Category: News

UK’s tech channel bewildered over Brexit

euThe UK’s tech channel is in a panic this morning as its managers try to get their head around Friday’s Brexit decision.

Gartner has forecast that Britain’s tech buyers will now stop spending in 2016 and 2017, turning earlier growth numbers negative and the industry will fall into recession. There is also a fear of the cost of hiring EU workers, taxes and tariffs which is enough to send the industry into a tail spin.

Still at least we won’t have those nasty foreigners telling us what to do, we can just sit around muttering there will always be an England as the French start turning off the power.

Most of the tech companies have said that they needed Brexit like a hole in the head and are wondering how they can recover their position.  Basically the issue is that global business value chains are more integrated, while Brexit envisages a market which was out of date 40 years ago with Britannia ruling the waves.

SAP has said that things might be alright if the country pulls finger quick and makes its escape as fast as possible.

However, outfits like Alfresco Software moan about the huge uncertainties which gets more than half its business from the EU.

 

 

Government likely to water down EU data regulations

ukflagNow that the UK has voted for Brexit the government is almost certain to water down the EU’s proposed tough data regulations to allow US companies to snoop on UK citizens.

The EU alarmed the US tech companies by drawing up rules, which would insist that European data stay in Europe. The US government wanted its companies operating in Europe to be able to hand over data with a court order. Essentially this meant that any Euro cloud data could end up in the hands of Uncle Sam.

While the Germans and French thing this is a bad idea, the British are less keen. Not only are they closer to the US intelligence communities, but they are also chummier with big US tech.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was due to come into place by 2018 and have been should be a huge shake-up of EU data protection laws. It included tougher penalties for companies in breach of EU data protection law. The UK government had wanted to water down the legislation, but it was not sure if it could get the EU to agree.

With Brexit that has all gone by the wayside. With the UK is out, the government can ignore bringing the laws in completely and can push ahead with its own data sharing plans. These could give data to whoever it likes and spy on whoever it wants. From a supplier perspective it means it will be easier to house data in the UK, but UK customers might have to be happy to have their data snuffled by US spooks.

Suppliers could also be forced to hand over data to US courts, if the UK really does need to suck up to the US government.

Nutanix shows a different sort of channel plan

Nutanix-Product-Shot-3US outfit Nutanix has decided to take on an unusual approach to the channel which has got vendors across the pond sitting up and taking notice.

The outfit does not have a three tier program with clip levels and does not pay back end rebates. What it does is sort out an investment strategy with channel partners that will see the company work in lock-step with 40 solution providers globally.

It still has a channel of more than 4,000 solution providers, but these are served through distribution.

Nutanix channel chief of Chris Morgan told  CDN that the company practices the 80/20 rule; it’s just applied mostly to the 20.

“The investment strategy with partners are based on which partners are ready on what we are doing and take it to the customer. Partners can still be transactional with distributors but we are focused on a small number and we want to help them transition their business. What has to happen is they need to break from the past and go to the future,” he said.

Incentives for the 40 partners include a strict deal registration program that ensures price protection. Morgan added that these partners also have the freedom to sell anything else.

The cunning plan appears to be working and putting the fear of god into outfits like Cisco.

Paypal dumps cloud supplier for not spying

paypal-logoGermany’s Seafile cloud suppler  claims it was forced to stop using PayPal because it refused the payment company’s illegal demands to spy on its users’ data.

Seafile is a Dropbox rival and it told its customers that they would no longer be able to pay for the service using PayPal—the only payment method that the company had in place.

CEO Silja Jackson said the outfit was looking into alternative payment services, but currently it was running a cloud service and not being paid.

Seafile was founded in 2009 by students at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and has gained enough traction in Germany to form a subsidiary there. It offers an open-source file-synchronization system that organisations can install on their own servers—for a fee, if they want enterprise features—and last October the firm decided to also start offering a paid version that’s hosted on Seafile’s German servers, for individuals and small businesses.

Jackson said PayPal contacted Seafile in early June with a questionnaire about its service, and by posting a notice on Seafile’s PayPal account to say it was violating an unspecified part of PayPal’s terms of use.

Jackson thought that PayPal classified Seafile as a service for illegal file sharing. She told them that since it did not offer free accounts and that customers needed to disclose their address when signing up.

PayPal then demanded that Seafile monitor its customers’ data traffic and files for illegal content, and send the payment firm detailed statistics about the types of files synchronised over the service.

Jackson said that would violate privacy laws as giving PayPal statistical information would violate customers’ privacy rights.”

Legal experts have confirmed that had Seafile done as it was told it would have been taken to the cleaners under EU and German privacy laws. When Jackson told PayPal that Seafile was being required to break EU privacy laws, the outfit dropped them like a hot potato.

Dell flogs his software arm to the House of Elliott

elliotTin box-shifter Michael Dell is about to flog his software division to buyout firm Francisco and the private equity arm of activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

Dell needs to get rid of its software assets so that it can buy data storage company EMC for $67 billion. EMC owns a controlling stake in VMware and other software assets, so Dell does not need its own.

One of the things that Dell wants to off-load is Quest Software, which helps with information technology management and SonicWall, an e-mail encryption and data security provider. It is keeping Boomi, which is cloud-based software integration software.

The deal is expected to be formally announced this week, although it is possible that the whole thing could go tits up and never happen. Neither Dell nor Francisco are commenting.

Dell’s software division is not particularly profitable and Dell needs as much cash as he can get his paws on to reduce the debt he took on when took the outfit private.

 

Ellison believes SaaS market is a key to the cloud

Larry EllisonAlthough he is not backward about coming forward at the best of times, Oracle Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison has been talking up his outfit’s Cloud business lately, claiming it is doing rather well because if its SaaS presence.

Ellison claims Oracle’s cloud business is “defying conventional wisdom” by accelerating while it expands and this is because of its presence in the SaaS market where rivals are not competing.

“We think we have a fighting chance to be the first SaaS company to make it to $10 billion in annual revenue,” Ellison said.

Oracle is a number two SaaS vendor and had a total SaaS and PaaS revenue of $2.2 billion during fiscal 2016, up 49 percent from the year before. The top SaaS vendor, Salesforce made $6.67 billion in 2016 and expects its 2017 revenue to be $8.08 billion.

Public cloud IaaS leader Amazon Web Services said in April that it’s on track to hit $10 billion in revenue this year.

The cloud accounted for around eight percent of Oracle’s quarterly revenue, but this business to continue growing even faster in Oracle’s fiscal 2017.

Ellison also said Oracle is seeing “a huge amount of demand” for IaaS from its existing SaaS and database customers, which wish to avoid the data migration costs associated with AWS and other cloud vendors.

Oracle has made significant data centre efficiency advancements and can now offer lower costs, better security and superior reliability than any other provider in the market, he added.

 

Government procurement system is just the old system in drag

_68879492_3164103The UK government’s new procurement process, G-Cloud, is failing to cut through enough red tape to be of any use at all.

The government hit on the idea of G-Cloud to encourage small vendors to pitch against the larger IT companies by using an online “App Store”.

But Memset founder Kate Craig-Wood – who became involved in 2009 – said the plan is falling short.

Writing in her bog she said: “We passionately believed in the dream of G-Cloud and kept doing so despite the goalposts being repeatedly moved, the marketplace continuing not to function properly and buyers continuing to behave in the same old ways.”

Since 2011, the G-Cloud has totalled more than £1 billion in sales, which is more than enough to get the government spinners claiming it is a success.  But it would appear that some

However, the Infrastructure-as-a-service sector in which Craig-Wood operates has been tricky than other areas of the framework, which don’t need so much supplier investment.

Memset has had to make huge investments to job through the government’s hoops on security. It has had to invest £2 million on a high-security data centre.

But if you invest you should get more money back right?  Memset only saw  a return of £100,000 per year and no new business since 2013.

Now it is getting too late for small business.  Microsoft and Amazon cloud services will knock all the small providers out of the market because they can produce economies of scale. The government is not really interested in propping up the small businesses, it wants to reduce the costs. It also is not moving much stuff to the cloud as it originally thought.

Craig-Wood  thinks that the old procurement practices are still at work and this requires armies of sales teams to tackle.  This was exactly the sort of thing that G-Cloud was supposed to bring to an end.

 

Daily Internet merges with Sys-Pro for cloudy future

Every silver has a cloudy liningDaily Internet  has snapped up Sys-Pro for £3.9 million.

London-based Sys-Pro has been around since 2003 as a traditional reseller however it has been moving towards   managed services for a while now. It has partnerships with Cisco, HP and Microsoft.  It has 39 staff.

The conditional agreement states the £3.9m price will be satisfied by £3.3m in cash and the issue of 975,000 extra shares. The new entity will be known as SysGroup.

Daily Internet’s CEO Chris Evans said the move will help his company “better exploit the ongoing market shift towards cloud-delivered services”.

The new firm does not plan to reduce its headcount and the deal is expected to give both firms a new customer list.

Daily Internet will get Sys-Pro’s datacentre hosting accreditation and compliance. Not many have Sys-Pro’s PCI-compliant hosting platforms, which gives them the capability to provide cloud services to those who would not normally consider it.

This means that both parts of the group to move up the value chain and approach larger customers.

Amazon is the Queen of Retail

amazonBeancounters at Nielson have identified Amazon as the e-commerce supremo.

According to Nielsen, E-commerce is approaching two percent of total global retail sales and Amazon continues to dominate.

Amazon followed by Flipkart and Snapdeal were the most preferred e-commerce websites among sellers, with highest top of the mind recall, a recent study has revealed.

The findings came as a result of a study by Nielsen for the January-March quarter, which surveyed 1,184 online sellers. It revealed that 39 percent of online sellers “explore two or more e-commerce websites as an option to sell products on and grow their business.”

A high level of familiarity along with in-depth knowledge of an e-commerce website is the most important factor that drives brand equity, the report said. While Amazon had the highest top of the mind recall (25 percent), Flipkart stood second (21 percent) and Snapdeal (20 percent), it added.

“With the e-commerce industry growing in double digits, there is surge in demand by customers, and an evolving online seller category that is fuelling supply on portals To ensure the equilibrium of demand and supply, it is essential for e-commerce portals to focus on developing an inviting platform for online sellers in the country. Sellers are also increasingly discerning when it comes to reaching their customer and meeting business needs,” the Nielsen report added.

UK needs more tech immigration

immigration_2280507bImmigration policies need to be changed to address the “digital skills crisis” in the UK, a government select committee has said.

The Science and Technology Committee has published a report stating that it needs to be easier for SMEs to employ people from outside the EU, while claiming that the skills gap currently costs the UK £63 billion annually in lost GDP.

The report report called for the requirements for immigrants to be changed so that IT jobs can be obtained using Tier 2 visas. This allows SMEs to more easily employ people from abroad.

The government recently made changes to help SMEs recruit specialists from outside the EU, but the report says that the new rules exclude companies with 20 or fewer employees.

Science and technology committee chairwoman Nicola Blackwood said: “The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind.

“The government deserves credit for action taken so far but it needs to go much further and faster. We need action on visas, vocational training and putting digital skills at the heart of modern apprenticeships.”

Also unable to take advantage of Tier 2 visas, along with smaller companies, are firms that are more than 25 per cent owned by a larger company and those with “significant investment” from FTSE 100 companies.

The committee wants digital skills to be made one of the “core components” in all apprenticeships, not just digital apprenticeships.

 

Dell returns to PC World

michael-dell-2Dell is back flogging its grey boxes at PC World after a three year hiatus.

Apparently Dell has reformed its relationship with Dixons Carphone, owner of the Currys and PC World.

Dell has been  ramping up its retail presence and signed a deal with John Lewis to give it more of a presence on the high street. IT also improved its  distribution links to Ensure.

What this means is that Curry PC world will flog the Dell XPS, Inspiron and Alienware ranges as well as some monitors. These are normally sold online using Dell’s famous direct model.  It looks like the PC World move is designed to maximise the back to school buying period.

Alienware is already well known in gaming circles and it will now be given a chance to grow the brand in the largest high-street computing retailer.

Dell UK general manager, retail, consumer and small business, Jamil Nathoo said that having a significant player in the retail industry this relationship is key in giving customers the choice that they’re asking for.

“We’re excited to continue bringing innovative and high-performing technology to consumers on the high street,”  he said.

IDC thinks PC sales worse than it thought

tarotreadingIDC has reached the conclusion that the PC market is a bigger mess than it originally thought and reshuffled its tarot cards for another prediction.

It now thinks that PC shipments  will decline by 7.3 percent year over year which is  two percent below what it was telling us before.

The outfit blames weak currencies, depressed commodity prices, political uncertainty, and delayed projects.

Microsoft is partly to blame because it handed out free copies of Windows 10 to everyone who asked, including a lot of people who didn’t.

IDC said that that “while a large share of enterprises are evaluating Windows 10, the pace of new PC purchases has not yet stabilised commercial PC shipments.”.

IDC now predicts just 255.6 million machines will ship in 2016, of which 103.3 million will be desktops. The firm reckons we’ll see “… progressively smaller declines through 2017 followed by stable volume in 2018.”

All up it seems that the PC market is such a mess that no one can effectively say how dire it will be, even half-way through the year. It also looks like most companies have written the year off as an an annus horribilis and only thinking about next year. Sooner or later the bigger companies will have to buy PCs but it looks like it will be much later.

 

SolarWinds buys LogicNow

spockSolarWinds has bought out IT services management outfit LogicNow to beef up its managed service provider offerings.

It merges SolarWinds N-Able and LogicNow, which will create a new business SolarWinds MSP. Already it claims that it will be the only provider that can offer both cloud-based and on premise solutions. It says it has five million endpoints and a million mailboxes.

The combined firms hire 750 staff and have more than 18,000 MSPs as customers.

Kevin Thompson, president and chief executive officer of SolarWinds said that his outfit is committed to the growing MSP market and has “realised great success” through the acquisition of N-able. Buying LogicNow was apparently logical.

“SolarWinds MSP, combining the capabilities of LogicNow and SolarWinds N-able, will offer MSPs a complete set of IT service management solutions via the cloud and on premises delivery models. SolarWinds MSP gives them everything they need to acquire and retain profitable clients, deliver outstanding levels of service and maximise their internal efficiency through standardisation of their toolsets and the use of automation,” he said.

LogicNow chief executive officer Walter Scott has the new job of being an executive VP for SolarWinds MSP. He said that the firm can provide “ever-greater support to customers as they differentiate their services and look to achieve faster, more profitable business growth.”

HP needs some more education


tumblr_mcexe0a4MI1rcf9cjo1_500The maker of
expensive printer ink HP has announced the launch of a new education scheme which offers big discounts to schools.

Schools that buy HP hardware using one of its authorised resellers can get credits of up to £250 per device. These credits can then be redeemed in the form of education software, training and further hardware upgrades.

Neil Sawyer, education & channel director at HP said that HP  HP, we recognise that schools often face difficult decisions on where to invest their ICT budgets. We want to give schools access to the latest technology, matched with the best education software, training and support services on the market, so that they are truly getting the most from their ICT investment.” said .

The programme is available through the following HP education channel partners; XMA, Academia, European Electronique, C-Learning, Insight, Misco, System Active, Lanway and Getech.

Ian Cunningham, client commercial director at XMA, commented: “With the ability to instantly unlock additional budget through this excellent initiative, it gives educational establishments a greater opportunity to apply more focus on transforming learning outcomes for students and teachers whilst at the same time delivering a more engaging learning experience.”

Schools will be able to claim for device training days for staff and students on HP Windows 10 tablets or Google Chromebooks. A range of discounted software will also be available. Frog Software and eLearning solution provider bksb are providing their software via the programme.

Oracle’s whistleblower suit opens a can of worms

5707c0e99b6aa.imageThe “whistleblower” who claimed she was told to fudge cloud Oracle’s cloud accounts has done something that Larry Ellison’s PR team should have expected  – it has put a focus on the database maker’s cloud accounting policies.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in US District Court in San Francisco by former Oracle senior finance manager Svetlana Blackburn, also revives longstanding questions about proper accounting when software and computer services are bought on a subscription basis rather than as a single package.

Blackburn said she was required by Oracle management to “fit square data into round holes” to make Oracle’s cloud services’ results look better. She alleges that her bosses instructed her to add millions of dollars of accruals for expected business “with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers.”

Oracle is reassuring everyone that its numbers are correct, but the fact Blackburn claims she was fired by Oracle for complaining means that the allegations are not going away. Oracle is compounding the problem by threatening to sue Blackburn and claiming she was fired for poor performance.

Blackburn does not use the word “fraud” in her lawsuit, but it might be confusing for a lay person to spot the difference. It is clear Oracle’s sales force has been offered big incentives to book cloud deals. Cloud software is growing fast while traditional software sales slow, companies have an incentive to play up their ability to operate in the cloud.

By not handling Blackburn correctly and even escalating the situation, Oracle’s image is suffering and its shares fell almost  four percent the day after the lawsuit was made public.

It is highlighting a problem that software companies have in booking software sales as cloud or traditional.

The most nebulous part of cloud accounting concerns situations where the customer buys a product that can be used partly in the cloud, and partly on its own hardware.

US accounting rules state that in cases when use is mixed, companies should allocate the revenue between traditional, or licensed software; and cloud, or hosted software.

US Securities and Exchange Commission has investigated IBM over how it reports its cloud-computing revenue although this went no-where. Salesforce was also investigated which ultimately led to the company restating its 2002 and 2003 results, contributed to a delay in Salesforce’s 2004 initial public offering.

But it can get messier. In 2006, software maker Computer Associates had to restate past financial results after an internal audit found issues concerning stock options and how the company booked some subscription revenue. Its former chief executive, Sanjay Kumar, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2006 and was sentenced to 12 years in jail.

This was clearly something that Oracle does not want, but for some reason its legal team and PR Team did not think about this particular fall out. We predict that things are going to get a lot worse for Oracle, even if it ultimately wins.