Author: Nick Farrell

Everyone loses a day a month due to technology

Workers are pictured beneath clocks displaying time zones in various parts of the world at an outsourcing centre in BangaloreDespite the best efforts of IT teams, suppliers and vendors the average UK worker still loses a day a month due to technology issues.

New research released today from Managed 24/7 reports how poor IT affects the UK’s workforce productivity.

The report said that it is widely accepted that the UK is facing a productivity crisis and this report outlines, for the first time, how much of this loss is caused by poor IT systems and infrastructure.

The report suggests that IT failure could cost the UK £35 billion per year if the average amount of time lost was applied to all full-time workers, the equivalent of the entire population of Birmingham and Milton Keynes not working all year.

The average GB employee in the private sector who uses IT and has wasted any time, wastes on average 5.59 percent  of their total working time due to IT issues. This equates to 27 minutes per day, 2.5 hours per week or more than one working day per four-week month.

In addition to the underlying costs in term of productivity and the bottom line, the report also found that among employees who use IT at work:

More than 32 percent  believe that their workplace IT systems are damaging their ability to do a good job, which rises to 37 percent  for firms with more than 500 employees

Another 44 percent  believe that IT problems directly costs their business time and money

More than 40 percent  felt that they had better IT systems at home than at work

Another 24 percent  who have experienced IT issues said they have caused customers to complain, rising to 30 percent  in firms with 500 or more employees

John Pepper, CEO and Founder of Managed 24/7, said: “The UK is facing a productivity crisis. The UK currently ranks seventh in the G7 and 17th in the G20 for productivity per person, and fixing our outdated and poorly managed IT systems and infrastructure will play a significant role in closing this gap.

“It takes a German worker four days to produce what his or her UK counterpart does in five and this crisis is resulting in the UK lags well behind other developed nations. In light of recent outages such as at British Airways and the NHS, it is time for the UK to address the issue to ensure we aren’t left behind by our more agile neighbours.”

The top four issues experienced by IT users in the last year:

Slow-running systems / equipment (65 percent ); Failures in connection (54 percent ); Outdated kit or software (32 percent ); Equipment not being ready for a new starter (23 percent )

When problems do occur, more than a third (34 percent ) of all IT users do not feel that they receive sufficient IT support. This is more marked for very large organisations (firms employing 500 or more staff where 36 percent  of staff feeling dissatisfied). Large companies (those with more than 500 employees) have the worst record for resolving IT issues, with 15 percent  of respondents finding it typically takes more than a day for stuff to be resolved.

Staff attempt to fix things on their own, with 27 percent  of respondents saying they are most likely to sort IT glitches themselves, with men more likely to sort out their own problems (34 percent ) than women (20 percent ).

IT blights some industries more than others. The top four industries of those that experience problems were:

Retail (27.70 minutes lost per day)
Hospitality and leisure (25.83 minutes lost per day)
Legal (24.74 minutes lost per day)
Finance and Accounting (22.60 minutes lost per day)


Digital Revolution report now out

revolutionSome of the most digitally savvy organisations are continuing their evolution to ensure they not only remain competitive but continue to engage with customers in the rapidly changing digital landscape, according to a new report from Digital Marketing Exchange

The report chatted to some of Europe’s top marketing executives including GHL Hotels, Pho, Citi Private Bank, Direct Line and Forrester has just been released by the Digital Marketing Exchange and looks at how digitally savvy organisations are managing to handle the change in business.

The report said that most companies are thinking about ways of engaging with new media and becoming wiser to the ways of traditional media, organisation.

Digital Marketing Exchange Director Samuel Lehmann said: “For senior marketing executives the digital revolution represents a great opportunity – almost a levelling of the playing field, whereby if you market smart you can attract new customers and gain marketing share. But with great opportunity, there is also great risk and challenge. How can you attribute your marketing successes across a myriad of channels? How can you deliver a meaningful and effective content? How can you benefit from marketing automation & artificial intelligence technologies? These are the questions we have asked some of the best marketing brains from across Europe as they look into the future of the always evolving digital landscape”.

The report was produced ahead of the Digital Marketing Exchange (26 – 27 September, London), where the report’s key themes of the will be discussed in greater detail.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft slammed for being unrepairable

Greenpeace and IT Teardown website iFixit have slammed Apple, Microsoft and Samsung for making the least repairable IT products on the market.
The report, published by Greenpeace and IT Teardown website iFixit, accuses the IT giants of making their products difficult to take apart to replace components, creating environmental issues because their broken gear has to be discarded.

The products were rated out of 10 for repairability.

The two Apple iPhone handsets tested each scored seven out of 10, but two iPads scored two out of 10 and two MacBooks scored one out of 10.
Microsoft’s Surface Book and Surface Pro 5 both scored one out of 10, while Samsung saw three smartphones and one tablet all score four out of 10 or lower.

The report said that Dell did better, with one laptop getting a perfect 10 out of 10 and one scoring seven out of 10. HP saw its tablets score 10 out of 10 and seven out of 10, while the one HP laptop tested scored 10 out of 10.

The environmentally focused Dutch smartphone manufacturer Fairphone was praised to the skies.

Gary Cook, IT analyst at Greenpeace USA, said that the poor repairability of these products is increasing the number of devices thrown onto the scrap heap.

“Of all the models assessed we found a few best-in-class products which demonstrate that designing for repairability is possible,” he said. “On the other hand, a number of products from Apple, Samsung and Microsoft are increasingly being designed in ways that make it difficult for users to fix, which shortens the lifespan of these devices and adds to growing stockpiles of e-waste.
“Improving the repairability of electronic products is technically achievable, and brands should be prioritising this in their product design. As a first step, it’s critical that all brands follow in the footsteps of Dell, Fairphone, and HP and make repair manuals and spare parts publicly available.”

Devices are generally becoming more difficult to repair as cases are glued and soldered together. Nearly 70 percent of all devices tested had batteries that were difficult or impossible to replace because of the adhesives used to keep them in place.

The fruity cargo cult insisted that its products were designed with durability in mind and that it takes environmentally friendly steps to recycle old products and when they die Apple recycles them safely and responsibly.

IDC promises that detachable market will come together

Beancouacer-aspire-switch-10nters at IDC have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and worked out that the recent slowdown in UK sales of detachable devices will be reversed in the second half of 2017.

IDC thinks that thin and light form factors will account for a third of the total UK PC device market this year.

UK PC and tablet sales will shrink 6.8 percent this year to 3.2 million units as Brexit uncertainty, exchange rate fluctuations and public spending cuts put pressure on device spending.

Despite this, the momentum behind thin and light form factors will continue as consumers and businesses gravitate towards features that support mobility and OEMs attempt to decrease exposure to low-margin, entry-level PCs and tablets, IDC said.

Detachables, covertibles and ultra-slims are set to account for a third of the total PC device market in the UK in 2017, up from 25 percent in 2016, IDC said. This figure will rise to 43 percent by 2021, it added.

Convertibles will grow by 28.9 percent this year, ultra-slims by 9.8 percent and Detachables will return to stellar growth in the second half despite losing steam over the past six months.

IDC Western Europe Personal Computing Devices senior research analyst Daniel Gonçalves said that several factors affected the performance of detachables in the UK in the last six months.

“There has been a replacement of notebooks by Windows-based detachables eased off, as the benefits have not been seen to be clear enough. Secondly, there was a growing focus on convertibles by many prominent OEMs, and this has had some negative impact on detachables. Lastly, there was a longer than usual period during which major detachable brands capable of boosting demand weren’t updated.”

Detachable sales will rise by 27.6 percent in the six months to 31 December 2017, IDC predicted.

“We are confident that the number of new models being introduced will help boost shipments from the second half of 2017,” Gonçalves said.

Digital forensics market has five key players

five peopleThe global digital forensics market is consolidated with top five players holding more than 40 percent of the overall market in 2016, according to Transparency Market Research (TMR)

In a new report. Cisco, IBM, Guidance Software, FireEye and MSAB have taken control of the market as cyber crime soars.

This conclusion follows a review based on the findings of Transparency Market Research report, which had the punchy title “Digital Forensics Market (Type – Computer Forensics, Network Forensics, Cloud Forensics, Mobile Device Forensics, and Database Forensics; Application – Health Care, Education, Banking, Financial Services, And Insurance (BFSI), Defense And Aerospace, Law Enforcement, Transportation And Logistics, and Information Technology) – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2017 – 2025.”

TMR estimates that the global digital forensics market was valued at US$2.87 billion in 2016 and is anticipated to be worth US$6.65 billion by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 9.7 percent between 2017 and 2025.

Computer forensics stood as the leading type segment in 2016; however, mobile device forensics is expected to overtake in terms of growth due to the increasing demand for mobile device applications.

The regional segments into which the global market for digital forensics is segmented are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. Among these, North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe account for major revenue contribution to the global market.

According to the report, growth of cyber threat and attacks is the key factor driving the digital forensics market. In today’s scenario, cyber criminals are causing unprecedented level of disruption by using IT tools as well as cloud services. These cyber criminals follow a planned approach for systematically hacking valuable information from companies, stealing customer and credit card information. The gradual increase of mobile devices that provides access to company applications and different types of data is also posing security problems to safeguard information. These factors are collectively boosting the demand for digital forensics solutions.

The growth of this market is also driven by rising complexities and sophistication in digital crimes. Cyber criminals employ a combination of sophisticated technologies to be successful in their missions. They target individuals as well as businesses and rewards achieved are much greater with security protocols being somewhat lax at the other end. Not only this, cyber criminals use multiple channels and mislead security by a series of attacks that takes off the attention of security personnel from the main crime site.

Increasing use of cloud based solutions and IoT technology is also accentuating the growth of digital forensics market, says the report. The increasing trend of cloud based technology and internet of things technology among consumers for everyday functioning is giving the opportunity to hackers to target the areas of least resistance. Due to this, there is constant threat of information leak posing risk to customer’s privacy and paving way for crime.

However, the growth of the digital forensics market is deterred due to the rising complexities in mobiles. The widespread use of mobile platform for businesses has led to mobile-specific vulnerabilities leading to the use of malware and network-based attacks to expose business data. The growth of this market is also hampered due to lack of industry regulations and professional ethics. This is supplemented by factors such as inadequate training, limited resources, use of outdated equipment, and lack of standard protocol for examining digital evidences that have been documented.


Oracle predicts half of businesses will be cloud based

Oracle-Announces-X5Oracle thinks that nearly half of companies plan to run their business on cloud infrastructure within three years

James Stanbridge, Vice President Iaas Product Management at Oracle said businesses were rapidly embracing cloud infrastructure (IaaS) to boost performance and innovation levels, new research from Oracle has revealed. While negative perceptions around security, complexity and loss of control still present barriers to adoption, they are shown to be outdated myths, with those that have moved to IaaS proving the reality is far more positive.

Two thirds of businesses that are already using IaaS to some extent, say it makes it easier to innovate. The same proportion says moving to IaaS has significantly cut their time to deploy new applications or services. Furthermore, 64 percent say IaaS has significantly cut on-going maintenance costs and 59 percent of all respondents believe businesses not investing in IaaS will increasingly find themselves struggling to keep pace with businesses that are.

The research also found that experienced users are almost twice as likely to believe IaaS can provide world class operational performance in terms of availability, uptime and speed, compared to non-adopters. Although some fear the move to IaaS may be complicated, 64 percent of experienced IaaS users say the move was easier than they expected.

Most respondents agree IaaS will have a role to play in their business within three years, with 44 percent saying they will run most – or all of their business IT infrastructure on IaaS. Only 10 percent of respondents believe IaaS will still have little or no role in their business in three years.

Stanbridge said: “When it comes to cloud adoption there has always been a case of perception lagging behind reality. Cloud is still relatively new to a lot of businesses and some outdated perceptions persist. We are now seeing high levels of success and satisfaction from businesses that are saving money, cutting complexity and driving exciting innovation thanks to cloud infrastructure. Those resisting the move need to challenge the perceptions holding them back because the longer they wait, the further ahead their competitors will pull.”

Hire more women says Jack Ma

maxresdefault (1)Alibaba founder Jack Ma said that tech companies should “hire as many women as possible”.

Ma has been doing his best to increase gender balance in the workforce, revealing in 2015 that 47 percent of the Chinese internet giant’s overall staff – and 33 percent of those in senior roles – are female.

Speaking at Alibaba’s Gateway 2017 event in Detroit last week, the billionaire tech entrepreneur said women will be “very powerful” in the 21st century.

Ma said hiring female talent had been one of the secrets of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s success.

“Women are going to be very powerful in the 21st century. Because last century people compared about muscle [but] this century people compare about wisdom. Hire as many women possible. This is what we did, and this is the secret sauce.”

Ma advised managers to hire staff who are smarter than they are.

“I give a lot of advice to my colleagues. Whey they hire people, there’s one judge – look at the young man; if you think he will be [your] boss in five years, hire him,” he said.

He also warned the current crop of tech market leaders against complacency.

“When Netscape was so good we never thought it would disappear,” he said. “Yahoo was good; we never thought it would be like [it is] today. So don’t believe you will be good all the time – be paranoid.”

Capita and Birmingham City Council sort out new deal

bury the hatchetCapita and Birmingham City Council have sorted out their differences and signed a new IT services deal after scrapping the mammoth Service Birmingham joint venture.

The old deal called Service Birmingham saw Capita provide IT services to Birmingham City Council from 2006, but was came under constant criticism for at one point costing upwards of £180 million annually.

Cllr Ian Ward, deputy leader of the City Council, said: “As is widely known, the shape and objectives of the council are changing due to a wide range of factors including reduced funding for local government, changes in population profile and an ever-altering technological landscape.

“Our ICT and digital service needs to support and lead in achieving those objectives, while providing flexibility, added value and having the ability to continue delivering a day-to-day service while making this transition.

“This deal will see the council gradually take more control of its ICT and digital strategy over the next four years, with Capita and the council working together. Through these negotiations we have been able to secure the savings we need to protect frontline services and start the ball rolling on the process that will enable us to meet the challenges of the future.”

Service Birmingham joint venture was flawed by commercial restrictions, with the new services contract set to be in place until 2021.  The proposal will go to the council’s Cabinet today, but is expected to go through on the nod.


Infosys cuts tax deal with New York

infosysudacityInfosys has cut a tax deal with the State of New York’s investigation over the amount of taxes the Company paid in 2010-2011 without any criminal or civil charges being filed.

Infosys has made a $1 million settlement with the New York state after it was found that it violated US visa rules by placing employees on a different visa at its clients’ offices in the state.

The settlement was announced on Friday by Attorney General Eric T Scheiderman, saying it resolves whistleblower claims that Infosys, in the course of providing outsourcing services, routinely brought foreign IT personnel into New York to perform work in violation of the terms of their visas.

The company said that the investigation centred on alleged paperwork errors, and the company has not had to confess to doing anything wrong.  In fact it denies all allegations that it ever did anything wrong at all.

The company said in a statement that the settlement relates to legal issues already resolved under the 2013 settlement with the US Department of Justice, and was reached by both parties to avoid protracted litigation.

“Infosys maintains robust policies and procedures to ensure adherence with all applicable regulations and laws. Infosys will continue to focus on boosting American innovation, hiring American workers and better serving our valued customers across the United States,” the company said.


Panasonic is the king of rugged laptops

cf-30_clamshell_left-600x600Panasonic is Europe’s leading rugged mobile computing manufacturer, according to the latest market analysis from VDC Research.

The beancounters, after adding up some numbers and dividing by their shoe size, said that with the Panasonic Toughbook range, the company extended its market-leading share of the European rugged notebook market with a 67 percent revenue share of sales in 2016.

The Panasonic Toughpad tablet range continued to lead the rugged tablet market with a 56 percent revenue share of sales and the company’s expansion into the rugged handheld market accelerated with year-on-year growth of 176 percent.

Kevin Jones, managing director Panasonic computer products solutions Europe said that despite a decline in the wider business notebook market, the rugged notebook market has remained buoyant as devices continue to be an important tool for many mobile workers with the need for data entry using a keyboard.

“Our focus on updating and refreshing our most successful rugged notebook models, combined with bringing to market new two-in-one detachable rugged devices has allowed us to expand our market share even further.”

In the rugged tablet market, Panasonic continued to lead with 56 percent revenue share of sales, almost eight times that of its nearest competitor.

Panasonic’s focus on the European rugged handheld market is also paying dividends. With almost a third of its product range now dedicated to this market, Panasonic has seen year-on-year growth of 176 percent in this sector as devices such as the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-F1 & FZ-N1 handheld tablets with their angled rear barcode reader to protect against repetitive strain and enhance user productivity begin to establish a reputation in industries such as transportation and logistics, retail and manufacturing.

David Krebs, EVP at VDC Research, said: “With over 67 percent  market share in the rugged notebook and over 56 percent market share in the rugged tablet market in EMEA in 2016, Panasonic continues to set the standard against which its competitors are measured. Moreover, with the introduction of the world’s first two in one fully rugged notebook Panasonic and an expanded portfolio of rugged handheld devices Panasonic is delivering some of the most innovative products in the rugged mobile computing market.”

Distributors find use for the cloud

cloudEuropean Distributors are finding a new role as a provider of cloud services, e-commerce, specialist logistics and support for the channel during the move to new revenue models.

According to a new report carried out for the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) by the research house IT Europa, the cloud helps provide coverage, onboarding and recruitment of new channels in all the markets in Europe.

The report identifies some of the ways that distribution is now able to work to develop new business lines, especially in services, where the move to cloud adoption makes it a lot easier for developers and solution providers to create solutions, but where they still need ways to reach their markets.

Vendors cited in the report say they are using distribution for access to markets that would otherwise involve them in setting-up local offices and providing local more resources.

Channels are often faced with a wave of new potential product lines, each requiring careful evaluation. Few channel players have the resources to research the market continuously.

Peter van den Berg, GTDC Europe’s general manager said that if you work closely with distributors and they will be able to guide you as to which products are going to be the winners. More than  65 percent of the business of one of the GTDC’s largest members is now in services.

“In the last two years, GTDC members have added over 600 new vendors, so they are a good source and indicator for channel partners looking to see which products and services are likely to be successful,” van den Berg stated.

The report draws on GTDC’s own research which points to a heightened sense of confidence in the European IT industry this year and identifies key growth areas for distribution and partner channels, including IoT, mobile, managed services and cloud.

SAP customers not evolving

Human evolution

Human evolution

The maker of expensive management software which no one is really sure what it does, SAP, is discovering that its customers are not so keen on getting the latest and greatest versions.

SAP appears to be struggling to get users to move to its S/4HANA offering with many quite happy sticking with their existing ERP products from the vendor.

Research from Rimini Street has found that the overwhelming number of respondents – 89 percent – were going to stick with existing products because they continue to meet business needs.

When asked if they would move to S/4HANA the reasons for not making the effort included struggling to find a strong business case, unclear ROI and fears of high migration and reimplementation costs.

Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin said that the survey highlights that CIOs and IT decision makers prefer to maximize the value of their current robust SAP ERP system that more than meets their business requirements, rather than advancing to a new platform that is still in development with no current business case to support a full reimplementation.

“It also illustrates how they are pursuing innovation strategies, such as hybrid IT, to help their business gain competitive advantage now, without having to wait indefinitely for meaningful new innovations and capabilities from SAP,” he said.

The hybrid IT approach is also one of the reasons why many customers are quite happy to use software that has largely been designed for on-premise use.

Aptec scores Dell’s Middle Eastern business

michael-dell-2Aptec, part of Ingram Micro, has been selected as a strategic distribution partner by Dell EMC across the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Yemen.

The deal builds on Aptec’s current partnership with Dell EMC and further strengthens Ingram Micro’s relationship with one of the world’s largest IT solution providers.

The distributor ow offers access to Dell EMC’s full portfolio of products, including advanced cloud IT infrastructure, converged systems, server and storage solutions, plus client systems.

Ingram Micro META chief executive   Ali Baghdadi said that the expansion of the partnership to include the full Dell EMC solution portfolio is an excellent affirmation of the success during many years of Aptec as a distributor of Dell in the Middle East region.

“We are pleased to offer an expanded portfolio of advanced solutions to our reseller partners as we continue to deliver on our commitment to support the growth of their businesses. Our team possesses excellent expertise and is well-positioned to provide unparalleled support to resellers to build their Dell EMC businesses,” he added.

Mohammed Amin, senior VP, Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) at Dell EMC, said: “Our distributors play a crucial role in our new Dell EMC partner programme. We are very pleased to have Ingram Micro on board in this important market, as they are a key player of ICT distribution who is well connected to the partner landscape both on a global scale and specifically in the META region.”

Havier Haddad, senior channel director META at Dell EMC, stated: “With our industry leading portfolio of solutions and a world-class channel programme, we are well positioned to shift the status quo of the IT industry. Keeping this in mind, with Ingram Micro, one of the world’s largest IT solution providers on board, we aim to put our channel ecosystem at the forefront of IT transformation and achieve even greater heights in the future.”


Edge protector Brookcourt inspires the London Stock Exchange


edge 620_1Brookcourt Solutions has been named in London Stock Exchange Group’s “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain” Report.

The edge protective technology solutions outfit  was recognised in the fourth edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain report.

The report names fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the UK

To make the cut, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers

Brookcourt CEO Phil Higgins said: “Brookcourt are pleased to have won such a prestigious and innovative award. We focus on defining ways to deliver effective IT security solutions that match the increasing business demands for secure IT operations in today’s fast paced, unpredictable technological environment. By blending innovating, problem solving technologies across all enterprise verticals, Brookcourt’s award winning, customer centric approach ensures we continuously keep ahead. We are honoured to have been selected to receive this award.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said that four years after its first release,  LSEG’s ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs.

“The strength and diversity of these companies is readily apparent with a broad mix of UK regions and sectors represented. These companies are the very heart of an ‘anti-fragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust. We must ensure we continue doing all we can to support high growth potential businesses like these,” Rolet said.

Ellison bets on IaaS and PaaS business

Larry EllisonOracle founder Larry Ellison has told the world that he expects Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS business to “accelerate into hyper-growth” over the coming year.

Strong SaaS sales dramatically improved the company’s fiscal in the fourth quarter and full-year 2017 results.

SaaS sales grew 76 percent to $1 billion in the fourth quarter pushing Oracle’s overall cloud revenues up 66 percent $1.4 billion. Total revenues for the quarter rose four percent to $10.9 billion.

Although IaaS and PaaS growth was 45 percent in the fourth quarter, rising to $403 million, Ellison predicted Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS business will soon grow so fast it will “be even bigger than our SaaS business”.

He said that during the new fiscal year, Oracle’s PaaS and IaaS businesses to accelerate into hyper growth, the same kind of growth it was seeing with SaaS.

Ellison, who is now Oracle’s CTO, also used the call to make his ritual traditional jibe at Salesforce, claiming fiscal 2017 was the second year in a row Oracle sold more cloud annual recurring revenue than its SaaS rival.

He said that Oracle’s rapid SaaS growth was the driving force behind Oracle’s revenue and earnings growth in Q4.

“The reason we are confident that we will pass Salesforce is because we have a three-fold SaaS application suites for ERP, for HCM and for CRM including financials, procurement, supply chain, manufacturing, human resources, payroll, marketing, sales and service. Salesforce in contrast only competes in three of these nine market areas,” he said.