Author: Mike Magee

Datto sticks to an indirect model

Andrew Allen of Aabyss

While other vendors hum and haw about whether it’s better to sell their kit to their “partners” while they knife them in the back by circumventing the channel, it seems to ChannelEye that Datto really does stick to its last.

Last, as more literate readers of this online paper will know, is an archaic word for a shoemaker’s model for repairing a boot or a shoe. And if the shoe fits

Six Datto delegates stuck in a lift with Mad Mike

If you’re in the IT business, just imagine being stuck in an elevator with Mad Mike Magee. That’s what happened today to a bunch of Datto delegates.

Well that’s what just happened here in the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I, here in Barcelona, on the seventh floor.

Fittingly, perhaps, one of the delegates is from a company called Aabyss. But

Datto founder quits

Austin McChord

The CEO and founder of Datto said today that he is going to quit these posts but will still remain on the board of directors.

Austin McChord said that he founded Datto 11 years ago when he was stuck in a basement, but has now grown the company into a behemoth with 1,400 employees with 14,000 managed service providers.

“I’m proud of the company we have built”, he said.

The company is now actively hunting down a replacement CEO but in the meantime chief operating officer Tim Weller will run the company.

Datto continues channel growth

Dattocon opened, as so many of these IT conferences do, with a lot of flashing lights and noise. This conference held by Datto in Barcelona is really aimed at its MSPs, and there’s plenty of them here, along, of course with a load of vendors, hoping to help you keep your Office 365 and other IT products secure.

Datto wants to recruit more MSPs, and there’s a heap of vendors here seeking to woo the attendees here.

The firm said that it has recruited 750 MSPs in the European territory since the beginning of this year, and that’s a 40 percent increase year on year.

Schneider offers resellers route to manage data centres

Barcelona last week

Schneider Electric is offering a service to solution providers to offer a cloud management system to offer complex networks, edge facilities and distributed IT to their customers.

Launched at the Canalys Channel Forum in Barcelona last week, the company said it allows partners to make more money and offer their customers a way of monitoring infrastructures using what it claims is the first cloud based data centre management system, which Schenider describes as DmaaS – direct management as a service.

The system, called EcoStruxure IT Export for partners, can be sold to customers as a way of managing hybrid computer systems including data centres and private clouds. It uses predictive analytics to monitor systems.

The approach is vendor neutral and lets Schneider partners offer monitoring of power and cooling, letting them pitch end users visibility into their own infrastructures and monitor inventory, alarms and recommendations.

Lifts fail to elevate themselves at the Arts

The few remaining hacks of the Channel Free Press found themselves on the 41st floor of the Arts Hotel tower in Barcelona today when they felt an enormous noise and rumbling shake their minds out of concerns about Lenovo and generalised lethargy.

Fiona O’Brien, an Irish woman from Lenovo, sought to reassure us wee timorous cowering beasties  but actually we just wrote it off as just one of those things that happen when you’re isolated hacks afraid of heights and depths.

The Arts Hotel shut down its network of elevators because of an escalated security alarm and the staff decided to temporarily stop the lifts from working.

We have reached out to the PRs at the hotel to dig out the truth, going forward.

Goodness knows what would have happened if you desperately needed to visit the wazzeria and you were stuck in the lift. It took me right back to the days I got stuck in the lift at Hampstead-on-the-Hill, and found myself stranded with a beautiful woman and a lovely Indian man. We didn’t panic. We just gritted our teeth and carried on, carrying on…

Channel needs to support the free press

Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Boys thrashing tops in 1560 – Brueghel

The Canalys Channel Conference closed at 3PM prompt this afternoon, Barcelona time,  but not before one of the few channel journalists left standing was given a five minute slot to stand and address the thousand or so attendees at the conference.

Cristoph Hugenschmidt, a journalist at Inside Channels CH, made an impassioned speech about how the community of vendors, distributors and resellers need the independence that real journalism – rather than fake news or marketing spin – offers that influential group.

Cristoph reckons – and ChannelEye agrees – that the hugely lucrative market needs independent journalism more than ever before. He gave as an example a Canalys event he attended a year or two back where a marketing spinner told the assembled hacks that journalism wasn’t necessary any more because his company could put out the message it wanted via social media and using impoverished hacks to write online press releases.

Nevertheless, after delivering this insult to the hackettes and hacks at the table, according to Cristoph, he tipped up a couple of hours later and said: “I do expect you journalists to be at my 9AM roundtable tomorrow.”

The Swiss hack was basically saying that unless the channel supported free and independent journalism as part of the community, we’ll all wither away and companies will lose the insight, gossip and spinicide that hackettes and hacks deliver.

Why does the channel need journalists like Cristoph and the few of us that are left? My feeling is that despite the noise of Twitter and other social media, and PR and marketing executives spinning like tops, there is a need for a cool third party appraisal of what’s going on. “Going forward”, to use an infamous marketing perversion of the phrase “in the future”, company CEOs need to decide whether they can afford the ridiculous price of marketing spin and decide whether it’s worth it.

ChannelEye of course,  is notorious as purveyors of “fake news” – via The Rogister and theINQUIRER.net,  and coined the term “wide awake news” two years after Donald Trump was born.

Lenovo pulls up its channel socks

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 11.27.37At a keynote speech at the Canalys Channel Forum yesterday, analyst-in-chief Steve Brazier said Lenovo had a poor set of tools for its partners and made decisions too slowly.

But senior executives at Lenovo told ChannelEye this morning that it’s already taken significant steps to turn that position round.

Lenovo said it recognised its tools and processes weren’t perfect, but said it had been investing and making improvements. It’s committed to speeding up the way it works with resellers and investing money to improve the matter.

“We’re turning things round – we need a more sophisticated way of helping the channel.”

Lenovo recognised that it’s a big investment that it has to undertake. It’s been working on the project for 12 months.

“We have further to go but we are making progress. We [now] have the ability to give split second decisions on deals and on pricing.”

It claimed it was getting good feedback from its distributors and channel partners on the improvements it’s already made.

It recognises that it needed to be more collaborative at sharing material with partners and need to be more agile and have a bespoke method of getting its product message tailored to the customers that they’re pitching to.

* The company said it is likely to be protected in the event of a continuing trade war between the US and China. It has a factory in China but also in other territories and has the ability to switch production if it needs to.

Brexit: The channel is more of a mouse than a man

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 09.47.40There’s one thing clear from the Canalys Channel Forum here in Barcelona and that is many of the major players are individually, and in the words of Robert Burns scared out of their pants.

Burns described a frightened mouse as a”Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie; O, what a pannic’s in thy breastie!”

In short, the channel mice are terrified of what might happen in the case of a hard Brexit.

Translated from the Scots dialect, the poem also suggests the channel hasn’t a clue and needs leadership. Maybe the future is too horrific for it to face the plain and simple truth.  The channel may suffering what’s called in posh words “cognitive dissonance” but, in a short Anglo-Saxon phrase, cacking its pants.

We put this to Steve Brazier, the lead analyst at Canalys this morning. And he’s far more outspoken than his customers and clients.

He said that if there’s a hard Brexit from the European Union, the pound will crash, tech prices will rise and the UK will suffer a major recession.

The point is that while other manufacturers in say, the car industry, have spoken out loudly about the dangers to business, only one of the Big Six has said anything. We talked to Lenovo which said that it’s in favour of open trade and implied strongly that a soft Brexit or no Brexit at all was preferable to falling into the abyss.

The primary impact of a hard Brexit is the UK, but Ireland will be affected too, because the Irish tech channel is similar to the UK, said Brazier.

Specifically, distributors and vendors will be affected and because no one knows what the outcome will be – that’s anyone, right from timid resellers and vendors right up to Her Majesty’s Government, and perhaps even the devil. However, she or he probably has all the detail.

Channel is still a very male preserve. Reserve?

Many many men

Many many men

Hundreds and hundreds of channel delegates here at the Canalys Channel Forum in Barcelona have one thing in common and that is that to the best of our knowledge the majority of the blokes here have willies.

But that may change in the future and reliable sources at one of the Big Six vendors here at the conference agrees with Dell and EMC and thinks that it is likely that change in the gender gap in the channel community will happen sooner rather than very much later.

Dell EMC, without being personal, agreed with that view and has already  put in place several programmes to assist both its channel partners and employees working with it to welcome diversity.

It has set up both a woman’s partner network and a unit promoting female entrepreneurs, a company representative said. Dell EMC has achieved near parity with approximately 45 percent of its staff women.

It is also actively encouraging young girls to develop their computer science skills, and also has a programme to allow its male employees to emphasise with the strengths women can bring to the industry.  It promotes diversity in all fields.

A male executive at the conference who spoke on the condition he and his company remained anonymous, told ChannelEye: “Women traditionally find themselves on the PR and marketing side. Women are more efficient than men. They get things done and when they say they’re going to do something they do it, unlike men.”

Which, of course, begs many questions and there are more questions than answers.

Dell promises to beef up the channel

A bevy of senior Dell EMC executives spoke to a bevy of tech hacks this morning and spelled out in detail their promise of reseller goodnesses for their mega storage and server businesses.

Speaking at the Canalys Channel Forum in sunny Barcelona, the company was quick to say it was prepared for the British exit from the EU (Brexit) from day one, and even before day one. It is talking to the UK government and to other bodies and organisations to ease the transition if and when and however it comes.

But, and relating to its channel strategy, Dell EMC said it had given its resellers a lower price, and “that forms a strong incentive to the channel. Large accounts worldwide are wide open. If our partners win that business they’re protected.”

Michael Collins

Dell EMC’s Michael Collins showing determination

Dell EMC said it will be a partner led strategy.

“Speaking to our partners and what they want from us is to look at the opportunities that exist in our enterprise business. We have to give them the ability to sell right across the range of Dell’s product portfolio.

“We’ve looked at where the opportunities are for the channel. We’re putting a commitment to the channel in order to invest and win incremental business, to be protected and we’ve introduced “partner of record” – that means the customer is locked to the partner for a period of a year. It’s exactly what our partners asked for.”

Dell EMC said there are two flavours of its preferred programme.

“It’s not just for enterprise customers but we’ve expanded this to include commercial as well. The benefit for the partner is really simple. When partners sell more, they make more margin and revenue and it gives incremental opportunities. This is very much based around our storage portfolio.”

Further, Dell EMC is pushing into its enterprise IoT business for large organisations and will offer eight bundles aimed at specific environments.”

It’s the software that is the secret, the company claimed, and the bundles are related to large requirements such as energy requirements for connected organisations.

“It is not going to pay all the bills this year, next year or even the year after. These are early attempts to figure out how to promote this technology. We have IoT training for customers and partners and have made this available through our distributors.”

Around a half of its enterprise storage and server offerings are fulfilled through the channel, the company claimed.

Vendors need to oil the resellers aching joints

Steve Brazier, the top analyst at Canalys gave his views on the future of the channel in the European market right now in the European forum held in rainy Barcelona today. And apparently there are more storms on the way.

And as well as giving his predictions on the way things are going, he turned his attention on the top six vendors and the way they were disappointing distributors and resellers.

In a wide-ranging keynote, Brazier said that the trade war between China and the USA introduced uncertainties into the market and no-one can predict the shape of things to come. It could be that we see large shifts in manufacturing and companies like Samsung that manufacture in Vietnam rather than China could reap huge benefits from not facing heavy tariffs.

He said that partners make most of their money from the top six and it’s all down to a question of margins. The channel and the vendors, he said, had introduced friction into the border between direct selling and through partners.

He said that there’s more friction between vendors and the channel. The vendors demand loyalty from their channel while the channel wants vendors to stop selling directly. There’s a danger that vendors are not being open about the data they get from their “partners”.

“We’re expecting some tough questions in the private sessions.”

Ignition to bring security vendors, dealers and disties together

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 21.08.08An event on Thursday at the Shard in the City of London [pictured, left] will bring 160 resellers and their “favourite” distributor, Ignition Technology together with vendors to explore sales opportunities.

Ignition specialises in security. There’s a lot of money in security, especially considering the failures large corporations have suffered for a while.

The show will have McMafia star Misha Glenny, the author of a popular but a rather scary TV show – to kick off the event.

One of the vendors will be represented by JASK’s Greg Fitzgerald, a member of the firm’s advisory board who personally has a long history of security startups and for established companies too. He told ChannelEye today that the firm’s offering uses artificial intelligence (AI) – which he defined as a combination of mathematics and other algorithms – to pick up problems at medium to large corporations more or less immediately.

Corporations, he said, were picking up the pieces after security alerts and those alerts demanded many human beings to decide which were real threats that needed acting on now rather than later. JASK’s answer, he said was to pick up threats in real time, picking up and doing menial tasks, leaving it to “SWAT” squads to concentrate on the deeper aspects of a case.

Fitzgerald said that just as soon corporations recruited and trained humans to pick up the problems, the demand for security advisors was so great in government, in health and in other sectors that problems piled up. Storage is a problem too.

Corporations and security specialists within those firms were suffering from “alert fatigue” because there is an overload of such alerts from data sources, multiple devices, users, and networks.

[Image of the Shard courtesy of Colin on Wikipedia Commons.]

Nuvias buys Benelux

Three-Musketeers-The-1973-1605x903The acquisition mad distribution brand that’s backed by Rigby Group has made another purchase.

Nuvias has acquired security VAD DCB to bolster its presence in the Benelux, where it already operates advanced networking and unified communications practices.

With offices in Veldhoven in the Netherlands and Zaventem in Belgium, DCB shares several vendor franchises in common with Nuvias, including WatchGuard and Kaspersky Lab. It also works with the likes of Trustwave and Centrify.

Nuvias is the recently created distribution brand of Rigby Private Equity, and is based on a trio of acquisitions in the form of security VAD Wick Hill, in July 2015, networking and storage VAD Zycko in December 2015, and unified comms VAD SIPHON the following October. It has since expanded organically into various countries, including Switzerland.