Sabio is close to a complete double acquisition

paacquisition3definition-580x358Contact centre VAR Sabio is completing due dilligence on two firms it is thinking of buying.

It seems Sabio cannot get enough of other companies. The VAR acquired DatapointEurope and Rapport last year and has plans to expand out of the UK and into mainland Europe.

Word on the street is that  the two  firms in Sabio’s sights are both headquartered in the UK with international presences. This fits into Sabio’s announced international ambitions.

Acquiring Datapoint bought about some slight changes in Sabio’s plans – specifically hwere it wants its  revenue to come from. The VAR saw 80 percent of its revenues come from the UK, but the figure is now more even, with 55 percent coming from home and the rest from abroad.

Sabio wants to bring in £100 million annual revenue, and the company believes it will do that within the next two or three years, partly as a result of its increased focus in mainland Europe and Asia.

Sabio has seen strong revenue growth over recent years, jumping from £29 million to around £60 million and expects to hit £100 million over the next few years, before implementing plans to hit £200 million soon after – possibly through an invasion of America.

Arrow rolls out virtual classroom programme

Archer-Shooting-a-Goose-Arrow--59097Arrow has released its virtual classroom programme across the UK and EMEA.

The distributor is offering its virtual classroom to people to use at the office, home or through its own Arrow Education centres across EMEA.

The scheme has already gone live in the UK.

The big idea is to provide flexibility around training sites and dates, resulting in cost savings because of reduced travel expenses and greater collaboration through group activities, supported by video conferencing systems and interactive smart boards.

Jacques Assant, business development services director for Arrow’s enterprise computing solutions business in EMEA, said that the Arrow Virtual Classroom combines all the benefits of interactive, live training delivered by highly skilled instructors with the option to save on time and travel and greater choice of offerings.

Arrow ECS Education has 25 classrooms in the UK using authorised trainers and has training centres in London, Stockport, Harrogate and Dublin.

The distributor pitches the need for classroom training on its website as a chance for students to get into what it calls a focused environment.

SteelEye spans its business and hires Matt Smith

Matt-Smith-headshot-898x505UK Compliance technology and data analytics outfit, SteelEye has named Matt Smith as its new chief executive.

The SteelEye product was designed to help financial firms meet their obligations under MiFID II, whilst also acquiring insights into their business operations. His appointment will help to drive the firm’s growth as it markets its secure and scalable data storage platform which incorporates analytics, the statement continued.

Matt brings over 18 years of technology and management expertise to SteelEye. He joins from Bloomberg where he was a senior product manager working on a range of financial regulation and compliance solutions. Before, he was the chief information officer at Noble Group, a global commodity trading firm, where he oversaw regulatory technology and the deployment of big data, trading and analytics platforms.

Of more than 9,000 firms registered with ESMA, many are currently ill-prepared to meet the MiFID II Directive’s new obligations for the recording and reporting of data, SteelEye reckons. The 7,000+ small to mid-sized firms across Europe will be hardest hit by the changes. No longer able to rely on larger institutions to handle their record keeping and reporting obligations, these firms will now be held accountable for their own regulatory conformity which includes recording and storing their voice data.

Peter O’Shea, a non-executive director at SteelEye said: “The founders and board are excited Matt has accepted our offer to lead the team. As a highly experienced regulatory technology professional, Matt brings a wealth of expertise in the smart application of technology to solving complex regulatory needs and shares our view on empowering firms to use the resulting data to gain a business edge.”

SteelEye’s cloud-based platform has several advantages to help firms address their MiFID II obligations, the firm reckons. It claims it is the only platform that offers transaction reporting, record keeping, best execution and data insight in a single offering. It also has an open API framework, allowing clients to harness the power of their data. The platform also lets clients store their data in wherever they want it to be.

Smith said, “SteelEye is here for the small to medium-sized financial firms who require a flexible solution for their record keeping and regulatory reporting needs at an appealing price. We provide a secure and comprehensive solution, built on the most modern and scalable technology and backed by a world-class team of technologists. I am delighted to have been asked to join this team which is well positioned to revolutionise the FinReg and data analytics market.”

SAP increases partner support for cloud

lightning-cloudThe maker of expensive esoteric business software which no-one is quite sure what it does has increased the support for partners keen on increasing their cloud revenue.

SAP has launched its cloud accelerator programme as part of its cunning cloudy plan.  The vendor thinks the channel is in the best position to reach out to the SME market and deliver the growth in that segment it wants.

Writing in his bog, SAP head of channelsKarl Fahrbach said that digital transformation was here to stay.

“The move to the cloud is reaching a fever pitch – the cost, speed, and agility benefits are too good to pass up. More companies than ever will be making the switch and those that don’t are at risk of falling behind. This means that cloud growth will be a number one priority for SAP and our partners in 2018 and beyond.”

The Cloud Accelerator programme is a global initiative and supports resellers developing and executing a digital marketing plan, access to some business development funds and the involvement of a partner marketing advisor.

“Throughout the year, SAP partners’ co-funded marketing plan will be put into action to build a pipeline, gain new customers, and expand the potential of a fast-growing cloud business,” said Fahrbach.

“Any company with a strong commitment to investing in the cloud demonstrated through a business plan that outlines a yearly target to grow their SME cloud business by at least 50 percent can qualify for the programme.”

Avaya back on Wall Street

avaya logoAvaya has listed on the New York Stock Exchange again ending a terrible 12 months in Chapter 11 and gearing up to offload its networking business to help bring about financial stability.

CEO Jim Chirico said that it was an honour to mark the first day of trading on the NYSE for the new Avaya, which is more focused than ever on leading the industry’s digital transformation.

“Building on our history of innovation and expertise in deploying globally scalable solutions, Avaya sits today at the strategic nexus of connectivity for the enterprise.”

Avaya claims to have more than 130,000 customers worldwide, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500, however that went tits up last year when it filed for Chapter 11, owing millions to its channel partners. At the time it promised to come back “stronger than ever”.

The networking division of the firm has since been sold off to Extreme Networks, and in August last year, Avaya secured a deal to restructure its debt with its largest creditor, which included wiping $3 billion off the amount it owed.

Frankfurt will overtake London as the European data centre king

Skyline_Frankfurt_am_MainBeancounters at Research and Markets have named Frankfurt as the Data Centre ruler of Europe.

According to a new report with the catchy title “Europe Data Centre Trends Tracker – 2018” the Frankfurt Data Centre cluster is set for significant extra growth over the next 12 month period.

With 11 Data Centre expansions announced by providers in the Frankfurt area including Colt Telecom, Digital Realty, Equinix, Interxion and Maincube – the Frankfurt cluster will soon overtake the UK’s largest Data Centre cluster to become the largest single city Data Centre cluster in Europe.

The research is based on a survey of Data Centre facilities in the 15 markets including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

This research shows that although long-established as the most substantial Data Centre market in Europe, the London & the Inner M25 cluster region is set to be overtaken by Frankfurt as the largest Data Centre cluster in Europe.

The latest edition of the bi-annual Euro-Data Centre Trends subscription service forecasts that third-party Data Centre raised floor space in the London & Inner M25 and Frankfurt clusters stands at 264,000 m2 of potential space available in each city.

In total Frankfurt area third party Data Centre space is forecast to grow by over 34,0000 m2 of raised floor space – or approximately 60 MW of DCCP (Data Centre Customer Power) – during 2018. Frankfurt will overtake London to become the largest cluster in Europe by the beginning of 2019.

By contrast, the London & Inner M25 area cluster is forecast to add only an additional 10,300 m2 of Data Centre raised floor space with two notable London Data Centre expansions due to take place in 2018 (including VIRTUS London-5 at Stockley Park and Interxion London-3 at Brick Lane).

The report said that Frankfurt is seeing new third-party Data Centre growth because there is new space for expansion around the Frankfurt area. Frankfurt is becoming an international connectivity hub – with the man German Internet Exchange (DE-CIX) reporting daily IP traffic of over 5.9 TB as of September 2017, with the Frankfurt area also becoming a hub for connectivity in Germany and to other countries in the CEE region.

The London & Inner M25 region cluster is seeing a relative shortage of new land for Data Centre development when compared with Frankfurt.

Increasingly, Data Centre development is taking place outside of the London & Inner M25 area with Slough now becoming the most significant Data Centre cluster outside London (including developments made by Cyxtera, Equinix, NTT Com, VIRTUS & Zenium) with over 100,000 m2 of Data Centre raised floor space available in the Slough area.

Tech Data offers partners project funding

PF-loadsamoney_2177214kDistributor Tech Data is offering Microsoft Partners on its Velocity Azure programme proof-of-concept funding on deals that will be worth over $50,000 a year.

The outfit has also designed a  process that makes it easier for partners to apply.

Basically, this means providing credit on Azure services for a fixed period, allowing customers to try out the cloud platform before going live with specific workloads.

The deal size for which PoC funding may be applicable is half the previous requirement, making it much more suited to smaller and mid-sized opportunities.

Tech Data Azure business development manager John-James Uezzell, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer this new proof-concept proposition. It is something that our Velocity Partners have been keen to explore, and with the new lower threshold, it should help them to win even more new business with Azure.

“The momentum behind Azure is growing, and as our partners improve their sales and technical knowledge on Azure, they are uncovering more opportunities. The new qualifying deal size will make it an option for many more smaller customers, so it’s a very welcome addition to the programme. We will do most of the set-up work, so it will be simple for partners to access and use.”

Tech Data will manage most of the application process for partners. Initially, resellers will need to submit customer details and a business case. Once approved, a new Azure subscription will be set up by Tech Data’s Microsoft CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) programme team.

Tech Data’s Velocity programme is for Microsoft partners that want to start selling or increase their capability to offer Azure-based services. It provides training and support resources that enable them to develop the sales and technical skills needed to construct effective value propositions for Azure. The aim is to get partners to Silver Competency in Microsoft Cloud over a six-month period. The value of the programme to each partner is over £20,000.

 

Countries differ on cloud data protection

56f884651f7b35416b9b4ca955d350b3--pom-pom-mobile-cloud-mobileA new study penned by the Gemalto and Ponemon Institute shows that significant gaps are emerging between countries on attitudes towards data protection in the cloud

The study reveals regional disparities in adoption of cloud security: German businesses almost twice as likely to secure confidential or sensitive information in the cloud (61 percent) than British (35 percent), Brazilian (34 percent) and Japanese (31 percent) organisations.

Half of the global outfits believe that payment information (54 percent) and customer data (49 percent) is at risk in the cloud.

Over half (57 percent) think using the cloud increases compliance risk.

The report said that while the vast majority of global companies (95 percent) have adopted cloud services, there is a wide gap in the level of security precautions applied by firms in different markets. Organisations admitted that on average, only two-fifths (40 percent) of the data stored in the cloud is secured with encryption and key management solutions.

The findings organisations in the UK (35 percent), Brazil (34 percent) and Japan (31 percent) are less cautious than those in Germany (61 percent) when sharing sensitive and confidential information stored in the cloud with third parties. The study surveyed more than 3,200 IT and IT security practitioners worldwide to gain a better understanding of the key trends in data governance and security practices for cloud-based services.

Germany’s lead in cloud security extends to its application of controls such as encryption and tokenisation. The majority (61 percent) of German organisations revealed they secure sensitive or confidential information while being stored in the cloud environment, ahead of the US (51 percent) and Japan (50 percent). The level of security applied increases further still when data is sent and received by the business, rising to 67 percent for Germany, with Japan (62 percent) and India (61 percent) the next highest.

Crucially, however, over three quarters (77 percent) of organisations across the globe recognise the importance of having the ability to implement cryptologic solutions, such as encryption. This is only set to increase, with nine in 10 (91 percent) believing this capability will become more critical over the next two years – an increase from 86 percent last year.

Despite the growing adoption of cloud computing and the benefits that it brings, it seems that global organisations are still wary. Worryingly, half report that payment information (54 percent) and customer data (49 percent) are at risk when stored in the cloud. Over half (57 percent) of global organisations also believe that using the cloud makes them more likely to fall foul of privacy and data protection regulations, slightly down from 62 percent in 2016.

Due to this perceived risk, almost all (88 percent) believe that the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will require changes in cloud governance, with two in five (37 percent) stating it would require significant changes. As well as difficulty in meeting regulatory requirements, three-quarters of global respondents (75 percent) reported that it is more complicated to manage privacy and data protection regulations in a cloud environment than on-premise networks. France (97 percent) and the US (87 percent) finding this the most complex, just ahead of India (83 percent).

The study found that there is a gap in awareness within businesses about the services being used. Only a quarter (25 percent) of IT and IT security practitioners revealed they are very confident they know all the cloud services their business is using, with a third (31 percent) confident they know.

Gemalto Data Protection CTO Jason Hart said: “While it’s good to see some countries like Germany taking the issue of cloud security seriously, there is a worrying attitude emerging elsewhere. This may be down to nearly half believing the cloud makes it more difficult to protect data when the opposite is true.

“The benefit of the cloud is its convenience, scalability and cost control in offering options to businesses that they would not be able to access or afford on their own, particularly when it comes to security.

“However, while securing data is easier, there should never be an assumption that cloud adoption means information is automatically secure. Just look at the recent Accenture and Uber breaches as examples of data in the cloud that has been left exposed. No matter where data is, the appropriate controls like encryption and tokenisation need to be placed at the source of the data. Once these are in place, any issues of compliance should be resolved.”

 

 

 

Midwich goes cuckoo over market valuation

the-midwich-cuckoos-770Print and audiovisual distributor Midwich has seen its market valuation cross the £500 million threshold.

The share price has been growing after the outfit indicated that profits for 2017 would come in “comfortably ahead of its previous expectations”. Yesterday saw it up 17 percent.

Crossing the £500 million milestone puts it onto the radar of a broader range of institutional investors.

Midwich has been making a lot of acquisitions, including Iberian Earpro, Dutch Gebroeders van Domburg and UK-based Sound Technology.

In a pre-close trading update for its year ended 31 December 2017, Midiwch said this morning that it had enjoyed “encouraging growth” across all its divisions in its second half, adding that all of its 2017 acquisitions performed on a par with or ahead of expectations.

The outfit has 700 staff across the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, Iberia and Australasia, and consequently expects 2017 revenues to rise 28 percent to about £470 million. This includes a three per cent increase from favourable exchange rate movements.

Midwich group managing director Stephen Fenby said: “2017 was another year of substantial growth for Midwich, with strong performances from the Group’s existing businesses and significant contributions from the acquisitions made through the year.

“We have been pleased with the integration of all the businesses we acquired, and they are all trading in line or ahead of management’s expectations. Through 2018, management will continue to explore cross-selling opportunities in the current portfolio while also evaluating the healthy pipeline of potential acquisitions both in the Group’s existing markets and in new territories.”

 

Banks make digital transformation a priority

Bank CrisisMore than 85 percent of banks cite implementation of a digital transformation program as a business priority for 2018, according to the EY Global Banking Outlook 2018.

Investment in technology to drive efficiency, manage evolving risks and benefit from growth opportunities is seen by banks as “critical for sustainable success”.

Addressing cybersecurity is the top priority for global banks (89 percent ) in 2018, replacing last year’s top priority of managing reputational, conduct and culture risks, which falls to sixth place in this year’s report. Recruiting, developing and retaining key talent (83percent also garners significant attention as banks strive to integrate cyber experts into their organizations amidst a skillset shortage.

The survey of senior executives at 221 institutions across Europe, North America, emerging markets and Asia-Pacific shows that banks are seeking to become digitally mature, completing the transition from regulatory-driven transformation to innovation-led change in order to insulate themselves from future downturns. Respondents indicate that few banks (19 percent ) currently consider themselves as either digitally maturing or a digital leader, but more than half (62 percent) aspire to be one of the two by 2020.

Jan Bellens, EY Global Banking & Capital Markets Deputy Sector Leader, said: “In order for banks to weather the performance challenges that lie ahead, they must prepare for a future led by innovation and technology. The pace of innovation continues to accelerate, and banks must have a strategy in place to ensure their implementation of new technology is effective.”

More than 59 percent of banks surveyed anticipate that their technology investment budgets will rise by more than 10  percent in 2018.

For banks that are beginning to invest or increasing their investment in new technologies 44 percent plan to buy the technology from a third party, while only 17 percent plan to acquire an “entity to onboard” the technology.

More than 70 percent of banks cite strengthening their competitive positioning as a key reason for investing in technology by 2020.

Enhancing cyber and data security is the number one priority for banks, with 73 percent of banks planning to invest in technology to mitigate cybersecurity threats, supporting enhanced cyber and data security as a business priority.

Bill Schlich, EY Global Banking & Capital Markets Leader, said: “Ten years after the global financial crisis, banks continue to experience increased competition from a range of new market entrants and evolving risks that challenge their ability to deliver sustainable profitability. To perform at the highest level, institutions must emerge from an era of regulatory driven transformation and develop strategies to tackle the new evolving risks that are preoccupying the C-suite.”

KBR’s defence project unaffected by Carillion liquidation

FILE PHOTO: A Carillion sign in Manchester, Britain July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo - RC1FB056E500KBR announced today that it expects no disruption to its project being executed through a joint venture with Carillion as a result of Carillion’s announced liquidation yesterday.

 KBR operates a stand-alone Joint Venture with Carillion on Project Allenby Connaught through its Aspire Defence entities, providing design, construction and maintenance services to the British Army for living and working accommodation. The Joint Venture has been performing services for the Ministry of Defence since 2006, and the management and workforce are “mature and stable”. whatever that means.

In a statement, the company said it had been undergoing contingency planning for the last three months and was well placed to continue operating this contract.

” We do not expect any disruption to the delivery of services, the performance of the contract or the cash-flow from the contract because of Carillion’s liquidation.”

KBR President and CEO Stuart Bradie said: “We’ve been aware of Carillion’s challenges for some time and have taken necessary steps to facilitate a seamless transition and we are operating business as usual. We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Defence, and the administrator to explore options to ensure the continued long-term success of MoD programmes.”

Ingram Micro denies it is to be sold to Synnex

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro’s Chinese parent company has denied it is flogging the distributor to US-based Synnex.

The rumors started after one of Tianhai Investments’s subsidiaries suspended the trading of its shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange pending a “major announcement”.

A statement sent to the SSE yesterday claimed:  “Ingram Micro is an important, strategic investment project to the company and is a key cornerstone and asset to the company’s transformation and development.”

Ingram Micro said: “We have spoken with executives at HNA Group and Tianhai Investment who have confirmed that the trading halt in Tianhai Investment shares is not related to any plan to sell Ingram Micro.

“Per the HNA executives, Ingram Micro is a major strategic investment for HNA Group and a cornerstone in Tianhai Investment’s development and technology transformation.”

HNA acquired Ingram Micro for $6 billion in 2016.

 

IDC and Gartner fight over half empty glass

half-emptyBeancounters at IDC and Gartner seem to be disagreeing on the state of the PC market during the last quarter of last year.

IDC tells us that it was the first fourth quarter growth in six years while Gartner claims the PC market is getting worse.

IDC claims that global PC shipments were up 0.7 per cent to 70.6 million, but  Gartner thinks that shipments dropped two per cent to 71.6 million.

It looks like the problem might be one of defining what a PC is.  IDC thinks that Chromebooks are real PCs and includes them in the figures and Gartner thinks they are not and doesn’t.

But both seem to have different views of the PC industry in general.

IDC said the figures “further validate the view of a steadying, albeit still weak” PC market, but Gartner said its own figures prove that the PC market is still in transition and will weaken further as buyers switch their attention from budget computers to high end machines.

IDC thought that  market demand was driven by a desire from PC suppliers to snap up machines before components shortages drive up prices further. It claimed that organisations were shifting their attention back to notebooks, with the tablet market in a state of flux.

Big G sees it all as a epic tale of struggle for the market.  Its principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa believes that the PC will become a more specialised, purpose-driven device.

“PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices and improve profitability in the long run. However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through a shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users.”

At least both beancounters agreed on the rankings of the PC market’s key players, with HP ranked first by shipments with a market share of around 23 percent, slightly ahead of Lenovo.

HP also saw the greatest quarterly growth (8.3 percent according to Gartner and 6.6 percent according to IDC), while Asus suffered the biggest year-on-year decline at around 11 percent.

In Europe, Gartner blamed the UK for contributing to a year-on-year shipment decline of 1.4 percent, down to 21.8 million.

Gartner said that the UK market was “ailing”, while shipments in Germany were lower than expected in the quarter.

Intel’s patch release creates more problems for customers

wintel_blimp_featureSome punters who rushed to install an Intel patch to address massive CPU security flaws are probably regretting it as there are reports of it causing reboot problems for some of its customers.

The patch causes systems to reboot more often than normal, particularly if you are running older Broadwell and Haswell CPUs.

According to the  Wall Street Journal, the firm is advising some of its customers to hold off installing patches for the processor security flaw, which was revealed at the beginning of the month.

General manager of Intel’s data centre group Navin Shenoy said in a statement: “We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. We are also working directly with datacentre customers to discuss the issue. End users should continue to apply updates recommended by their system and operating system providers.”

For those who came in late, Intel’s processors contain security flaws, later named Meltdown and Spectre.

Even if you don’t experience crashes, the security fixes are likely to cause significant slowdowns and a decrease in system performance, according to Microsoft.

Julian Niman dies

C_71_article_1491185_image_list_image_list_item_0_imageJulian Niman, the founder and chairman of the Nycomm communications group has died at his Manchester home, he was 64.

Niman was the Group Chairman and Managing Director at Rocom. He founded Nimans in 1985 and serves as its Chairman.

His first job after college was as a radio engineer for the Met Police in London. After the Met worked for Sharp Electronics in Manchester for a while. One of his proudest archievements was getting his radio operators exam in 1972.

Then he worked for his dad who had a jewellery wholesalers in Derby Street, Cheetham Hill. Working for him gave Niman experience in how to run a business.

The 1980s saw the deregulation of the UK telecoms industry and he saw this as a big start to buy and sell phones as the GPO (British Telecom as it is now known) no longer had the monopoly.

“I started by selling a few phones from a corner of my dad’s showroom. I also bought a van, fitted it out myself and went on the road while I took someone on to mind the office. I guess the business started and grew from there”, he later said.

He said that the biggest challenge he had to overcome was his shyness as he was not naturally chatty.

“I knew that for my business to grow I had to be more outgoing. If your name is over the door, you are your own PR and need to have a friendly and professional image”, he said.

Fellow Director and friend David Bennett said Julian regarded all his staff as family.

He said it was a huge shock but stressed the board of directors will continue to run the Manchester-based company as ‘Julian would want us to continue his legacy’.

David told his workforce: “Julian saw all of us here as his family and he would want us to carry on serving the customer and running the business in his memory.

“Many of us have known Julian for many years and we will have to support one another through this difficult time.”