UK business world not looking strong and stable

Screen shot 2012-05-24 at 7.16.48 AMThe channel is looking at a financial mess in Theresa May’s “strong and stable” UK this week.

The Office for National Statistics released inflation figures for May. This should be good news as there are signs that  inflation does not appear to be rising as highly as expected with recent PMIs pointing to falling cost pressures.

By the end of this week, we will have a much better idea. Last month, UK inflation stood at 2.7 per cent, the highest level since 2013, but it was not clear if that continued into May.

In the three months to March, UK employment grew by 122,000 on the previous three month period. Unemployment fell to just 4.6 percent, its lowest level since 1975.

But average wages without bonuses by just 2.1 percent. This means that wages will be outstripped by inflation which could hurt the UK domestic economy.

There is a possibility of an increase in UK interest rates in the next year or so seem to be diminishing now that the Conservatives did not get their majority.

Economists think UK inflation is close to peaking, the UK economy is not growing as fast as many forecasts at the end of last year, and the yield on UK government bonds has fallen, with the yield on ten-year treasuries below 1 per cent for the first time since last autumn.

British business confidence has fallen sharply since last Thursday’s inconclusive election.

The survey of nearly 700 members of the business group also exposed deep concern over the political uncertainty and its impact on Britain’s economy.

The IoD found a negative swing of 34 points in confidence in the UK economy from its last survey in May.

While 20 percent of members were optimistic about the economy over the next 12 months, some 57 percent were either quite or very pessimistic – a -37 “net confidence” score. That compares with a -3 percent score in May.

Broadridge strikes deal with Spence Johnson

1471411231Fintech outfit Broadridge Financial Solutions has announced an agreement with global institutional data and intelligence collector Spence Johnson.

The big idea is to bring together retail and institutional data, benchmarking and analytics. The joint capabilities will generate a unique global view of the global asset management market.

This strategic alliance uses Broadridge’s Global Market Intelligence and Spence Johnson’s institutional Money in Motion dataset that offers detailed analytics on institutional assets, flows and sales, tracking over $7 trillion in institutional flow.

Dan Cwenar, president of Broadridge’s data and analytics business said that: “this alliance with Spence Johnson furthers Broadridge’s commitment to helping asset managers identify growth opportunities – providing them with broad data and analytics for both retail and institutional channels globally.”

Nigel Birch, managing director, Spence Johnsons said his outfit was excited to form an alliance with Broadridge and continue our mission to put data and intelligence at the heart of successful asset management businesses.

Dell hit by increasing component costs

Dell logoGrey box shifter Dell said it is pleased with its maiden results under its new go-to-market structure, even if it was kicked in the nadgers by rising component costs.

The Texas-based giant posted an operating loss of $1.5 billion on revenues of $17.8 billion.

Dell’s Client Solutions Group saw revenue rise six per cent year on year to $9.1 billion and operating income of $374 million.

Dells Infrastructure Solutions Group made $6.9 billion revenue, made up of $3.2 billion from servers and networking. This was a five per cent annual rise. It also made $3.7 billion from storage.

ISG’s profitability was hit by a spike in the cost of components such as memory, some spot prices for which Dell said have doubled over the last year. Operating income for this division fell to $323 million, with operating margin tumbling to five per cent, down steeply from 12 percent the previous quarter.

Dell Technologies CFO Tom Sweet said he was happy with the overall results in the first quarter of our new go-to-market structure

On a first quarter conference call, Dell Technologies president David Goulden said that although the vendor had tried to make the cost increases stick in the channel and its rate prices, this had not always been possible.

“Customers don’t like paying more [than] what they paid last quarter – that typically not being the case in IT. Typically, in the IT industry, there are expected price decreases on a sequential basis, not price increases.”

Memory spot prices had doubled year on year, with SSD component costs also up 20 percent or more.

Goulden added that the component cost hikes have been most acute in servers, where he said that Dell had gained on its closest competitor.

“A certain amount of the pricing increase will actually stick and yield the incremental return, others will not, because the customer either won’t go there, or somebody else in the market hasn’t increased their price and you wind up in a competitive environment.”


Cold calling king wants to shake up channel

article-2162940-13B7EF1A000005DC-317_634x427The founder of Vohkus has a cunning plan to “shake up the whole channel” with a new reseller operation.

David Manners became part owner and CEO of start-up reseller Sumillion which he wants to reach £50 million revenue within five to eight years.

He wants to create a “Google-like” experience for staff at the Basingstoke firm, which partners with HP, Dell, Microsoft and Lenovo and targets customers with between 300 and 3,000 users.

Vohkus rose from zero to just under £50 million revenues before selling his shares three years ago, and wants to repeat the same trick at Sumillion, which he said will turn over just a million pounds in its current financial year.

He said that the company was “ethical” and had a policy of donating 10 percent of its pre-tax profits to charity each year.

Manners is seen as a cold calling expert and likes to train new business teams. Part of his plan is to give Sumillion a reputation for being the “hardest-working company in the country”.

He said all his teams will all be experts in the art of cold calling and winning new business, he said.

Manners wants Sumillion to be a utopia of a place to work. This includes offering morning yoga sessions to giving staff the opportunity to take extended lunch breaks as long as they are going to the gym or doing some form of exercise.

Logicalis nearshores IT worker roles to South Africa

Proudly-South-African-Flags-600x400Logicalis is nearshoring 65 IT support roles to South Africa and getting rid of the first and second-line support roles, which are currently based in South Wales and Slough.

The move is part of a wider, global managed services growth push by the integrator.

A consultation period with affected staff, which basically is telling the staff they have no job is complete and 50 of the staff affected will be made redundant as a result.

Logicalis UK managing director Bob Swallow said that there are internal vacancies and some roles that have already been lined up for some of those people.

However others will leave the business – particularly in Wales where the company is working with the  Welsh government to make sure those people are looked after.

Despite the nearshoring strategy, the UK business will soon house a new managed services practice set to serve as a centre of excellence for the rest of Europe.

This will be headed up by an Accenture executive who cannot yet be named because he is still working out his notice.

Logicalis wants to use more of its global capability, and it will develop centres of excellence. The South African operation  will provide services to the other Logicalis entities. The goal is to increase managed services revenues.

Dell EMC takes over from HPE as server king

michael-dell-2Beancounters at Gartner have added up some numbers and divided them by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that Dell EMC has taken over from HPE as the king of the server market.

HPE still makes more money holding 24.1 percent of the market share – down from 25.2 percent in the first quarter of 2016. But it would seem that Dell EMC is catching up in that  too, with its market share increasing by 4.8 percent to over the same period to take 19 per cent market share in the latest quarter.

Gartner research director Adrian O’Connell said that the first quarter of the year tends to be relatively strong for Dell, but the acquisition of EMC was proving positive for the server business at the moment.

“HPE’s size means it is subject to the moves of the wider market more than some other vendors. Weakness in the business segment and sourcing changes in the service provider space have reduced its revenue significantly.”

Worldwide server sales continue to decline with the growth of cloud computing, Gartner’s figures show. Companies are also opting to move to hyperscale infrastructures, buying lower cost servers from ODMs too, meaning total worldwide server revenue declined 4.5 per cent year-on-year, with shipments falling by 4.2 percent.

EMEA was impacted more than the rest of the world, with the region’s revenues reducing by 12.2 percent year-on-year to $2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2017 and shipments totaling 503,000 – a reduction of eight percent year-on-year.

IBM and Lenovo most felt the squeeze, with revenues reducing by 34 percent year-on-year and 16 percent year-on-year respectively. Lenovo’s shipments also shrank by 26 percent.


Nvidia gives Elite Partner status to OCF

datacenter_server_678_678x452OCF has been awarded lite Partner status with Nvidia for its Accelerated Computing antics.

This makes the outfit only the second business partner in Northern Europe to achieve this level.

Nvidia’s Elite Partner level is only awarded to partners that have the knowledge and skills to support the integration of GPUs, as well as the industry reach to support and attract the right companies and customers using accelerators.

OCF has been a business partner with Nvidia for over a decade and has designed, built, installed and supported a number of systems throughout the UK that include GPUs. Most recently, OCF designed, integrated and configured ‘Blue Crystal 4’, an HPC system at the University of Bristol, which includes 32 nodes with two Nvidia Tesla P100 GPUs accelerators each.

OCF has supplied two IBM Power Systems S822LC for HPC systems, codenamed ‘Minsky’, to Queen Mary University of London.

The two systems, which pair a POWER8 CPU with four Nvidia Tesla P100 GPU accelerators, are being used to aid world-leading scientific research projects as well as teaching, making QMUL one of the first universities in Britain to use these powerful deep learning machines. The university was also the first in Europe to deploy an Nvidia DGX-1 system, described as the world’s first AI supercomputer in a box.

Infosys denies stake sale

whole-foods-steakOutsourcing outfit Infosys has reacted angrily to reports that its co-founders of Infosys are exploring a sale of their entire 12.75 per cent stake in the company.
Reports first popped up in India where it was widely reported as being the “end of an era”.

The move is said to have been triggered by N R Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani’s unhappiness over the manner in which the company has been run since their exit three years ago.

Instead of a war of attrition with the company’s board and management, the promoters appear to have veered around to the view that it might be better to make a complete break from the company they founded in 1981 and took public in 1993.

However, Infosys insists that the story is pants. This speculation has already been categorically denied by by Murthy and Nilekani.

“The company further reiterates that it has no information on any such development. We would like to appeal to the media not to fuel such speculative stories as they are likely to harm the interests of the company and all its stakeholders,” the outfit said.

It might have been motivated by the fact that since the news leaked out, the share price of Infosys has tanked.

Xeretec’s Landscape move creates managed print power

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyXeretec’s move to buy Landscape Group has united Xerox and HP managed print services into a single force.

The latest consolidation comes just three months after Apogee snapped up Danwood with the ambition of gaining a strong position in the world of managed print services.

Xeretec is a Xerox specialist which wants to become an MPS powerhouse but it also wants to broaden its customer base beyond Xerox users.

Xeretec chief executive Steve Hawkins said that Xeretec will continue to consolidate and develop its longstanding commitment to the Xerox brand, building on its exceptional track record of success.

“This best-of-breed acquisition plays to the strengths of both respected brands and both resellers, while introducing new complementary HP devices and value-added services like Device as a Service to even more customers,” he said.

Landscape is an HP platinum partner for managed print, has been around for more than two decades.

Landscape’s CEO David Smith  said that becoming part of Xeretec would provide the business with more opportunities,

“It also brings new opportunities for our staff and partners. By combining Landscape’s 20 years plus of dedicated HP expertise, the scale and nationwide reach of Xeretec and HP’s impressive new entrance into the A3 MFP market place, customers now have an obvious route to investigate what a $50BN “new comer” can offer to enhance their IT infrastructure,” he said.

Apple spruces up its channel plans Fruity Cargo cult Apple is sharing plans to spruce up its channel to provide more opportunities for business partners.

Apple’s Worldwide developer conference (WWDC) heard how the vendor was knocking out some virtual and augmented reality and a HomePod speaker plus some updated desktops and the iPad Pro.

While these are a bit of a snooze in the consumer market which Apple is supposed to rule with an iron fist, the introduction of products that would slot into a corporate environment should be welcomed by the channel.

The Pro lines is an area Apple dropped the ball in recently and this is a segment which is the key to staying relevant in the enterprise space and because some communities (tame journalists, graphists, designers, developers …) were key influencers for the broader consumer community.

Apple started to realise last year that it could not buy off these communities by sticking a few coloured lights on the hardware while not improving the chips and other hardware. Until the beginning of the year, Apple’s Pro range was nearly four years out of date, which made it a hard sale for its channel.

Blockchain market set to grow

redstoneblock1The Blockchain market size is expected to grow from $210.2 million in 2016 to $2,312.5 million by 2021, according to new research.

Beancounters at Research and Markets have penned the “Blockchain Market – Global Forecast to 2021” report and this shows that at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 61.5 percent, the market is going to provide lots of new opportunities.

The major growth drivers of the Blockchain market are transparency & immutability, faster transactions, and reduced total cost of ownership, the report said.

The Blockchain market is segmented by provider, application, organization size, industry vertical, and region. The infrastructure and protocols provider segment is expected to dominate the Blockchain market during the forecast period, whereas the application and solution provider is projected to see the highest growth rate due to the increased demand for fast processing applications for payments and transactions.

Payments application holds the largest share of the Blockchain market in 2016. The need for banking and financial transactions has evolved from traditional payments systems to be integrated into new and always connected lifestyle which is fueling the growth of Blockchain-based payment products.

The digital identity market is expected to grow at the highest rate as the Blockchain would make digital identities more secure and efficient, resulting in seamless sign-ons and will reduce identity frauds.

The Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector is expected to dominate the market with the largest market share during the forecast period, whereas the media and entertainment vertical is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period due to the increasing adoption of Blockchain across smart contracts, document management, and digital identities in the media industry.
SMEs and large enterprises are rapidly deploying the Blockchain solutions. The demand for Blockchain solutions is increasing due to the cost-effective and time-efficient features; its growth is specifically high in SMEs, where low cost solutions are needed, the report said.


Heidelberg has new cunning plan

cunning-planPrint outfit Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, better known as Heidelberg has been talking about its coming print sector plans.

The company’s Management Board is presenting ‘Heidelberg goes digital!’ – a package of measures for the years ahead with a strategic focus on technology leadership, digital transformation and lots of other buzzwords.

To be fair the company has been doing well with a successful turnaround with a return to sustained profitability, Heidelberg now says it wants continuous growth – but then again who doesn’t?

Group sales of around €3 billion are being targeted with a large number of specific measures in the period to 2022. The company has set its sights on a further significant improvement in profitability, with EBITDA of €250 to 300 million and a net profit after taxes of over €100 million.

Sales in financial year 2016/17 were just over €2.5 billion, EBITDA at €179 million and the net result after taxes at €36 million.

Company’s CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer said that during the next five years, Heidelberg will once again become a leading light in the sector, enjoying strong growth and profits.

“We’ve defined the relevant success factors and have already introduced initial measures. This marks the start of a new era of growth for Heidelberg,” he said.

The glorious five-year plan involves playing a pioneering role in digitization (Simply Smart/Smart Print Shop) with its Push to Stop concept and also in industrial digital printing for the packaging market with the Labelfire and Primefire product lines. The company thinks it can double the market share in digital printing from the current level of less than five percent to as high as ten percent and generate additional sales potential amounting to around €200 million in the period to 2022.

Money is to be made in digital transformation, including the digitisation and integration of the previously separate areas of equipment, software, services, and consumables with straightforward, transparent pricing of all offerings for customers.

“The entire work process at the customer’s print shop will be addressed from a single source using a single e-commerce sales platform. This will reduce complexity and costs for customers while also boosting their productivity,” Hundsdörfer said.

The aim here for Heidelberg over the next five years is to increase the company’s market share for consumables from the current level of five percent to just under 10 percent while also leveraging additional sales potential of €250 million.

Part of this strategy is the takeover of Fujifilm’s coatings and pressroom chemicals business in the EMEA region, which represents a sales volume of some €25 million. It will take effect as of July 1, 2017.

Heidelberg is using this takeover to expand in the attractive growth segment for consumables. The transaction is another step in pursuing the company’s growth strategy of developing a fully comprehensive cross-sector portfolio that is geared toward specific customer requirements and also further strengthens Heidelberg’s market position for coatings and pressroom chemicals.

Fujitsu and Lenovo close to PC deal

Bear+handshake+in+the+rain+bear+handshake+in+the+rain_32a091_4226811Fujitsu and Lenovo are working behind the scenes for a tie-in in the PC market.

In October Fujitsu revealed it was in discussion with Lenovo over “various possibilities” for its PC business, declaring that many “strategic cooperation” options were being explored.

Now Fujitsu president Tatsuya Tanaka has confirmed at a press conference that talks are in an “advanced stage”.

However, he did not say when he expected something tangible to be announced.

All he said were the pair were creating synergies, which is not the sort of thing you want your rivals or your wives to see.

He expected all this synergy making to be “wrapped” soon which will be no doubt a great relief.

Fujitsu separated its PC business earlier last year, spinning it out into Fujitsu Client Computing.

Lenovo wants to take on HP for top spot in the PC market, all the while shipment volumes have been shrinking.

Huawei recently announced its entrance to the market, looking to replicate the success it has seen in the tablet market where its shipment figures have continued to grow.

Former British spook says that no-one really gets security

3-RimingtonFormer MI5 director general Dame Stella Rimington, said that Britain’s security services are struggling to keep up with the ever-changing world of communications and cyber espionage.

Speaking at the 2017 InfoSecurity event in London, Rimington reflected on experiences from her time at MI5 tackling the likes of the IRA, declaring the current challenges facing the security services more difficult as a result of technology advances.

The government has been highly critical of large tech communication firms building end-to-end encryption into their products, a security feature which Remington singled out as making it harder for security services to obtain intelligence.

“The interception of communications and providing our [security] services with the legal base they need to continue to intercept communications as they change rapidly – and [as] encryption increases and increases – is one of the issues which is facing our current intelligent services, government ministers and those that give power to our intelligence services,” she said.

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, tech companies are worried that the government will force them to limit the amount of encryption tech firms employed on their products.

Rimington said: “I think we’re facing a very difficult world. We’re facing a world of cyber espionage which nobody really knows effectively how to deal with [and] we’re facing a world of very, very complex communications which make it very difficult for our intelligence services to keep pace. We’re facing hideous ideologies with a determination now merely just to kill people.”

US Synnex forces its way into European channel

european-commissionCalifornia-based Synnex has elbowed its way into the European channel with a deal for Westcon-Comstor.

Under the deal, Synnex is taking a 10 percent stake in Westcon’s international operations only, at least initially. Synnex has reserved the right to double its stake in Westcon International to 20 percent.

It also has first refusal on making an offer to acquire it in its entirety should Datatec ever look to sell the remainder of the business.

Synnex is writing a cheque for $30 million for its 10 percent stake in the international business. This is peanuts compared to the $800 million it is paying to buy Westcon’s much smaller North and Latin American arm outright.

What it all means is that Synnex has its feet under the table for any deal involving the EMEA and APAC business in the future.

In its fiscal 2016, Synnex hit revenues of $14.06 billion, with $12.49 billion of that coming from distribution activities, and $1.59 billion coming from its BPO business. The Westcon deal will bring in another $2 billion of revenues.

Synnex is better known as Microsoft distributors in the States, and the move could herald a real threat to Ingram and Tech Data.