Author: Nick Farrell

HPE brexits 220 staff

axeHPE is planning to remove 220 more jobs in the UK as part of its continuing culling of staff.

In a memo sent to staff, the rather long titled HPE UK and MEMA Vice President  of Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing (ITO) Maurice Mattholie says it is all part of its Workforce Management Programme which is the latest euphemism  for rampant stuff cuts.

However, the number of staff for the chop this quarter is not as bad as the last quarter when 500 HPE staff were asked to clean out their desks and exit the building with their belongings in a photocopy box.

Mattholie said HPE was talking to the UK Works Council and Trade Union representatives about the cuts.

“It is important to point out that we are fully committed to continuing to use redeployment and voluntary exits to manage WFM in the UK and Ireland…. It is expected that up to 220 positions within UK&I ITO will be impacted through WFM in Q4.

“Whilst I appreciate that this announcement may cause concern I am committed to providing regular updates to ensure that everyone is kept informed.

 

Woman arrested for Sage fraud

Ce8crvkWsAAvaaI.jpg largeLondon coppers have fingered the collar of a 32-year-old woman on suspicion of attempting to defraud software firm Sage.

The woman is a current employee of Sage and was nicked at Heathrow airport on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. She has since been bailed.

It might be a coincidence, but Sage admitted that it had suffered a data breach affecting up to 300 business customers.

Customers have been told that personal and financial information may have been lost during the breach.

The breach was blogged about by consultant Richard De Vere  who said only UK customers were affected. The reason it might be connected to the arrest is that De Vere claimed the breach had been the product of an insider threat. To be fair, he never said the arrest was connected so it might be a coincidence.

Sage subsequently stated: “We believe there has been some unauthorised access using an internal login to the data of a small number of our UK customers so we are working closely with the authorities to investigate the situation.”

The company added: “The dedicated helpline number is 0845 145 3345 – please leave a message with your details and we will get back to you as soon as we can. You can also get in touch with us by emailing us at customercontact@sage.com.”

 

Ingram Micro goes very very quiet

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro UK & Ireland has signed up to be the newest distributor for Quiet’s power supplies, PC cases and cooling solutions.

Ingram said the addition of Quiet’s products to its portfolio will allow resellers to offer customers a wider range of peripherals, while developing their own new and innovative product ranges promote growth.

Taj Pandya, head of commercial management at Ingram Micro, UK and Ireland said:“We are extremely excited to be able to deliver new technologies and opportunities to our channel partners and we are thrilled that be quiet! has trusted us with the distribution of their premium products that embrace an exceptional level of precision and quality.”

“We hope the inclusion of this new vendor will appeal to our customer base and will permit Ingram’s further expansion into new categories.”

Ingram Micro was one of the first to sign up for Microsoft’s Surface as a Service programme, which will allow new services and hardware to its customers based around Redmond’s Surface Tablet.

 

Gartner feels that the IoT and AR will be channel moneyspinners

Man uses an ear trumpetBeancounters working for analyst outfit Gartner thinks that channel operators who can capitalise on  smart machines, augmented reality and IoT platforms  will coin it in.

Big G ponts out that the channel is already a bit of a mess as customers lose interest in PCs and laptops and chose other platforms. Gartner thinks that the numbers of tablets, smartphones and convertibles being used at work is set to grow.

Taking about the ‘platform revolution,’ Big G said that it will see some dominant themes in the next five to ten years.

Mike Walker, research director at Gartner said that the trends illustrate that the more organisations are able to make technology an integral part of their employees’, partners’ and customers’ experience, the more they will be able to connect their ecosystems to platforms in new and dynamic ways.

“This Hype Cycle specifically focuses on the set of technologies that is showing promise in delivering a high degree of competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years,” said Walker.

“To thrive in the digital economy, enterprise architects must continue to work with their CIOs and business leaders to proactively discover emerging technologies that will enable transformational business models for competitive advantage, maximize value through reduction of operating costs, and overcome legal and regulatory hurdles,” he added.

Immersive experiences, which we thought were just about having nice hot baths are actually virtual and augmented reality and the development of gesture controlled devices.

Smart machine technologies is expected to be the most disruptive area with more data being processed than ever before. The development of virtual personal assistants, lots of smart data and drones along with robots are just some of the things that we can look forward to in the not too distant future, Big G said.

“As smart machine technologies continue to evolve, they will become part of the human experience and the digital business ecosystem,” said Walker.

 

Juniper spruces up partner programme

JuniperBerriesJuniper Networks has announced some updates to its partner advantage programme in a bid to reward the better performers.

The “Elite” tier has some new categories including cloud services provider, next gen and rising star,  which will give Juniper to rank its partners better. .

A points-based reward schemehas been introduced so that partners can manage and track deals quicker. That programme starts  next month.

Matt Hurley, corporate VP, global channels and field marketing at Juniper, wrote in the company bog:

“As we built out the Juniper Partner Advantage program in 2016, we found that customer demands were changing and our channel partners were reshaping their business models to address those changes.  To account for these changes in partners’ business models, we’ve created new categories within the Elite level of the Juniper Partner Advantage programme. These new categories enrich the Elite partner tier, which is our highest, most operationally sophisticated partner level. Adding new categories within the tier allows us to place partners at the optimal part of the program that works best for their business needs.”

A Next Gen partner is one involved with software, services and XaaS. Rising stars will head to the  Elite level and will be invited to join based on their business plans.

Referencing the other development in the rewards programme it would make life easier for partners, Hurley said

“In addition to a greatly enhanced user interface for claims submissions, the new program is integrated with our updated Deal Registration System (in AMER and EMEA) to ensure deal preference and pricing advantages, helping partners manage, track and close on deals quickly,” he said.

Salesforce in shopping frenzy

2390E7EB00000578-2853540-image-49_1417209296708Salesforce is carrying on its “shop until you drop” policy and made its fourth acquisition since June.

The outfit has written a cheque for business analytics provider BeyondCore.  It is not saying how many zeros it wrote on the cheque.

For those who came in late, BeyondCore examines data sets using pattern-recognition technology using its own algorithms that combine machine learning and regression analysis.

It is not a big outfit, It has 15 stuff and it was founded in 2004.  Its cash came from $9m in funding. Salesforce became interested when it came up with a plug-in to connect to its cloud.

Writing in its bog, BeyondCore wrote it would be “uniquely positioned” to further magnify its impact on analytics as part of Salesforce’s Analytics Cloud.

The deal would extend “smart data discovery and advanced analytics capabilities across the entire Salesforce Customer Success Platform,” BeyondCore said.

Salesforce’s just bought the Microsoft-Office-like suite Quip for $750m stock and cash earlier in August and the ecommerce platform Demandware for $2.8bn in cash.

While most people are at a beach it appears that Salesforce is keen to carry on its shopping frenzy.

Investcorp swallows Nebulas

jonah2Security oufit Nebulas has been swallowed by Investcorp and will become part of its SecureLink arm.

Nebulas is a well known vendor and has a good reputation with 50 staff and a customer bases across mid to large UK enterprises. Investcorp has snapped it up for an undisclosed sum and is getting Nebulas’s founder and CEO Nick Garlickas part of the deal.

It looks like the plan is to combine Nebulas with the Scandinavian player Coresec Systems to create an operation selling into six European countries. This will create an outfit which has  550 staff and €235m in revenue.

Carsten Hagenbucher, managing director in Investcorp’s Corporate Investment team in Europe, claimed that the combined entity would be the second largest cyber security player in Europe.

“The Nebulas acquisition gives us access to new markets, increased scale, a diversified product offering and a wealth of new talent and expertise. With this second add-on acquisition we believe we are one step closer to forming the leader in pan-European cyber security and we think Nebulas is the perfect fit as we continue building upon this goal,” he said.

The new owners of Nebulas view the UK as the largest security market in Europe and saw a chance to buy Nebulas as a chance to step up its European expansion and get much more of a foothold in Britain.

 

Security worries delays Ingram Micro take over

ingram-mico-hqWorries about security have forced the delay of Ingram Micro’s take over by a Chinese outfit.

Ingram says that the deal, which would see it part of the Tianjin Tianhai Investment Company  is  now being delayed until towards the end of the year

The first delay to the deal came last month when the Shanghai Stock Exchange sent a letter to Tianjin Tianhai asking for more details about the takeover. In that case the Exchange was worried about how the deal was being funded.

But now the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States wants to take a close look at the deal.

“Ingram Micro today announced that the End Date by which the acquisition of Ingram Micro by Tianjin Tianhai Investment Company must be completed has been extended to November 13, 2016,” Ingram said.

Despite the CFIUS activity the expectation from both Ingram and on the Chinese side is that the deal will still close this year.

However it might not be that easy. The US is getting increasingly concerned about the involvement of the Chinese in business. Earlier this week it became clear that the Chinese company that is one of the main investors in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station is facing charges of nuclear espionage in the US.

Adobe has given up on software audits

Adobe Analysts working for Gartner have noticed that Adobe has abandoned its software audits.

Big G research director Stephen White blogged saying that the programmes were closed in the North America, Japan and Latin America markets since November 2015.

“Closure of the EMEA program (sic)  is currently underway; the company states it will maintain audit/compliance programming only in select markets throughout APAC,” he wrote.

Until recently, Adobe was also one of the top five most active auditing software publishers according to Gartner client surveys. However, the elimination of Adobe’s audit and licence compliance programme is not terribly surprising, considering the company’s aggressive conversion to SaaS subscriptions, and implementation of monitoring services including the Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Service.

White thinks this is a good thing, because it shows the company’s move to software-as-a-service has eased its piracy and counterfeiting problems to the extent that it doesn’t need to conduct audits any more.

With SaaS the outfit can see just what its customers are up to and fire off automated reminders of licensing obligations and take them to court if they ignore the request.

 

Ingram Micro launches Surface as a Service product

surface-pro-2Ingram Micro has signed up for Microsoft’s Surface as a service programme and launching its own version.

Under the deal, the distributor will be able to offer resellers in the UK the chance to provide Surface and the Microsoft suite along with the chance to take advantage of leasing options that should make it an easier decision for users.

Brian Windsor, senior business manager for Microsoft at Ingram Micro, said that it would be able to lean on its knowledge of the vendor’s software and hardware products.

“This offering will permit our resellers to assist their customer’s transformation to digital with ease. What’s more, we have strived to build our leasing options with recurring business in mind in order to maintain longevity of customer investment for our resellers,” he said.

Microsoft launched the programme last month.  The big idea was to expand the number of partners that would be offering the same managed services approach. It is open to Cloud Solution Providers who are authorised Surface distributors and provides a managed service offering that can be taken out through resellers to users.

At the time Vole said that the Surface was having a real impact in the business market and Surface business has grown from generating $1bn in revenue in a year to $1bn in revenue per quarter.

“With our growing portfolio, we are creating not just great devices, but breakthrough categories that open up a world of new opportunities for partners to build capabilities in new areas, and to create solutions and services for customers. This year, we are investing in programs that increase partner revenue and profitability,” he added.

EMC warns that a further channel push could be a bad thing

emcEMC is warning investors that leaning on the channel once it is acquired by Dell could seriously damage its health or at least wealth.

EMC  does about 60 percent of its business through the channel, and is worried that an increased reliance on channel partners “may negatively impact” gross margins.  It told  the US Securities and Exchange Commission:

“As we focus on new market opportunities and additional customers through our various distribution channels, including small-to-medium sized businesses, we may be required to provide different levels of service and support than we typically have provided in the past. We may have difficulty managing directly or indirectly through our channels these different service and support requirements and may be required to incur substantial costs to provide such services, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.”

EMC has traditionally focused on high-end enterprise customers while Dell, its soon-to-be parent company, used its renowned supply chain to become a leader in the consumer, small business and mid-market arenas.

For EMC’s second quarter ended June 30, perhaps its last as a stand-alone, publicly traded company, EMC’s revenue was essentially flat year-over-year at $6.03 billion while its profit jumped more than 21 percent to $630 million or 29 centers per share.

The Dell-EMC merger, which will result in the creation of Dell Technologies, is expected to close before the end of October.

Oracle hacked by Russian mobsters

Oracle-Announces-X5Russian organised cybercrime has broken into Oracle’s point-of-sale credit card payment systems.

According to KrebsOnSecurity the attackers have compromised a customer support portal for companies using Oracle’s MICROS point-of-sale credit card payment systems.

Oracle acknowledged that it had “detected and addressed malicious code in certain legacy MICROS systems.” It also said that it is asking all MICROS customers to reset their passwords for the MICROS online support portal.

MICROS is among the top three point-of-sale vendors globally. Oracle’s MICROS division sells point-of-sale systems used at more than 330,000 cash registers worldwide. When Oracle bought MICROS in 2014, the company said MICROS’s systems were deployed at some 200,000+ food and beverage outlets, 100,000+ retail sites, and more than 30,000 hotels.

The size and scope of the break-in is still being investigated, and it remains unclear when the attackers first gained access to Oracle’s systems. Oracle first considered the breach to be limited to a small number of computers and servers at the company’s retail division. However it started to look a lot worse as the investigation developed.

KrebsOnSecurity said an Oracle MICROS customer reported hearing about a potentially large breach at Oracle’s retail division.

Oracle’s MICROS customer support portal apparently had a chat to a server used by the Carbanak Gang. Carbanak is part of a Russian cybercrime syndicate that is suspected of stealing more than $1 billion from banks, retailers and hospitality firms over the past several years.

Rackspace rumoured to be up for grabs

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that the cloudy hosting provider Rackspace is going to be acquired.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday that a deal with a private equity firm was imminent. Friday, a Reuters story said Apollo Global Management was working on a deal with the San Antonio-based company that could be worth more than $3.5 billion.  Needless to say it has not happened yet.

The outfit has had a few problems expanding and had been looking to bring in private equity, regroup or restructure.  There have been rumours for ages that they were ripe for the picking with a telecom provider thinking of buying them at one point.

But it seems that the company, despite having good offerings, is having a job saying anything relevant .

In May 2014, Rackspace informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had hired Morgan Stanley to formally explore a merger or acquisition. That September, Bloomberg News reported CenturyLink was looking to buy the company.

Speculation about potential suitors fizzled after Rackspace removed itself from the market and was unhappy with the offers it had received.

Amazon and Microsoft are the cloud kings

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINAmazon Web Services and Microsoft are the rulers of the public cloud, according to beancounters at Gartner.

The research firm’s “Magic Quadrant” annual report surveys the amount and type of cloud computing services offered for rent by big companies. However this year it appears to be a two horse race between Amazon and Vole. Amazon is coming first, probably because it was first out of the gate,  while Microsoft continues a strong push at second.

Google, IBM, VirtuStream (part of EMC), CenturyLink, Rackspace and VMware all have a horse running but are a long way down the field.

Amazon’s poured shedload of cash into its $10 billion a year business. AWS “has the largest share of compute capacity in use by paying customers — many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” according Big G.

Last year, AWS ran more than 10 times the cloud compute capacity as the next 14 cloud players combined. Asked whether that means Amazon’s dominance has held steady, grown, or decreased year over year, Gartner IT managing vice president Rakesh Kumar said that the research firm does not have the exact comparable figure, but that it is “reasonable to assume” that AWS has maintained the same lead this year.

Last week, Gartner released another report showing Amazon dominating the cloud storage market as well.

Google has been trying hard to win market share from the other two powers and to prove that it is serious about the public cloud market. Google remains the third largest player by Gartner’s measures, but it has slipped a bit relative to the top.

Google’s strengths lie in its big data analytics and machine learning technologies that it has used internally and is now offering to the public at large. Even AWS supporters love to use Google BigQuery and Bigtable, to parse and explore big amounts of data, for example.

Google has also made some strides entrenching its view of container management, as embodied in Kubernetes, to outside players. Containers, are a modern way to combine all the services needed for a software application into a portable unit that can, in theory, run on a company’s internal servers, on Google, or some other public cloud.

 

Brexit causes UK services sector to fall

boris-parachuteThe UK services sector contracted for the first time in three and a half years thanks to Brexit.

The PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) survey data from IHS Markit and CIPS shows that the output and new business both declined and at the fastest rates since early 2009, with the Business Activity Index falling from 47.4 in July, compared with 52.3 in June.

It meant employment in the services sector stayed the same, marking the end of a 3.5-year period of uninterrupted job creation.

The volume of incoming new business dropped for the first time since the end of 2012. The report said that this was the fastest decline since early 2009 and again fuelled by uncertainty over the EU vote.

Chris Williams, chief economist at Markit, said: “It is too early to say if the surveys will remain in such weak territory in the coming months, leaving substantial uncertainty over the extent of any potential downturn. However, the unprecedented month-on-month drop in the all-sector index has undoubtedly increased the chances of the UK sliding into at least a mild recession.

“Service providers are certainly bracing themselves for worse to come with a record drop in business confidence about the year ahead, leaving optimism at its lowest ebb since February 2009.”

Still at least Brexit means we will no longer having foreigners telling us how to run things, even if they appear to have been doing it better than us.