Category: News

Avnet and Ingram see sales fall

avnettsJust as Ingram is about to be bought, HNA and Avnet gears up to sell TS unit to Tech Data, both outfits are seeing their sales slide.

It is no big news, both Avnet and Ingram Micro have seen several quarters of sales doom as they start their M&A activity.

Ingram’s Q3, which ended 1 October, net profits jumped 21 per cent annually to $78.5m (£64.4m) on sales which were down three per cent over the same period to $10.2 billion.  Ingram is becoming part of the Chinese giant HNA. It did not hold a Q3 earnings call or provide a financial outlook for that reason.

Tts CEO Alain Monié did say the third quarter had been seen “robust improvement in gross and operating margins.”

“We see further stabilisation in market demand across most of the globe and our teams continue to leverage our investments in productivity and services to deliver improved bottom-line results and growth in a number of areas as we benefit from the broadest solutions portfolio and widest geographic reach in the industry,” he added.

Avnet is trying to sell its Technology Solutions arm to Tech Data. For the combined business, including TS, net profit fell 47.1 per cent annually to $68.8m, on sales which slumped 13 per cent over the same period to $6bn.

This means that TS performed “below expectations”, with sales falling 21.2 per cent annually to $1.87bn.

CEO William Ameilo said Avnet’s future without TS looks bright.

“In summary, the sale of TS allows us to focus on electronic components business, to which we just added unique capability with the acquisition of Premier Farnell while providing significant capital to strengthen our balance sheet and fund future growth,” he said.

Britain’s not got security talent

5710dc371600002b0031bc8aMore than half of UK organisations do not believe they have the in-house talent required to combat existing cyber-security threats, according to new research.

Beancounters from Databarracks have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that two thirds of the 350 IT decision makers questioned had been affected by a cyber-threat in the past year. But 53 per cent of those questioned felt that they had the sufficient cyber-security skills in their team needed to handle the current sophistication of attacks.

According to Databarrack’s 2016 Data Health Check cyber attacks were increasing and only a third of the respondents in our study remained unscathed by an attack in the last 12 months.

Oscar Arean, technical operations manager at Databarracks said: “Reassuringly though, the number of people looking to improve their security policies is increasing year on year, with a third of respondents in 2016 admitting they had reviewed policies and made changes following an attack, as opposed to 29 per cent in 2014.”

According to the report, over half of respondents have invested in safeguards to protect against cyber threats in the past year. Ongoing training, cyber threat monitoring solutions, and improvement of policies were the most common investments.

“This is a definite step in the right direction, but it seems that current resilience planning is mostly inward-looking at this point, as only 5 per cent of respondents had invested in a certification to a cyber security framework. Considering confidence in in-house skills is so low, it’s likely we’ll see an increase in adoption of security frameworks in the coming years,” Arean said.

FAST rewarding whistleblowers

r-1417839-1397651202-4169-jpegThe Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is planning to start a scheme where it will financially reward whistleblowers.

The incentive payment agreement works on the basis that if a report from a whistleblower leads to the successful identification of illegal software then there will be a payment of 55 percent of the historic use payment. In some companies that could be a lot of dosh.

FAST hopes that it will encourage more people to come forward and grass up their companies.

FAST CEO Alex Hilton said piracy figures are declining in the UK, but there remains a hard core of users who are intentionally using unlicensed software. It has announced a new damages programme to punish companies and now it wants to reward individuals who know that the organisations they are working for are intentionally misusing software.

In most cases the vast majority of cases where FAST comes across under-licensing in business, it is the result of oversight. In those cases FAST will help ensure that their software is compliant.

However company bosses who are deliberately ignoring their software licensing responsibilities should be warned that FAST is coming at them with a big financial stick,” he added.

Whistleblowers can report illegal software use via the FAST hotline or through the web. A report, which clearly details the use of unlicensed products, then needs to be submitted for the group to act on.

FAST has found that in the past job preservation was preventing more whistleblowers from coming forward. The reward system might encourage greater willingness to speak out against illegal activity.

Cloudy Netsuite delivers final results  

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudSome Netsuite shareholders might be relieved that the outfit could be bought by Oracle – the outfit’s last financial results were not that great.

The Cloud-based ERP outfit announced its last quarter results before it joins Ellison’s team and while it has continued to grow it is also showing increased operating overheads and losses. In other-words if it had not been bought out it could be in for some serious restructuring if it is going to continue.

NetSuite reported a third quarter loss of $34.1 million compared to $37.7 million a year earlier, on revenue of $243.9, up 26 percent. Costs increased to $50.2 million compared to $44.3 million.

The $9.3 million buyout needs to be approved by shareholders on 4 November. Surprisingly, shareholders don’t like it and the meeting could be contentious.  The feeling is that Ellison and the Netsuite board have  undervalued the company. We would have thought that they only have to look at the numbers to see that it is probably a good idea.

The Netsuite board seems to think the shareholders will go for it. They have said that this is the last time that the company would be making the figures public.  After all it is going to be part of Ellison’s empire if the vote goes ahead.

Weak pound gives Computacenter a temporary lift

boris-parachuteThe weak pound helped Computacenter’s bottom line by boosting the value of its business in mainland Europe.

The London-listed firm reported a two percent year-on-year rise in turnover to £735 million, more than £400 million of which was generated in Germany and France. Group services revenues grew by four percent as reported and the supply grew one percent.

The UK side of the business was as soft as a baby’s bottom but thanks to Brexit sinking the pound that hardly got noticed.

Sales were down three percent to £314 million, including a ten percent slump in services revenues. However the supply chain grew two percent.

“We are pleased to see a return to growth in our supply chain business, however, as broadly anticipated, our services revenue remains challenged principally due to the buoyant nature of projects in 2015,” the firm said.

In Germany things were much better. Revenues grew eight percent as reported to £325 million, but decreased two percent in constant currency. Service revenue was up 22 percent and the supply chain increased two percent.

France which normally was a blackspot on Computer Center’s revenues grew three percent to £83 million. Services and product sales also benefited from the currency translation.

Group funds totalled £96.7 million at the end of the quarter, up £29 million on the same period a year earlier.

The company forecasted sales of £3.1 billion for 2016, which would equate to a three percent rise as reported.

Wipro to buy Appirio

overview-2xIndian outsourcing giant Wipro is going to write a cheque for half a billion dollars to buy cloud services powerhouse Appirio.

The $500 million all-cash acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year.

Wipro said that bringing Indianapolis-based Appirio’s 1,250 global employees on board will create one of the world’s largest cloud transformation companies. This would make it the partner of choice for clients looking to modernise their processes and platforms on next-generation cloud applications.

Chris Barbin, Appirio’s CEO, said in a statement that if you combine Wipro’s global scale and deep digital focus with Appirio’s transformative worker and customer experience expertise, and best in class team, brand and partners, you create a formidable force in the industry.

“Our aim is to dominate the market and claim the top spots in industry Net Promoter Score, market share, and best places to work.”

Wipro’s existing Salesforce and Workday cloud applications practices will be consolidated under the Appirio brand and structure. Barbin will lead the expanded business,.

Appirio is a close chum of Google and created the Topcode marketplace that connects more than a million designers, developers and data scientists around the world with customers. It works with leading brands such as Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, Home Depot, Stryker, Johnson Controls, Cardinal Health and Sony PlayStation.

Appirio was founded in 2006 and incubated inside Salesforce’s San Francisco headquarters. The company today has offices in Indianapolis, San Francisco, Dublin, London, Tokyo and Jaipur, India.

The systems integrator has seen its revenue grow from $137 million in 2013 to $178 million in 2014 to $196 million in 2015, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.


Dell says diversification was the best thing he did

dellchannTin box shifter and CEO Michael Dell has said that moving away from grey boxes for a bit was one of his cleverer moves.

Talking to the assorted throngs at Dell World, Dell claimed the firm’s wider range of offerings and its EMC deal was a key to helping it thrive at a time when former PC rivals have faltered.

“In fact this last quarter we outgrew our competition and the last year to date all of our major PC competitors have declined while Dell is growing. We are the only one that is growing.”

He believes that the “physical reality is transforming into a digital reality” and firms that used to have a ‘physical businesses’ strategy must transform as well to stay afloat.

“This is what the best leaders are focused on,” he said.

Dell rejected claims that the firm would be overly distracted by its acquisition of EMC and the huge array of technology tools and products that it now owns. But nothing like that was happening.

Dell said the firm will still focus on the PC hardware space, as PCs were just as relevant now and in the future of connected devices and the burgeoning internet of things.

“PCs in all their various forms are deeply integrated into the computing, and this is especially so in the internet of everything and the innovation that is happening at the edge, and in another 15 years, we are going to have another 1000 times improvement.”

Softcat gets the cream

fatter catChannel outfit Softcat is reporting some rather good figures for its first public full year.

The channel player reporting strong results and a £28m special dividend. The firm saw a 12.8 percent  increase in revenues to £672.3m and gross profit coming in at 17.5 percent up on last year at £120.7 for the year  ended 31 July. That gross profit number was helped by a one-off procurement saving of £3.4m.

Softcat saw a 7.5 percent  increase in customer numbers and increasd its staff by 21 per cent to support its growth plans.

The channel outfit went public in November last year and the share price has consistently outperformed the initial valuation.

Martin Hellawell, Softcat CEO, said that the last financial year had seen it open an office in Glasgow, add 133 to the workforce and pick up a clutch of best partner awards from leading vendors.

“We are pleased to report continued strong organic growth at Softcat with 12.8 per cent revenue growth, 17.5 per cent growth in gross profit and 15.2 per cent growth in adjusted operating profit, achieved against a backdrop of very modest growth in the UK economy which has equally been reflected in the IT market,” he said.

“We have continued to win large numbers of new customers and earn increased spend from our existing customers.  This has been achieved by our relentless focus on customer service, which is in turn driven by an excellent and engaged team of people at Softcat,” he added.

Dell spruces up its channel with EMC blood

Michael DellDell has named its new channel and sales executives and appears to be leaning on EMC bigwigs to improve its channel.

EMC channel chief Gregg Ambulos is now in charge of the North American channel, after EMC’s John Byrne was made global channel supremo in July.

Ambulos reports to Byrne, and his appointment came along with a host of other executive moves designed to streamline and unify the Dell Technologies sales and channel operations.

Byrne, who worked for AMD, is now the president of global channels and reports directly to Marius Haas, Dell COO and president of commercial solutions.

This looks like Dell intends to lean heavily on EMC’s channel expertise and moving towards partner-led customer engagements, similar to EMC’s programme.

Jim DeFoe is now the head of global distribution. DeFoe is a 20-year Dell veteran, and has spent almost all that time as vice president of global sales channels and programmes.

Cheryl Cook is now the head of partner marketing, reporting to Nina Hargus, senior vice president of global field marketing. Cook was the face of Dell’s channel operation after coming from Sun.

Kimberley DeLeon, another former AMD bod, was hired by Dell last January. She will be the head of global channel programmes at Dell Technologies,.

Randy Huey, also from Dell is now the head of channel strategy, Huey will lead channel strategy and planning. He and Byrne will map out plans for partner spending and coverage across Dell and EMC.

Pilar Schenk will be head of channel sales planning and operations.

Tian Beng Ng will be the head of Asia-Pacific and Japan channel sales. He has been with Dell 17 years, most recently as vice president and managing director, South Asia and Korea. Alvaro Camarena  is now the head of Latin America channel sales. Camarena has been with Dell eight years as executive director of Latin America channel programmess. Michael Collins will head Dell’s EMEA channel sales operation. The 14-year Dell veteran was most recently vice president of strategy and channel, EMEA.

Salesforce says Twitter Ye Not

frankie-loopmasters1Salesforce has said it has given up on its plans to buy social notworking site Twitter.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the Financial Times his company has “walked away” from cutting a deal and he was pretty much the last one left.

Neither Google nor Disney plan to bid on Twitter, despite reports saying both were interested. Apple is long gone and Verizon immediately launghed off the speculation.

Facebook was said to be uninterested, and someone mentioned Microsoft but then realised that it made no sense for Vole which is becoming an increasingly enterprise-focused company.

This is going to put pressure on the social notworking site to work out a way to restart user growth and improve its revenue.

Twitter will update investors on its earnings again two weeks from now, on 27 October and it’s likely the company will either address or be asked about where any acquisition talks go from here.

Infosys cuts growth due to Brexit

infosysudacityIndia’s software services exporter Infosys slashed its fiscal-year revenue growth target for the second time in three months over fears that Brexit had hurt its bottom line.

While the outfit reported a 6.1 percent rise in second quarter net profit, Infosys said it now expected revenue to grow between eight percent and nine percent in constant currency terms in the fiscal year to March 31, 2017. Its previous revenue growth target, issued in July, was 10.5-12 percent, which it had already lowered from the 13.5 percent it expected in April.

The outfit depends on North America and Europe for the majority of its revenue. It is worried that hte impending US presidential election and the implications of Britain’s ‘Brexit’ move have caused many clients to delay or abandon outsourcing plans.

Infosys had warned in August it was seeing some “softness” in business after the June Brexit vote in Britain.

Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said in a statement on Friday the revision took into consideration “our performance in first half of the year and the near-term uncertain business outlook”.

The company is still not doing that badly and its reduced numbers are still ahead of analysts’ estimates. Still it is a little ironic that the outfit which is supposed to have been “coming over here and taking our jobs” is also suffering as a result of Brexit.


British business not ready for digital transformation

hqdefaultBritish business is not ready for digital transformation and might become obsolute, according to Independent research commissioned by Dell and conducted by Vanson Bourne.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 4,000 medium to large enterprises across 16 countries and 12 industries for the Dell ‘Digital Transformation Index’, and found that nearly half of all businesses – at 41 percent – are uncomfortable with the pace of change.

They are complaining that there has been “significant disruption” over the last three years and a third of them believe that their businesses could be made completely obsolete in the coming years.

Dell said that report highlighted  discrepancies in the mature markets versus emerging economies such as India, places which were unencumbered by legacy infrastructure that needed replacing.

Dell said that there were five different categories in the British market: leaders, adopters, evaluators, followers and laggards. The bottom three set make up the largest group – with 41 percent lumped into the ‘followers’ set. Few have made digital investments or carried out some tentative planning for the future. The 19 percent in the ‘laggards’ class, with no plan at all, and 24 percent in ‘evaluators’, who are very gradually embracing a more digital approach.

The study aimed to clarify the meaning digital as  many companies found themselves boasting of being digitial when they had not got a clue what it meant.  The term digital transformation is cloaked in different interpretations: some organisations might think it means simply building an app or bringing in some new kit.

Microsoft demos Dynamics 365

Microsoft campusMicrosoft has been hyping its Dynamics 365 platform for months and now is finally showing it off to its channel partners.

For those who came in late, Dynamics 365  is an integrated CRM and ERP. Vole talks up the software’s machine learning skills, business intelligence and advanced data integration features.

Vole announced that Dynamics 365 will be released next month, giving customers a cloud-based customer relationship and business management solution that delivers predictive insights by using artificial intelligence.

Microsoft thinks the software will create opportunities for partners to drive business transformations.

Dynamics 365 is fully integrated with Office 365 and the Cortana Intelligence Suite, and works with Microsoft’s productivity tools, email and business intelligence solutions.

The product, accessible through a mobile app, leverages machine learning algorithms to help sales, service, and marketing agents gain insights into their professional relationships.

CRM rival Salesforce has a similar product which it calls Einstein, an artificial intelligence technology infused into its sales, service and marketing apps.



KCOM let emergency services go to Hull

marina-hullUK comms watchdog Ofcom has torn a strip off the rump of the telco services provider KCOM for failing maintain emergency services access in Hull.

KCOM notified Ofcom in February 2016 that its phone service in the region had suffered a “temporary reduction in availability” which is apparently what you say when the emergency service are Hull on Toast.

Ofcom said it had reasonable grounds for believing that KCOM failed to take sufficient measures to maintain uninterrupted telephone access to emergency services on 999 and 112.

The outfit had failed to comply with its obligations in relation to network security and access to emergency services from 25 February 2009 to 28 December 2015, he watchdog growled.

It added:”KCOM now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification before Ofcom makes a final decision in accordance with section 96C of the Communications Act 2003″

Hull is unique in that the vast majority of residents and most businesses in Hull, Cottingham and Beverley are served only with telecoms services by KCOM.

The outfit is pretty hacked off with the infrastructure market anyway and has flogged its national comms infrastructure – excluding Hull and East Yorkshire – to CityFibre for £90m last year.

Vendors need to fight public cloud propaganda

The battle for the hearts and minds of public cloud users is being won by AWS, Google and Microsoft, and MSPs need to fight back before they become unstoppable.

Canalys CEO Steve Brazier told the outfit’s Channel Forum that the traditional IT industry has to fight back to remind customers that there is an alternative.

He said that Dell, HPE, Cisco and Oracle were all talking about cloud, but there is a danger that they, along with their channel partners, will be swerved in favour of AWS, Google and Azure because the buyer has been swayed by them.

There was a danger that the three big public cloud providers could become “too big to fail” with too many customers putting data through their platforms.

His logic is fair enough. In the last year AWS grew by 59 per cent, while both Microsoft with Azure had grown their cloud by 100 per cent.  All this was on the back of the giants leaning on their clouds.

Basically it means that Lenovo, Dell, HPE and others doing more to counteract the public cloud argument and to work in a more co-ordinated way to present an alternative PR message.

Customers need to be worried that will be locked in to platforms and if one of these big companies go down then millions could be hit.