Author: Nick Farrell

Dell EMC cuts cloud deal with Microsoft

lightning-cloudDell EMC talked about its partnership with Microsoft under which channel partners can build on-premises Microsoft Azure clouds using Dell EMC technology.

Dubbed Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, the she-bang is a turnkey platform for building a hybrid cloud offering with the same look, feel, and technology as the Microsoft Azure public cloud,

A Dell EMC spokesperson said the outfit was using its three years of experience with delivering hybrid clouds.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is a net-new offering from Dell EMC, particularly in how it differs from the company’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, or EHC.

Customers deploying the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud need to add their own domain name space automation, firewall automation, backup and recovery capabilities, and other technologies that together form a private or hybrid cloud.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is an integrated offering which is Azure-based. It does not use the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

The new offering is also different from the Azure Pack, which Dell started shipping in 2015. The Azure Pack is not API-compatible with the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack targets solution providers and customers who use Microsoft technology. It will be a stand-alone offering combining Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure technology with Azure.

The new offering scales from four nodes, which can work with up to about 100 Azure D1 virtual machines, to 12 nodes, or about 600 Azure D1 virtual machines.

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack provides a single contract support for hybrid Azure deployments, full encryption and security capabilities including the ability to tie policies to virtual machines as they are migrated to new locations, and full data protection capabilities in single tenant and multi-tenant environments.

Insight restructuring costs hit EMEA operations

imagesInsight saw its EMEA operations slip into the red because of restructuring costs.

Restructuring costs of $3.2 million made Insight’s EMEA numbers look pretty rubbish. Costs shot up as the company tried to improve the efficiency of its EMEA operations. Apparently things are going to be pants there for some time.

Overall the numbers for the first quarter across EMEA showed that Insight delivered a 9per cent  climb in sales to $330 million but a loss with income dipping by $1.1m compared to a positive position of $2.7 million in the same period last year.

Insight CEO Ken Lamneck said that EMEA was a blight on the balance sheet but otherwise the firm had enjoyed a fairly decent performance in the region.

“The sales growth obviously is pretty 20per cent  constant currency growth, so really solid there. A few big deals are brought down the gross margin related to some large software enterprise agreements and some hardware deals, lower than margin there for — but certainly good growth on a top-line and obviously growth year-over-year on the earnings line as well,” he said.

“But we looked and we said, hey, there is a couple of markets where there is some inefficiency. So we’ve taken that very specific action,” he added.

The CFO Glynis Bryan said that when it took a charge in Europe it did not always see a recovery in the first year and it expected the benefit of the cost cutting to filter in about $2m a year with most of that starting to come through to the balance sheet in 2018.

Sales for the outfit were up 26 percent  to $1.48 billion for the three months ended 31 March. Gross profit was $208 million for the first quarter, up 29 percent  year-over-year.


Mitel decimates workforce

ob_69e675_13466500-10205097068386116-52360299429Mitel has sold its mobile division and is now gearing up to decimate its remaining workforce

Ten percent of its workforce are being handed their pink slips and told to clean out their desks just a year after the comms giant was close to doubling in size last year through its proposed acquisition of Polycom.

The deal went tits up when Polycom got a higher bid.

Now, the emphasis for Mitel is to get as slim as possible, although other acquisitions are believed to be possible.

In February, Mitel completed the sale of its mobile division to the parent company of Xura, saying it would use the $350m cash proceeds to pay down its credit facility. This reflected its strategy to focus on the unified communications and collaboration market.

Getting rid of staff will result in the outfit taking a charge in the range of $25 million to $35 million this year.

Mitel chief executive Richard McBee said that with the mobile divestiture finished the outfit was taking a “proactive cost reduction action to align its operating expenses with our current and future business investment needs”. With language like that we can sort of see Mitel’s problem – a company which can’t say “sacking staff to save money” might be having difficulties facing broader reality issues.

McBee said he was “pleased” with the Q1 results, and “especially pleased” with Mitel’s performance in its larger European markets “where Mitel’s financial strength helps us to expand on our leadership position in the region”.

Mitel’s GAAP net losses widened year on year during the quarter ending 31 March 2017, from $12.9m to $19.7m, on revenues that fell slightly from $228.1 million to $223.1 million.

Beecham launches online IoT navigation tool

woman-sextantIoT analyst firm Beecham Research and its partner IoT Global Network have launched the first fully-independent, online IoT navigation tool which can help match adopter needs with IoT platform capabilities.

Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of Beecham Research said that the IoT platform has become an important starting point for building IoT solutions, but with so many now on the market it is a highly confusing starting point.

“In addition, IoT platforms are going through a fast rate of development with frequent updates, acquisitions and re-brandings. They are also becoming increasingly sophisticated as well as more specialised. For those who do not understand the subtleties, this adds to the confusion, which then acts as a brake on market development,” he said.

IoT platforms offer the middleware to help secure monitoring, control and analysis of device and sensor data along with integration to enterprise IT systems. They are quickly becoming an essential element of IoT solutions to reduce time to market and development costs.

Beecham’s new IoT navigation tool assists adopters to make informed decisions about which platforms are most likely to meet their requirements at any particular time.

It does not favour one platform over others, but it does narrow the field to a level that adopters can manage effectively.

Duke-Woolley claims that by providing a short list of platforms most likely to be of interest to each individual user enquiry, it is part of the learning process and means that adopters can commence a more valuable dialogue with the most appropriate vendors at an earlier stage.

“We strongly believe this is of benefit not only for adopters but for vendors as well, leading to better-informed decision-makers, more qualified sales opportunities and shorter sales cycles,” he said.

The tool is hosted on the website.

PCM claims En Pointe lied about results

pants-on-firePCM has told a court that it would never have bought En Pointe if it had known the solution provider’s true financial situation.

The outfit has filed a lawsuit counterclaim April 11 alleging that En Pointe materially overstated the profitability of its business and that breaches by an En Pointe subsidiary have damaged PCM’s goodwill with many customers. PCM said the total damages exceed $57 million, or more than triple the company 2016 net income.

PCM paid $15 million upfront for En Pointe’s IT solutions business as well as 22.5 percent of future adjusted gross profit and 10 percent of certain service revenue for the next three years.

The first signs of trouble came in December 2016, when an En Pointe subsidiary filed a lawsuit against PCM in Delaware Superior Court for underpaying its agreed-upon earn-out payments.

Now three law firms have announced investigations into whether PCM violated federal securities laws by issuing materially misleading business information to investors.

When PCM filed its counterclaims the followed month, it alleged that the En Pointe subsidiary improperly used vendor rebates and marketing-related vendor credits attributable to prior accounting periods to understate the cost of the goods it was selling. PCM said it believes En Pointe’s earnings were millions of dollars less than they reported.

PCM also alleged that En Pointe misled the company with assurances that certain customer relationships were not dependent on En Pointe’s minority-owned status. But after closing, PCM said it discovered several acquired customers were unwilling to transfer their business to PCM since it is not certified as being minority-owned.

Amazon drops cloud prices

amazonAmazon Web Services slashed the prices on its cloud products.

The move is mostly geared to making more affordable the Reserved Instances through which customers can realize savings by booking cloud capacity for one or three years.

The long-term contracts which give AWS usage discounts are increasingly popular, delivering savings of up to 75 percent over on-demand pricing.

Jeff Barr, AWS’ chief evangelist wrote in his bog that AWS can continue reducing its prices because “we work with our suppliers to drive down costs while also finding ways to build hardware and software that is increasingly more efficient and cost-effective”.

AWS is adding the choice of buying three year reserved instances with no upfront payment for most of the virtual machine types available on its cloud. Previously, you could only defer payments on the one year contracts.

Price cuts are also being implemented across machine types for one year reserved instances and convertible reserved instances, which allow customers to change the instance type at any time as their applications evolve.

The prices customers will see depends on region and operating system, Barr said.

Amazon is also lowering the price of M4 instances running Linux by up to seven percent. M4 is AWS’ latest general purpose machines that balances compute, memory and networking.

Distributor extends existing relationship with AV player in Ireland to cover the UK market

Exertis extends Promethean relationship

prometheus1-3804Exertis has extended its relationship with AV outfit Promethean.

The distributor will have access to the vendor’s full range of products, which includes interactive whiteboards.

Exertis acquired Medium last November to extend its reach into the AV market and has now branded the division with both names.

The Irish relationship with Promethean was struck back in March the cunning plan of increasing the its education sector business.

said Ian Neale, Exertis Medium said its services will help the channel partners take advantage of, and maximise the growth opportunities for the entire portfolio of Promethean ActivPanels.

Simon Port, Promethean’s head of channel operations UK & Ireland, said that it made sense to work with the distributor over a wider territory to support resellers.

“The continued growth in the IFPD market, which the UK and Ireland are leading globally, means we need to ensure there is enough stocking capacity if our reseller partners are going to meet demand. By bringing Exertis UK in as a second fulfilment source, we are essentially giving partners greater flexibility and choice, but ultimately equipping them with the fundamentals to achieve sales success,” he said.

Medium was acquired by Exertis last November to add more products to the portfolio and give resellers the chance to put together more solutions.

The outfit supplies a broad range of AV products, including projectors, interactive displays and digital signage from vendors including LG, NEC, Samsung and Panasonic.


Data centres are an albatross

General_FOLDER_16 July_Albatross (RL_30June2015)This week Verizon and CenturyLink have been off-loading their data centre investments suggesting that the days of everyone+dog wanting a data centre business are past.

IT and telco providers are concluding that owning datacentres is too much of an effort and are off-loading them as soon as they can find a buyer.

Verizon this week flogged 29 datacentres to Equinix for $3.6 billion in a deal involving the transfer of 250 staff.

CenturyLink closed the sale of its data centre and colocation business, which has 700 staff, to a consortium of private equity investors.

In all cases the moves have been to release capital into their businesses. The companies feel it is better to invest in things like networks, instead of trying to support datacentres – particularly when there might be companies out there better suited to it.

UK-based resellers and hosting players are also having to re-assess their data centre strategies.

With more use of the cloud happening, even companies that own their own data centres are having to become increasingly technology-agnostic and data centre owning companies are having to change their operations.

No one expects the European General Data Protection Regulation

6748f8ea516944e171a49983c7f5e696More than half of the companies affected by the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will not be ready by the end of 2018.

Beancounters at Gartner have added up some numbers and divided by their collective shoe size and worked out that when the GDPR goes live on 25 May 2018 more than half will eligible for fines of up to €20m – or four percent of turnover – for non-compliance.

Gartner research director Bart Willemsen said that the GDPR will affect not only EU-based organisations, but many data controllers and processors outside the EU too.

“Threats of hefty fines, as well as the increasingly empowered position of individual data subjects tilt the business case for compliance and should cause decision makers to re-evaluate measures to safely process personal data.”

All this opens the way for the channel to step in and provide customers with the advice they so desperately need.

They need someone to tell them their role under the GDPR. Outfits need to appoint a representative to act as a contact point for the data protection authority (DPA) and data subjects.

Most will have to hire a data protection officer (DPO). This is especially important when the organisation is a public body, is processing operations needing regular and systematic monitoring, or has large-scale processing activities.

Gartner said that too few organisations have found every single process where personal data is involved. Going forward, purpose limitation, data quality and data relevance should be decided on when starting a new processing activity as this will help to keep compliance in future personal data processing activities.

Organisations must prove an accountable ground posture and transparency in all decisions regarding personal data processing activities. Outside parties must also follow relevant requirements that can affect supply, change management and procurement processes. It is important to note that accountability under the GDPR needs proper data subject consent acquisition and registration. Prechecked boxes and implied consent will be in the past. A clear and express action is needed that will require organisations to implement streamlined techniques to obtain and document consent and consent withdrawal.

Digital security outfit Gemalto gets into digits

fingerprint Digital security outfit Gemalto has closed its acquisition of 3M’s Identity Management Business after approval by the relevant regulatory and antitrust authorities.

This strategic acquisition rounds out Gemalto’s cunning plan to get Government contracts offering by adding biometric technologies and more secure document features. It ideally positions the Company to provide solutions for the promising commercial biometrics market, the outfit claims.

The Identity Management Business will be integrated into Gemalto Government Programs business. In 2016, the acquired business generated $202 million in revenue and an estimated $53 million in profit from operations.

Philippe Vallée, Gemalto CEO said that buying 3M’s Identity Management Business, Gemalto makes a strategic move by in-sourcing biometric technology.

“Combining our market access, technologies and expertise will enable Gemalto to further accelerate the deployment of trusted national identities and to offer strong end-to-end biometric authentication solutions throughout the digital economy. “

SAP and Siemens invade Saudi Arabia

maxresdefaultGerman firms have scored a major win setting up shop in Saudi Arabia – something British outfits would give an arm and a leg for.

The maker of expensive esoteric management software which no-one can be really certain what it does and have been invited to play an important role in furthering the kingdom’s “digital transformation”.

Top executives at the engineering conglomerate and the business software company who were touring with German chancellor Angela Merkel signed declarations of intent to work with the Saudi authorities.

Saudi Arabia is pushing a long-term economic transformation dubbed “Vision 2030” to reduce the country’s reliance on oil, attract investment and improve the lives of its citizens. When we say citizens, we mean Muslim men.

Siemens signed a framework agreement with the Saudi National Industrial Clusters Development Programme (NICDP) which the German group said could lead to equipping infrastructure projects worth at least a billion euros.

The company also wants to provide vocational training in Saudi Arabia, while SAP has agreed with the Saudi Ministry of Planning to cooperate on the country’s digitisation efforts, officials said.

The German business delegation travelling with Merkel on her Gulf visit also includes the chief executives of Lufthansa, national railway operator Deutsche Bahn and industrial services group Bilfinger.

PCM enters the UK and is hiring

XdyfrZEwPCM has unveiled its entry into the United Kingdom and Europe through a wholly-owned subsidiary, PCM Technology Solutions UK.

For those who came in late, PCM is a big US technology solutions provider with 2016 revenues of $2.25 billion and nearly 4,000 employees.

Opening in the UK is the next major step in PCM’s global expansion following its successful entry into Canada in 2015. PCM UK will be conducting a Grand Opening celebration on 2 May and expects to begin sales operations during the second quarter.

PCM UK is driving towards considerable scale and expects to employ 90 co-workers by the end of 2017.

PCM CEO Frank Khulusi, Chairman said that the outfit’s expansion into the UK marks a major milestone for PCM.

“PCM UK will be our hub for the UK and the rest of Europe.  Many of our North American customers are increasingly global with needs for us to deliver to their European operations cutting-edge IT solutions with the same high level of service they have grown accustomed to from us in North America.”

The outfit said that there are significant potential opportunities for customers based in the UK and across the European Union.

“We believe now is the right timing for us to pursue this additional market, and launched our UK operations accordingly. We spent a great deal of time during the quarter setting up the operation, hiring a managing director and various other leadership roles to ensure the success of this international expansion.”

PCM UK has recently appointed Donavan Hutchinson as its Managing Director. Hutchinson joined the PCM in February to help develop and create the UK operation.

Hutchinson worked for other Global IT solution providers where he was directly responsible for creating and effectively executing collaboration programs to extend service offerings from North America based clients into the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific Markets.

Hutchinson, stated, “I am excited to bring my experience and record of accomplishment of successfully growing global sales of IT solutions to the PCM family.  With a mission of delivering a very high level of service to our European clients, we have already built an incredible management team to lead the operation, and I’m confident we will be able to expand the successes of PCM to the UK and across Europe. “

Jay Miley, PCM’s President, added: “Our success in rapidly building the UK operation and preparing it for a grand launch has been one of leveraging our strong relationships with our key vendors and distribution partners who believe in our team and our strategic business plan. I would like to personally thank all of our internal stakeholders, partners, vendors and distributors who are assisting us in executing against our strategy to extend the high level of service and support that our customers currently enjoy today.”

PCM UK is now hiring for positions in sales, vendor management, purchasing, marketing, IT and finance as well as a variety of other business roles.

Security features are the top reason for Windows 10 upgrade

magritte-windowThe killer reason why companies are upgrading to Windows 10 is the improved security functions, according to beancounters at Gartner Group.

The analyst outfit said that it took a long time for Windows 10 to start driving PC sales but the channel has witnessed the impact of the OS upgrades triggering hardware sales since the last quarter of 2016.

Gartner noting that the adoption of Windows 10 is faster than previous OS versions and the traditional refresh cycles are shortening. Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner said: “Organisations recognize the need to move to Windows 10, and the total time to both evaluate and deploy Windows 10 has shortened from 23 months to 21 months between surveys that Gartner did during 2015 and 2016.

“Large businesses are either already engaged in Windows 10 upgrades or have delayed upgrading until 2018. This likely reflects the transition of legacy applications to Windows 10 or replacing those legacy applications before Windows 10 migration takes place”.

The analyst house has found that security improvements are the top attraction for those migrating as well as the cloud integration capabilities offered by the OS.

But there are also technical problems with some users being driven to upgrade to make sure they can use the latest desktop and server processors. Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner said: “Respondents’ device buying intentions have significantly increased as organizations saw third- and fourth-generation products optimized for Windows 10 with longer battery life, touchscreens and other Windows 10 features. The intention to purchase convertible notebooks increased as organizations shifted from the testing and pilot phases into the buying and deployment phases.”

Figures from last month from Netmarketshare revealed that Windows 10 holds a 25 percent market share, which is still lagging behind the 49 percentheld by Windows 7. The number of users still using XP and 8.1 has now dipped below 20 percent

Snow goes to channel first approach

ALG-L50-073Snow Software has announced it is setting up a channel-first policy to make sure all sales happen with partners.

Snow is a Software Asset Management outfit and it expects a channel will help it meet growing demand for software asset management support.

A SAM skills shortage is looming and as a result customers will be leaning more on partners to make sure they can help them plug the expertise gap.

To support the increased channel focus the firm has launched a partner portal, updated its programmes with more emphasis on joint marketing opportunities.

The company said that it will make sure the channel can perform the function customers will be looking for the vendor is encouraging partners to use its training facilities with the Snow Academy, which is an online learning platform.

Urban Bucht, global vice president partners at Snow Software announced that he will be developing partner relationships and he will be bringing on new partners to provide greater reach in the market.

Microsoft takes on Salesforce with LinkedIn data

microsoft-in-chinaSoftware King of the World, Microsoft, is rolling out upgrades to its sales software using data from LinkedIn.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the cunning plan was central to the company’s long-term strategy for building specialised business software.

The move means improving Vole’s sales software Dynamics 365, so it can take on market leader  It is the first thing to come out of Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the business-focused social network.

The new features will comb through a salesperson’s email, calendar and LinkedIn relationships to help gauge how warm their relationship is with a potential customer.

The system will recommend ways to save an at-risk deal, like calling in a co-worker who is connected to a potential customer on LinkedIn.

“The artificial intelligence, or AI, capabilities of the software would be central. I want to be able to democratize AI so that any customer using these products is able to, in fact, take their own data and load it into AI for themselves,” Nadella said.

LinkedIn has 500 million members globally, one of the first big milestones for the business social network since its acquisition.