Author: Nick Farrell

Cisco launches new enterprise-wide software licensing agreement.

Cisco Kid As part of its cunning plan to be more software centric, maker of networking boxes Cisco is launching a new enterprise-wide software licensing agreement.

A spokesCisco said the new Enterprise Agreement (EA) is either a three or five-year licensing contract and partners will have the potential to bring in more revenue, with a lower upfront investment on software, hardware, and services with the new EAs.

The deal aims to give customers more opportunity to take part in traditional enterprise licensing agreements.

Before Cisco customers had to invest several millions of dollars to get access to a catalogue or portfolio of software. But now the price point has come down significantly to as low as $250,000.

“This opens up opportunities for our customers and for us to expand the presence of Cisco software and enterprise agreements to a broader range and broader audience.”

Cisco has also lowered its minimum purchase requirement for an enterprise licence agreement, enabling partners to potentially sell the new EA in the midmarket space.

This opens up some new white space customer opportunity for partners to have discussions with a broader set of customers around a single agreement that can meet their overall goals.

Cognia Law Announces Kira Systems Partnership and Certification

Satanic-contractCognia Law announced today that it has joined Kira Systems’ growing network of partners as a Kira Certified Service Provider.

This means Cognia Law can combine Kira’s expertise in machine learning technology with its specialist knowledge of contract review to deliver faster and even more accurate contract review services to its clients.

Corporations will now be able to take advantage of technology enabled contract review, even when it does not make sense to be direct users of the technology themselves.

Cognia Law CEO Janet Taylor-Hall said the partnership allows it to leverage Kira’s advanced machine learning technology to fast-track contract analysis on our contract review projects.

“By using AI to help with accurate and cost efficient processing of large volumes of documents and contracts, Kira supports us in being able to deliver on our people focus and employ a higher calibre of skilled individuals, and in turn, to deliver more value added legal services to our clients,” she said.

Cognia Law has been working closely with Kira Systems over the last three months to understand how Cognia Law’s services to its clients, including CMS migration, post‑merger integration and regulatory review, can be spruced up using machine learning technology.

Continued collaboration between the businesses reinforces Cognia Law’s strategy of continuous improvement in the delivery of legal services and gives rise to new technology enabled services.

The users of Kira at Cognia Law have found that Kira substantially speeds up their contract review as it is capable of identifying concepts even if they vary significantly or don’t contain keywords, as the model takes into account thousands of variables.

Cognia Law users also find the technology easy to use, with built in workflow and reporting capabilities, which align with Cognia Law’s project management methodology.

Kira Systems CEO Noah Waisberg believed that in many cases the needs of corporates are best served directly through a service provider, but that shouldn’t mean they don’t get to have the benefits of AI too.

Kira is software searches and analyses contract data. Kira offers pre-built machine learning models covering due diligence, general commercial, corporate organization, real estate, compliance and more.

Using Kira Quick Study, anyone can train additional models that can accurately identify virtually any desired clause. Kira has been trusted by some of the world’s largest corporations on hundreds of billions of dollars of transactions and have been deployed on use cases where visibility into contract provisions is critical.

Venders are too slow to update partners on cloud

 

Cooked_snailsBeancounters at Accenture claim vendors are not updating their partner programmes quickly enough to factor in the cloud.

The consultancy said that technology vendors are struggling to update their channel rewards and incentives in line with the take-up of cloud and the as-a-service consumption.

Accenture Strategy sales strategy and transformation managing director Jason Angelos said that this means that channel companies are not incentivised to sell on the new models.

Talking at the Zyme channel data management (CDM) summit he said that a barrier for a lot of sales and commercial leaders is around the platform, the data and legacy operating model, what’s behind the scenes.

There are new commercial offers in place, but it’s still the old plumbing, processes, and partner programmes.

Angelos said that if a company had $20 million in incentive funds and can isolate $8 million that’s underperforming, it could reinvest that in smarter or more tailored programmes or getting the fundamental channel data in place or next level analytics partner support.

He said the biggest challenge for channel partners transitioning to a services-led approach is trying to manage two business models at once.

The Cloud was massive and was not a hundred percent of the business.

“There are two motions running parallel. It’s like changing the engines while the plane is flying.”

Best practice framework invented for Omni-channel

what-is-omni-channel-marketingManagement consultants Virtrium has issued an insight paper which it thinks will help IT managers hatch out a useful ominchannel.

The paper provides businesses with a practical framework for designing and building an IT environment. The content was developed with contributions from organisations including Azzurri Group, OneFamily, Linklaters and Wincanton.

The paper with the catchy title “The omnichannel customer experience: Designing and building a customer-centric IT environment [H1]” looks at what you have to do to implement a reliable, flexible and scalable architecture that orchestrates all systems and solutions, and engages customers across multiple digital and physical touchpoints.

Graham Oddey from Virtrium said: “Delivering a consistent and compelling customer experience across channels is now an expectation an organisation must fulfil. IT has to support this with an ecosystem that integrates systems and data, enabling enterprise to do business with and market to its audiences in a truly customer-centric way. When consumer journeys are seamless and allow people to easily achieve their goals this drives purchase and builds relationships, but any disconnect can damage brand loyalty.”

In the paper, Virtrium explores the drivers for building an omnichannel customer experience – including digital transformation and IoT – and the challenges a business should expect to come up against. It then shares a framework for planning, designing and implementing the IT architecture that will underpin the experience, seamlessly integrating all the required data, systems, solutions and channels.

On the list are understanding the business’s strategic priorities, customers and technology and:

·Integrating systems and solutions – back office, sales and marketing, e-commerce and store/Point-of-Sale (POS) – to facilitate an efficient, intuitive path to purchase.
· The role of data in creating an optimised, personalised experience that drives more profitable interactions, and how to arrive at a ‘single source of truth’.
· Mapping and redesigning customer journeys and business processes through streamlining and value engineering.
· Defining the target IT landscape, with the required core functionality and data.
· Identifying the right products, solutions and applications, along with all interfaces, connections and information flows.
· Considerations for costing, future-proofing and implementing the ecosystem.

The insight paper The omnichannel customer experience: Designing and building a customer-centric IT environment can be downloaded here.

Cloudreach crosses the Atlantic

rod_stewart_atlantic_crossing_by_rodstewartplz-d3h6ud6London-based cloud services provider Cloudreach has started to expand globally and opened the first new offices of its global expansion.

The company was recently acquired by investment giant Blackstone and has been talking about conquering the world now that it has enough conkers

The outfit has a new base in Dallas, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Cloudreach now has offices in the US, the UK, Canada, France and Germany, with a Swiss location set to open.

Blackstone announced plans to fuel Cloudreach’s growth when it completed the acquisition earlier this year, and Cloudreach hinted that further expansions “into other key markets” are imminent.

The company said that the  opening of this new office further cements the company’s position as a global leader in cloud technology.

GroupBC is a G-Cloud 9 Cloud Software Supplier

lightning-cloudBusiness Collaborator, better known as GroupBC has won a spot on the Crown Commercial Services G-Cloud 9 agreement for the supply of Cloud Software.

For those who came in late, GroupBC peddles its Common Data Environment (CDE), Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Process Management modules delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), to ensure construction related projects meet the BIM level 2 standards as mandated by the UK Government in April 2016.

The G-Cloud framework is an initiative targeted at easing procurement of cloud based information technology by UK public-sector departments by ensuring suppliers have met the standards laid out in the G-Cloud framework and are compliant with them.

G-Cloud 9 reassures buyers that the technology on offer is aligned to the National Cloud Security Centre’s 14 principles on cloud security, ensuring fully secure access and storage of data, and integrity of suppliers.

GroupBC wants to grow its presence with further public bodies looking to implement a solution to support attainment of BIM level 2 compliance, as well as deliver asset and project information management controls.

CA starts global marketing campaign

1480465477766CA Technologies has started off a new global marketing campaign which talks about building a “Modern Software Factory” for channel player customers.

The idea is to showcase CA’s capability to market in a brave new age built of buzzwords and management statements which need quote marks like “digital transformation”.

According to the company the strategy behind this marketing roll-out is businesses today face near constant “digital disruption” which harms all “business decision makers” at all levels.

According to CA, its Modern Software Factory campaign reflects “new insights” on the challenges to build better apps, faster and securely and gain insight from data, which are important to the “application economy”.

Businesses need to recognise that software is “core to creating competitive advantage.” CA shows how they can start with a single CA solution, or a combination of solutions across the areas of Agile, DevOps and Security.

CA Technologies is furthering its cloud watching strategy and offering through several new alliances that will see the New York-based vendor produce “more agile infrastructure solutions”.

CA also released changes to its Managed Service Provider (MSP) licensing programme for ARCserve. With this release, CA is trying to further simplify its licensing structure to encourage new partner enablement.

“We’re laying out a blueprint that’s designed to help guide customers as they leverage software to win in the market,” the firm added.

Nutanix reports significant revenue growth

nutanixHyper-converged infrastructure technology outfit Nutanix on Thursday reported significant revenue growth.

Nutanix reported GAAP loss for the quarter of $112.0 million on revenue of $191.8 million for its third fiscal quarter of 2017, which ended April 30. The company reported a GAAP loss of $46.8 million, or 39 cents a share, on revenues of $114.7 million during the year-ago quarter.

On a non-GAAP basis, Nutanix lost $60.8 million in the quarter, or 42 cents per share, compared to last year’s loss of $40.4 million, or 33 cents per share, last year.

Nutanix picked up 790 new customers in the quarter, bringing its total customer count to 6,172 businesses, the company said. New customers were most focused on the Nutanix architecture for running enterprise application, virtual desktop infrastructure, and server virtualization or private cloud workloads, it said.

Based on a rolling four-quarter average, about 23 percent of Nutanix customers have adopted the company’s AHV hypervisor, formerly known as Acropolis.

CEO Dheeraj Pandey said the company expanded its total addressable market thanks to making its hyper-converged infrastructure software stack available on an ever-wider range of hardware platforms, said:

“We continue to execute on our strategy of building a cloud operating system that provides our customers maximum choice of hardware platforms. We recently established a partnership with IBM to bring to market the industry’s first hyper-converged solution on Power Systems, and introduced support for HPE ProLiant and Cisco UCS blade servers. Our third quarter results reflect our continued focus on the Global 2000 as well as a measurable improvement in the number of larger deals in the quarter,” Pandey said.

JeraSoft comes up with new billing platform

BillingVoIP outfit JeraSoft has released a new version of its billing platform – JeraSoft VCS 3.12.

The key feature of the new version is the Internet of Things (IoT) services support. It enables users to bill any type of event within their business model gathered from multiple devices (sensors, controllers, vehicles, smartphones, machines, etc.) aimed at supporting home automation, health monitoring, etc.

It enables users to bill any type of event within their business model gathered from multiple devices (sensors, controllers, vehicles, smartphones, machines, etc.) aimed at supporting home automation, health monitoring, or any other IoT service.

Suren Arustamyan, Chief Operating Officer at JeraSoft said that the product’s functionality was getting better.

“With this latest version 3.12, we are again improving the platform’s performance in general, while at the same time incorporating many new features requested by our fast-growing customer base. The launch of our IoT billing platform has moved us one step forward in developing multicomplex marketable products strengthened with thorough technical support,” he said.

In addition to these developments, JeraSoft introduces CoreAPI optimised for performance and aimed at serving high frequency requests. Development of mobile applications or customers’ portals as well as real-time data synchronisation with third party systems are the typical usage cases for CoreAPI.

Other key business benefit that can be achieved from using JeraSoft VCS 3.12 is the Customer Dynamics Report. Now users can create dynamic reports in terms of customer base growth, subscriptions and on-demand services usage, balance refills, etc.

Also, the JeraSoft team introduced Provisioning API, the whole new part of the platform that provides “Push Model” API. It allows calling of external handlers triggered by events within billing platform. Such approach will greatly simplify data synchronisation with 3rd party systems such as application servers, gateways, CRMs.

Top online booking channels revealed

no-vacancy-signHotel connectivity outfit eRevMax has released research on online channel penetration and performance in five key markets in Europe.

Based on reservations processed by the company over the past one year, the infographic lists the top five online distribution channels in UK, France, Germany, Spain and Russia.

Data from eRevMax shows the dominance of Booking.com in all key markets, including Russia. When it comes to technology adaption, UK leads with over 93 percent hoteliers having a property management system. Mobile has emerged as one of the fastest growing channels with as many as 29 percent of online travel bookings in Spain coming from it.

eRevMax works with over 350 channel and technology partners helping over 9000 hotels worldwide to increase revenue opportunities and streamline business processes.

It is the connectivity partner of choice for large hotel groups, mid-scale chains as well as small properties in both luxury and budget segment worldwide providing solutions through its core product brands – RateTiger, RTConnect and LIVE OS.

infograpgic-erevmax-top5channels

Amazon’s channel expansion “a misunderstanding”

hqdefaultThe drive behind AWS’ channel expansion plans have been misinterpreted, according to the cloud giant’s technology evangelist.

Ian Massingham said that claims that AWS is using the channel as a vehicle to scale its business are completely misunderstood.

The idea was mooted by Canalys which claimed that AWS and Google were embracing the channel as they seek to exploit the “next phase of cloud adoption”.

The analysts claimed that focusing more on partners will be the only way the cloud giants, some of which do not have a background in enterprise IT, can maintain their frenetic growth rates.

As a result, AWS grew 43 percent in Q1 and Google by 74 percent, Canalys claimed.

Massingham said that while Amazon has an increasing number of partners that are working with AWS, the reasons were up the spout.

“But I think the rationale that this is an AWS-centric activity that we would initiate because we want to sell more stuff is not the reason we are doing it. We are doing it because customers want to move more quickly than they can move alone, and partners can play a really important role in helping customers accelerate their adoption and therefore deliver the benefits that cloud offers,” he said.

AWS now commonly counts as a top vendor for many traditional resellers and services firms, with Computacenter, for instance, having built a 50-strong European AWS practice.

Partners were reacting to customer demand. There aren’t enough AWS experts around today to help customers move as quickly as they can. So partners can play a really important role in helping customers get to that new reality by bringing in the skills they’ve been able to hone through repeated engagements. It’s typical of a mid-sized partner to have 50-plus certified AWS experts on staff, he said.

Channel wins from AMD push

funny-elephant-push-on-the-car-pictureMoor Insights and Strategy principal analyst Patrick Moorhead, says that the channel will be the winner from AMD’s push into the PC and server chip markets.

Moorhead said that the move will give channel partners more options for meeting growing OEM and customer demand for silicon supplier alternatives to Chipzilla. System makers and businesses have been wanting more choice when it comes to processor vendors. The thought is that more competition will accelerate innovation and drive down prices.

AMD’s upcoming chips should give them options in important segments of the PC and servers spaces, which will be a boon for partners, Moorhead said.

“AMD-powered PCs and servers bring more choice to the channel and, in some circumstances, differentiation for the channels who assort it. Ryzen Threadripper [for PCs] and EPYC [for servers] are unique in very highly threaded environments and EPYC in single-socket systems.”

Intel has long been the dominant player in both PCs and servers, with market shares of 90 percent.

ARM and IBM through its OpenPower efforts are also making a push for a greater presence in the server space, although this is of limited impact.

An AMD meeting with financial analysts unveiled more details about the company’s upcoming Threadripper and EPYC processors – as well as next-generation Vega Frontier GPUs for workstations – giving the industry greater hope for more competition in the chip market and a boost to the somewhat stagnant PC and server markets.

Threadripper is a high-end PC chip with 16 cores and 32 threads and scheduled for release this summer.
Meanwhile AMD is bring in Ryzen processors aimed at systems like 2-in-1s and gaming desktops, as well as low-end systems, which are due out later in the year and are based on the Zen microarchitecture.

AMD has also announced EPYC, codenamed “Naples” and based on Zen and that will offer up to 32 cores and 64 threads with bulked-up capabilities around interconnect and memory. It could also help reduce costs for large enterprises and cloud datacenters by enabling a single-socket EPYC server to potentially replace a two-socket system powered by Intel Xeons.

We are expecting to see more details at the Computex 2017 show next week in Taiwan.
Moorhead was confident Threadripper will do well in both OEMs and the channel.

“AMD announced that the Ryzen desktop [chip] would be in the top five desktop OEMs by the end of June, and I have seen models already from Lenovo, Acer and Asus. EPYC is newer, and I’m interested in seeing third-party testing. Intel has 99 percent share in servers, so there is a strong desire to have an alternative,” he said.

“The channel should take advantage of all the channel training AMD has available and also trial the products to get up to speed with how they work, Technical training is the fairest priority, followed by go-to-market training.”

The channel should use market development funds from both AMD and OEM, he added.

Databarracks joins the Business Continuity Institute

Troops lined up Fort Ward barracks 1910Disaster recovery service outfit Databarracks, has become a ‘Corporate Partner’ of the Business Continuity Institute as part of a cunning plan to raise the profile of business continuity management.

The BCI is a big cheese when it comes to business continuity, supporting over 8,000 members in more than 100 countries and working with an estimated 3,000 organisations.

Databarracks’ latest annual Data Health Check survey, showed that over the past eight years the volume of organisations adopting BC plans has increased from 37 percent to 67 percent.

By being a ‘Corporate Partner’, Databarracks wants to work with the BCI to provide education and awareness of BCM best practice, amongst the SME community.

Peter Groucutt, managing director of Databarracks  said that UK SMEs that his outfit work with rarely have their own dedicated BC professionals.

“Our aim is to take the best-practice, expertise and knowledge and make it applicable and usable for our customers,” he said.

He claimed that the difference between BC and IT disaster recovery are blurred for smaller businesses.

“We have been helping our customers with IT DR, but we want to go beyond IT to help improve overall business resilience. We are training all of our customer facing staff in the fundamentals of business continuity and now that we are a Corporate Partner of the BCI, we want to work with the institute to help raise the profile of BCM and improve resilience,” he said.

HP restructuring paid off

INDUSTRY HP 1The maker of expensive printer ink, HP saw its shares rise more than three percent after hours, amid better-than-expected quarterly results boosted by “pockets of growth” in the PC market.

The enterprise technology company posted adjusted earnings of 40 cents per share, excluding items, on revenues of $12.39 billion in the second fiscal quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 39 cents per share on revenues of $11.93 billion.

The company called it a “breakthrough quarter,” as both the personal systems and print businesses both grew for the first time since 2010. Revenue was up seven percent from a year ago, while adjusted earnings fell two percent from the year-ago period.

CEO Dion Weisler said the company was staying ahead of the competition by mapping out the hot spots for PC growth.

“The real trick in this business is to segment the market, segment again and when you’ve done that do it one more time. Figure out where the pockets of growth are going to be, where the heat map is going to take you. We’ve been looking at areas of premium and gaming – very attractive parts of the market as services,” he said.

All is not that great though as Dell has been seeing prices have been rising for certain components, and there has been increased pressure from newer competition like Huawei in China. But Weisler said the company is experienced with managing all that.

“I think about all competition a lot. I do not get distracted by it. I think we have been very clear on how we can add value to our customers and we are executing on that strategy and it’s working for us. …. There has been a lot of players in this market for a long time. We will compete against them as we do all of our competitors and that’s by playing our own game.”

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Channel could save SMEs a fortune

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New research from Brother UK says that the channel could help save small and medium sized businesses across the country around five  million working hours  every week by fixing everyday IT problems.

The survey of more than 600 business leaders by YouGov, into office productivity, commissioned by Brother, showed that just over a fifth (21 percent) of senior leaders in SME businesses believe that solving printer problems are one of the top things wasting employee time, while 20 percent think computer crashes are hurting their bottom lines.

Brother says that channel firms should put solving SME’s productivity challenges at the heart of how they sell to the sector.

The data shows that 75 percent of business leaders estimate that each of their employees spend one to two hours per week in front of frozen computer screens. Over two thirds (71 percent) thought a similar number of hours were wasted each week by faulty printers.

Other drains on employee productivity identified by the survey are staff not being able to find documents either on a server or as hardcopies (28 percent) and workplace equipment (excluding printers) not working properly (21 percent).

Phil Jones , Managing Director at Brother UK, said: “Productivity is a big issue for ambitious SMEs, and it’s great that so many business leaders see investing in employee training and rewards as key to smarter ways of working. However, such investment can be worthless if staff can’t rely on the office infrastructure and equipment.

“As the survey data shows, millions of hours of employee time are wasted through typical IT errors that many people will be all too familiar with. It is easy to overlook the common issues that have, wrongly, become part of the working day. Fixing these issues can deliver quick and long-term productivity wins that improve staff morale as well as helping the balance sheet. The trick is to preserve a small amount of time to look for the seemingly inconsequential things that waste time.”

A third of leaders said introducing mandatory regular screen breaks would have a positive impact (34 per cent), 16 percent said a change office ergonomics would help and 1 in 10 (11 percent) said they would limit website access.