Author: Nick Farrell

Fiscal teams up with Moore Stephens in fraud war

Forensic financial solutions and services outfit Fiscal Technologies announced a new strategic partnership with accounting consultant Moore Stephens, a Top 10 accounting and advisory network, to strengthen risk reduction and fraud prevention in the P2P process.

This new partnership will enable organisations across the globe to take advantage of the combined products and services, designed to monitor and prevent unnecessary organisational spend, it is said.

Procurement fraud is a very real and constant threat and finance professionals face a constant challenge in managing supplier spend and identifying erroneous payments. Increasing complexity, outsourcing and new markets can all increase fraud exposure. By taking a proactive and continuous approach to identifying fraud, organisations can increase control and thereby protect against reputational damage, whatever that is.

Head of Strategic Alliances and Channel at FISCAL Technologies Colin Rigby said the announcement allows organisations to take their fraud control to the next level.

“This exciting new partnership will empower clients to increase control of their supplier spend, improve spend visibility and take a more proactive stance in protecting working capital by identifying and challenging erroneous payments before they happen. The combination of Moore Stephens’ network resources and capabilities and the power of FISCAL Technologies forensic software creates a compelling market offering. We look forward to working together to help organisations of all types improve risk and fraud prevention.”

Exciting indeed.

“We’re thrilled to be working with FISCAL Technologies”, said Robert Noye-Allen, Partner at Moore Stephens. “Over the last few years there has been an increasing drive towards continually enhancing financial process efficiency, but fraud prevention must always be a constant concern. Our partnership with FISCAL enables us to provide our clients with an effective tool for protecting supplier spend and defending against fraud, on a continuous, preventative basis.”


Roc Technologies sweeps up some Esteem

Services outfit Roc Technologies has written a cheque for managed services provider Esteem Systems.

The newly combined firm is expected to hit sales of £80 million in 2019, Roc said.

Last year Roc bought City Change Management and secured a £10 million investment from the British Growth Fund.

Roc CEO Matt Franklin said Esteem’s managed services capabilities as a key factor behind the deal. When added to Roc, it creates a “strong annuity-driven business”, whatever that means.

Roc said that managed services will now make up 30 percent of the business and the combined firm will have a headcount of 350 employees and offices in Newbury, London, Wetherby and Glasgow.

Roc CEO Matt Franklin said: “I am delighted to be able to welcome Esteem Systems and our new colleagues into the Roc family. Our strategy at Roc is simple; to become the most valuable partner in our customers’ digital transformation strategy, and through that value-driven customer relationship, drive Roc’s growth and reputation in the market.

“The coming together of Roc and Esteem Systems is 100 per cent complementary in the portfolio, customers, industry focus, and geography, and I am thrilled that together we can extend new value to our joint customers and accelerate our next phase of growth through a truly differentiated customer offer.”


TfL wants suppliers for £70m IT tender

Transport for London (TfL) is calling for five suppliers to bid for an IT contract worth up to £70 million as its Atos and Computacenter contracts wind down.

The tender is for core ICT support and will run for an initial four years, with the potential to be extended for a further three years.

The successful supplier must provide service desk and desk-side support services, including support for customer information screens, audiovisual equipment and meeting rooms.

At the moment the primary desk support is currently delivered by Atos, while Computacenter provides desk-side support.

TfL said that “price is not the only award criterion”, emphasising the quality of service offered by the potential suppliers.

Partners have until the end of the month to apply for the tender, with invitations to tender set to be sent out at the start of December. The agreement is expected to start in January 2020.

Scott Walker takes chief marketing officer role at Unitas Global

0Enterprise cloud outfit Unitas Global named Scott Walker as chief marketing officer.

With more than two decades of experience driving sales and marketing programs for many of the industry’s leading enterprise cloud companies, Walker will serve to strengthen Unitas Global’s position in the managed cloud services marketplace. He will report directly to Patrick Shutt, CEO of Unitas Global.

Shutt said: ” “In just the last three years, Unitas Global has grown by more than 500 percent. To continue expanding our business, we need to apply a greater focus to sharing the stories of why our customers choose to partner with Unitas Global as they advance along their digital transformation journeys. Having been in the industry for more than two decades, Scott understands this better than most. He sees the value we bring to enterprises that are looking to use the cloud to gain a competitive advantage. We couldn’t be more excited to have him on board to help our business reach the next level.”

Before joining Unitas Global, Walker served in VP and director-level marketing and sales roles at companies across the cloud services sector. In his three years with Ericsson, Walker served as VP and Head of Cloud Infrastructure where he was responsible for a cloud infrastructure practice and launched the company’s composable hyperscale system and edge computing platforms to support IoT and 5G readiness for service providers. Before joining Ericsson, Walker served as VP of Indirect Channels and Alliances at Equinix, where he was responsible for significant growth and was part of the key team that launched the world’s first direct connection to public cloud capability with AWS. He’s also held senior level positions with ARCserve, AT&T Solutions, and Masergy.

Walker said: “Having been part of world-class teams throughout my career, one of the key lessons learned is that to build an effective cloud strategy requires a trusted partner who is focused on delivering financial and strategic outcomes for the customers we serve. Unitas Global is laser-focused on helping its customers leverage cloud and cloud networking solutions to gain an edge. The company has a very compelling differentiated value proposition and is committed to helping its customers navigate the complexity of today’s modern cloud infrastructure. I am ecstatic to be on a winning team that is ready to scale to new heights.”

In his new role at Unitas Global, Walker will be responsible for leading all aspects of Unitas Global’s multi-channel marketing strategy, including branding, demand generation, and sales enablement initiatives across the organisation.


EkkoSense taps Crawford for telecoms unit

colin_crawford-418x315EkkoSense has appointed Colin Crawford to head up its expanding Telecoms and Broadcast business unit.

EkkoSense supports  telecoms and broadcast firms with its comprehensive portfolio of turnkey network cooling solutions and services.

In his new role, Colin Crawford will be responsible for promoting the company’s distinctive balanced cooling approach, and will be particularly focused on resolving the thermal management challenge for telecoms and broadcast organisations as they increasingly try to introduce more and more network power into limited enclosures. Colin has spent the last ten years developing and implementing major network cooling approaches for leading organisations such as Telefonica and Vodafone during his previous roles at CommScope, Dantherm Group and 4energy.

EkkoSense supports telecoms and broadcast firms with comprehensive balanced cooling strategies, as well as ongoing estate management services, site audits and analysis using the company’s innovative sensors and 3D visualisation software.

Dean Boyle, CEO of EkkoSense said: “with experience in assisting some of the world’s largest organisations in optimising the thermal performance of their networks, EkkoSense is an ideal partner for telecoms and broadcast businesses as they seek to secure the maximum performance from their business-critical network assets. With Colin Crawford joining EkkoSense to head up our Telecoms and Broadcast team we’ll be working closely with our industry partners and customers to develop our work in this area, with a particular focus on improving network reliability, increasing capacity and maximizing systems lifespan for their existing network assets.”

Crawford said: “Optimised network performance is always conditional on the consistent performance of thermally-sensitive transmission equipment, and that’s particularly the case in the telecoms and broadcast sector where thermal optimisation is becoming more and more critical. Over the last few years EkkoSense has quickly established itself as a key solutions and services provider in this area, and I look forward to helping further establish the company in these critical markets

Resellers snubbing distributors

14500.snubNew research shows 14 percent of resellers are purchasing between 20 and 30 percent of their kit from e-tailers like Amazon.

According to a report from Context, resellers are spurning IT distributors as if they were a rabid dog. More than 7,000 resellers in 14 countries found that a substantial minority of respondents were cutting them out of the loop when sourcing goods.

Some 30 percent of respondents said they bought up to 10 percent of their stock from e-tailers, 16 percent between 10 and 20 percent, and 14 percent between 20 and 30 percent, Context said.

Product availability was cited ahead of price as the most common reason resellers are flocking to e-tailers among the respondents, who were drawn from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the Baltics, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.

The report said that distributors needed to tackle the threat by focusing on value-added services, and solution-driven areas such as cloud, claiming this represents a $34 billion  opportunity.

Adam Simon, global MD for Context said the transformation of IT distribution has been driven in large part by the growing presence of major e-tailers and changing reseller expectations. Smaller resellers especially feel increasingly that their interests are not being looked after by distributors, and they’re flocking online as a result.

“It’s not time for distributors to hit the panic button. By focusing on things such as customer service, training and adding value in areas like the cloud and multiple new service areas, they can find ways to differentiate. Reassuringly, distributors continue to invest in infrastructure and skills to support their clients. But we may see price pressures push several players into finding economies of scale via acquisition over the coming year — potentially in APAC and LATAM”, he said.

Dell doubles hyperconverged sales

michael-dell-2The pressure of Dell’s boot on the throat of the hyperconverged space has increased as the outfit has doubled its revenue in the sector in the second quarter.

According to figures from IDC, the worldwide converged systems market grew 10 percent year on year in the second quarter of 2018, generating revenues of $3.5 billion and Dell was the winner with  seeing its sales jump 95.2 percent to $418.7 million.

Sebastian Lagana, infrastructure platforms and technologies research manager at IDC, said: “Datacentre infrastructure convergence remains an important investment driver for companies around the world.

“HCI solutions helped to drive second-quarter market expansion thanks, in part, to their ability to reduce infrastructure complexity, promote consolidation, and allow IT teams to support an organisation’s business objectives.”

he certified reference and integrated infrastructure market saw a year-on-year decline of 14 percent, generating $1.3 billion in the second quarter. This represents 38 percent of total converged systems revenue.

Dell also led the charge in this market segment, with $640 million in sales, representing a 47.5 percent share of the space. This was followed by Cisco/NetApp holding the second-largest share of this segment space and HPE trailing in third.

Integrated platform sales declined 12.5 percent year on year, with revenues of $729.4m. Oracle was the top-ranking supplier in this segment, capturing 60 per cent of this market space and seeing profits of $441 million.

Nutanix saw a year-on-year decrease of its HCI market share, but still ranked second in the segment, holding 19 percent of the HCI space, with Cisco and HPE coming joint third.

ResponseSource swallowed by Vuelio

shark_attack_painting-t2 (1)Access Intelligence, the parent company of Vuelio, has bought ResponseSource for a cash-and-shares worth £5.5 million to create an unrivalled portfolio of stakeholder engagement software.

Access Intelligence CEO Joanna Arnold said: “Vuelio and ResponseSource have a lot in common. They are both SaaS businesses providing great communications intelligence to PR, marketing and journalism professionals. But at the same time, they are extremely complementary, and ResponseSource will from day one add significantly to the portfolio while accelerating our combined product development, particularly in journalist services.”

Vuelio clients now have the option to access a powerful means of media engagement thanks to the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service, which allows journalists to request information from PR professionals directly. This creates an unprecedented opportunity for Vuelio clients to gain coverage by providing comment, opinion and other content on a vast range of topics for leading newspapers, publications and influencers.

Journalists and influencers using the service will also benefit as over time they will be able to access a broader range of leads through the Vuelio client base – a rich source of blue-chip businesses and sector-leading organisations.

Joanna Arnold added: “ResponseSource’s trusted journalist services are representative of the strong links between the team and the journalist community. These links provide a platform for relationship building and research, and it needs to deliver value to everyone involved. We plan to continue to invest in the ResponseSource brand, in its services, and in its people.”

ResponseSource founder Daryl Willcox will remain at the combined company and becomes Director of Audience Strategy for Access Intelligence. He said: “It’s a great outcome for our customers, journalist users and the team at ResponseSource that we are now part of an ambitious UK  company that understands the importance of the journalist network we have built. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow this strategically important side of the business that benefits journalists and PR professionals alike.”

Banking alternatives see spike in inquiries

oldbankFar-reaching IT failures and outages at traditional banks in recent months have triggered a surge in enquiries to banking alternatives, reveals one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

deVere Vault, the global e-money app and multi-currency prepaid card, today reports a 35 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in enquiries.  It follows a series of technical glitches at several major banks, affecting millions of customers.

Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, comments: “People have long been getting fed-up with major banks’ high fees, hidden costs, limited working hours, and less-than-impressive customer service, amongst other things.

“But this recent litany of IT failures has, it seems, prompted many of them to look beyond traditional banking and seek out alternatives, such as deVere Vault.

“Indeed, we’re largely attributing deVere Vault’s 35 per cent jump in enquiries in the last quarter to people being negatively impacted by the chaos within the traditional banking sector.

“By switching to alternative banking solutions users typically enjoy much lower fees, plus on-the-go, 24-hour, hassle-free, borderless access to, and use of, their money. It’s not just the banks’ massive IT disruptions that are driving consumers towards alternative solutions.  Geopolitical factors, such as Brexit amongst many others, are causing exchange rate volatility – but these alternatives are multicurrency, meaning users have the ability to mitigate the adverse impact of currency fluctuations on their cash.

“In addition, the world is increasingly globalised and people are ever-more internationally mobile.  These alternative banking options are ideal for those who frequently travel as they can be used wherever, whenever.”

He added: “It is becoming increasingly evident that fintech [financial technology] firms are filling the gap left between what traditional banks are offering and what clients are now expecting, especially in terms of customer experience.”

Green said: “By providing those who use them with access to, and management and use of their money with no stress, no hassle and no hidden charges, wherever they are in the world, the demand for alternative banking solutions in our ever-more globalised world looks set to continue to soar.”

Axis gets a foot in the door with Police

policemanAxis has been named a full member of Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, as a wide range of network video products receive its Police Preferred Specification accreditation

SBD is part of the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives’ (PCPI) group of crime prevention organisations, which operate in support of the Police Service throughout the UK. Membership was awarded after 15 of Axis’ network video products were accredited for achieving SBD’s Police Preferred Specification (PPS) standards for security.

The PPS accreditations include a variety of devices from AXIS Companion, a complete solution that brings the reliability of professional video surveillance to small business owners. This gives SMEs the confidence and reassurance they need to invest in cost-effective networked video technology, and reap the security and business benefits that connected devices offer.

The PCPI SBD was established in 1989 and works with police forces and industry suppliers to create high standards of crime prevention equipment, with the ultimate aim of reducing both the risk and fear of crime. SBD requires products to be rigorously tested or certified independently before it is prepared to consider them for its coveted PPS accreditation.

“Axis is driven by a vision to constantly innovate for a smarter and safer world. Having SBD accreditation provides customers who are procuring security equipment and video surveillance technology with that extra level of knowledge that Axis products are proven and trusted,” says Atul Rajput, Regional Director Northern Europe at Axis Communications. “We have worked hard to ensure that all of our products deliver to the highest standards, for both enterprise and small business.”

The company said that network video is essential for crime prevention and prosecution and can help communities feel safer and more secure. It  has a major role to play in the development of smart city technology. Image data from shopping centres, transport networks and city surveillance is not only used to fight crime, but also to provide intelligence around the movement of people and goods throughout an area.

In addition, while a large part of SBD accreditation focuses on ensuring devices are safe from physical attack, it is equally important that the cybersecurity of new technology is given the same priority.

“Axis has worked hard to ensure it has a safe and secure platform for network video. Axis engineers pride themselves on designs that make device management and issuing firmware updates simple but fully protected against malicious hackers and online criminals. Once IP video is securely installed on the network it can be combined with other data sources to deliver real insights for smarter living,” Rajput says.

“We welcome Axis as a full member to what is a select group of companies that have demonstrated the necessary criteria to meet our strict standards for SBD accreditation,” says Guy Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, Secured by Design. “The role of network video surveillance is increasingly vital for communities across the UK, and it is important that vendors such as Axis are proving that this technology can be built and deployed responsibly and reliably.”

Axis products that have achieved the PPS accreditation include devices from the AXIS Companion range of indoor and outdoor cameras, as well as thermal and radar imaging equipment, and the Axis Network Horn Speaker. This gives Axis’ partners the ability to provide businesses of all sizes and needs with full solutions and externally certified equipment.

Cloud Foundry launches certified systems Integrator programme

two-clouds-1385018843_27_contentfullwidthOpen source outfit Cloud Foundry has announced its the Cloud Foundry Certified Systems Integrator programme.

The programme is  designed to help Systems Integrators (SIs), consultancies and professional services organisations highlight their expertise working with the Cloud Foundry family of technologies.

These organisations have demonstrated contributions to the Cloud Foundry community through contributing code, hosting meetups, public marketing of the platform, Foundation membership and more.

  • Cloud Foundry Certified SIs will receive the following benefits:
  • Top-level visibility in The Foundry, the largest open source marketplace in existence
  • An official Cloud Foundry Certified SI badge to use in their marketing material
  • Reseller discounts for Cloud Foundry Certified Developer exams

The Foundation also announced two new projects — Eirini and CF Containerisation — have been accepted as incubating projects by the Project Management Committees (PMCs), which oversee platform engineering of the open source projects, to further the interoperability of Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes.

Vertiv announces Joachim Fischer as EMEA channel sales director

indexVertiv has announced the appointment of Joachim Fischer as channel sales director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The company said that Fischer brings significant channel experience having previously worked as general manager sales for NEC in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH), leading substantial channel development programmes.

Fischer will lead the creation of an enhanced product portfolio specifically designed for the channel, along with a competitive commercial policy and a series of marketing initiatives and programmes to support resellers. Moreover, his role will be essential in supporting new product developments for this segment, as well as bringing edge computing solutions to the market.

Vertiv EMEA vice president Karsten Winther said the company had been working intensively to develop a comprehensive list of value propositions – a sophisticated channel dedicated product portfolio, additional investments in reseller recruitments and further investments in channel marketing programmes.

“This is with the ambition to attract partnerships based on trust and significant mutual growth in our channel distributors and resellers, as part of our broader go-to-market strategy. We have incredible potential – paired with Fischer ’s expertise in driving both projects and run rate business with the channel and all of our new initiatives; we can make substantial progress to become more attractive to channel partners and help expand our reach into this ever-changing, dynamic and critical market area.”

Fischer said: “I am very excited to join Vertiv and to help shape the company’s new channel programmes in EMEA. This market has its own particular dynamics, and I look forward to applying my experience and knowledge to match its needs.”

US software outfits plan $5.2 billion merger

Merge-AheadCloudera and Hortonworks have announced plans to merge, creating an organisation valued at $5.2 billion.

The pair claims the merged outfit will be “the world’s leading next-generation data platform provider”.

The new firm will have a revenue of around $720 million and will save 125 million a year.  There is no word at this point how those savings will be made, but we suspect more than one person will be cleaning out their desk and leaving the building.

Cloudera CEO Reilly is set to helm the new business, while Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden will join the board of directors.

Bearden said: “This compelling merger will create value for our respective stockholders and allow customers, partners, employees and the open source community to benefit from the enhanced offerings, larger scale and improved cost competitiveness inherent in this combination. Together, we are well positioned to continue growing and competing in the streaming and IoT, data management, data warehousing, machine learning/AI and hybrid cloud markets. Importantly, we will be able to offer a broader set of offerings that will enable our customers to capitalise on the value of their data.”


Metaphor headed for £10 million revenues

PF-loadsamoney_2177214kMetaphor IT is confident that it is going to break the £10 million barrier within the next three years.

Founder Richard Callis expects the company to generate a turnover of £7 million by the end of its current financial year on 31 March 2019 and to hit the magical 10 million barrier it will use a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.

Acquisitions have been a critical part of Metaphor IT’s growth so far but the company has not found any which are the right fit, yet.

Metaphor has Rackspace, Citrix and Microsoft among its vendor partners acquired in September 2016, with the purchase of Surrey-based Teagen, but Callis admitted that it will acquire only companies that meet a set of rules.

Acquisition targets must fit in with Metaphor’s existing three pillars of cloud and virtualisation, security, and managed services, and must have revenues of £5m or below, he said.



Brexit about to give the application development market a kicking

1046922917The application development, testing and maintenance market is about to be dusted up by Brexit, according to a report from a report from Information Services Group.

Banking, financial services, healthcare and life sciences are likely to suffer some adverse impact from Brexit as no one knows what software they are going to need.

This means that the majority of companies in the UK have not yet begun preparing for Brexit, and there are growing fears of supply-chain disruptions. As for providers, the large ones should be able to cover most situations that arise, but smaller UK-based providers may struggle with the changing market dynamics.

Many vendors hope that there will be a spike in demand after 29 March next year as customers try to get in-line with any changes quickly.

Banks had already started to move headcount out of the UK, and there was talk of some movement in the car manufacturing areas, and that would be a strain on existing systems based on the current situation, the report said.

There were also signs that aside from Brexit customers were looking for more focus on next-generation options from their application development management partners. Areas of interest included: analytics, IoT, cloud-native architecture, SaaS-based offerings, security, customer experience and mobile.