Category: News

Scots politicians slam Misco’s Scotland warehouse closure

scots angerInverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan has slammed Misco’s Scotland warehouse closure.

Cowan posted on Twitter that he was meeting with Scottish government agency Scottish Enterprise to discuss the issue – while also contacting skills and training agency Skills Development Scotland.

Misco wants to shut its Greenock warehouse at the end of the year, with all 65 warehouse staff set to be made redundant.

In other social media posts, the Scottish Labour Party’s political director Martin McCluskey criticised Misco bosses for the redundancies, claiming their rationale “doesn’t show much imagination about how [the] facility could be re-used to save jobs”.

Misco has since responded to Cowan and McCluskey on Twitter, offering them the chance to speak with the company.

A spokesperson from Cowan’s office said the MP is due to speak him either today or tomorrow, while McCluskey had not responded to CRN’s request for comment.

The company said the decision had been made to shut down the warehouse because it was no longer economic.  It was set up to ship 6,000 parcels a day and only does 400 and 500 parcels.

Misco is working with the Scottish agency PACE [Partnership Action for Continuous Employment], a Scottish Government initiative designed to help people into a new job, he added.

 

Cloudy Elastifile signs up BigTec

cloud (264 x 264)Hybrid cloud storage start-up Elastifile has signed BigTec as its first European distributor.

The Israeli vendor, which claims its software can help firms move to the public cloud and prevent cloud lock-in, has raised $65 million in funding over the last year, and launched a UK office in January.

Elastifile’s sales director Eddie Galvan said that BigTec’s success building sales for other storage start-ups made it a natural ally.

“We want to successfully penetrate not just the UK market but the European market: we’ve signed an agreement with them across Europe. I’d describe them as an unconventional distributor, meaning they roll up their sleeves and actually generate opportunities and really assist in the sales effort.”

Elastifile’s software is designed to remove barriers for businesses moving to public cloud, and prevent cloud lock-in, by providing a menu of integrated public cloud access.

Resellers with customers that are moving to the public cloud are finding that one of the biggest inhibitors is that they have to re-factor their applications in order for them to run in AWS or Google, or move to a new application, which can be costly and time consuming.

“We enable their customers to move those workloads to the public cloud without this, then save them money on resources in the public cloud when running those applications there, and thirdly, enable them to avoid getting locked into cloud vendors like AWS, by providing the ability to seamlessly move back if needs be,” he said.

Elastifile is backed by Dell, Cisco and Lenovo and has the bandwidth to take on 10 reseller partners across the region. The vendor wants to have another round of funding at the back-end of 2017 aimed specifically at scaling out its sales and channel teams.

Platinum Equity wants to buy Pattonair

shark_attack_painting-t2 (1)Platinum Equity has signed a definitive agreement to acquire global aerospace and defence supply chain provider Pattonair from Exponent Private Equity.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Headquartered in Derby, Pattonair is a global supply chain provider boasting a 40-year history. The company supports blue chip engine and airframe manufacturers and MRO customers with tailored supply chain management solutions. It offers a global service though dedicated facilities in Singapore, China, Poland, Brazil, Canada and five cities in the United States.

Platinum Equity Partner Louis Samson said:  “Pattonair is a well-respected business with a proven management team and strong long-term customer relationships. We share the company’s commitment to exceptional customer service and look forward to partnering with Wayne and Pattonair’s leadership team to pursue additional growth, both organically and through prospective add-on acquisitions.”

Pattonair CEO Wayne Hollinshead said Pattonair and Platinum Equity were a great fit.

“This is exciting news for our company and our customers and we are thrilled about the prospect of partnering with Platinum Equity. Platinum has exceptional operational and M&A capabilities, a strong presence in Europe and a track record of helping portfolio companies reach their full potential.”

Pattonair represents Platinum Equity’s latest European investment, joining Exterion Media, Worldwide Flight Services, Terratest and Ecka Granules in the firm’s global portfolio of operating companies.

Samson said Europe is an important focus for Platinum Equity as it continues deploying its most recent fund, Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV, a $6.5 billion global buyout fund.

“We have more than 20 years of experience in Europe, a dedicated team in London and our portfolio companies employ more than 16,000 people in the region,” said Mr. Samson. “We have the capital base and the depth of experience to continue growing our European portfolio and will remain very active in this market.”

Government warns that company security is rubbish

fail-sleeping-security-guards12The government has warned that the UK has “a long way to go” to making its cybersecurity any good.

A survey, conducted by KPMG on behalf of the government, found that 68 percent of board members at the UK’s 350 biggest companies have received no training to deal with cyber incidents.

This is despite the fact that more than half thought cyber attacks were a top risk for their business.

The government’s minister for digital, Matt Hancock, said: “These new reports show we have a long way to go until all our organisations are adopting best practice and I urge all senior executives to work with the National Cyber Security Centre and take up the government’s advice and training.”

The government did see a silver lining in the report – 53 percent of businesses are claiming they are putting cybersecurity measures in place, up from 33 percent last year.

The government also highlighted the encouraging response to survey questions regarding General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with 97 percent of respondents saying they are aware of the impending legislation.

However, just 13 percent said GDPR was a regular topic of conversation in board meetings, with only six percent claiming to be fully prepared for the May 2018 implementation date.

150 suppliers awarded a spot on government framework

ukflagOver 150 suppliers have been awarded a spot on the new  government framework which could net them up to £3 billion in government contracts.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which runs the Technology Services 2 (TS2) framework, sent out intention to award notices to successful suppliers and started a standstill period. About 162 suppliers are set to be awarded a spot on the framework when the standstill period ends, with 15 bidders not making the cut.

The framework will see a range of IT services provided to central and local government and is estimated to be worth of £1-£3 billion.  Prevous frameworks have only managed £200 million which was awarded to 85 suppliers.

TS2 is broken down into four Lots, with Lot 3 and Lot 4 broken down further into sub-categories. Suppliers had been left waiting by CCS, with intention to award notices missing their estimated receipt date of 7 August.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed that the CCS was behind schedule, but added that the notices would be sent out by the end of the week.

 

Misco to close UK warehouse

il_570xN.386643874_phvgReseller Misco is to close its UK warehouse at the end of the year.

The outfit said that the rise of drop-shipping has decimated its usage and made it inefficient. Instead it had a cunning plan to save a minimum of £1.5 million a year by outsourcing its warehouse functions to a third-party logistics provider.

Misco’s CEO Alan Cantwell confirmed that all 65 warehouse staff at the 80,000 sq ft location will be collecting their p45s and pink slips.

The existing 24 sales staff will relocate to a new office nearby in Q1 of 2018, he said.

Cantwell led a management buy-in of Misco in March and the move is part of the new team’s efforts to return it to break even after group losses reached about £16 million last year.

Some 105 UK staff have already left the business under a recent sales and marketing restructure, while headcount at Misco’s Budapest shared service centre has also been slashed from 340 to 200.

The logistics centre there was set up to ship 6,000 parcels daily, and at present the company is only shipping between 400 and 500. This was mostly because it is drop shipping pretty much everything and most parcels now go straight from logistics through to the clients.

Misco is in the throes of negotiating a contract with a third-party logistics provider which will take over the functions before Christmas. Its shortlist has been whittled down to two, with a decision set to be made in the next week.

ConvergeOne buys Strategic Products and Services

Finding-Nemo-Shark-Wallpaper-HDConvergeOne has written a cheque for $300 million for networking Strategic Products and Services (SPS). outfit

The move makes ConvergeOne into the ranks of billion-dollar solution providers. John McKenna, ConvergeOne’s chairman and CEO said that the acquisition advances the company’s strategy to continue to grow ConvergeOne’s managed services and cloud solutions.

“With this acquisition, ConvergeOne gains scale, portfolio expansion with a growing video solution, additional managed services, and technical resources backed by decades of experience and certified expertise,” he said.

SPS had been owned by private equity outfit Court Square Capital Partners since September 2011. As part of Clearlake Capital-owned ConvergeOne, the company will now go to market as SPS, a ConvergeOne Company.

The 800-person SPS practice will be led by John Lyons, president and CEO of ConvergeOne’s Avaya-focused Enterprise division, Clark said. The current SPS CEO, Ed Nalbandian, will be leaving the company. Nalbandian joined SPS in September 2016 as its COO and was promoted to the CEO role just four months ago.

SPS’s Avaya and Cisco practices will provide ConvergeOne with much more scale as it relates to technical expertise, professional services and managed services around those vendors. The company has hundreds of engineers and tons of certifications focused on those vendors.

Cisco and Avaya together comprise approximately 60 percent of ConvergeOne’s total product sales, Moody’s Investors Services wrote in May 2017. Similarly, SPS is a Platinum Avaya Partner, a Premier Cisco partner, and a Microsoft Gold Communications partner, according to the company’s website.

Both companies focus primarily on medium and large enterprises, Clark said, and derive a large percentage of their revenue from professional, managed and cloud services. SPS holds more than 3,000 technical certifications, Clark said, and the company combined will enjoy relationships with roughly 300 IT vendors.

ConvergeOne has grown its headcount over the past two nearly by nearly 25 percent – or 150 workers – to a staff size of 800, according to LinkedIn. The company just last month bought Cisco Gold Certified Partner Annese & Associates, No. 226 on the 2017 CRN SP 500, to boost its public cloud capabilities. SPS, meanwhile, has gone through a lot of executive transition recently, with Tom Praschak holding the
CEO role for just 11 months before leaving the company in November 2016 and becoming interim CEO at Harrisburg, Pa.-based Essintial Enterprise Solutions. Following Praschak’s departure, former SPS CEO Tom Poole filled in on a temporary basis until Nalbandian’s April 2017 promotion.

Like SPS, ConvergeOne has made some acquisitions in recent years. The company purchased managed services and collaboration provider Spanlink in October 2014 and cloud computing and data analytics firm SIGMAnet, No. 131 on the 2015 CRN SP 500, in December 2015.

Ex Infosys boss goes Kali about company founder

Statue of Hindu goddess KaliInfosys CEO Vishal Sikka resigned unexpectedly Friday, penning a three-page rant about his long-running feud with the Indian IT outsourcing company’s founder.

Sikka wrote in the letter: “Over the last many months and quarters, we have all been besieged by false, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks. The continuous drumbeat of distractions and negativity over the last several months/quarters inhibits our ability to make positive change and stay focused on value creation.”

Infosys COO U.B. Pravin Rao was named as interim managing director and CEO of the Bengaluru, India-based systems integrator. Rao will report to Sikka, who will serve as executive vice chairman until a permanent CEO takes office, which Infosys said is expected to happen no later than March 31, 2018.

However the rant makes for interesting reading:

“I cannot carry out my job as CEO and continue to create value, while also constantly defending against unrelenting, baseless/malicious and increasingly personal attacks. After much contemplation, I have decided to leave because the distractions, the very public noise around us, have created an untenable atmosphere.”

The company’s board backed Sikka and deflected criticisms made by company founder and former chairman NR Narayana Murthy, who claimed in recent emails that Infosys’ independent directors felt that Sikka was more CTO material than CEO material.

“The Board is profoundly distressed by the unfounded personal attacks on the members of our management team that were made in the anonymous letters. The Board denounced the critics who have amplified and sought to further promote demonstrably false allegations, which have harmed employee morale and contributed to the loss of the company’s valued CEO.”

Murthy fired back several hours later, noting that he voluntarily left Infosys’ board in 2014 and was not seeking any money, power or positions for his children. Murthy has in the past questioned pay raises granted to Sikka and Rao, as well as the size of severance payments given to others.

“I am extremely anguished by the allegations, tone and tenor of the statement,” Murthy said in his response. “My concern primarily was the deteriorating standard of corporate governance, which I have repeatedly brought to the notice of the Infosys board.”

CEOs coming around to computer security idea

BouncerFoxFeatureIt seems that CEOs are finally getting the message that they will have to invest in cyber security.

Bean counters at KPMG found that many feel an investment in cyber protection is a revenue opportunity.

The KPMG CEO Outlook 2017 asked 150 CEOs for their thoughts about security and found that 70 per cent viewed it as a chance to find fresh revenue streams and innovate, rather than an overhead cost.

The survey also found that CEOs are also becoming more comfortable with the idea that they personally had a responsibility for ‘mitigating cyber risk’.

Paul Taylor, UK head of cyber security at KPMG said that it was good that business leaders are finally seeing cyber security investment as a positive figure on the balance sheet rather than a negative one.

“More needs to be done to make sure their businesses are prepared for  a cyberattack, whether it’s from external sources or even insiders,” he said.

The warning that came with the KPMG findings was the continued lack of investment in cyber security with many CEOs admitting that they were not fully prepared for business data theft or an employee-led data breach.

The combination of positive feelings about the potential of security to drive revenue and the need for further investment should be a perfect storm for those in the channel with the right skills.

“With recent high profiles attacks like Wannacry hitting the press, cyber security should be on every CEO’s radar. Businesses now need to match their investment in innovative technology with their investment into cyber security, in order to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals,” added Taylor.

Infosys shake-up shakes company up

web-chocolate-shake-maltInfosys’s board of directors meeting saw the resignation of Dr. Vishal Sikka as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Vishal Sikka was  appointed the Executive Vice-Chairman, Mr. U B Pravin Rao as the Interim-Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

A press release for the succession plan for appointment of a new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer has been operationalised by the Board and a search for a new CEO has started.

The company’s stock tanked nearly 10 percent down on the back of the news.

An Infosys statement said in his new role Sikka would continue to focus on strategic initiatives, key customer relationships and technology development. He will report to the company’s board and receive an annual salary of $1 during his tenure.

In a filing to BSE, the company said: “Sikka reiterated his belief in the great potential of Infosys, but cited among his reasons for leaving a continuous stream of distractions and disruptions over the recent months and quarters, increasingly personal and negative as of late, as preventing the management’s ability to accelerate the company’s transformation.”

Differences were simmering between NR Narayana Murthy, one of the Infosys founders, and Sikka for some time, with the former repeatedly criticising the latter’s policies in the organisation.

In an interview with a business daily published on Friday, Murthy had revived his diatribe against Sikka, saying some of the board members felt the Silicon Valley import was more of a CTO material and not fit for the CEO position.

Worldwide Supply expands into Northern Europe

vikingGlobal networking hardware and services outfit,Worldwide Supply, the leader in  has announced an expansion of its network infrastructure hardware supply, network maintenance and field services business into Northern Europe.

The expansion into Northern Europe was driven by the growing demand from network operators across Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to save significant costs on networking equipment and services.

Jay VanOrden, CEO of Worldwide Supply, said that the Northern European market wasbeen experiencing tremendous growth as a result of operators trying to keep up with the demands of today’s high speed data needs.

“We’re excited about expanding our business reach into this region. We’ve been included on Inc. Magazine’s fasting-growing private companies list for several years now in the United States, and we’re looking forward to continuing our success overseas. We save companies a tremendous amount of money; that’s the bottom line. Whether it’s hardware or services we are confident that we’ll provide a solution with a significant cost savings; while providing 7×24 network support from one of our 400 global service centres.”

Cisco keeps losing

Cisco Kid Cisco posted a seventh consecutive quarter of declining revenue, which is unwelcome news for its partners, but many analysts are seeing the glass as half-full.

The computer networking company avoided any big downgrades from Wall Street analysts after reporting a four percent decline for its fiscal fourth quarter revenue and serving up a weak financial forecast.

Most analysts think Cisco’s business will not improve in the next few quarters, but do expect to see change in the long run. And both said they see Cisco’s pivot toward software and subscription revenues — and away from its long-held hardware approach — as a major indication of its future success.

Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, said that there currently is a pause due to some new switching products where enterprises are waiting for the new products.

Then there is the strategic shift where the majority of their business becomes the newer, ‘cloud-native’ products. This complete transformation could take one to two years, Moorhead said. Security, the internet of things, and intent-based networking are the best bets for the company moving forward, he said.

Cisco’s revenues for products were down five percent in the fourth quarter, while services were up a percent. Security was up three percent, while wireless offerings were up five percent. Every other revenue source was in decline, including routing and switching, which both were down nine percent year-over-year.

Cisco’s product revamp, the Network Intuitive was announced in June but is still being rolled out. The new system applies machine learning to traditional networking. Cisco claims the new network can “recognise intent, mitigate threats, and learn over time.” It’s the first major overhaul Cisco has made to its products in 15 years.

Microsoft buys a new Cycle

7e319356549d95d0190f09ecdfee237eMicrosoft has written a cheque for the cloud firm Cycle Computing in the hope that it will make it easier for its customers to use high-performance computing in the cloud.

Formed in 2012, Cycle Computing uses cloud resources to make big computing possible in the cloud on a large scale.

Its software works with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform.

Writing in his bog, Azure corporate vice president Jason Zander said: “Combining the most specialised big compute infrastructure available in the public cloud with Cycle Computing’s technology and years of experience with the world’s largest supercomputers, we open up many new possibilities.

As customers continue to look for faster, more efficient ways to run their workloads, Cycle Computing’s depth and expertise is centred on massively scalable applications make them a great fit to join Vole, he said.

Cycle Computing known to be an influential AWS partner so nicking them is a bit of coup in Vole’s greater war with the other providers.

Gartner sees opportunities in security services

funny-security-guardBeancounters at Gartner have had a quick look at the security market for the rest of this year and decided that there are opportunities on the services side.

It in its report, Big G said that the security market is set for a strong end to the year and a positive outlook for 2018, with those in the channel providing services in the best position.

Gartner is forecasting a seven percent year-on-year increase in global security spending in 2017 with the sector generating $86.4 billion in sales. That growth should continue into 2018, with the market hitting a value of $93 billion.

Punters apparently want infrastructure protection and security testing is popular area. DevOps will also drive a greater need for applications to be checked more closely, the Big G report said.

The fastest growing segment was security services, with those in the channel able to offer outsourcing consulting and implementation support the best placed to reap the rewards.

Managed security services will also become more blended with the offerings provided by MSPs over the next few years.

However the hardware is still pretty disappointing. Gartner claims that area coming under challenge from the growth of virtual appliances and the shift towards public cloud.

The security market is usually a strong segment given the need for customers to protect their data but the recent high profile breaches and ransomware attacks had also helped raise the levels of awareness.

Sid Deshpande, principal research analyst at Gartner said that rising awareness among CEOs and boards of directors about the business impact of security incidents and an evolving regulatory landscape have led to continued spending on security products and services.

He said the channel also has a role to play in continuing to educate customers about the basics of security to prevent further breaches.

“Improving security is not just about spending on new technologies. As seen in the recent spate of global security incidents, doing the basics right has never been more important. Organisations can improve their security posture significantly just by addressing basic security and risk related hygiene elements like threat centric vulnerability management, centralised log management, internal network segmentation, backups and system hardening,” said Deshpande.

Amazon builds a new distribution centre in Bristol

 

amazonAmazon has just built a new fulfilment centre in Bristol that will create over 1,000 jobs.

The online retailer now has 13 fulfilment centres in the country.

The company said that these newly created jobs in Bristol are in addition to the 5,000 jobs that it is creating this year. Those new roles that were announced in July are to be based across three others new fulfillment centres in Tilbury, Doncaster and Daventry, in addition to being based at its offices in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London.

There will also be several full-time jobs created at Amazon’s fashion photography studio in Shoreditch. In total, Amazon will have a UK workforce of 24,000 by the year’s end.

The announcement might be sending a statement to the government about the company’s tax bill that saw it paying just £7.4 million in spite of UK profits of in excess of £7 billion.  It is also a sign that Brexit has not changed Amazon’s relationship with the UK or its ability to hire staff.

Doug Gurr, Amazon UK country manager, said in a statement: “We are creating thousands of new UK jobs including hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities as we continue to innovate for our customers and provide them with even faster delivery, more selection and better value.”