technical support and a share of $120,000 in free Azure credits.

Writing in the company blog, Volish corporate vice-president of Growth and Ecosystems Charlotte Yarkoni said that she was jolly excited to announce Microsoft for Startups which will deliver access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base.

“We are committing $500 million over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to our technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems. Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth.”

Microsoft’s global network of 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners will also help startups in the programme.

Their goal is to “drive adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide. The programme provides dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organisations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organisation and partner ecosystem”,  she said,

Nuvias picks up work from Cisco’s Broadsoft takeover

Cisco Kid EMEA distributor Nuvias is to provide Cisco’s Unified Communications (UC) portfolio, and its newly opened SIP endpoints, to the UK channel.

As a UK distributor for BroadSoft, before its acquisition by Cisco earlier this week, Nuvias wants to support new and existing BroadSoft and Cisco resellers, as Cisco looks to integrate BroadSoft technology into its cloud-based unified communications solutions.

The addition of Cisco reinforces Nuvias’ UC Practice, which offers end-to-end solutions, products and services. The UC Practice is based on the former SIPHON Networks, the award-winning UC solutions and technology enabler for the channel, which was acquired by Nuvias in 2016.

Steve Harris, EVP Unified Communications at Nuvias, said: “The agreement with Cisco, combined with Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft and our growing best-of-breed UC portfolio, puts us in a unique position to add further value to existing partners and work with new resellers to deliver integrated, end-to-end cloud-based solutions. BroadSoft has worked very successfully with SIPHON Networks in the UK for eight years, and the combination of experience and technical support skills built up over this time is unmatched in the channel.”

SHI cleans up in the UK

3436142cf514e59f3acf71e47579299aUS reseller SHI International has reported a 12 percent annual spike in revenues, and the UK was its star.

SHI’s revenue in 2017 topped $8.5 billion making it a record year for the firm. While its corporate and SMB division witnessed 21 percent year on year revenue growth, it was the UK which drove its international business with 28 percent growth.

SHI had 10 per cent year on year growth for its commercial and strategic enterprise division, while its public sector unit grew five percent.

CEO Thai Lee said that for the last 18 months, SHI made significant investments in onboarding additional resources and expertise in support of public and hybrid cloud solutions featuring technologies such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

“Through intense in-house training and aggressive talent acquisition, we’ve become a holistic resource for customers, capable of supporting both the technology and the business aspects needed to enable and support advanced IT solutions,” said Lee.

Microsoft remained SHI’s top partner in 2017, growing 15 percent over 2016, while Amazon Web Services was the fastest growing top-tier partner for the second year in a row, with a 62 percent leap in the past year.

Cisco saw the second-fastest growth of its top vendors, with revenue 33 percent higher than in 2016. Dell, HP Inc., VMware, Lenovo, Adobe, Apple, HP Enterprise, and Symantec rounded out the list of SHI’s top 11 partners.

Synaxon adds two new channel bods

Synaxon UK has added two new members to beef up its channel team.

Luke Steel is the new Vendor Channel manager, while Chris Yule assumes the post of internal sales executive having made the switch from VIP Computers. Steel has more than  two decades worth of experience with him, 17 years of which he spent at Entatech. During his time with Entatech, Steel was responsible for networking, comms and surveillance business and was as leader of the Corporate Team.

Luke Steel said: “I’ve now been in the industry for 20 years and I’ve met some great characters along the way. I pride myself on delivering great service and helping customers to achieve new business goals. I now have the chance to do that at a much more personal level – with resellers, distributors and vendors – by joining the Synaxon UK team.”

Yule has been sales account manager at VIP and already established himself in the Channel.

“After gaining initial experience by completing an apprenticeship at VIP, I knew a career in sales was for me as I loved interacting with customers. I have been studying for my sales qualifications, and I’m looking forward to working for Synaxon UK and adding to my skills within an established business,” he said.

UK Channel director, Mike Barron, said he was looking forward to having  the new additions on board. “We’re delighted to have added these two experienced and talented individuals to our growing team. It’s great news for members and partners as it means we can give them even more support and assistance in achieving their goals.”

Stirling wants to to be a technology hub

Barnton-Street-Stirling-Scotland-Postcard-c1940Stirling Council has given the nod for a £25 million tech fund to turn the city into the UK’s next tech hub.

Working with ESM Investments the new fund is designed to attract tech companies to the Scottish “gateway to the Highlands”. Investors will attend a launch event next week at the city’s new Codebase facility. The long term aim is to make Stirling a region that can rival Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A recent survey of 69 cities across the UK named Stirling as the best city in Scotland to start a new business, we are not sure who or what they asked as it was not a name which immediately popped into our minds.

Stewart Carruth, the council’s chief executive, believes the initiative will be a key to growing the city. He said: “We believe the fund will help businesses, both in Stirling and outside of the region, to realise their ambitions for growth. It will provide encouragement to local scale-up companies to continue growing their businesses, thereby creating sustainable employment. It will also enable entrepreneurs outside of the area to consider Stirlingshire as a location to establish or scale-up their businesses to the next level, thereby creating new inward investment. It builds on the foundations of the City Region Deal and is a catalyst in terms of retaining and attracting talent to Stirling.

He added: “Stirling has great potential. We have a strong pipeline of talent – digital employees of the future – through well-established collaboration between industry, Stirling Council and our partners. My vision is for us to become an economic and cultural powerhouse that can compete globally”.


Expeditors director banned for 12 years

Banned-dealer-300A director of an Oxford wholesale mobile phone company has been banned from acting as a director because of his involvement in a  VAT fraud scheme.

William Robert Howard, 45, director of the now liquidated Expeditors Limited, will be prevented from acting as a director for 12 years.

The outfit started in 2004 and a petition was made to wind up Expeditors Limited in June 2017 with an unpaid VAT bill of £22,545.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service then focused on the firm’s participation in a form of VAT fraud known as Missing Trader Intra Community fraud (MTIC).

Known as ‘carousel’ fraud, MITC fraud involves  high-value electrical or small items invoiced rapidly and repeatedly around trading chains. On paper the goods look like they are being moved repeatedly from customer to customer but the goods are only moved as they enter or exit the UK.

Howard used the scheme to offset VAT and reclaim close to £350,000 in its 2005 to 2006 VAT return, the Insolvency Service stated.

Howard’s disqualification started on 5 February 2018 and means that he cannot promote, manage, or be a director of a limited company until 2030.


HP sauces up Device as a Service offerings

INDUSTRY HP 1The maker of expensive printer ink,  HP, is expanding its Device as a Service offerings.

The new DaaS products feature new predictive analytics capabilities available as a service to support a broader range of customer needs, and enhanced options for simplifying IT support with HP Tech Café Market.

HP head of Personal Systems Services Guy Collet said:  “Our continued expansion of services offerings reflects HP’s deep commitment to meeting the changing needs of the workforce. These expanded services provide smart, simplified solutions for the modern workforce and unlock new growth opportunities for our customers, our channel partners, and our business.”

This service from HP enables customers to analyse hardware performance, detect potential problems in advance, and proactively implement corrective actions. The unique data analytics capabilities of HP DaaS are now available on Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS devices – creating a multi-OS solution that’s designed to boost IT efficiency and improve employee experiences.

HP DaaS agreements can be tailored to fit customers’ unique needs by easily adding specific device lifecycle services. Today the company introduced HP Tech Café Market Enhanced, an end-to-end vending and storage solution that provides instant access to accessories and 24/7 lockers for device swaps or repairs. In addition to vending and storage, HP will manage the ordering, replenishment, and reporting for customers. The solution supports the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce and significantly simplifies life for IT departments.


74 percent of UK businesses ready for GFPR

european-commissionCyber security firm EfficientIP has released a study which shows companies are more ready for GFPR than the government believes.

For those who came in late EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.

The UK Digital Minister Matt Hancock has been pushing businesses ready ahead of EU’s GDPR, often underlining how unprepared they were and government surveys depicting businesses as completely oblivious to the most important regulation in the last five years.

However with 100 days to go until GDPR,  EfficientIP’s study telling a different, more positive story. Things might not be as bleak as the UK Government would like us to believe. Businesses feel ready, understand the challenges of GDPR, preparations are well underway. Recent findings from the global study of 1,000 businesses showed:

The report said that 74 percent of UK businesses are confident or very confident they have all the processes in place and are ready ahead of GDPR.

Each UK business is spending an average of £1.3 million, lagging only behind Germany in terms of GDPR spending.

Businesses understand the benefits they will gain from GDPR: 46 percent say the most important benefit from being GDPR compliant is gaining customer trust to handle sensitive data. 31 percent of businesses believe the most important value from compliance is enhanced brand awareness.

Mayflex shows off channel Specialist Support Services

531596-web-1-0Converged IP Solution distributor Mayflex  been showing off its new channel Specialist Support Services package.’

Dubbed ‘Mayflex Channel Assist’ the packages are services which are aimed at projects with limited time available onsite or for rapid deployment projects.

The services available include product labelling, pre-terminated copper and fibre assemblies, the pre-staging of IP devices, camera and bracket spraying, configured racks, on site rack assembly, ‘Placement Plus’ delivery and Fluke support services.

Richard Cann, Technical Services Manager at Mayflex comments, “Having a partner that can deliver fully tested, readymade or ready configured and pre-assembled solutions helps remove the pressure of delivering a project in a limited amount of time. These services assist our customers with the fast deployment of products whilst at the same time reducing their costs by removing the need to invest in specialist equipment, labour and management costs.”

“Each service is carried out by our team of trained experts who are located in our Birmingham headquarters. The configured cabinet on site build service actually deploys members of the team to site to carry out an installation on behalf of our customers. Camera and bracket spraying is the newest of our services introduced towards the end of 2017. This is a service which sprays cameras and the associated brackets and fittings to a bespoke RAL colour. A service that we are seeing more and more demand for, providing clients with a discreet and stylish security system for their establishments,” he said.

“Our Fluke Support Services is ideal for customers that buy a Fluke tester with Gold Support but don’t have the time or capacity to keep track of when servicing or re-calibration is required. We will look after this completely and what’s more there isn’t a cost for doing so if the tester has been purchased from Mayflex,” Cann said.

Embattled VAR Firstnet in trouble

Troubled VAR Firstnet Solutions owes creditors up to £3 million, has had its bank account frozen and administration looks likely.

According to an email sent out to creditors, Barclays has frozen Firstnet’s bank account and the company is poised to enter into administration.

The email from company directors confirmed that Firstnet Solutions had submitted a ‘notice of intent to appoint an administrator’ on January 19, before extending that notice on February 2.

Firstnet Group owes between £900,000 and £3.3 million in liabilities, according to Companies House and credit checker DueDil. The firm is now facing a series of legal battles after leaving partners and former employees out of pocket.

According to sources familiar with the matter, as many as 11 members of staff have walked out after the entire workforce went without pay in January. At least three have told PCR that they are now seeking an employment tribunal to recover unpaid wages.

And yet the amount owed in unpaid wages is just a drop in the ocean when compared to the huge outstanding payments owed to suppliers. Details emerged last month of a £48,777 county court judgment (CCJ) served to Firstnet in January. Two additional suppliers have subsequently told PCR that they have CCJ orders pending, both for sums in excess of £15,000.



Advanced presses ahead with TruePartner

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudAdvanced has launched a new partner programme – TruePartner – to help resellers of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software accelerate their SME customers’ transformation to the Cloud.

According to the company, while appetite for Cloud technology is growing, only 33 percent of organisations admit to being experienced in it. Advanced believes some vendors are neglecting the needs of SMEs keen to reshape themselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution, leaving this backbone of British business in danger of being left behind.

The British software and services company plans to win over new partners keen to address the needs of the SME market but who aren’t getting the right support from their existing vendors – a move it hopes will generate an additional £1 million in revenue over the next 12 months. Its new Cloud-based ERP solution, Advanced Business Cloud Essentials*, is designed exactly to boost this opportunity for this reseller community.

The Advanced TruePartner programme will help resellers change their traditional business models as well as recognise what the Cloud is, and what it isn’t. Some vendors, for example, promote products as Cloud-based – when they are actually not true Cloud solutions – and there’s a danger of creating confusion amongst SMEs who rely on software resellers to guide and advise them.

Janette Martin, Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Advanced, sees this as a threat to the channel and a barrier to the Cloud becoming mainstream:

“Resellers have an incredible opportunity to adapt their business model to embrace Cloud technology. They have the chance to bet their business on those vendors that deliver genuine Cloud solutions and are willing to support them on their transformation, otherwise they risk losing traction, customers and revenue,” she said.

The channel, particularly smaller resellers, have become used to the revenue from upfront licences, a traditional financial management model where it is easy to manage revenue against forecasts. However, monthly subscriptions for Cloud services are disrupting that financial model and resellers will need to adapt quickly if they are to realise the benefits that this can deliver in recurring revenue.

Martin said: “We understand that moving to a Cloud-first approach isn’t straight forward, but we are seeing interest from businesses for the benefits that the Cloud can deliver. Together, we can make a difference and I believe it’s up to vendors like Advanced to develop long-term strategic channel partnerships, demonstrate the Cloud as the number one driver for business continuity, and provide resellers with the right ongoing training, support and marketing so that products can be sold and supported in the Cloud effectively.”

Some of the key features that Advanced is providing with its new TruePartner programme include:

  • Close collaboration and support with resellers to develop market and sector insight that enables focused software solutions to be delivered to customers.
  • Onboarding, training and marketing support for partners to sell solutions that provide real world-context and immediate business benefits.
  • Comprehensive accreditation and generous financial rewards, at every level, helping to achieve sustainable business growth for both resellers and customers.
  • Confidence that resellers will be providing SMEs with genuine cloud solutions, like Advanced Business Cloud Essentials, and working with a vendor that cares.

The new TruePartner programme is built around five levels of partnership: Reseller, Service, Alliance, Advisor and Software.

Nearly 90 percent of MSP customers held-up by ransomware

the-highwaymanThe latest state of the channel Ransomware report from Datto indicated that 89 percent of European MSP customers were victims of ransomeware attacks.

The attacks led to downtime, and for a small percentage the ransomware remained in the system and gave customers further grief down the line.

Antivirus software does not seem to be much good at protecting against ransomware and 94 percent of customers attacked said it had not prevented the attacks from happening.

The other problem area for users was around backup and restore. Those that had failed to invest in that technology left with severe headaches trying to get back up and running after a ransomware attack.

Datto thinks that first and foremost the channel education to the SME market had to continue.

Datto SVP Mark Banfield said: “Ransomware attacks are becoming so frequent that the term has recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. WannaCry and NotPetya made the headlines last year for their impact on larger firms, but this report highlights just how vulnerable SMBs are,” he said.

“There’s an existing perception that only bigger companies are targeted as they represent higher-value targets, but attacks are now so simple to initiate on a mass scale that cybercriminals no longer discriminate,” he added.

Most of the customers surveyed by Datto also shared their expectations that ransomware attacks would continue in the next couple of years.

“As the sophistication of ransomware variants continues to increase and they bypass traditional prevention measures, SMBs with limited in-house expertise and cyber security tools are struggling. The lack of understanding and capabilities are causing more to fall victim and here lies an opportunity for the channel. MSPs can become trusted partners, providing the ongoing tools, expertise and support required to mitigate ransomware and its impacts,” said Banfield.

Dell reverse merger should be a last resort

Michael DellBeancounters at Morgan Stanley are not that happy with Michael Dell’s plan to reverse merge his company into VMWare.

While the prospect of VMware merging with Dell Technologies has intrigued the broader market, Morgan Stanley analysts insist the “reverse merger” would be the worst option for VMware shareholders.

It is only one of the plans which have been mooted for Dell Technologies, including a Dell IPO or it acquiring the rest of VMware.

The VMware performing a reverse merger on its controlling firm idea has been questioned by Morgan Stanley analysts Keith Weiss and Sanjit Singh in a note issued to the market.

Weiss and Singh warned investors about the plan and stated that a merger is the “worst-case scenario” for VMware shareholders.

VMware is traded publicly, and a merger would take Dell public without putting the company through an initial public offering.

According to the report, the reverse merger would have tax benefits for Dell and give the company access to VMware’s cash, but it would have a negative impact on VMware’s shareholders.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley project that a combined company would devalue VMware by $28 billion — considerably more than the $500 million to $600 million annual taxes Dell will face if it continues to operate under its existing structure.

The analysts concluded that the reverse merger is the least likely of the strategic options Dell is pursuing, with an IPO or staying private considered better options.

Notebook sales increase

Multipurpose-NotebookThe global notebook market is improving with 164.7 million units shipped in 2017 according to TrendForce’s latest market report.

The figure represents a 2.1 percent year-on-year increase, massively surpassing all expectations and forecasts. The reason for the increase has been biddings for notebook contracts in North America and regional economic recovery

HP remains the market leader with more than 24 percent of the market share. Its annual shipments hit a new milestone of 40 million units, a substantial increase of 10.5 percent over 2016.

For 2018, the market share of the top six brands is expected to rise to 89.1 percent, squeezing the room for other brands to develop.

Xiaomi and Huawei recorded growth in the Chinese market, but the results of their overseas deployment are unclear.

Lenovo saw a year-on-year drop of 4.9 percent. It enhanced its sales in Asia and Europe but still cannot make up the shipment decrease in 1H17. This has an impact on the brand’s performance, making its market share down to 20.2 percent, ranking the second.