Category: News

Appian names its favourite partners

som2Software development outfit Appian named its 2017 Global and Regional Partners of the Year.

For those who came in late Appian low-code software development platform that enables organizations to rapidly develop powerful and unique applications. Applications created on Appian’s platform help companies drive digital transformation and competitive differentiation.

Its partner system is the key its business model so each year it names its favourites. Appian chief technology officer Mike Beckley said: “At Appian, we take great pride in our global partnerships that help drive digital transformation and enable businesses to quickly adapt to the latest challenges they are facing.

“The companies recognized this week have greatly contributed to the Appian community. Not only as partners, but those who demonstrated innovative use of business applications – paving the way for great success across the Appian network.”

Global and Regional Partner of the Year Winners were:
• Global Partner of the Year – KPMG
• Regional Partner of the Year – APAC Infosys
• Regional Partner of the Year (Mid-Market) – Bits in Glass
• Global Trusted Program: Partner of the Year – Vuram

KPMG Advisory principal Jerry Iacouzzi said the award was quite an honour.

“Our clients understand digital transformation is not optional. When executed with the right experience and the right tools, such as the Appian Platform, digital transformation is the key to competitive advantage. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with Appian to deliver even greater value to our clients.”

Ultima picks Reading for goals

wilde2Cloud and managed services outfit Ultima is ploughing shedloads of cash into its Reading HQ.

The outfit has opened a new £18 million HQ in Reading and revealed plans to increase its staffing numbers and extend its apprenticeship scheme.

IT also wants to create 50 jobs and double the number of apprentices it takes on each year from the current level of 20 to 40.

Reading has always been one of the key areas for the tech industry, being part of the M4 corridor and the ‘golden triangle’, and the firm expects it to become even more important with the arrival of Crossrail.

Ultima founder Max McNeill said that it had invested heavily in the technology park that now homed its HQ with the aim of bringing tech firms and jobs to the area.

“With Crossrail coming to Reading I believe it’s a great opportunity for us to become a centre of technology excellence. Manor Park and over the past two years we have invested £18m in restoring the building from a shell into a 21st Century, state-of-the-art headquarters for Ultima in the heart of south Reading,” he said.

“We have rented out some of the 40,000sq ft to other technology companies, including Fortinet and Veeam who previously weren’t based in the town. It goes without saying that our investment in the business park has created further employment opportunities in south Reading, and will continue to do so,” he added.

The investment in bricks and mortar is more than just an opportunity to choose some new colour schemes and represents a deeper philosophy at Ultima.

“We are entering a period of rapid growth and our watchword for both our customers and staff is ‘modernisation’. Our new service offerings, and indeed our new office, are designed to deliver a range of refreshed IT solutions that address the latest business needs of IT users,” said Ultima CEO Scott Dodds.

Channel is now cloud-ready

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudIngram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit was told that the channel has understood the opportunities that cloud can deliver.

The Summit was told that while the Channel was slow most now accept that the cloud is an unstoppable force changing business and their approach to the market.

Ingram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit heard from the distributor and vendors about the trends in the market.

Ingram Micro director of cloud & software UK&I Apay Obang-Oyway said that it was  one of the first times that he had seen that the Channel has got the message and people were nodding their heads.

He cited Blockbuster, which failed to spot the streaming revolution until it was too late, as an example of the risks of not adapting to change.

“A lot of CEOs are petrified of being Blockbusted. A lot of partners can see the changes.”

He said the industry was at the start of the fourth industrial revolution and technologies including IoT, big data, social and cloud were driving those changes.

“While it is all very good and exciting it is bringing a lot of disruption, which you can look at negatively or positively. Within that there is a load of opportunity for channel partners but you have to understand this is a different reality and it is no longer business as usual, its business unusual. The opportunity is huge and represents significant numbers,” he added.


Redcentric sales in sunset despite accounting scandal

hqdefaultRedcentric has announced its trading results for its recently ended financial year were in line with its expectations, despite having a terrible year for accounting scandals.

IT group Redcentric has seen its shares plunge 66 percent after it discovered accounting irregularities and gave notice to its finance director.

The company said the “misstated accounting balances” related to previous year’s figures and would mean a write-down in some historic profits.

The discrepancy meant it would need to reduce its net assets by at least £10 million and its debt would now be around £30 million compared to the £17 million or so it suggested in September.

But now the IT managed services provider said it had experienced good sales momentum during the year ended in March, with a number of key contract wins and renewals in both the public and private sectors.

Net debt at the end of March was £39.5 million, down from £42 million at the end of November.

Redcentric said it had made good progress with the remedial programme it had outlined in December, with its finance team further strengthened and number of improvements made to its internal systems and controls.

Redcentric will report full year results on June 29.

Chief Executive Officer Fraser Fisher in a statement that he was pleased to report that trading is in line with expectations.

“Throughout the challenges at the end of last year, we have continued to enjoy the support of our stakeholders including customers, banks and loyal colleagues. A great deal of work has been carried out in the past few months to execute the remedial plan, strengthening our reporting and control systems,” he claimed.

Microsoft partners celebrate Dynamics 365 launch

Dynamics 365Microsoft has officially launched its Dynamics 365 in the UK, much to the relief of its partners.

For those who came in late, Dynamics 365 is a cloud based service which joins Microsoft Azure and Office 365 that Vole will be managing to help UK businesses reach their potential.

Microsoft’s bog post announcing the release of Dynamics is a heavy sell. It lists off the businesses in the UK that have already taken advantage of Microsoft’s UK cloud regions that went up last year, including the Ministry of Défense and the Met Police.

“The move ensures Microsoft is the first global cloud provider to offer a complete cloud from data centres in the UK.”

The headline case study has come from the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust which uses Dynamics 365 to easily share information between medical professionals and patients.

“The ability to see a complete picture of an individual’s needs means more people can be treated in their own homes rather than in a hospital,” Vole tells us.

Lucy Cassidy, an Advance Practice Physiotherapist at Brighton Hospital said that Dynamics 365 transformed the way her hospital treated patients by putting all relevant information into the hands of clinicians.

“From the moment the service receives a referral, the patient is provided with relevant information on how to manage their injury and we are able to measure the progress of their rehabilitation,” he said.

“The service also means that we are able to track patient feedback and data is automatically collected for our Patient Reported Outcome Measures, a key reporting need for all NHS trusts. Importantly, this data is sent live to clinicians to proactively manage patient outcomes rather than simply sitting in a spreadsheet at the end of the year.”

Vole is pitching its 365 products as a package for partners claiming the three enable companies and organisations to work seamlessly to become more productive, gain new insights into their operations and create greater personalised experiences for customers. Because having seams makes things rather tricky to iron.

Aegex signs deal with ScanSource POS and Barcode Europe

Aegex-10-1-Instrinsically-Safe-Tablet-666437-lAegex Technologies has announced European distributor agreement with ScanSource and Barcode Europe.

ScanSource representatives will supply Aegex products, including the Aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablet and the Aegex IoT Platform for Hazardous Locations, to existing Aegex resellers in the region.

In addition, ScanSource provides pre- and post-sale support, education and training, marketing support and enablement tools so that resellers can focus on sales and customer service.

Meanwhile ScanSource will host a series of networking events from May through December 2017, called ScanSource Live, at which resellers can learn more about the solutions ScanSource offers, including Aegex products. Potential events are scheduled as follows (subject to change):

  • North: 11 & 12 May 2017 – Frankfurt area, Germany
  • South: 1 & 2 June 2017 – Barcelona area, Spain
  • UK: 18 & 19 September 2017 – Midlands, UK
  • Benelux: 13 September 2017 – Antwerp, Belgium
  • Eastern Europe: 12 & 13 October 2017, Warsaw, Poland
  • Nordics: 26 & 27 October 2017 – Malmo, Sweden or Copenhagen, Denmark

ScanSource will also offer Aegex products through a variety of online channels, including the ScanSource website, ScanSource e-catalogue, ScanSource Showpad app and PartnerPAD managed tablet solution.

Red Hat shows off cloud-based automated enterprise

hat_sm_zps0a1ae16fRed Hat has been telling the world+dog about its new cloud management platform, CloudForms, and predictive analytics tool, Red Hat Insights.

Talking to the 2017 Red Hat Summit in Boston, Joe Fitzgerald, VP of Management said the new products are all part of the company’s automated enterprise vision thing.

“CloudForms is used to manage multi-cloud environments, and the key feature in that release is Ansible Inside, which is incredible open source automation technology,” Fitzgerald said.

Red Hat Insights is the company’s predictive analytics capability, which tells users what is going on within their systems, and efficiently automates getting issues fixed without having to involve actual workers.

“It’s a really powerful tool for enterprises to automate,” said Fitzgerald.

He explained that business was getting more complex, with IT environments using multi-clouds as well as new container technologies, making it hard for individuals to keep up with the management of these systems.

“Automation is premium. You see this in consumer things like self-driving cars and home automation. It has to come to enterprise IT. Otherwise, businesses are not going to be able to keep up with the demands on them,” he said.

Dell EMC cuts cloud deal with Microsoft

lightning-cloudDell EMC talked about its partnership with Microsoft under which channel partners can build on-premises Microsoft Azure clouds using Dell EMC technology.

Dubbed Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, the she-bang is a turnkey platform for building a hybrid cloud offering with the same look, feel, and technology as the Microsoft Azure public cloud,

A Dell EMC spokesperson said the outfit was using its three years of experience with delivering hybrid clouds.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is a net-new offering from Dell EMC, particularly in how it differs from the company’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, or EHC.

Customers deploying the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud need to add their own domain name space automation, firewall automation, backup and recovery capabilities, and other technologies that together form a private or hybrid cloud.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack is an integrated offering which is Azure-based. It does not use the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

The new offering is also different from the Azure Pack, which Dell started shipping in 2015. The Azure Pack is not API-compatible with the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack targets solution providers and customers who use Microsoft technology. It will be a stand-alone offering combining Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure technology with Azure.

The new offering scales from four nodes, which can work with up to about 100 Azure D1 virtual machines, to 12 nodes, or about 600 Azure D1 virtual machines.

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack provides a single contract support for hybrid Azure deployments, full encryption and security capabilities including the ability to tie policies to virtual machines as they are migrated to new locations, and full data protection capabilities in single tenant and multi-tenant environments.

Insight restructuring costs hit EMEA operations

imagesInsight saw its EMEA operations slip into the red because of restructuring costs.

Restructuring costs of $3.2 million made Insight’s EMEA numbers look pretty rubbish. Costs shot up as the company tried to improve the efficiency of its EMEA operations. Apparently things are going to be pants there for some time.

Overall the numbers for the first quarter across EMEA showed that Insight delivered a 9per cent  climb in sales to $330 million but a loss with income dipping by $1.1m compared to a positive position of $2.7 million in the same period last year.

Insight CEO Ken Lamneck said that EMEA was a blight on the balance sheet but otherwise the firm had enjoyed a fairly decent performance in the region.

“The sales growth obviously is pretty 20per cent  constant currency growth, so really solid there. A few big deals are brought down the gross margin related to some large software enterprise agreements and some hardware deals, lower than margin there for — but certainly good growth on a top-line and obviously growth year-over-year on the earnings line as well,” he said.

“But we looked and we said, hey, there is a couple of markets where there is some inefficiency. So we’ve taken that very specific action,” he added.

The CFO Glynis Bryan said that when it took a charge in Europe it did not always see a recovery in the first year and it expected the benefit of the cost cutting to filter in about $2m a year with most of that starting to come through to the balance sheet in 2018.

Sales for the outfit were up 26 percent  to $1.48 billion for the three months ended 31 March. Gross profit was $208 million for the first quarter, up 29 percent  year-over-year.


Mitel decimates workforce

ob_69e675_13466500-10205097068386116-52360299429Mitel has sold its mobile division and is now gearing up to decimate its remaining workforce

Ten percent of its workforce are being handed their pink slips and told to clean out their desks just a year after the comms giant was close to doubling in size last year through its proposed acquisition of Polycom.

The deal went tits up when Polycom got a higher bid.

Now, the emphasis for Mitel is to get as slim as possible, although other acquisitions are believed to be possible.

In February, Mitel completed the sale of its mobile division to the parent company of Xura, saying it would use the $350m cash proceeds to pay down its credit facility. This reflected its strategy to focus on the unified communications and collaboration market.

Getting rid of staff will result in the outfit taking a charge in the range of $25 million to $35 million this year.

Mitel chief executive Richard McBee said that with the mobile divestiture finished the outfit was taking a “proactive cost reduction action to align its operating expenses with our current and future business investment needs”. With language like that we can sort of see Mitel’s problem – a company which can’t say “sacking staff to save money” might be having difficulties facing broader reality issues.

McBee said he was “pleased” with the Q1 results, and “especially pleased” with Mitel’s performance in its larger European markets “where Mitel’s financial strength helps us to expand on our leadership position in the region”.

Mitel’s GAAP net losses widened year on year during the quarter ending 31 March 2017, from $12.9m to $19.7m, on revenues that fell slightly from $228.1 million to $223.1 million.

Beecham launches online IoT navigation tool

woman-sextantIoT analyst firm Beecham Research and its partner IoT Global Network have launched the first fully-independent, online IoT navigation tool which can help match adopter needs with IoT platform capabilities.

Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of Beecham Research said that the IoT platform has become an important starting point for building IoT solutions, but with so many now on the market it is a highly confusing starting point.

“In addition, IoT platforms are going through a fast rate of development with frequent updates, acquisitions and re-brandings. They are also becoming increasingly sophisticated as well as more specialised. For those who do not understand the subtleties, this adds to the confusion, which then acts as a brake on market development,” he said.

IoT platforms offer the middleware to help secure monitoring, control and analysis of device and sensor data along with integration to enterprise IT systems. They are quickly becoming an essential element of IoT solutions to reduce time to market and development costs.

Beecham’s new IoT navigation tool assists adopters to make informed decisions about which platforms are most likely to meet their requirements at any particular time.

It does not favour one platform over others, but it does narrow the field to a level that adopters can manage effectively.

Duke-Woolley claims that by providing a short list of platforms most likely to be of interest to each individual user enquiry, it is part of the learning process and means that adopters can commence a more valuable dialogue with the most appropriate vendors at an earlier stage.

“We strongly believe this is of benefit not only for adopters but for vendors as well, leading to better-informed decision-makers, more qualified sales opportunities and shorter sales cycles,” he said.

The tool is hosted on the website.

PCM claims En Pointe lied about results

pants-on-firePCM has told a court that it would never have bought En Pointe if it had known the solution provider’s true financial situation.

The outfit has filed a lawsuit counterclaim April 11 alleging that En Pointe materially overstated the profitability of its business and that breaches by an En Pointe subsidiary have damaged PCM’s goodwill with many customers. PCM said the total damages exceed $57 million, or more than triple the company 2016 net income.

PCM paid $15 million upfront for En Pointe’s IT solutions business as well as 22.5 percent of future adjusted gross profit and 10 percent of certain service revenue for the next three years.

The first signs of trouble came in December 2016, when an En Pointe subsidiary filed a lawsuit against PCM in Delaware Superior Court for underpaying its agreed-upon earn-out payments.

Now three law firms have announced investigations into whether PCM violated federal securities laws by issuing materially misleading business information to investors.

When PCM filed its counterclaims the followed month, it alleged that the En Pointe subsidiary improperly used vendor rebates and marketing-related vendor credits attributable to prior accounting periods to understate the cost of the goods it was selling. PCM said it believes En Pointe’s earnings were millions of dollars less than they reported.

PCM also alleged that En Pointe misled the company with assurances that certain customer relationships were not dependent on En Pointe’s minority-owned status. But after closing, PCM said it discovered several acquired customers were unwilling to transfer their business to PCM since it is not certified as being minority-owned.

Amazon drops cloud prices

amazonAmazon Web Services slashed the prices on its cloud products.

The move is mostly geared to making more affordable the Reserved Instances through which customers can realize savings by booking cloud capacity for one or three years.

The long-term contracts which give AWS usage discounts are increasingly popular, delivering savings of up to 75 percent over on-demand pricing.

Jeff Barr, AWS’ chief evangelist wrote in his bog that AWS can continue reducing its prices because “we work with our suppliers to drive down costs while also finding ways to build hardware and software that is increasingly more efficient and cost-effective”.

AWS is adding the choice of buying three year reserved instances with no upfront payment for most of the virtual machine types available on its cloud. Previously, you could only defer payments on the one year contracts.

Price cuts are also being implemented across machine types for one year reserved instances and convertible reserved instances, which allow customers to change the instance type at any time as their applications evolve.

The prices customers will see depends on region and operating system, Barr said.

Amazon is also lowering the price of M4 instances running Linux by up to seven percent. M4 is AWS’ latest general purpose machines that balances compute, memory and networking.

Distributor extends existing relationship with AV player in Ireland to cover the UK market

Exertis extends Promethean relationship

prometheus1-3804Exertis has extended its relationship with AV outfit Promethean.

The distributor will have access to the vendor’s full range of products, which includes interactive whiteboards.

Exertis acquired Medium last November to extend its reach into the AV market and has now branded the division with both names.

The Irish relationship with Promethean was struck back in March the cunning plan of increasing the its education sector business.

said Ian Neale, Exertis Medium said its services will help the channel partners take advantage of, and maximise the growth opportunities for the entire portfolio of Promethean ActivPanels.

Simon Port, Promethean’s head of channel operations UK & Ireland, said that it made sense to work with the distributor over a wider territory to support resellers.

“The continued growth in the IFPD market, which the UK and Ireland are leading globally, means we need to ensure there is enough stocking capacity if our reseller partners are going to meet demand. By bringing Exertis UK in as a second fulfilment source, we are essentially giving partners greater flexibility and choice, but ultimately equipping them with the fundamentals to achieve sales success,” he said.

Medium was acquired by Exertis last November to add more products to the portfolio and give resellers the chance to put together more solutions.

The outfit supplies a broad range of AV products, including projectors, interactive displays and digital signage from vendors including LG, NEC, Samsung and Panasonic.


Data centres are an albatross

General_FOLDER_16 July_Albatross (RL_30June2015)This week Verizon and CenturyLink have been off-loading their data centre investments suggesting that the days of everyone+dog wanting a data centre business are past.

IT and telco providers are concluding that owning datacentres is too much of an effort and are off-loading them as soon as they can find a buyer.

Verizon this week flogged 29 datacentres to Equinix for $3.6 billion in a deal involving the transfer of 250 staff.

CenturyLink closed the sale of its data centre and colocation business, which has 700 staff, to a consortium of private equity investors.

In all cases the moves have been to release capital into their businesses. The companies feel it is better to invest in things like networks, instead of trying to support datacentres – particularly when there might be companies out there better suited to it.

UK-based resellers and hosting players are also having to re-assess their data centre strategies.

With more use of the cloud happening, even companies that own their own data centres are having to become increasingly technology-agnostic and data centre owning companies are having to change their operations.