Author: Nick Farrell

Government framework already a week late

article-0-05073D31000005DC-953_634x400Suppliers wanting into the multibillion-pound government framework have been left hanging, with intention-to-award notices already a week late and no sign of them coming.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) schedule for the Technology Services 2 framework promised that intention-to-award notices were due to be sent to suppliers on 7 August, triggering a 10 day standstill period before the framework is awarded on 21 August.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson has promised the award notices are now on course to be sent this week but so far no one has received anything.

Technology Services 2 is the successor to the original Technology Services framework, which expired in May, and is estimated to be worth between £1 billion and £3 billion.

The framework will look after central and local government organisations and covers a range of IT services including hardware and software support, enterprise security and data management.

The four Lots included in the framework are: Technology Strategy and Services Design; Transition and Transformation; Operational Services; and Programmes and Large Projects.

The Cabinet Office spokesperson said the framework will go live this month.

Freight as a Service fated to be the next big thing

DHLFreight as a Service (FaaS) could be the next key transformative technology trend, according to a recent B2B technology survey.

The survey of 455 companies across nine verticals, was conducted by ABI Research and has the catchy title of “ABI Research’s Industry Survey: Transformative Technology Adoption and Attitude – Logistics report”.

It found that 41 percent of logistics respondents view Freight as a Service (FaaS) as a key transformative technology trend.

The rapid growth of e-commerce requires new transport modes such as delivery drones and robots, direct-to-car, and direct-to-home deliveries. FaaS will represent 30 percent or more than $900 billion of total goods transportation revenues by 2030.

Turning freight transport into a service allows cargo capacity to be ordered seamlessly and spontaneously in open marketplaces which will optimise capacity use and reduce costs.

Susan Beardslee, Senior Analyst at ABI Research said that only two per cent of logistics respondents appear to comprehend the disruptive capabilities of ETE Supply Chain Visibility.

“However transparency across multiple modes and suppliers drive material ROI through reduced inventory, lead-time, and losses, as well as enhanced service levels through responses to demand surges and external variables.”

ABI Research found logistics firms are adding wearable technologies such as Apple watches, GoPro’s and Google Glasses, with 61 per cent adopting as part of their technology innovation strategy.

AI platforms are beginning to enjoy growing adoption rates. Data analytics is starting to “cross the chasm” along with the traditional role of monitoring with both leveraging the emerging capabilities of AI.

Real time analytics of vast, evolving, and unstructured data are beginning to transform the supply chain.

WWT spends more cash in UK

20150226_fortune_getty_worldwidetechnologylogo1483World Wide Technology (WWT) continues to spend cash in the UK.

The outfit has opened a new software development arm, Asynchrony Labs, in London.

The move comes four years after WWT set up shop in the UK bringing its tech integration approach that has worked well in the US for a quarter of a century over this side of the Atlantic.

Kelly White, WWT Asynchrony Labs London general manager, said that London had been on the company radar for a long time and now the company was expanding the tech community into Canary Wharf.

“Canary Wharf represents the real strength of London – as a meeting place between fantastic tech innovation and longstanding financial services expertise. Even after Brexit, we think that London is where technology will increasingly impact enterprise,” said White.

Ben Boswell, who has been running WWT in Europe, said that many customers were finding that they needed more than a one size fits all approach and were working with channel players that could help them solve technical problems.

“Companies that did not previously consider themselves technology firms are finding that they need to integrate new technology at great speed. Innovation is linked to profitability but all too often the link is not fully made between business outcome and technology delivery. Frankly, the emerging technology market is proliferated by immature solutions and undisciplined agile development practices, which do not lend themselves to immediate at scale deployment. At enterprise level, this simply doesn’t fly,” he said.

Westcoast and HP don’t need no education

tumblr_mcexe0a4MI1rcf9cjo1_500HP is building customised PCs for the education sector which will be delivered by Westcoast.

The move is part of a cunning plan for HP to take a more vertical market approach to life. Westcoast has already been offering customised PC design, imaging and building with a promise of pulling it all together in 48 hours.

IDC has said that HP its channel could pick up £35 million for itself and its channel partners from the education sector. It expects resellers to benefit from the chance to deliver something that is different from other rival offerings that educational customers might be considering.

HP UKI channel director Neil Sawyer said that the education sector had wide and varied computing needs. The CTO initiative empowers these institutions and their users to request specific computing requirements at a speed and scale which was previously impossible, rather than limiting them to a ‘one-size fits all’ plan

The distributor’s immediate task will be to build a network of resellers that can take advantage of the CTO. The scheme starts with PCs but there are plans to include laptops at some point in the future.

HP might consider extending the CTO approach to other vertical markets to try and help smaller customers get the same customisation that larger firms have been able to command for years.


42Gears Mobility Systems sets up shop in Manchester

imageEnterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution provider, 42Gears Mobility Systems, has expanded into the UK by setting up its third worldwide office in Manchester.

42Gears is headquartered in Bangalore, India and has a US office in Fremont, California. 42Gears has a global customer base and bulk of its business comes from US and UK. UK was the natural choice for setting up the next 42Gears office after the US. The company said that the strategic move will help 42Gears to serve UK and EU customers better and tap into new business opportunities in these markets.

The new office is being headed by Kaushik Sindhu, Associate Vice President, 42Gears.

42Gears’ CFO, Ashok Poojari, said on the announcement: “We are excited to expand our business. Best yet, our growth is coming from both new and existing clients. We have successfully set up a wholly-owned subsidiary of 42Gears in Manchester and are now looking forward to integrate with Manchester’s thriving business community.”

“UK is a huge and important market for us. It has helped us enrich our product offerings through the innovative use cases that businesses demand. We have benefitted from the learnings in the UK. Setting up base in Manchester will accelerate our product development and company growth,” said Kaushik Sindhu, Associate Vice President, 42Gears.

Manchester Investment and Development Agency Service (MIDAS) helped 42Gears to set up operations in the UK, after 42Gears won the TechFast 50 organized by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP). Manchester will serve as a strategic base to explore business development opportunities in the European market and will also help acquiring the right talent. The focus will be on growing the company’s market presence and strengthening business relationships with existing OEMs, resellers, partners and customers in the United Kingdom and Europe.

42Gears Mobility Systems provides SaaS and an on-premise EMM solution. It offers enterprise-ready products to help companies secure, check and manage enterprise mobile devices.

More than 7000 customers across 106 countries use 42Gears for BYOD and Company Owned Device deployment scenarios. 42Gears products are used in verticals like healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, education and retail.

Microsoft strikes back on Surface claims

fightSoftware King of the World, Microsoft, has hit back at Consumer Report claims that its Surface tablets are so badly made that they cannot last longer than a couple of years.

Consumer report said that it refuses to endorse any of Microsoft’s laptops due to ‘two-year breakage rates of 25 percent’.

Consumer Reports said in an article that it was removing its ‘recommended’ status from four of Microsoft’s Surface devices – Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB) and Surface Book (128GB and 256GB) – after its research found that 25 percent of owners will experience problems in the first two years.

It said it would not be recommending any of Microsoft’s Surface devices because the estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands.

“The differences were statistically significant, which is why Microsoft doesn’t meet CR’s standards for recommended products.”

Consumer Reports tested and scored the devices on a range of factors including display quality, battery life, speed and ergonomics. The data came from the assessment of over 90,000 devices purchased between 2014 and the beginning of 2017.

It also applies to the Surface Pro, although Consumer Reports did praise the gear for its performance.

Microsoft was cross and claimed that the products’ fail rates are far lower than CR’s estimates.

Writing in his bog, the Volish corporate vice president of devices Panos Panay said: “While we respect Consumer Reports, we disagree with their findings. Surface has had quite a journey over the last few years, and we have learned a lot.

“In the Surface team we track quality constantly, using metrics that include failure and return rates. Both our predicted one-to-two-year failure and actual return rates for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are significantly lower than 25 percent.

“Additionally, we track other indicators of quality such as incidents per unit, which have improved from generation to generation and are now at record lows of well below one percent.”

The Surface family hit the headlines in June when Greenpeace and iFixit scored both Microsoft’s Surface Book and Surface Pro 5 one out of 10 for reparability mostly because it was glued together and impossible to fix without destroying.

Bedlock offers high margin CloudView channel programme.

cloud1RedLock has been telling its partners about its CloudView channel programme, which, it claims, offers high margins and support.

The programme seeks to discuss end user concerns of data stored in the public cloud being accessible to hackers, specifically in the public sector while giving partners the resources they need.

The company said recent breaches involving information hosted in the public cloud have heightened security concerns among enterprises. RedLock’s own research found that 82 percent of public cloud databases are unencrypted.

The theory is that the adoption of public cloud infrastructure will grow exponentially in the coming years, organisations need a cloud-native approach to protect an environment that’s constantly changing.

RedLock believes helping the channel take advantage of this opportunity is vital to at least abating the threat of public cloud infrastructure hacks, and as a result, it will focus on the channel for its business rather than direct sales.

David McCaw, RedLock director of sales for its west division said: “We’re excited to launch the CloudView channel programme and work with leading partners to enable organisations across the globe to holistically secure their public cloud environments.”

“With companies adopting resources from multiple pubic cloud providers, and as the adoption of cloud infrastructure by the business is outpacing the security organisation’s ability to keep up, it has never been more important to gain a complete view of security and compliance risks,” he added.

Redcentric CEO quits

522939308_1280x720The CEO of Redcentric has resigned in the middle of the company’s issues with its legacy accounting.

Fraser Fisher will step down in 31 December 2017 so that he can provide a handover with his yet-to-be appointed successor.

The company’s share price has fallen by two thirds last November after it warned it would have to write down historic profits after discovering “misstated accounting balances” in its balance sheet.

Redcentric said in June that it had put a “challenging period” behind it after hitting revised financial targets, with annual revenue reaching £104.6 million.

In February, the firm became the sole supplier on a significant contract which forms part of the Health and Social Care Network, which replaces the N3 national private network.

According to a stock exchange notification, Fisher is leaving to “pursue other interests”.

Redcentric chairman Chris Cole said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Fraser for his loyal service to the company for the past 14 years and for his leadership of the business in the recent difficult times and wish him well for the future.”

Competition expected to be tough in global hyperconverged market

this-will-probably-not-end-wellKey players in the global hyperconverged integrated systems market are expected to be at each others’ throats in the coming years.

According to Transparency Market Research (TMR) beancounters the key players in the market will start to complete rather ruthlessly.

This includes Nutanix, Pivot3, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Scale Computing, VMware, Inc., Simplivity Corporation, Cisco, Oracle, NetApp Inc., Fujitsu and Huawei.

The global hyperconverged integrated system market is highly fragmented due to the rapid rise of the sector and is likely to witness steady entry of numerous new players in the near future. The competition in the market is thus likely to escalate steadily over the coming years.

The market will continue to grow and is likely to rise to a valuation of close to US$31 billion by 2025. The market was valued at US$1.5 billion in 2016 and is expected to exhibit a robust 37.3 percent CAGR between 2017 and 2025.

The global hyperconverged integrated system market is divided by application into the healthcare sector, the government sector, education, entertainment and gaming, BFSI, hospitality, and cloud service providers.

The healthcare sector’s contribution to the hyperconverged integrated system market is likely to exhibit a rapid 41.7 percent CAGR between 2017 and 2025, due primarily to the growing adoption of digital information storage mechanisms in the healthcare sector in developed countries.

Growing use of smartphone-based technology for patient interaction is likely to be a key driver for the global hyperconverged integrated system market in the coming years, the report said.

Most of the action will be seen in North America, however, Europe and Asia Pacific are both likely to outpace the North America market for hyperconverged integrated systems, with the Europe market expected to exhibit a robust 43.8 percent CAGR in the given period and the Asia Pacific hyperconverged integrated system market expected to exhibit 42.9 percent.


Carbon Black slams claims that it is a data leaker

leakCarbon Black has hit back at US reseller DirectDefense claims its Cb Response product leaks customer data.

DirectDefense president Jim Broome claimed that his staff had been able to harvest data from several Cb Response customers thanks to the fact that files uploaded by Cb Response customers had been forwarded to a cloud-based multiscanner.

Broome has since gone on to clarify that his firm “strongly believes” in cloud-based multiscanners, he said they operate as for-profit businesses that spread files to “anyone who wants them and is willing to pay”.

He added that the problem was not isolated to CarbonBlack.

“Additionally, it is imminently likely that there are other EDR sources and products to exploit (perhaps even other keys being used by Carbon Black’s solutions and even other vendors)”, he wrote. “Over the last couple of years, there have been over 50 EDR companies launched, and likely, some of them may follow the same inspection model as Carbon Black.”

However, Carbon Black co-founder and CTO Michael Viscuso said that using a cloud-based multiscanner is an optional feature in Cb Response that is turned off by default. The feature allows customers to share information with external sources for additional ability to detect threats.

“Cloud-based multiscanners are one of the most popular threat-analysis services that enterprise customers opt into. These multiscanners allow security professionals to scan unknown or suspicious binaries with multiple AV products,” Viscuso wrote.

“Cb Response has a feature that allows customers to send their unknown or suspicious binaries to these cloud-based multiscanners (specifically VirusTotal) automatically. We allow customers to opt into these services and inform them of the privacy risks associated with sharing. Our products are not dependent on these services.”

Reynold and Reynolds scores Caffyns deal

article-1320724-0B9FA152000005DC-52_468x424Reynolds and Reynolds  today announced that Caffyns , one of the largest motor dealer groups in the south-east of England has installed  its Contact Advantage at 12 of their sites across Sussex and Kent.

Contact Advantage software enables dealerships and manufacturers to capture and synchronise more of their customer data and streamline more of their communications in the vehicle purchase process.

By installing Contact Advantage in their dealerships, Caffyns will integrate their CRM Showroom system and the POWER Dealership Management System (DMS).

Adele Feeney, Managing Director for Reynolds said that  Contact Advantage and POWER help dealers operate more efficiently and profitably, and improve the customer experience in all areas.

With Contact Advantage, dealers have a single point of data entry that results in real-time, accurate reporting information for management, and can enjoy complete transparency throughout the sales process to better manage leads, enquiries, and follow-ups.

In addition, Contact Advantage offers a suite of mobile applications enabling dealerships to take their customers through the entire sales process – including model selection, colour and specification configuration, pricing and order forms – all in one simple-to-use interactive process. It is also an iPad based application that allows sales people increased mobility.

Simon Caffyn, Managing Director at Caffyns said:  “We chose to invest in Contact Advantage as it offers us the complete package,” said. “We have enjoyed a long-term relationship with Reynolds as a POWER DMS user for many years. Now, we enjoy the completeness of integration between these two systems, from the initial enquiry to the order form.”

Cisilion gets HMV contract

HMV_NewcastleReseller Cisilion will be helping HMV sort out its network.

Cisilion will deploy Cisco Meraki’s software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) across the sites, with the cloud networking product promising an easier-to-use infrastructure.

HMV Darren Houghton, IT head  said that by partnering with Cisilion, HMV will now have a private, fully managed network, accelerating growth and allowing more flexibility to help HMV achieve our goals of modernising our retail sites.

“Not only are we reducing costs by moving from legacy MPLs to internet based connectivity, but the Cisco Meraki SD-WAN solution will also allow us to add monitoring and surveillance on top of the solution, increasing security levels across all our sites.”

Alex Hooper, CTO at Cisilion, said the firm is cock-a-hoop about expanding its retail portfolio through the HMV deal.

“We are seeing increased demand for modernising expensive and complicated legacy WANs to enable cost-effective transformation and expansion,” he said.

The network will be deployed in October 2017 to be finished just in time for the peak Christmas trading period.


Manchester IT consultants shut down for Google scam

arrest machesterA Manchester-based IT consultancy firm has been shut down after an investigation by the Insolvency Service found it “pretended to be Google” to fraudulently make over £500,000.

Movette Limited, trading as Online Content Management Services and OCMS, sold a service managing ‘Google My Business’ listings for clients, charging between £199 and £249 for a 12-month subscription.

Google My Business lets companies list their services on Google, so they appear when people search for related services in their area, but the Google service was free.

Movette sold its management services to unwitting customers by “stating or implying that it represented or was affiliated with Google when in reality there was no such relationship”, according to the Insolvency Service.

The firm had been reported to various regulatory bodies, including City of London Police’s Action Fraud, over its two-and-a-half-year existence.  This was the second go at the fraud, it tried the same trick as a company called Online Platform Management, was wound up in 2015. The company’s records show it received fees totalling £537,000.

Colin Cronin, the investigation supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said: “Movette used deceptive methods to persuade customers to sign up for its service, including stating or implying that it represented or was connected to Google.

“The company then made it difficult for customers to extract themselves from rolling contracts and used debt collection methods which were coercive and intimidatory. These proceedings show that the Insolvency Service will take firm action against companies which operate in this manner.”

OCMS was wound up on 28 July, with the Official Receiver being appointed liquidator.

Exertis names Rik Hubbard commercial and services director

Rik_HubbardExertis has announced the appointment of Rik Hubbard as its mobile commercial and services director.

Hubbard will be working with the sales and purchasing teams to boost the performance of the division’s market leading vendors across the consumer and business to business areas.

He also has to build on the opportunity to launch a range of device-focused services from trade-in, repair and refurbishment to finance and service contracts, following the recent announcement of the MTR Group acquisition.

Hubbard will report to Exertis mobile director Simon Woodman, who said: “Rik is joining our team at an exciting time for the mobile division. He brings a wealth of experience having worked for a major vendor and a leading telco and internet service provider.

“We have opportunities to grow in the main areas of our business with a superb portfolio of products and solutions to offer our customers. We are now also in an excellent position to enhance our entanglement still further with our vendor partners and clients by providing additional services to support their business. Rik will play a fundamental role in helping us to achieve that.”

Hubbard is a chartered accountant with almost twenty years’ experience in the telco industry, and joins from Samsung where he was head of commercial finance and financial services for five years.

When he was there he helped launch the S7 Upgrade programme which was the UK’s first manufacturer backed handset upgrade scheme. Before that, he spent a similar period at Three in a variety of commercial roles.

Hubbard was very positive on his appointment, saying: “Providing services that add value are fundamental to being successful in technology distribution. I am delighted to have joined Exertis, a company at the forefront of mobile distribution with an outstanding product and solutions portfolio, and one with the drive and ambition to look for and add complementary services that make a positive contribution to revenue and profit for partners and customers. I look forward to building on this success and working with a vibrant, award-winning team.”


Companies avoid sales tech as if it were a German egg

135a4c22c3cNearly half of companies are avoiding investing in tech for sales teams because it costs too much.

Beancounters at CITE Research found that 48 percent of businesses did not want to shell out cash on new tech because it was too pricey. More than 63 percent of UK firms spent at least £1,200 on technology annually per sales representative to equip them with the right tools to do their jobs effectively.

The survey of 400 sales executives in the United States and the United Kingdom was conducted to define what technology stack a modern sales team uses. Apparently this includes smart phones, laptops, CRM systems and web meeting platforms.

Nearly a quarter of respondents said they spend at least £2,400 per sales employee.

The research also highlighted a lack of confidence and expertise in installing new technology, with 34 percent admitting to being worried about the complexity of introducing new tech systems – and 20 percent concerned about a lack of skills in using the tools.

The survey revealed concerns about keeping pace with digital transformation. More than 63 percent of firms said they were worried about the cost and effort needed to maintain systems up to date and more than two-thirds (69 percent) worried about staff training. Other hurdles to tech deployment include cultural challenges, with 34 percent of organisations citing ‘resisting change’ as the main reason for avoiding new tech investment.

The report confirms earlier findings and seem to indicate that some organisations are willing to spend money, but many are in the experimental phase. Other than CRM, organisations are dabbling in a variety of other tools in a trial and error period to decide what is critical for sales people to be more efficient.

The study showed that CRM is still the most frequently deployed tool for sales teams, with 70 per cent of organisations saying they use the technology.