Author: Nick Farrell

Oracle sees dark clouds ahead

lightning-cloudDatabase outfit Oracle has reported a strong second quarter thanks to an increase in cloud revenue, but is not seeing such a bright future.

Second quarter revenues were up six percent to $9.6 billion compared with last year’s second quarter. Net income was up 10 percent to $2.2 billion.

Total cloud revenues were up 44 percent to $1.5 billion but such growth is unlikely to continue, and some analysts are concerned that something is lurking below the surface.

Despite the strength of cloud revenue in the second quarter, Oracle’s cloud growth is forecast to slow in the current quarter to 21 to 25 percent, which is one of the factors that unsettled the market.

Changes are happening within Oracle and its methods of revenue gathering. There has been more take-up of unlimited licence agreements which could be a precursor to cloud migration and BYOL, and has helped slow the new licence revenue decline from 19 percent last year to a flat year and $1.3 billion revenue.

Larry Ellison, Oracle CTO, said the vendor will soon deliver its autonomous “self-driving” database.

“The new artificially intelligent Oracle database is fully automated and requires no human labour for administration. If a security vulnerability is detected, the database immediately patches itself while running.

“No other system can do anything like this. Best of all, we guarantee the price of running the Oracle Autonomous Database in the Oracle Cloud is less than half the cost of running a database in the Amazon Cloud.”

 

 

Maverick sails across the pond

Columbus-flagship-Santa-Maria-discoveredAV distributor Maverick is carrying out global expansion and will be borging the Americas and Asia Pacific into its  European operation.

Maverick AV Solutions works with audio-visual brands. Over the past 20 years,  Maverick has grown from a team of seven people in the UK into something somewhat larger.

Preparation has already begun with Jon Sidwick and the Maverick AV Solutions team working closely with the Americas’ leadership team to ready for expansion into the US and then throughout the Americas region.

Jon Sidwick, VP Maverick AV Solutions explained: “This is a new chapter for Maverick with a new brand and the strongest mix of manufacturer partners we have ever worked with.

“We are extremely proud of relationships we have built with our customers and vendor partners and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for the support of Maverick to date. I am excited for a new challenge, working with an already established team of AV specialists in these markets to bring the experience from the European teams and create new services and solutions for customers in the regions.”

Joel Chimoindes joins the team with senior management experience, having spent the last year as managing director at Beta Digital Media Solutions and eighteen months as European Solution & innovation director at technology and infrastructure solutions business, Azlan, also part of the Tech Data Group. Joel’s role will be to work alongside the European management team to continue the unprecedented growth within the region, growing the vendor portfolio and helping deliver improved solutions and services for client.

The huge growth in audio-visual applications being adopted by companies of all sizes, educational institutions and government agencies, around the world means that now is the perfect time to expand Maverick’s approach across the globe.

The spinners said: “Maverick’s collaborative, scalable, platform-based solutions and top flight vendor portfolio is well-positioned to meet the needs of this fast-growing market. This successful model will now be expanded into the Americas and Asia Pacific. In the Americas, the Visual Solutions practice, part of the endpoint solutions portfolio, will be incorporated into Maverick in the coming fiscal year.”

Whatever that means.

Thales swallows Gemalto

Barracuda-1Security outfits Thales and Gemalto have reached a merger agreement.

The pair have settled on an all-cash offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Gemalto, for a price of €51 per share.

Patrice Caine, Thales’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said that the acquisition of Gemalto was a milestone in the implementation of Thales’s strategy.

“Together with Gemalto’s management, we have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of our industries and customers. Our project will be beneficial to innovation and employment, whilst respecting sovereign strategic technologies.”

He said the pair share the same culture and DNA which must have been a traumatic merger meeting.

It means that Gemalto’s 15,000 employees will join the group to make a significant digital security player.

Philippe Vallée, Gemalto’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am convinced that the combination with Thales is the best and the most promising option for Gemalto and the most positive outcome for our Company, employees, clients, shareholders and other stakeholders. We share the same values and Gemalto will be able to pursue its strategy, accelerate its development and deliver its digital security vision, as part of Thales.”

Over the past three years, Thales has increased its focus on digital technologies, investing over €1 billion in connectivity, cybersecurity, data analytics and artificial intelligence, in particular with the acquisition of Sysgo, Vormetric and Guavus. The integration of Gemalto, reinforces Thales’s digital offering, across its five vertical markets – aeronautics, space, ground transportation, defence and security.

Altogether, this new business unit will represent around 20 percent of pro forma Group revenues and rank among the top three players worldwide, with €3.5 billion revenues in the digital security market.

Apparently, according to the spinners: “Thales will be ideally positioned to offer an end-to-end solution, to secure the full critical digital decision chains, from data creation in sensors to real-time decision making. This unrivalled and innovative technology portfolio will put Thales in a highly differentiated position to provide enterprises and governments with a seamless response to the data security challenges that lie at the heart of their digital transformation.”

Whatever that means.

 

AI will start to create more jobs by 2020

sat-ai-head-640x353AI will start to create more jobs than it eliminates by 2020, according to beancounters at Gartner.

While most of the news has been focusing on how many jobs AI will kill off, Gartner has now given a timeframe to when some of the changes will be felt in the workplace with the analyst house forecasting that 2020 will be the moment when AI starts to create more jobs than it eliminates.

In just over two years 2.3 million positions will have been created thanks to artificial intelligence with 1.8 million roles having been killed off thanks to the technology.

Gartner research vice president Svetlana Sicular said, any significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route.

“Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation — that overshadows the greatest AI benefit — AI augmentation — a combination of human and artificial intelligence, where both complement each other”, she added.

She urged IT leaders to start looking at ways to get people facing the end of their jobs ready for new roles.

“Now is the time to impact your long-term AI direction. For the greatest value, focus on augmenting people with AI. Enrich people’s jobs, reimagine old tasks and create new industries. Transform your culture to make it rapidly adaptable to AI-related opportunities or threats,” she said.

Cold calling getting out of hand

coldcalling_0Customers are claiming they are receiving up to 40 “unsolicited and unhelpful” IT supplier calls a day as cold calling is getting out of control.

VAR Probrand, which surveyed IT suppliers and buyers, found that over 60 percent of end-user respondents were being hounded by between nine and 40 calls from IT suppliers.

On average, 90 percent of those calls last between one and five minutes, so end users are burning up to three hours a day fielding unwanted calls. What is bizarre about the sudden uptick is that cold calling is mostly ineffective. Probrand points to research by the Harvard Business Review which finds that 91 percent of cold calls do not work.

Probrand said that there was a complexity and inefficiency out there that the industry at large needs to tackle customers are changing the way they buy – they still want to purchase either on or offline, but it has to be “on their terms” and without disruptive sales calls throughout the day.

The research also found that half of IT suppliers were frustrated by a lack of visibility of end users through the channel.

The study also found that 26 percent of distributors and vendors said poor third-party marketing was a big challenge, while 32 percent were frustrated with poor ROI from reseller marketing activity. Poor reporting was also cited as a contributing problem.

Kaseya releases MSPs and MME business tool

jXupbaWiKaseya is launching a business intelligence and benchmarking tool specifically designed to assist MSPs and MMEs.

Created to ‘ensure the success of its partners’, MSP insights is built on proprietary technical and business data to allows MSPs to quickly and easily benchmark their business metrics against other MSPs in their region. It also allows businesses to analyse new and emerging MSP service offerings, evaluate bundling and pricing strategies, and review detailed technical trends.

Kaseya chief product officer Mike Puglia said: “Our customer-centric mentality is what drives Kaseya to constantly develop new technology, tools and services meant to help our MSP customers grow revenues and earn more market share. Competitive analysis, though extremely important, can be costly and time-intensive. Through our new MSP Insights portal, MSPs can now benchmark their business services and strategies against the wider MSP community. What’s more, Kaseya has done the analysis so our customers can easily access the critical information they need and focus on what is most important, running and expanding their own business.”

The size of the global managed services market is expected to grow from $152.45 billion in 2017 to $257.84 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 11.1 percent. It is a huge and competitive market. Cost savings were once the primary driver for MSP services. With Kaseya MSP Insights, service providers can quickly benchmark their own list of technology solutions and services against what other providers offer-delivering a huge competitive advantage. Mick Shah, SVP of technical services at a leading MSP, Dataprise, sees tools such as this – that offer insight into competing MSP services – as critical to service providers, Puglia  said.

“The ability to look under the covers, so to speak, at what our competitors are offering customers speaks volumes to our sales team. Kaseya MSP Insights allows us to stay in front of market technology trends and see what new technologies our customers require. This empowers us to continually update the types of technology and services we offer, which directly leads to new business and overall company growth for Dataprise.”

Channel fills direct sales team void

skills-shortage-delays-building-25-11-2002New research from partner relationship management specialist Impartner suggests the channel can step up to fill a shortage of direct sales staff.

The report said that direct sales teams are becoming harder to come by and the channel is getting even more of a chance to fill the void left because of recruitment problems. A lack of experienced candidates and high salaries being demanded by those who do have the skills have put the squeeze on firms trying to build their own sales teams.

As a result, more business is being given to indirect partners that can support the products and services with knowledgeable staff.

Impartner CMO  Dave Taylor said that the current situation is a huge positive for resellers and heralds a golden age of the channel.

“In a business climate where qualified enterprise sales candidates are costly and in short supply, companies can’t put all their revenue eggs in the direct sales basket.”

Almost ninety percent of the hiring managers that were quizzed by the firm reported problems with recruiting decent sales staff, with just over half revealing the problem had worsened in the last 18 months.

“Why struggle to hire direct sales people in an extremely competitive market that’s stifling your ability to increase revenue, when the indirect sales channel provides an immediate avenue to growth?” Taylor asked.

However, the channel will have to work harder for those suppliers that already had relationships with indirect partners, and direct only players would have to develop a strategy with distributors and resellers.

 

Dixons Carphone needs help after 60 percent profit drop

news-tmp-56002-dixons_carphone_0--2x1--400Dixons Carphone had admitted that its UK mobile business  needs some work after profits plummeted by sixty percent to almost £100 million.

Group revenues increased by one percent to £4.87 billion during its fiscal H1 ending 28 October, while EBIT decreased by 50 per cent year on year.

The central issue was the outfit’s domestic UK business which saw EBIT fall by £9 6 million year on year which Dixon’s dubbed a “challenging” mobile market.

CEO Seb James said that rising handset costs have discouraged consumers from replacing existing devices, but pledged to address Dixons Carphone’s UK profitability “in due course”.

“The UK postpay mobile phone market is tougher, with a combination of higher handset costs and relatively incremental technology growth continuing to cause customers to hold on to their handsets for longer and some to choose a subscriber identity module only (SIMO) contract in the meantime”, he said.

“In addition, the later launch of the iPhone X pushed some sales into the second half of our financial year. Throughout the period, we made a very conscious decision to fight hard to drive sales in our product offering, and this has impacted mobile profitability.”

He added: “We recognise that the performance of the mobile division needs addressing, and are taking action to adapt our model in order to cement our place in a changing world. We will update the market on these developments in due course, but we believe that we can, over time, reduce the complexity and capital intensity of our mobile business model, and increase the simplicity and profitability of what we do.”

Analysts warned of likely store closures as Carphone was dragged down by a three percent fall in like-for-like sales. The business has pledged to deliver a “simpler, less capital-intensive business”. In the second three months of the half year, mobile sales slumped six percent, although more than half of that drop was the result of the delayed launch of the iPhone X.

James said the company would do more to sell broadband and TV packages alongside phone deals, update its IT systems to make them less complex and change the way phone packages were financed.

He said a 25 per cent increase in the price of “flagship handsets” such as the iPhone, partly prompted by the fall in the value of the pound following the EU referendum, and the slowdown in technological progress meant that people were holding on to their phones for an average five months longer. As a result, more people are looking for SIM-only contracts rather than two year deals with a phone thrown in.

Device makers embracing software over hardware

Software-and-Application-SecurityA report from digital security outfit Gemalto has found that the device manufacturing industry is embracing software over hardware as its primary business model.

The change highlights how crucial software is becoming to device manufacturers, in improving business performance and growing revenue. And, as end-users begin to demand more options and control of their devices and data, entire industries are being forced to change their business models and strategies to cater to their customers.

According to Gemalto’s ‘How Software is Powering the Hardware Renaissance‘ report, the majority (84 percent) of organisations in the sector are changing how they operate. More than 37 percent have already made a full shift to a software-centric business model, one that places software at the core of how a company delivers value and generates revenue.

The research also found that 94 percent of respondents have increased their investment in software development in the last five years. Germany is leading the charge. All German organisations questioned have boosted their software-based services over this time; with France second (98 percent) and the US (93 percent) in third.

Hardware technology companies are already reaping substantial benefits – of those that have changed their models, the average increase in revenue has been 11 percent. They expect further growth in the next five years, with the revenue from software projected to rise from 15-18 percent.

As well as revenue growth, businesses that have moved to software-based selling have seen other benefits. Over eight in 10 have driven diversity in hardware with software features (86 percent), implemented remote feature upgrades (84 percent) and improved customer experience (84 percent). Businesses also report having a more flexible strategy that allows them to adapt to market change (79 percent), better control copy protection (76 percent) and being more competitive (73 percent).

These changes are also having a positive impact on employees. The majority of businesses have retrained their employees (64 percent) and hired new ones (58 percent), with 61 percent also revealing they have or intend to reshuffle employees into different roles.

With businesses starting to see the potential of the IoT, software-based business models are generating commercial benefits. Around nine in 10 respondents believe IoT is driving growth in the industry and that IoT itself is a chance to change their company’s business model (85percent). Enabling automated upgrades (61percent), remote support (57 percent), collecting usage analytics (54 percent) and gathering increased and higher quality customer insights (53 percent) are the main benefits businesses see IoT enabling.

Changing from hardware to a software-based selling model isn’t without challenges. When it comes to practicalities, almost all organisations (96 percent) that have changed, or are changing, have experienced some difficulties in making the transition work.

Looking at the challenges faced in more detail, half of the respondents reported that they needed to hire staff with different skills. Around one in three said solutions evolved organically without a central strategy (36 percent) and managed new sales and operational methodologies with old legacy processes (34 percent), caused challenges in the transition.

Gemalto Senior Vice President, Software Monetisation Shlomo Weiss said: “The results of this survey validate what we see on a daily basis with our customers as we help them make this transition. Companies who adopt software-based revenue models will reap three main benefits: long-term relationships with their customers, predictable revenue streams and a clear competitive advantage. From gaining insight into product usage, to pay-per-use payment structures and on to new market penetration – all the companies we surveyed identified a real need to transform how they do business.”

Cisco boss talks about how he changed the world

cisco-ceo-john-chambers-my-dyslexia-is-a-weakness-and-a-strengthCisco’s former CEO John Chambers told the assembled throngs at  the 2017 annual shareholders meeting conference,  that his outfit changed the way the world worked.

Chambers, who was CEO between 1995 and 2015, announced last September that he would also step down from the chairmanship.

Chambers said the world had a perception that Cisco was merely a “router company” but it really was aiming big.

“When we outlined a vision, almost 27 years ago, we said this company can change the way the world literally works, lives, learns and plays”,  said Chambers.

“We had the courage to say that we can change the world and do it to the benefit of creating unprecedented opportunities for our shareholders, our customers, our employees and our partners. And we had the opportunity to really also establish a culture which is probably what I am most proud of.”

Chambers then congratulated current CEO Chuck Robbins on the smoothness of the transition into his leadership.

“This is often a transition that does not go well, especially in high tech,” he said. “I want to thank the board. It has been a joy. And very often people don’t realise a great company or leaders, everybody likes to write about the successes, but it’s really how you handle your challenges and your setbacks that determine if you’ve got a great company or not.”

Looking towards the future, Chambers said Cisco is going to be a company which leads in digitisation and will “once again continue to change the world.

“This company has the courage to dream big dreams like no one else, set audacious goals of being one or two in everything we do, build a team that is diverse and challenges each other and [is] not always in agreement, but once we decide to move, we move as one organisation,” said Chambers.

“Cisco will always be in my heart… I will move on to my next chapter in my life, which will be around start-ups and really generating jobs throughout the world,” he added.

 

Logicalis enters Cisco Gold

maxresdefaultLogicalis has become Cisco’s sixth Global Gold partner.

Cisco added the Global Gold tier to the top of its partner programme in May, allowing partners with certifications in different regions to access the same benefits across all their regions.

Each partner needs a total of 12 accreditations across Cisco’s global territories, and has to hit services and renewal targets.

Mark Rogers, CEO at Logicalis, said: “We are really happy to see that our investments in our team skills, our solid business processes and our truly integrated operations around the globe are now recognised.

“Most important is that our clients can be further assured of Logicalis’ unparalleled expertise and unwavering commitment to keep continuously reinvesting in the technologies and services that support their business.”

Logicalis joins the five firms that were announced as Global Gold partners in May: BT, Dimension Data, Ericsson, IBM and Orange Business Services.

Terrified customers spending on protection

krayPunters are terrified of cyber attacks and are spending cash to make sure they are not the latest victim according to the most recent survey by the research analysts at Canalys.

Canalys has been asking around and added up some numbers and decided that the worldwide security market grew by nine percent in the third quarter.

Content security enjoyed the fastest growth, up by 13 percent  year-on-year, with network security (eight percent) and security management (five percent) seeing rises in the third quarter.

Canalys research analyst Claudio Stahnke said that high-profile ransomware attacks and increasingly sophisticated phishing techniques had proved the need for businesses to reinforce their IT security to safeguard data assets and ensure continuity of operation.

The top five security vendors have commanded a third of all customer spend, with Cisco grabbing the most with nine percent. They were followed by Symantec, Check Point, IBM and McAfee.

“Cisco grew seven percent year on year, thanks to its strong channel partner focus and a broad product portfolio boosted by acquisitions”,  said Stahnke.

The prospects for the fourth quarter and next year are also looking positive as the pressure on protecting data increases against a backdrop of the introduction in May of the GDPR regulations.

“In 2018, as hackers intensify the use of AI, attacks will become more sophisticated. This will increase demand for comprehensive security solutions, favouring those vendors with broad product portfolios”, said Stahnke.

Next year should be good for the security channel.

“Security threats have never had more public awareness than they do currently. 2017 saw major events such as Wannacry galvanise the public’s attention and affect organisations all around the world. In 2018, security breaches will continue to hit the headlines and influence businesses into reviewing their data protection. And of course GDPR will be a major factor in promoting sales of security solutions”, said Ian Kilpatrick, EVP Cyber Security for Nuvias Group.

“The reality is that security will continue to be a high growth area for the channel. In a market which is already overcrowded with solutions, 2018 will bring great opportunities for resellers to build on their position as trusted advisors and guide clients through what may seem like a worrying and confusing scenario”, he added.

Dell EMC numbers rise thanks to servers

dellchannDell EMC saw its revenue jump 21 percent in the third quarter thanks to double-digit growth in the server department.

For the three months ending 3 November, Dell’s revenue increased to $19.6 million while operating losses narrowed 65 percent to $533 million.

Dell EMC saw revenue jump 26 percent to $5.9 billion. The revenue was split evenly between the two segments, with servers and networking jumping 32 percent and storage up 19 percent.

Dell chief financial officer Tom Sweet said: “In the third fiscal quarter, we delivered solid performance across the business.

“Moving forward, we’ll maintain our focus on profitable growth, generating strong cashflow and delivering a comprehensive and seamless solutions portfolio, incorporating the capabilities of all the companies under Dell Technologies.”

Dell’s client solutions division, which encompasses PCs and notebooks, saw growth of eight percent to $9.2 billion.

VMware revenue saw its revenue up 52 percent to just under $2 billion.

Entatech will pay out trade creditors

3bcd5c6Entatech Trade Creditors  are likely to get back 35 and 45 pence on the pound, according to the final administration report from KPMG.

Entatech went under in May owing £9.7 million to unsecured creditors, including £7 million  to trade creditors.

The firm’s administrators had previously reported that these creditors could expect to see a return of around two thirds, but in the final report, posted on Companies House, KPMG has revised this figure to 35 to 45 pence, “based on current estimates”. Entatech has now been moved into voluntary liquidation.

Much of it depends on the sale of Entatech’s Telford property which is expected to be worth about £2 million.

Microsoft is the largest trade creditor, with the vendor being owed just over £1. 2million.

Two of Entatech’s three secured creditors have been paid in full, while the third is expected to be paid in full once the property has been sold.

Preferential creditors are expected to be paid in full.

GNR acquired Entatech’s stock, contracts, domain names, intellectual property and goodwill for £300,001 on 12 May. Further payment was slated to be due depending on GNR’s sale of stock, with an additional £231,850 now set to be added to the initial fee.

Curry’s offers same day delivery

Currys-PC-World-2-in-1-in-640x427Currys PC World has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to launch a new same day delivery service across the UK.

The deal should help Currys take on Amazon whose same day delivery has been a bit of a killer.

Customers opting for same-day deliveries will be able to select a two-hour delivery timeslot of their choice that day, between 12pm-10pm. Same-day timeslots will automatically be displayed upon checkout to eligible customers: those placing an order for a small item before 4 pm. The new service, which runs seven days a week and costs customers £9.95, is available to shoppers within a 10-mile radius of one of 242 Currys PC World stores across the UK.

The new delivery offering from Currys PC World and On the dot complements a range of fulfilment options already available to its customers, such as standard and next day delivery.

During the week leading up to Black Friday, 32-inch TVs and cordless vacuum cleaners were amongst the most popular products purchased from Currys PC World with same-day delivery, and customers were favouring the 6pm-8pm delivery timeslot.

Stuart Ramage, eCommerce Director at Currys PC World, commented: “At Currys PC World, we pride ourselves on helping our customers get it right when it comes to purchasing electrical items and home appliances. From small screen televisions to microwave ovens, it’s important we get their purchase to them wherever they want it, when they want it. We’re excited to be partnering with On the dot to introduce same-day delivery, meaning our customers now have a suite of delivery options available to them, both online and in-store.”

Patrick Gallagher, CEO of On the dot – part of the CitySprint Group – said: “We are delighted that Currys PC World has chosen to work with On the dot for its new delivery offering. We know that consumers today expect to shop on their terms and it is retailers like Currys PC World who have put convenient delivery at the top of their agenda, that will succeed in retaining and attracting new customers.’’

Developed in 2015, On the dot is an innovative new technology platform, created specifically to help retailers offer highly convenient deliveries at prices comparable to next day delivery. On the dot is part of the CitySprint Group – the largest privately-owned same day courier fleet in the UK, with a regional network of 41 service centres. On the dot’s open API means it can be easily integrated into retailers’ existing checkouts and EPOS, both online and in-store and all deliveries are GPS tracked in real time, with SMS and email notifications.