Category: News

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 bomb

2cfecb1ca3d56a151fe4da1984efd274-d519m5uNew research from Brother UK says that the channel could help save small and medium sized businesses across the country around five  million working hours 1 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.

Red Hat buys Codenvy for its cunning cloud plans

hat_sm_zps0a1ae16fOpen saucy outfit Red Hat has written a cheque for the cloud application developer Codenvy.

The company’s hybrid cloud services development software will be shoved under the bonnet of Red Hat’s OpenShift.io hosted environment.

In a statement announcing the acquisition, Red Hat said: “Historically, software engineers have spent more time each week on administration and other tasks, including environment management, than actual coding.

“Often, developers can find themselves working on multiple projects concurrently, but in different programming languages, “the company said.

The aim is that as more IT organisations move to continuous delivery with DevOps and containers to speed the delivery of modern, cloud-native applications, developers have turned to new tools like Codenvy that can enable development teams to build complex applications faster with fewer inconsistencies across environments, the spokesHat said.

Tyler Jewell, CEO at Codenvy, said: “Cloud workspaces make contributing to software projects easy.

“Our container-based approach to development aligns with Red Hat’s focus on improving security features, reliability and performance in its container offerings. Joining Red Hat opens up opportunities to expand our reach among developers, giving them modern tools to build containerised apps from within their web browser.”

UK digital finishing equipment reseller bought by Swiss

POPE-SWISSGUARD/WOMENUK digital finishing equipment reseller and distributor Zünd Plotting Systems (UK) has been bought by the Swiss-based Zünd Systemtechnik AG.

The deal means that Zünd UK will now be an official subsidiary of Zünd Systemtechnik.

Zünd UK was founded as a privately owned Zünd reseller in 1993 but shares were sold to Zünd Systemtechnik by its former owner and managing director Tim Taylor.

Taylor remains as UK commercial director and a new managing director, former Hybrid national sales manager Stuart Cole, began in the role in mid-March.

Cole said changes had been taking place steadily behind the scenes to make the transition “as easy as possible”.

He said: “The relationship between Zünd UK and Zünd Switzerland was incredibly strong before this and all this has done is further strengthen that relationship and the commercial ability of the company, but in the outside world nothing really changes.”

Zünd UK is expanding and will hire four to six additional staff in the engineering and sales departments.

“We’ve had some significant growth in sales over the last few months and the requirements are there to continue that growth and support those customers to the levels they need,” added Cole.

In a statement last week, Zünd chief executive Oliver Zünd said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Zünd Plotting Systems (UK) to our global group of companies. Working with our newest subsidiary, we look forward to strengthening our position in the UK market and continuing to expand our customer base.”

Based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, Zünd UK distributes and resells Zünd’s digital cutting systems, modules and tools to the UK market.

Trustwave makes e92plus UK distributor

trustwave1Security and compliance vendor Trustwave has appointed e92plus as a UK distributor.

In signing up e92plus, Trustwave wants to make a broader security play by gaining access to dedicated security VARs and managed security service providers (MSSPs).

UK and Ireland regional director Will Benton said that historically his outfit had been a Payment Card Industry compliance vendor and typically its business direct to customers, or via partners directly.

He said that the move towards security meant that the company was moving to a more channel model. e92 give the company partners which have the right profile for its managed security services offering and those partners probably wouldn’t see us as competition.

Trustwave spoke to three or four UK distributors as part of the selection process, and Benton said it chose e92plus because of the strong security partner base it already has.

“We wanted a distributor with experience in the security space that was large enough but still agile enough for them to care about us,” Benton explained.

Neil Langridge, marketing director at e92plus, said the Trustwave portfolio of products will give the partners it works with the opportunity to take a more “proactive” approach when it comes to offering security solutions.

Softcat boss heads for the catflap

catflap-415pxSoftcat has initiated a search for a new CEO after announcing that Martin Hellawell is quitting after 11 years at the top scratching post.

Hellawell will leave once a replacement is found, but will stay on as non-executive chairman.

It is not as if the company has been doing badly, Softcat revealed in a trading update that its Q3 trading has been in line with expectations. Having obliterated its growth expectations in its fiscal first half, Softcat continued to “trade well” during Q3, according to a trading update released this morning.

During Hellawell’s tenure, Softcat’s revenues have boomed ten-fold, from £67 million to £672 million. It floated on the London Stock Exchange in November 2015.

Hellawell said it was the right time for him to step back from the day-to-day cut and thrust of the business.

He said that he was operational and hands on in every detail, and after 11 years it takes its toll on you.

“There’s a really great opportunity for Softcat ahead of us, and it’s time to get some fresh energy into the organisation to move us forward.”

Hellawell said Softcat managing director Colin Brown has ruled himself out of the running and that his successor will most likely be an external appointment.

Hellawell said stepping back to a non-exec role would allow him to focus on charity work and on his health and fitness, but stressed he will still be heavily involved with Softcat, and the wider industry.

Huawei wants to take on HP, Dell and Lenovo

L3.5GeryonIn a sign that there might be some life in the PC market, Huawei wants to take on Dell and Lenovo with some Wintel based PCs of its own.

At a news conference in Berlin yesterday, Huawei announced plans to release three PC models to the consumer market.

Cheng Lei, senior marketing manager for the PC business said that there were opportunities arising from the PC market’s decline.

Huawei said it plans to target the premium-priced consumer market, competing with Lenovo, HP and Dell.

Huawei’s Matebook X is a fanless notebook with splash-proof screen and combined fingerprint sign-on and power button, priced between 1,399 and 1,699 euros. Its Matebook E 2-in-1 hybrid will run from 999 to 1,299 euros while the Matebook D with 15.6-inch display is priced at 799 to 999 euros, it said.

Huawei’s new PCs all run seventh generation Intel microprocessors, Microsoft Windows 10 software and in-house developed software to automate data transfers between Huawei smartphones and its new computer models, Lei said.

Huawei said it aimed to offer the new PCs in 12 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East in early June.

Huawei plans to focus on premium consumers while putting off any decision on a move into commercial PCs. “We are now quite confident and will try to expand in new segments in a couple of years,” Lei said.

“Our investment in the PC industry is not short-term,” the Huawei executive said. “We will have a long-term investment, not only in marketing but in R&D (research and development).”

Misco flogged to Hilco

SystemaxGreatAmericanSystemax has offloaded almost all of its Misco-branded European reseller operations to Hilco Capital.

In a statement the company said it had “executed a definitive agreement with a management team backed by Hilco Capital Limited (“Hilco”) to sell all of its unprofitable European Technology Products Group businesses”.

Misco trades in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Its French operations, which are doing OK, were not included.

It is still a rumour because a formal announcement of the deal is imminent. Debt restructuring is thought to be involved in the financial make-up of the deal.

Hilco Capital bought music retailer HMV from administration in 2013, and stationery chain Staples.

Misco was a telesales-based IT reseller working for a low margin, high volume market.  However management was too slow to see that sort of operation had the shelf life of mayfly spit. It tried to move to services, but it was too tricky.

Systemax, which owns Misco, has also struggled. It had to close stores in North America, shutter its PC production line and selling the technology reseller subsidiary NATG on to PCM at a loss.

In 2016, the Misco businesses, excluding France, turned over $542.7 million compared to $670.2 million in the prior year. Operating losses, including France, were $1.9 million, versus $2.6 million in 2015.

CEO Larry Reinhold said: “Our France business, which was our largest operation in Europe, is highly successful and has historically operated largely autonomously from our other European operations. It is a well-managed and valuable asset with leading market share, double digit revenue growth and strong bottom-line performance. We believe that we have found a good home for our former colleagues in Europe.

“We thank them for their efforts and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.”

The businesses were sold on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Systemax said it would provide transition services to Hilco for a “limited period of time”.

Olik gets new regional director

olikData analysis and visualization software outfit Olik has hired Marcin Motel as new Regional Director for Eastern Europe.

Marcin Motel started in his new position as Regional Director EE for Qlik on 1 May.

Previously he worked in different management positions for companies such as IBM, Veritas Software, and recently BMC.

He said: “Qlik products have great potential in our region as customers are hungry for self-service data visualisation and the possibility to optimize their BI infrastructure across the organisation. Qlik solutions can quickly bring significant value to any type and size of business that depends on data and wants to successfully manage the current digitalization challenges.”

Marcin Motel said his main goal is to increase the market share of Qlik Solutions in the EE market.

” Based on our BI Platform approach we can manage all enterprise wide BI requirements for large companies. It´s obvious, that there is a massive need for fast and easy to use BI Solutions.

“The old BI stacks can’t fulfil the analytical needs of today`s businesses. For small and medium companies, we can offer Qlik Cloud as well and leverage the full power of Qlik Sense for an interesting subscription price” Motel said.

The new Regional Director has broad experience in the IT industry with names like IBM and EMC.

VR and AR headsets could be a money spinner

 

il_570xN.258852595Beancounters at research house IDTechEx says the market will reach $37 billion by 2020.

AR, VR and mixed reality headsets should grow in the consumer, education, construction and medical sector.

IDTechEx has predicted that the market will grow by more than tenfold over the next decade, from $3.4 billion to $37 billion.

Its research looks at not only AR, VR and mixed reality devices, but also devices labelled under other terms including ‘annotated reality’ and ‘augmented vitality’.

IDTechEx principal analyst Dr Harry Zervos said that the devices are categorised hinges on how much of the real world is allowed to come through the headset.

“A pure VR headset blocks out reality completely, while an AR one will only superimpose additional information, without obstructing the wearer’s view of the real world at all,” he said.

“What the future is bringing is a spectrum of eye-worn devices with varying amounts of reality and virtuality thrown in; for instance, a VR headset with a front facing camera can instantly become an AR headset, as it allows the wearer a full view of the real world, albeit through a display.”

According to Zervos, the market will be propelled in the short term by growth of VR devices that are tethered to an external PC.

“From 2021 onwards, growth will be transferred to standalone AR, propelled forward by the launch of high performing headsets and reduced power consumption that will lead to longer battery life and independence from the grid. Standalone VR will also make its mark, although its exact value proposition is not fully clear or even distinctly separate from standalone AR.”

Captia loses Birmingham council contract

birmingham-council-house-todayBirmingham City council has cancelled its toxic joint venture with Capita which at one point was costing the charge-payers £120 million a year

The joint venture, 68 percent owned by Capita and 32 percent owned by Birmingham City Council, was called Service Birmingham. While the partnership is dissolved a partnership between the pair will remain in place until 2021.

The contract was condemned as being far too expensive at its peak in 2011, costing the council £120 million a year at a time of cuts. It currently costs £70 million a year.

Labour council leader John Clancy said the move would mean savings of £11.5 million this year and could save services like libraries, social care and parks from more cuts.

Before he became leader, Coun Clancy was a strong critic of the deal, which he called a “Rolls-Royce contract” in a time of austerity.

The council said that for a decade the partnership has successfully delivered significant savings. In a statement the council said: “To enable Capita to support the council’s further cost savings objectives we have jointly worked up a proposal to reshape our commercial arrangements to allow greater flexibility to better cater for the future needs of the Council and its residents.”

The proposal, although keeping the core services contract in place until 2021, allows for the joint venture arrangement, which has some commercial restrictions, to be dissolved. The new partnership will deliver a mix of core services currently provided under Service Birmingham as well as additional project-based work enabling additional savings to be delivered over the next four years, helping the council to meet its objectives.

“Discussions on the proposal are ongoing, and a report is expected to go to Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet for approval in due course.”

In the most recent report, for the 12 months ending 31 December, Service Birmingham reported a turnover of £86.6 million, down 12 per cent on the previous year.

The employee base of Service Birmingham is currently made up of staff from both Capita and the council, and Capita expects this to continue.

The leader of council John Clancy however told the Birmingham Post that he expects around 200 staff to be transferred back to the council.

Flying Binary releases Clinical Archive product

victoria-ward-lFlying Binary has come up with a product to allow NHS trusts to consolidate their data in readiness for GDPR by buying an Analytics Private Health Data Vault service.

Flying Binary says its Analytics Private Health Data Vault service can be bought through the G-Cloud 9 app store.

The outfit said the service helps GDPR compliance of a trust’s applications, decommissioning legacy systems, and tinkers with patient data to enable operational health analyses and a single view of patient data.

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation is one of those EU-crafted data storing regulations which the UK will still adopt. It comes into force in May 2018, specifying how organisations holding personal data process and control it.

What this means is that the Trusts can buy a GDPR-compliant PACS system from Flying Binary which is based on Commvault’s Clinical Archive offering. Their legacy data is accessible through it and available for bulk migration.