Author: Nick Farrell

FiComms offers FiSpy offers EU distribution rights to Emtelle

extKiwi outfit FiComms has offered the European distribution rights of FiSpy – a new product that uses smart technology to detect micro duct faults –  to Emtelle.

FiSpy, developed by New Zealand-based FiComms, uses a patented process to identify a micro duct or micro ducts within a multi duct environment. This removes the risk of incorrect identification and cutting of ducts, reducing the time and cost currently spent on fault finding.

Emtell’s International Business Development Manager Scott Modha said that maintaining a reliable fibre network is essential and detecting network problems quickly and efficiently is crucial when it comes to minimising downtime, and reducing installation time.

“Previously, this might have involved a large workforce manually looking for the fault but FiSpy takes the guesswork out of fault finding and lessens the labour involved, generating immediate cost savings for our customers and reducing the likelihood of expensive reworks in the future.”

Other benefits of FiSpy include low cost of ownership and maintenance, high user-friendliness and easy transportation, with the product featuring a compact design, interchangeable head sizes (5mm, 7mm and 8mm), an IP67 ruggedised case, simple LED indication and one-button operation, the firm claims.

The FiSpy will join Emtelle’s full portfolio of products on display at FTTH Conference, including the “popular” retractable fibre cable RTRYVA, and a pre-connectorised fibre-in-tube solution QWKconnect – both simplifying the ease of installation, and reducing installation and maintenance costs, it’s claimed.

IT security salaries on the rise

PF-loadsamoney_2177214kSalaries for cyber security specialists will see seven percent salary increases, according to a new survey.

The Robert Walters 2018 Salary Survey has found that among IT professionals security experts will see the most salary development. Developers and infrastructure specialists will only see salary rises of three percent.

Cyber security specialists are in demand due to high profile data leaks and related cyber attacks, while developers are needed to support digitalisation projects.

Ahsan Iqbal, Associate Director at Robert Walters, said: “While a two percent increase in salaries may seem quite modest, it is important to note that this follows a prolonged period of IT professionals commanding higher and higher wages.

“At this point, salaries for IT professionals are highly inflated, with employers having to compete to secure top talent. In this context, the increases for cyber security specialists are particularly noteworthy.

“In addition to technical skills, employers are keen to secure professionals who can demonstrate communication and project management skills as they look to more closely integrate their IT function into the wider business.”

With salary levels having reached high levels, employers should consider other ways in which to attract and retain top talent.

Ahsan Iqbal said: “For many IT professionals, while a high salary is important, there are other incentives which can attract them to a role.”


Capita’s share price plummets after profit warning

2408Capita shares have plunged by 50 percent after the outsourcing firm issued a profit warning and announced a major restructuring

Chief executive Jonathan Lewis said the company had become “too complex” and “driven by a short-term focus” and needed to change its approach.

This is the second year in a row Capita has issued profit warnings. This time it has revealed plans to raise £700 million by issuing new shares.

Life should be good for Capita after its outsourcing rival Carillion collapsedlast  month, but it seems to be suffering from similar problems.

Capita operates the London congestion charge, runs the government’s Jobseekers Allowance helpline and administers the teachers’ pension scheme. It also collects the TV licence fee on behalf of the BBC.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said as a “strategic supplier” Capita was always monitored by the government and called for the government to make sure that it does not go the same way as Carillion.

The firm employs 70,000 people, about 50,000 of whom are in the UK.

CEO Mr. Lewis, who took over two months ago, said a review had found the company worked across too many markets and services, meaning it was difficult to “maintain a competitive advantage” in every business.

Capita had relied too much on acquisitions to drive growth and had also seen weakness in new contracts, he added.

The company does have some financial strengths. It can call on £one billion in cash and credit facilities, has a significantly higher profit margin than Carillion did and has been taking steps to reduce its debt burden.

Transalis teams up with Eureka Solutions for data integration

5897D8B5-4D0D-44CA-AAEC1C9F081971B9Transalis has teamed up with Eureka Solutions to streamline its data integration systems.

To provide its client base of brands such as Argos, Microsoft, Pret a Manger and Superdrug with the latest innovative supply chain solutions, Transalis has tapped Eureka Solutions’ Data Exchange solutions portfolio. This integration solution allows businesses to manage their operations from one single platform.

Aniello Sabatino, co-founder and joint managing director of Transalis, said he was looking forward to continuing to grow the company’s custom supply chain management.

“We are always improving our methods of helping organisations communicate and transact with suppliers, partners and customers. We are therefore looking forward to our continued collaboration with Eureka Solutions.”

Transalis helps retailers and other firms automate their supply chain transactions, reducing the need for costly, inefficient paper documents. The company offers Cloud EDI-managed solutions which speed up delivery times and invoicing of payments. The partnership with Eureka Solutions is aimed at improving these services.

Aileen Primrose, sales director of Eureka Solutions, added: “The growth we have achieved in partnering with businesses across the UK is a testament to the reputation we have built for ourselves and our mission to provide fully scalable solutions, which enable companies to grow and thrive.”

VAR Connect Managed Services buys CoolHarbour

shark_attack_painting-t2 (1)Contact centre VAR Connect Managed Services has written a cheque for the next-gen outfit CoolHarbour.

CoolHarbour is one of two acquisitions LDC-backed Connect announced this morning, alongside its first US purchase in the shape of the assets and technical teams of UVN.

The second purchase will add about $2 million to Connect’s bottom line.

Connect billed CoolHarbour as a pioneer in Amazon Connect, which it claimed is disrupting the contact centre market. Through its Lex Service, Amazon Connect allows callers to engage with businesses using natural language understanding.

Its “flexible, consumption-based model” also enables organisations to very quickly build contact centres and then scale up, Connect said, adding that the technology is “highly complementary” to its existing vendors Genesys, Cisco and Avaya.

The company insists that there is growing interest in Amazon Connect and it sees a shift to AWS within its client community, with a number moving some or all of their IT applications to this environment.

It said that the timing of the CoolHarbour deal was perfect, as it is helping some of its clients to deploy Avaya, Cisco and Genesys implementations onto AWS.


Exertis peddles StorMagic range

Blog_headB2B outfit Exertis  has announced the availability of Dell EMC’s new low-cost, hyperconverged appliances from StorMagic.

The two new Dell EMC appliances come fully configured. Each model includes server and storage hardware, Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere hypervisor, StorMagic’s SvSAN software and includes three years of maintenance and support.

Based on industry-leading servers from Dell EMC in combination with StorMagic’s simple, cost-effective and flexible virtual SAN software (SvSAN), the StorMagic Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) appliances make the adoption of the technology more affordable for SMEs and remote office/branch office environments where small budgets and lack of IT resource are a growing challenge. The two models being announced are StorMagic Dell EMC HCI 640 and the StorMagic Dell EMC HCI 740.

John Glendenning, SVP of sales and business development, StorMagic said that HCI vendors have a reputation of primarily targeting enterprise datacenters and large remote sites, which is apparent in the cost and complexity of these solutions.

“StorMagic is erasing that perception with appliances designed specifically for small datacenters and edge computing with pre-configured, two-server clusters that bring HCI to a price point and level of simplicity that has just not been available until now.”

StorMagic’s SvSAN uses the internal disk drives of any two x86 servers and actively mirroring data between them to enable highly-available, shared storage and the simple, hyperconverged environment desired by many end users. The Dell EMC servers being used, the R640 and R740XD, are ideal platforms to host the hyperconverged appliances because of their reliability, scalability and performance.

Kevin Matthews, Exertis enterprise sales director said that many of its partners are SME focused and their customers often struggle to find a solution that is easy to use and fits their IT budget.

“These appliances enable our StorMagic and Dell EMC partners, and their customers, to consume a more simple and cost-effective alternative to traditional vendor hyperconverged solutions.”

Microsoft partners generate extra cash

Microsoft campusSoftware King of the World, Microsoft claims that its vendor’s partners can generate extra revenue for every $1 that they gain selling Voleware.

For years now Microsoft has been telling the world+dog  how much extra revenue its partners can make selling additional products and services.

This year the number is $9.65 (£6.74) which is the extra money generated by the ecosystem for every $1 of Microsoft revenue.

The update on the vendor’s channel revealed that it now has 68,000 cloud partners, which was a 33 percent increase year-on-year and it has seen an 83 percent climb in the number of those transacting in the cloud solution provider programme.

There have also been 80,000 customer referrals to partners in the past year and a blog post sharing these numbers from Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, one commercial partner at Microsoft, talked up the growth to come.

“We generate more than 95 percent of our business through our robust and constantly evolving partner ecosystem. Last fall, partners helped us exceed a $20 billion commercial cloud annualised revenue run rate goal we set just two years ago”, she said.

Vole highlighted the success so far of its co-selling partner incentive with the 500 partners that have worked with the vendor so far just the first wave.

“In just six months with 500 partners, last year’s co-sell pilot generated $6bn in partner pipeline and more than $1bn in partner revenue. Project size was on average nearly six times larger, and partners closed deals nearly three times faster when we sold together. Since formally introducing our approach to co-sell at Inspire, more than 9,000 partners have become co-sell ready—a 543 percent increase since July—and that number continues to rise,” she claimed.

“As Microsoft sellers deepen their relationships with partners through co-sell conversations, they want to build and expand their practices across the solution areas, especially artificial intelligence. By 2025, the anticipated market in the space is expected to reach nearly $60 billion, so it’s a greenfield opportunity—and partners are already creating customer solutions in new and unexpected ways,” the blog said.

Cisco finds that GDPR is not helping sales

euCisco has warned that many customers are concerned the tech they buy will not adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming in May.

For those who came in late,  GDPR is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.

It was thought that the rush to become compliant would create a bit of a bonanza for those selling security, data management and authentication tools.

Cisco has discovered that far from rushing into buying fresh technology,  two thirds of those businesses quizzed were reporting sales delays because of customer data privacy concerns.

Cisco’s Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study found that some of the public sector verticals, including health and government, are suffering the longest delays because of the stricter standards they are working towards.

The Cisco study also exposed the level of losses with what the vendor termed as “privacy-immature” companies being hit the hardest.

A lot of the concerns stem from doubts that products and services purchased will have the privacy protections that are required under GDPR.

As well as delaying spending it also reveals the levels of confusion that still exist around just what will be required to become compliant.

Research from  Clearswift looked at the preparations for GDPR in the UK, US, Germany and Australia found that only 21 percent of middle management felt they were ready for the compliance regulations.

The firm found a disconnect between the board and middle management, with the more senior executives more optimistic about the ability to take right to be forgotten requests.


HP expands its customise-to-order programme for schools

schoolHP has expanded its ‘customise-to-order’ (CTO) programme by adding a promotion to boost the value for money the education sector gets from its technology.

The CTO approach, which is implemented through the channel, was trialled six months ago with a desktop-only catalogue. It has now extended it to include the 400-series laptop.

The new scheme, HP for Education, allows those that invest in HP hardware to collect credits or cashback of up to £250 per device. These can be used by schools against software, training or device upgrades.

HP has also launched its Parental Contribution Scheme to allow parents to purchase education-specific technology for their children attending primary or secondary school via instalments.

HP’s education business director Neil Sawyer said that schools have tight budgets and have to make difficult decisions every year between buying much-needed education hardware or investing in software such as education programmes and training courses.

“We want to stop schools from being forced to minimise their IT assets or forgo software purchases to invest in vital education technology.”


Microsoft worries about IT skills gap in channel

mind the gapMicrosoft is concerned that channel partners are seeing difficulties in the IT skills gap and evolving customer buying habits.

According to Gavriella Schuster, corporate VP of One Commercial Partner at Microsoft, the number of partners transacting through Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider programme grew 83 percent in 2017, with a 64 percent increase in Gold Cloud competencies. The vendor says it now has over 68,000 cloud partners, a 33 percent increase year over year.

But it said that it is being hamstrung by a lack of available workers.

Schuster said: “The top challenge I continually hear is the war on talent. We continue hearing from partners that there is a skills gap in the market, there’s a lack of people trained to work in the cloud.”

Microsoft launched Azure Skills Training a year ago, which has seen 100,000 courses completed to-date. Schuster said cloud training will continue to be a focus area for Microsoft this year.

“The good news is that there are a lot of individuals in the technology ecosystem that we can help retrain into new roles in the cloud to help participate in this new economy”, she said.

Schuster said that 95 percent of its commercial revenue comes from partners, which Vole is leaning on to get sales in its four solutions areas: modern workplace, business apps, apps and infrastructure and data and artificial intelligence services.

“Our customers are buying technology differently. They’re not buying it from within the centralised IT. More of the business decision makers are actually thinking about their line of business and how they want technology to play a role”, Schuster said.

“So in order for us to get them the kind of information and insight [they want], the way the technology can really help them, the right solution, we have to think about the way we sell our technology differently.”

She said Microsoft’s co-selling programme, where Microsoft and partners co-sell Microsoft and partner services and solutions to business decision makers together with consumption-based compensation is OK. The vendor claims in the six months since its launch, the pilot generated $6 billion in partner pipeline and over $1 billion in partner revenue.

Microsoft has expanded the programme beyond ISVs to include any partner building IP on Azure.

“Our partners see higher cloud consumption meaning higher consumption of their services. Our co-sell idea works because it incentivises Microsoft sellers and enables us to sell together with our partners, and it expands our partners’ sales capacity, particularly as we move into large-scale enterprise customers where some of these partners may not have the in, the credibility, or the foothold to have the conversation with the business decision makers of these organisations.”

Datawords joins Salesforce partner programme

small_datawords-recrute_32f73aa4-7797-4259-9ca1-b48b1f1893c3Datawords, a company that specialises in e-multicultural technologies, announced today that it has joined the Salesforce Partner Programme in support of Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

The Salesforce partner programme is one of the world’s largest enterprise cloud partner programmes, for consultants, ISVs, VARs, agencies and other partners using the Salesforce “Intelligent Customer Success Platform” – whatever that is.

Datawords recently developed WEZen, its product that integrates Salesforce Commerce Cloud with Datawords’ content internationalisation platform. On WEZen, contents are semantically analyzed by cultural experts before they are internationally produced and published on the e-commerce websites of Datawords’ clients. WEZen is available today on the Commerce Cloud marketplace.

Alexandre Crazover, CEO, Co-Founder, Datawords said:  “We are very proud to join the Salesforce Partner Programme. Salesforce Commerce Cloud is very innovative, and we are excited to help our clients in diverse industries, including beauty, automotive, CPG and luxury, with the complex challenges that come with international e-commerce deployment.”

“Everything and everyone is becoming more connected and smarter than ever before”,  said Kori O’Brien, SVP, ISV Sales, Salesforce. “By joining the Salesforce Partner Programme in support of Commerce Cloud, Datawords is joining the world’s largest community of cloud partners committed to innovating on the Salesforce Platform and driving customer success.”

Kaspersky hacking investigator arrested charged with treason

stoyanov-300x300Security outfit Kaspersky’s woes are becoming more intense after a manager in charge of investigating its hacking attacks has been arrested for treason.

Ruslan Stoyanov, head of its computer incidents investigations unit, was arrested along with a senior Russian FSB intelligence officer and they both face charges of treason.

Kaspersky’s spokeswoman, Maria Shirokova, insisted in a statement that Stoyanov’s arrest “has nothing to do with Kaspersky Lab and its operations”. She said the company has no details of the charges Stoyanov faces, but added that the investigation dates back to the time before Stoyanov was hired by Kaspersky.

US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of meddling in the its presidential election through hacking, to help Donald Trump win the vote, claims that Russia has rejected. US and EU officials also have accused Russia of hacking other Western institutions and voiced concern that Russia may try to influence this year’s elections in Germany, France and the Netherlands. It wasn’t immediately clear if the arrests are somehow linked to these allegations.

The FSB’s press office wasn’t immediately available for comment and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said nothing.

Andrei Soldatov, who has studied the internet and Russian security services for more than a decade, called the arrest of the Kaspersky manager “unprecedented”.

 It destroys a system that has been 20 years in the making, the system of relations between intelligence agencies and companies like Kaspersky,” he told the Associated Press. “Intelligence agencies used to ask for Kaspersky’s advice, and this is how informal ties were built. This romance is clearly over.”

Meanwhile there have been claims that Kaspersky is controlled by Russian spies who have used it to access secret files in at least one British company. A whistleblower has now claimed that the firm is controlled by Russian intelligence and that it has been able to access confidential files belonging to the British company, Gamma Group. Kaspersky denies the claims.

According to The Times, a former Kaspersky senior manager claimed that there were once two factions within the firm – one independent and another close to Russian intelligence.

But he claimed that the faction linked to Russia’s FSB agency eventually seized control after the kidnap of Ivan Kaspersky, the son of founder Eugene Kaspersky.

The whistleblower told Latvian news website Meduza that Mr Kaspersky ‘changed his business tactics’ after the incident seven years ago and ‘got rid of American investors and the majority of senior expats’.

The same source also claimed that he watched as Kaspersky staff showed how they could access data by gaining access to computers belonging to Gamma Group,  which sells surveillance software to governments and police forces around the world.

Anti-virus software such as those created by Kaspersky can become a tool for espionage because it scans and can access all files in a computer or network.

Datatech issues profit warning

best20warning20sign20everDatatech has issued a trading statement, cautioning investors that its financial results will be substantially different from the previous year.

The group expects the, for the 2018 financial year, underlying earnings per share will be at least 20 percent (2.2 US cents) lower than the 110 US cents reported in the 2017 financial year.

Headline earnings per share will also be at least 20 percent (0.4 US cents) lower than the two cents reported last year. Earnings per share will be at least 20 percent (0.28 US cents) higher than the 1.4 US cents reported in 2017.

The statement said that the year over year decline in underlying earnings per share and headline earnings per share was primarily as a result of the sale of Westcon Americas to SYNNEX. This had an effect from 1 September 2017, with the earnings from Westcon Americas only being included in the FY18 earnings for a six-month period (compared to 12 months in FY17).

The year over year increase in earnings per share is as a result of the expected profit generated from the sale of Westcon Americas to SYNNEX. The company expects to release its full-year results around 17 May 2018.

UK councils can’t break their Windows 7 addiction

framedwindowsResearch from application migration outfit Cloudhouse has found that a fifth of local councils have no plans to migrate away from Windows 7.

Cloudhouse gathered the data using a  Freedom of Information (FoI) request. Microsoft will withdraw support for the popular but ageing operating system on 14 January 2020.  Despite this, 83 percent of Windows machines in local authorities are still running Windows 7.

Some 17 percent of the 317 councils that responded said they are yet to plan a migration away from the OS, while just one percent have completed a migration to Windows 10, it also found.

Despite this, 35 percent of IT teams who responded said that previous migrations have taken between one and two years.

CEO, CTO and founder of Cloudhouse Mat Clothier said that the perils of running applications on Windows XP and 7 were highlighted by the widespread impact of the WannaCry ransomware attacks in 2017.

“Security patches are not produced for legacy systems, such as XP, and Windows 7 will join the list of legacy operating systems at the start of 2020.”

Local councils are not alone in clinging on to Windows 7, with the latest data from Netmarketshare finding that the much-loved operating system still boasts a market share of over 43 percent, compared with 33 percent for Windows 10. Windows XP has a five percent share of the market, despite support for it being withdrawn in April 2014.

Ingram Micro teams up with Legrand

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro U.K. & Ireland has entered into a partnership with digital infrastructure specialist, Legrand.

The idea is to strengthen Ingram Micro’s end-to-end enterprise solution and offers services specialist Comms-care further value-add solutions to Ingram Micro’s resellers.

For those who came in late, Legrand is a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructure. It has Cable Management business unit brands such as Cablofil wire mesh, Swifts Cable trays, and Ladder rack, Salamandre Trunking and the EZ Path. These solutions will complement the Ingram Microenterprise business unit and vendors such as Cisco, HPE and Dell Enterprise infrastructure offering for resellers.

Legrand offers gear for data centres including enterprise cabling, racking, and connectivity. The company’s specialist brands include Minkel, Raritan, Electrak, and Zucchini. Legrand is a leader in Enterprise Connected Infrastructure solutions for data centres and large infrastructures.

Scott Murphy, Advanced Solutions Director at Ingram Micro, said:  “The addition of Legrand and their brands/solutions further demonstrates Ingram Micro’s vision to offer our reseller partner’s incremental but complementary end-to-end solutions to their existing customers. We are positive that our Ingram Micro Services (including Comms-care) ability to design and install Legrand’s Connected Infrastructure solution will bring incremental revenue and margin to our reseller partners both on the hardware and wraparound services.”

Jeff Platt, Sales Director for the Cable Management Business Unit at Legrand, added: “Deploying a large Cisco or HPE infrastructure will require Cable Management, Fire stopping, and other products across the Legrand portfolio. We will work closely with Comms-care to ensure the right solution today while future proofing. We currently operate closely with Cisco, HPE, Dell Enterprise and other Enterprise vendors to tailor our solutions to complement their solutions.”