Author: Nick Farrell

Mayflex shows off channel Specialist Support Services

531596-web-1-0Converged IP Solution distributor Mayflex  been showing off its new channel Specialist Support Services package.’

Dubbed ‘Mayflex Channel Assist’ the packages are services which are aimed at projects with limited time available onsite or for rapid deployment projects.

The services available include product labelling, pre-terminated copper and fibre assemblies, the pre-staging of IP devices, camera and bracket spraying, configured racks, on site rack assembly, ‘Placement Plus’ delivery and Fluke support services.

Richard Cann, Technical Services Manager at Mayflex comments, “Having a partner that can deliver fully tested, readymade or ready configured and pre-assembled solutions helps remove the pressure of delivering a project in a limited amount of time. These services assist our customers with the fast deployment of products whilst at the same time reducing their costs by removing the need to invest in specialist equipment, labour and management costs.”

“Each service is carried out by our team of trained experts who are located in our Birmingham headquarters. The configured cabinet on site build service actually deploys members of the team to site to carry out an installation on behalf of our customers. Camera and bracket spraying is the newest of our services introduced towards the end of 2017. This is a service which sprays cameras and the associated brackets and fittings to a bespoke RAL colour. A service that we are seeing more and more demand for, providing clients with a discreet and stylish security system for their establishments,” he said.

“Our Fluke Support Services is ideal for customers that buy a Fluke tester with Gold Support but don’t have the time or capacity to keep track of when servicing or re-calibration is required. We will look after this completely and what’s more there isn’t a cost for doing so if the tester has been purchased from Mayflex,” Cann said.

Embattled VAR Firstnet in trouble

Troubled VAR Firstnet Solutions owes creditors up to £3 million, has had its bank account frozen and administration looks likely.

According to an email sent out to creditors, Barclays has frozen Firstnet’s bank account and the company is poised to enter into administration.

The email from company directors confirmed that Firstnet Solutions had submitted a ‘notice of intent to appoint an administrator’ on January 19, before extending that notice on February 2.

Firstnet Group owes between £900,000 and £3.3 million in liabilities, according to Companies House and credit checker DueDil. The firm is now facing a series of legal battles after leaving partners and former employees out of pocket.

According to sources familiar with the matter, as many as 11 members of staff have walked out after the entire workforce went without pay in January. At least three have told PCR that they are now seeking an employment tribunal to recover unpaid wages.

And yet the amount owed in unpaid wages is just a drop in the ocean when compared to the huge outstanding payments owed to suppliers. Details emerged last month of a £48,777 county court judgment (CCJ) served to Firstnet in January. Two additional suppliers have subsequently told PCR that they have CCJ orders pending, both for sums in excess of £15,000.



Advanced presses ahead with TruePartner

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudAdvanced has launched a new partner programme – TruePartner – to help resellers of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software accelerate their SME customers’ transformation to the Cloud.

According to the company, while appetite for Cloud technology is growing, only 33 percent of organisations admit to being experienced in it. Advanced believes some vendors are neglecting the needs of SMEs keen to reshape themselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution, leaving this backbone of British business in danger of being left behind.

The British software and services company plans to win over new partners keen to address the needs of the SME market but who aren’t getting the right support from their existing vendors – a move it hopes will generate an additional £1 million in revenue over the next 12 months. Its new Cloud-based ERP solution, Advanced Business Cloud Essentials*, is designed exactly to boost this opportunity for this reseller community.

The Advanced TruePartner programme will help resellers change their traditional business models as well as recognise what the Cloud is, and what it isn’t. Some vendors, for example, promote products as Cloud-based – when they are actually not true Cloud solutions – and there’s a danger of creating confusion amongst SMEs who rely on software resellers to guide and advise them.

Janette Martin, Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Advanced, sees this as a threat to the channel and a barrier to the Cloud becoming mainstream:

“Resellers have an incredible opportunity to adapt their business model to embrace Cloud technology. They have the chance to bet their business on those vendors that deliver genuine Cloud solutions and are willing to support them on their transformation, otherwise they risk losing traction, customers and revenue,” she said.

The channel, particularly smaller resellers, have become used to the revenue from upfront licences, a traditional financial management model where it is easy to manage revenue against forecasts. However, monthly subscriptions for Cloud services are disrupting that financial model and resellers will need to adapt quickly if they are to realise the benefits that this can deliver in recurring revenue.

Martin said: “We understand that moving to a Cloud-first approach isn’t straight forward, but we are seeing interest from businesses for the benefits that the Cloud can deliver. Together, we can make a difference and I believe it’s up to vendors like Advanced to develop long-term strategic channel partnerships, demonstrate the Cloud as the number one driver for business continuity, and provide resellers with the right ongoing training, support and marketing so that products can be sold and supported in the Cloud effectively.”

Some of the key features that Advanced is providing with its new TruePartner programme include:

  • Close collaboration and support with resellers to develop market and sector insight that enables focused software solutions to be delivered to customers.
  • Onboarding, training and marketing support for partners to sell solutions that provide real world-context and immediate business benefits.
  • Comprehensive accreditation and generous financial rewards, at every level, helping to achieve sustainable business growth for both resellers and customers.
  • Confidence that resellers will be providing SMEs with genuine cloud solutions, like Advanced Business Cloud Essentials, and working with a vendor that cares.

The new TruePartner programme is built around five levels of partnership: Reseller, Service, Alliance, Advisor and Software.

Nearly 90 percent of MSP customers held-up by ransomware

the-highwaymanThe latest state of the channel Ransomware report from Datto indicated that 89 percent of European MSP customers were victims of ransomeware attacks.

The attacks led to downtime, and for a small percentage the ransomware remained in the system and gave customers further grief down the line.

Antivirus software does not seem to be much good at protecting against ransomware and 94 percent of customers attacked said it had not prevented the attacks from happening.

The other problem area for users was around backup and restore. Those that had failed to invest in that technology left with severe headaches trying to get back up and running after a ransomware attack.

Datto thinks that first and foremost the channel education to the SME market had to continue.

Datto SVP Mark Banfield said: “Ransomware attacks are becoming so frequent that the term has recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. WannaCry and NotPetya made the headlines last year for their impact on larger firms, but this report highlights just how vulnerable SMBs are,” he said.

“There’s an existing perception that only bigger companies are targeted as they represent higher-value targets, but attacks are now so simple to initiate on a mass scale that cybercriminals no longer discriminate,” he added.

Most of the customers surveyed by Datto also shared their expectations that ransomware attacks would continue in the next couple of years.

“As the sophistication of ransomware variants continues to increase and they bypass traditional prevention measures, SMBs with limited in-house expertise and cyber security tools are struggling. The lack of understanding and capabilities are causing more to fall victim and here lies an opportunity for the channel. MSPs can become trusted partners, providing the ongoing tools, expertise and support required to mitigate ransomware and its impacts,” said Banfield.

Dell reverse merger should be a last resort

Michael DellBeancounters at Morgan Stanley are not that happy with Michael Dell’s plan to reverse merge his company into VMWare.

While the prospect of VMware merging with Dell Technologies has intrigued the broader market, Morgan Stanley analysts insist the “reverse merger” would be the worst option for VMware shareholders.

It is only one of the plans which have been mooted for Dell Technologies, including a Dell IPO or it acquiring the rest of VMware.

The VMware performing a reverse merger on its controlling firm idea has been questioned by Morgan Stanley analysts Keith Weiss and Sanjit Singh in a note issued to the market.

Weiss and Singh warned investors about the plan and stated that a merger is the “worst-case scenario” for VMware shareholders.

VMware is traded publicly, and a merger would take Dell public without putting the company through an initial public offering.

According to the report, the reverse merger would have tax benefits for Dell and give the company access to VMware’s cash, but it would have a negative impact on VMware’s shareholders.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley project that a combined company would devalue VMware by $28 billion — considerably more than the $500 million to $600 million annual taxes Dell will face if it continues to operate under its existing structure.

The analysts concluded that the reverse merger is the least likely of the strategic options Dell is pursuing, with an IPO or staying private considered better options.

Notebook sales increase

Multipurpose-NotebookThe global notebook market is improving with 164.7 million units shipped in 2017 according to TrendForce’s latest market report.

The figure represents a 2.1 percent year-on-year increase, massively surpassing all expectations and forecasts. The reason for the increase has been biddings for notebook contracts in North America and regional economic recovery

HP remains the market leader with more than 24 percent of the market share. Its annual shipments hit a new milestone of 40 million units, a substantial increase of 10.5 percent over 2016.

For 2018, the market share of the top six brands is expected to rise to 89.1 percent, squeezing the room for other brands to develop.

Xiaomi and Huawei recorded growth in the Chinese market, but the results of their overseas deployment are unclear.

Lenovo saw a year-on-year drop of 4.9 percent. It enhanced its sales in Asia and Europe but still cannot make up the shipment decrease in 1H17. This has an impact on the brand’s performance, making its market share down to 20.2 percent, ranking the second.



GNR buys QBS Software

Finding-Nemo-Shark-Wallpaper-HDGNR Technology has written a cheque for an undisclosed sum for  Wembley-based QBS Software.

For those who came in late, QBS Software distributes Intel, Jetbrains and Solarwinds products and  resells software from a host of vendors including Microsoft, Symantec and Oracle.

GNR managing director Dave Stevinson said: “The acquisition of QBS provides a major growth opportunity for both businesses.

“With a full range of high-profile publishers, the acquisition of QBS supports our shared plans to meet increasing demand across the business, as well as offering more services to new partners.

“Likewise, the services we bring to the relationship will enable us to deliver on our ambitions to create one of the most efficient and effective software delivery models in the channel.”

It looks like customers will not see much difference as both companies will continue to operate separately, with the QBS Software name and branding remaining in place.

QBS founders Skye Quin and Mark Spangenthal will also stay on as consultants for at least a year.

More than 90 percent of QBS’ turnover is generated by its distribution arm, with the remainder coming from the reseller business and a small software publishing unit.

In its last full accounts QBS reported revenue of £28.6 million for the year ending 31 March 2017, with an operating profit of £895,494.

£24.7 million of QBS’ revenue is generated in the UK, with £3.6 million coming from the EU and £249,099 from the rest of the world.

GNR is doing well. It has a deal to distribute Kaspersky in the UK and just got a UK exclusivity deal for Panda Security’s retail portfolio.

Infinigate announces new CEO

csm_klaus_schlichterle_8886a69bbeInfinigate has announced that Tech Data’s former head of German operations, Klaus Schlichtherle, has become its CEO.

Schlichtherle is replacing founder David Martinez who will be cleaning out his desk in April and become president of the board.

Martinez said that Schlichtherle was the right chap to drive Infinigate’s goal to grow from a €400 million to €1 billion company in the next five years.

“We are very happy to have won an internationally experienced manager such as Klaus Schlichtherle”, Martinez said.

“Infinigate will face another high-growth period with further international expansion and Klaus Schlichtherle brings along the required experience to manage this challenge”.

Infinigate obtained much of its growth through acquisitions. Last month it wrote a cheque for Dutch security outfit VAD Crypsys.

Klaus Schlichtherle added: “Infinigate is a strongly growing company in the IT Security sector and I am very much looking forward in taking over this exciting task of further expanding and developing the group.”

Infinigate claims to now cover “close to 80 percent of the western European IT security market’s potential”, having operations in 20 countries.

Connectwise’s international president arrested

david-bellini-2 1024xx1595-897-0-619The bloke who was supposed to be taking care of Connectwise’s international expansion has been arrested.

Co-founder and international president David Bellini, has taken indefinite leave from the company.

Bellini was arrested in his home town of Tampa on Sunday and charged with trafficking in illegal drugs. Bellini, 56, it’s alleged, had 24.1 grams of heroin and the opioid pain medication fentanyl when he was arrested at his downtown Tampa home about 8AM., according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s record.

ConnectWise COO Jason Magee, said in a statement that on February 11, 2018 ConnectWise executive management became aware that Bellini was “facing health issues associated with the use of prescription and non-prescription pain medications.

“David has been suffering chronic pain for several years and has unfortunately fallen prey to overuse of these substances, resulting in potential charges – the outcome of which we cannot predict.”

The statement went on to say that Gregg Lalle, VP of international sales, will lead ConnectWise’s International business while David is on leave, reporting directly to Arnie Bellini, ConnectWise’s CEO and David’s brother.

Bellini’s executive profile has disappeared from Connectwise’s website.

Microsoft creates the UK’s most powerful cloud service

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINSoftware king of the world Microsoft thinks that it has created the UK’s most powerful cloud.

The M-Series virtual machines (VMs) in Azure can handle large workloads that involve a lot of data and Vole claims to be the only outfit offering this level of cloud computing power in this country.

The M-series supports up to 128 virtual central processing units (vCPU) and between one and 3.8 tebibytes of RAM – a tebibyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes – on a single VM. It also offers up to 20 terabytes of memory which is huge for a public cloud.

Data can also be transferred between VMs at up to 30 gigabytes per second, making it easy for companies to back up files or replicate their databases.

The VMs are the only ones in the UK able to handle large workloads on the SAP HANA platform. Microsoft has also announced Dv3 VMs in UK data centres. These are built using new technology, so can perform better and more efficiently, enabling Microsoft to pass these savings on to customers who store data and run apps in the cloud for their businesses.

Microsoft Principle Programme Manager Jon Beck said that ny unlocking more power from the underlying hardware, Vole could harness better performance and efficiency, resulting in cost savings. They will cost up to 28 per cent less than the previous VMs – Dv2.

The Dv3 VMs use “hyper-threading technology” on Intel processors, which allows users to run several processes at once. Along with the new Ev3 VMs, they are some of the first to run on Windows Server 2016 hosts, and also boast nested virtualization – the ability to run a VM inside another VM.

The Dv3s offer up to 64 vCPUs and 256 gigabytes of RAM, while Ev3s offer 432GB of RAM, giving customers more computer memory to run larger workloads.

Vole has announced B-series VMs, a new low-cost range that offers customers flexibility in how much Azure computer power they use.

UK data centres will get a Notification Hub service which lets users send push notifications (information in a pop-up box) to their customers regardless of which platform they are using – Windows, iOS, Android, Kindle or Baidu.

Notification Hubs can send messages to millions of mobile devices with one single process, and can be tailored to specific customers or everyone in a group, in their language.


FireEye has its first quarterly profit

Sauron_eye_barad_durCybersecurity vendor FireEye has reported its first-ever quarterly profit since 2013.

For the three months ending 31 December 2017, FireEye saw a year-on-year revenue increase of 10 percent to $202.3 million with an operating loss of $65.8 million.

With the numbers adjusted, the vendor reported a non-GAAP operating profit of $2.9m.FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia said: “In February 2017 we said FireEye was committed to achieving non-GAAP operating profitability in the fourth quarter and a return to growth by the end of the year; I’m proud to tell you we accomplished what we said we would do.”

“To put this performance into context, from Q1 of 2014 through [to] the second quarter of 2016 we posted ten consecutive quarters of non-GAAP operating losses between $45m and $80m. We worked hard over the last six quarters to be much more efficient and to return to growth.”

Mandia said that FireEye’s end-point protection, threat intelligence and Mandiant services arms all had their best quarters, and singled out the channel as playing a pivotal role in the improved financial performance.

“We have also worked hard to improve our channel relationships, which is enabling us to reach new markets and achieve gains in our operating leverage… I am pleased to see our channel business increasing and believe we will see continued improvement in our channel.

“We continue to innovate to provide better products to the channel. We continue to price more appropriately for the channel, and we are also adhering to a consistent process with our channel and partners to provide better enablement and make doing business with FireEye simpler, more profitable, and consistent.”

Dell EMC wants $50 billion from partners

dellsigDell EMC says it wants more than $50 billion in sales from its channel this year.

In a partner update the firm revealed that as it stands at the end of its third quarter $43 billion  was generated worldwide through the channel. However Dell wants to see that number grow that further and rolled out a number of incentives and programme enhancements to encourage more activity.

Joyce Mullen, president global channels, OEM and IoT solutions at Dell EMC, said that it estimated the potential size of the addressable market as being worth $3trn and that left plenty of room for more channel revenue.

“We want to continue this phenomenal momentum we have seen in this past year and we know exactly what it takes to get to $50 billion,” she said.

Global channel revenues were up by 9 percent at the end of of the third quarter with partners bringing in an additional 33,000 customers and the contribution from distribution was also up by double digits.

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell EMC, told partners: “We have worked hard to develop a world class portfolio and partner programme but we have just begun to scratch the surface. We are fully committed to winning and growing and becoming number one in the channel.”

The plans for the firm’s fiscal 2018 will be around focusing on profitable growth and there is a push to encourage resellers to sell more of the vendor’s storage portfolio.

Mullen said that the growth for 2018 would come from “attacking the market and taking share” as well as selling servers, storage and services, which she described as a “pot of gold”.

At the end of next month Dell will add more firms to its top tier of partners – the Titanium Black level, which includes Computacenter, Insight, World Wide Technology, SHI, ATEA, Fusion Storm, Bechtle and CDW.

The combined Dell and EMC partner programme was only launched a year ago and the vendor is not planning any major overhauls but is hoping some refinements, often requested by resellers, will make life easier.


Sophos sees share price slide

panda-slideCybersecurity vendor Sophos saw its share price slide by 18 percent this morning, despite posting what its CEO described as “strong growth”.

For the last quarter, Sophos saw its revenue jump 23.4 percent year on year to $166.4 million, but operating profit swung from $1.7 million to a $2.8 million loss.

Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman said: “The strong demand for our industry-leading cybersecurity solutions continued in Q3.

“Customer reaction to XG Firewall v17 has been very positive, and we are delighted to have recently launched a significant new release of Intercept X, incorporating for the first time our neural network-based deep-learning technology into our leading end-point product.

“Consequently, as our business continues to post strong growth, the board is confident both in the outlook for the full year and the longer-term prospects of the group.”

The positive outlook from Hagerman was not enough to prevent the share price slump, with Hargreaves Lansdown claiming that the drop could be a result of weaker than expected billings, as well as weaker cash flows.

Sophos’ subscription billings were up 20 percent in Q3, while cash flow from operations declined 2.2 percent year on year to $17.5m.

“Unfortunately, despite remaining on track to hit expectations for the full year, the third quarter didn’t back up the strong first half”, Hargreaves Lansdown said.

“Billings were up, but not as much as had been expected, and the group’s cash flow also disappointed the market. The shares duly dropped sharply.

“However, those weaker cash flows were due in part to the investment being pulled forward from Q4 to Q3. With this in mind, we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt for now but will be looking for a notable uptick in the final quarter of the year.”

G-Cloud sales pass £2.8 billion

lightning-cloudData published by Crown Commercial Service (CCS) shows that Total G-Cloud sales passed £2.8  billion in 2017.

However, despite the fact that G-Cloud was supposed to give contracts to smaller suppliers more than half of the spending by government and public sector organisations is still going to large suppliers.

In fact since 2012 and 31 December 2017, G-Cloud has facilitated £2.85 billion of spending – with 52 percent of this going to what the government classifies as large suppliers.

SME suppliers have cashed in 48 percent of total sales through G-Cloud, but this has come from 71 percent of the deals put through the framework.

To be fair, the figures are a slight improvement for SMEs since the last time data was released, with numbers published for the period up to 31 July showing that just 47 percent of spending was going them.

Last week the government revealed that over £3.2 billion had been spent by the public sector on digital services through G-Cloud and two other frameworks – Digital Outcomes Specialists and Digital Services.


Flog our big fat servers – Dell’s plea to partners

Joyce-Mullen-VP-General-Manager-of-Dell%u2019s-Global-OEM-SolutionsDell EMC channel chief Joyce Mullen has urged partners to up sell more of its big fat configured servers.

She told a webcast for partners that that “significant investment” is being made to help boost storage sales and partners needed to be in to win.

“We need you to sell storage all day, every day and we’re making significant investments there in pricing improvements, spiffs and rebates. We want you to sell bigger, fatter, more originally configured servers. We killed it this year, and we can do even more in 2018.”

She also asked partners to sell services into new businesses, while “always” attaching more services to customers’ portfolios. “Services is a pot of gold”, she said.

Mullen said that Dell EMC needed partners’ help in acquiring more customers.

“Keep selling to those new logos and keep expanding the lines of business that you sell to your customers,” Mullen told partners. “Stay focused on these strategies and… we will continue to outpace the market”, she predicted.

“Deal registration and incumbency is your friend. Please register your deals. Dell EMC is updating its rules of engagement to provide further clarity to both partners and the Dell direct sales teams. We’re taking infringement super seriously”, she said.

“In Q4, rules of engagement infraction escalations were down by over 80 percent quarter on quarter. We are proud of protecting our partners and doing what’s right for you and all of our customers, and we are all in”, she claimed.