Bill Amelio is Avnet boss

long.amelio.cnnAvnet has named former Lenovo leader Bill Amelio as its CEO.

Amelio  held the job since July after longtime leader Rick Hamada stepped down. The outfit needs to make a few changes particularly when it comes to making more cash for shareholders and the adoption of emerging technologies.

William Schumann, chairman of Avnet’s board, said in a statement that the company was lucky to have someone of Amelio’s character and experience.

“He brings energy and focus to the business, and the board unanimously agreed that making him the permanent CEO was in the best interest of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Amelio said that the company had an experienced management team and an engaged workforce.

“By better aligning those resources with our competitive solutions specialist, embedded and supply chain strengths, Avnet will undoubtedly be positioned to achieve profitable growth for our shareholders.”

Amelio told investors he is busy identifying and doubling down on the profit-generating sources within Avnet, and fixing or exiting from Avnet’s areas of poor profitability.

He will be rolling out new business management systems that emphasise accountability, address organisational barriers and allow the distributor to work more effectively through collective operating groups.

Amelio said he values Avnet’s Internet of Things and digital technologies initiatives, he is more interested in getting the outfit’s margin and return performance more in line with long-term financial goals.

Amelio will earn a prorated base salary of $850,000 annually and be eligible for a bonus of up to 100 percent of his base compensation, according to a July filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He also received an award of stock options and restricted stock units worth a total of $2 million.

 

Equistone buys a slice of print services outfit Apogee

history-of-print-16th-century-printing-companyManaged print and document services outfit Apogee has woken up and found a big chunk of itself has been bought by private equity investor Equistone Partners Europe.

Maidstone-headquartered Apogee employs around 450 staff across 14 offices in the UK and mainland Europe selling hardware and managed services on kit from Canon, Xerox, Konica Minolta and Kyocera.

The Apogee founders Jason Collins and Robin Stanton-Gleaves will stay in charge but Equistone’s minions Steve O’Hare and Andrew Backen will join the board. Equistone’s cash means that the company is valued at £185m, the parties said.

Money raised from sale will be used to fund an expansion programme.

Apogee sells its services to the likes of McDonalds, which bought a print infrastructure and managed service, as well as fashion label Ted Baker, PC maker Dell and BDO.

It is doing quite well. In 2014, Apogee turned over £66.1 million and reported operating profit of £7.47 million. In 2015 the firm bought fellow print managed print services business Balreed Group.

 

Kaspersky ends reseller contract with Quadsys

40153923-1-kaspersky1Russian security outfit Kaspersky Lab has told security reseller Quadsys to go forth and multiply after its company bosses admitted hacking rivals.

Quadsys owner Paul Streeter, MD Paul Cox, director Alistair Barnard, account manager Steve Davis and security consultant Jon Townsend pleaded guilty to securing unauthorised access to computer material, contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The five were charged in summer 2015 with hacking into a rival’s database to plunder customer information and pricing details. Sentencing is set for 9 September.

Quadsys, which was accredited as a Kaspersky Gold partner, the vendor’s top tier certification has moved to distance itself from the troubled outfit and has ended its business relationship with the company.

Others are expected to follow, but still have not gone on record.  Sophos had actually promoted Quadsys to its platinum certification on 1 August, just nine days after the Quadsys Five pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court.

Capita buys security outfit Westpoint

46cdcf4a-9eb0-11e5_1025920cMega outsourcing outfit Capita has just written a cheque for the security testing player Westpoint.

Manchester-based Westpoint is rather established and been around since 1999. It sells into the finance, media, telecoms, public sector and retail markets. The company was one of the first to be appointed by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Approved Scanning Vendors in 2004. As well as checking for card payment vulnerability the firm tests mobile, social media, architecture and code security.

The move is part of Capita’s ambitions to increase its cyber security coverage and includes the acquisition of Westpoint and its holding company Smartpoint.

Lesley Bosworth, managing director of Capita IT Professional Services said the sale would give Capita with capabilities and expertise that complement its existing position.

Mike Williams, director of Westpoint Limited, said that it would be in a stronger position as a result of the acquisition. He said that  Capita has a reputation as an experienced, trusted provider of IT services and has the scale and expertise to help us expand and develop Westpoint offerings.

 

 

Cisco buys Container X

Cisco Kid Cisco has just written a cheque for the 18 month-old container management specialist ContainerX.

The outfit put its first product into the channel in June so it does not seem that Cisco is waiting for it to get established. ContainerX has switched off product downloads, webinars, and product support.

ContainerX’s technology is  a turnkey container platform designed for enterprise IT to administer as easily as they’ve administered VMware vSphere or Microsoft HyperV over the years, with dev and ops self service. Enterprise IT can set up the platform in under 60 minutes, integrate with various enterprise infrastructure aspects including storage, network, orchestration, LDAP etc, create pools with resource limits, for various dev/ops teams to self service,  the company wrote on its website.

Writing in his bog, Cisco’s Rob Salvagno said the technology that gives Cisco “enterprise-class container management” across various target platforms. The ContainerX team will join Cisco’s Cloud Platform and Services Group led by vice president Kip Compton.

According to ContainerX’s site, the software can manage bare metal, virtual machine, Windows and Linux systems on public or private clouds.

Salvagno said the technology will give Cisco the ability to develop its own “comprehensive cloud-native stack” for container users.

It is not clear how much the Cisco Kid paid for Container X.

 

Google close to Paypal cloud coup

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINGoogle is pushing into cloud computing and could be about to score PayPal as a key client.

PayPal is evaluating the other leading providers and hasn’t made any final decisions, but what is worrying for Microsoft and Amazon is that it has put Google into the running.

PayPal has some existing business with AWS, namely its Braintree and Venmo products, which the company acquired in 2013. In moving infrastructure to the cloud, big companies often start with test and development workloads before touching critical customer information, and that’s likely where PayPal will begin.

But cloud services would open up new technical capabilities that are difficult inside their existing infrastructure. If there are big shopping days, Paypal could obtain some servers on the fly.

There is a lot at stake, Google wants to prove that it’s a legitimate player in the rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure market and to do that it has to kick the leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft firmly in the nadgers.

Google has also been allocating cash to its cloud technology as well as the sales, marketing and support needed to meet enterprise standards.

But it looks like this particular battle will be settled by cost. AWS has dropped the price of a storage product by 47 percent, the 52nd time Amazon has slashed prices.

Google may use its cash mountain to start a pricing war which is an area where Amazon would not be keen to go.  Microsoft might be able to use its own cash reserves to take on the rival.

But technically Google needs to match or beat AWS in terms of speed and reliability while also winning on price against a company that’s grown up thriving on razor-thin e-commerce margins. It has a long way to go before it can give AWS a run for its money. AWS generated sales of $2.9 billion in the second quarter, almost six times the amount Google makes in an entire year, based on RBC’s estimates.

However, there are signs that things are getting better. At the beginning of the month the Synergy Research Group claimed that Google’s cloud revenue surged 162 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. The company still only commands 5 percent of the market, but it is growing fast.

It has also poached some good clients including Snapchat, Spotify, Home Depot and Walt Disney. Getting PayPal would represent another feather in its cap.

Brexit causes Computacenter UK profit plummet

logoComputacenter’s UK operating profits plummeted by 38.9 percent in the first half of its financial year and observers think it is to do with Brexit.

The company’s UK operations are a key part of its revenues, but punters in Blighty delayed procurement decisions in the lead up to the referendum.

As a result, there was a 7.3 percent year over year decline in services revenue, which stood at £244 million and a 4 percent decline in supply chain revenue which ended up at £408 million.

UK turnover fell by 5.2 percent compared to last year to £653m and adjusted operating profits dropped by a dramatic 39 percent to £14 million.

If it had not been for a strong performance in Germany making up for the losses the company would be in deep do do [are you sure that it is a financial term? Ed]. The fact that its French business was suddenly emerging from the mire also helped.

Mike Norris, CEO was upbeat, rather than beaten up and said:

“The first half of 2016 finished slightly better than we had anticipated at the time of our Q1 Trading Update in April 2016, mainly due to the better performance of Computacenter in France. Despite the challenging market conditions in the UK referred to in our Q1 2016 Trading Update, as well as planned investments, the Board expects the full year to show modest progress in our adjusted profit before tax1, as compared to 2015 after allowing for the £3 million benefit from the one-off gain realised in the comparative period.”

Greg Lock, chairman said that when it came to Brexit the company was changing very little in what it did and expected.

“We are represented in our core countries of the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland by our own people, and we will continue to support our customers in their countries and develop our business there,” Lock said.

Rackspace goes private

privateCloud management provider Rackspace has decided that it will pay its shareholders more than $4.3 billion and go private.

Apollo Global Management says it will pay $32 per share to buy out stakeholders and run Rackspace as a private company. The deal is not that bad, the stock closed at $30.19 per share.

The deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. Actually this was all predicted a few weeks ago and this had caused Rackspace’s stock price to go up so the closing prices is little to do with the actual value of the company.

Rackspace wants to see off larger competition in the cloud management space and had been mulling over a buyout since 2014.

Rackspace CEO Taylor Rhodes said that the outfit had been presented with a significant opportunity today as mainstream companies move their computing out of corporate data centers and into multi-cloud models. Apollo and its partners take a patient, value-oriented approach to their funds’ investments, and value Rackspace’s strategy and unique culture.”

IT managers think the cloud is more secure

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINHalf of IT managers think they will be more secure on the cloud than having their own data centres

According to a SADA Systems study which asked 200 enterprise IT professionals regarding their use of cloud services, 51 percent of the respondents said data security is better in the cloud, while 58 percent cited the cloud as “the most secure, flexible and cost-effective solution for their organizations,” according to SADA Systems.

Tony Safoian, president and CEO at SADA Systems, said this was a reversal of enterprise sentiments since the cloud’s early days when security was a significant adoption obstacle.

The supplier no longer has to prove to customers that the cloud was cost effective, not a passing fad and secure.

Instead, the cloud discussions now revolve around what workloads will move to the cloud, on which platforms will they reside and who will help get them there, Safoian noted.

As for the latter problem, 43 percent of the IT managers SADA Systems surveyed said they have and will continue to use third-party consultants to manage public cloud infrastructure.

In addition, enterprises are asking about what business advantages they can obtain in moving to the cloud, Safoian added.

In other SADA Systems findings, half of survey respondents said they are likely to increase public cloud use by at least a quarter over the next two to three years. Another quarter of the IT professionals polled said they would increase their public cloud use by 50 percent during the same time span. More than 84 percent of respondents said they are using public cloud infrastructure today, and 45 percent of the companies surveyed said their cloud migrations took three to six months. Another 23 percent said the migration took less than three months.

G Comms director “a stain on the public purse”

how-to-remove-blood-stainsA mobile phone wholesaler has been slapped with an 11-year ban from being a company director after being involved in a cunning plan to get more than £2 million in VAT refunds.

The Insolvency Service branded Shiraz Ahmed, director of Ealing-based G Comm  “a stain on the public purse”.

The High Court disqualified him as a director for 11 years for participating in “contrived transactions with a view to gaining VAT refunds of over £2 million”.

Ahmed was involved in missing trader intra community (MTIC) fraud, more commonly known as carousel fraud, which consists of large amounts of electrical items being invoiced rapidly and repeatedly around trading supply chains.

G Comms was wound up in 2013, following an investigation by a specialist team at the Insolvency Service into unpaid VAT owed to HMRC. Ahmed was disqualified until the 26 July 2027. He cannot promote, manage or be the director of a limited company during that time.

Paul Titherington, official receiver in the Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service, said:

“This type of VAT fraud is very serious and a high priority for HMRC and the Insolvency Service. MTIC fraud has been a great strain on the public purse and has cost the taxpayer many billions of pounds in fraudulent VAT claims. The Insolvency Service is committed to making directors account for their actions.”

HPE brexits 220 staff

axeHPE is planning to remove 220 more jobs in the UK as part of its continuing culling of staff.

In a memo sent to staff, the rather long titled HPE UK and MEMA Vice President  of Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing (ITO) Maurice Mattholie says it is all part of its Workforce Management Programme which is the latest euphemism  for rampant stuff cuts.

However, the number of staff for the chop this quarter is not as bad as the last quarter when 500 HPE staff were asked to clean out their desks and exit the building with their belongings in a photocopy box.

Mattholie said HPE was talking to the UK Works Council and Trade Union representatives about the cuts.

“It is important to point out that we are fully committed to continuing to use redeployment and voluntary exits to manage WFM in the UK and Ireland…. It is expected that up to 220 positions within UK&I ITO will be impacted through WFM in Q4.

“Whilst I appreciate that this announcement may cause concern I am committed to providing regular updates to ensure that everyone is kept informed.

 

Woman arrested for Sage fraud

Ce8crvkWsAAvaaI.jpg largeLondon coppers have fingered the collar of a 32-year-old woman on suspicion of attempting to defraud software firm Sage.

The woman is a current employee of Sage and was nicked at Heathrow airport on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. She has since been bailed.

It might be a coincidence, but Sage admitted that it had suffered a data breach affecting up to 300 business customers.

Customers have been told that personal and financial information may have been lost during the breach.

The breach was blogged about by consultant Richard De Vere  who said only UK customers were affected. The reason it might be connected to the arrest is that De Vere claimed the breach had been the product of an insider threat. To be fair, he never said the arrest was connected so it might be a coincidence.

Sage subsequently stated: “We believe there has been some unauthorised access using an internal login to the data of a small number of our UK customers so we are working closely with the authorities to investigate the situation.”

The company added: “The dedicated helpline number is 0845 145 3345 – please leave a message with your details and we will get back to you as soon as we can. You can also get in touch with us by emailing us at customercontact@sage.com.”

 

Ingram Micro goes very very quiet

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro UK & Ireland has signed up to be the newest distributor for Quiet’s power supplies, PC cases and cooling solutions.

Ingram said the addition of Quiet’s products to its portfolio will allow resellers to offer customers a wider range of peripherals, while developing their own new and innovative product ranges promote growth.

Taj Pandya, head of commercial management at Ingram Micro, UK and Ireland said:“We are extremely excited to be able to deliver new technologies and opportunities to our channel partners and we are thrilled that be quiet! has trusted us with the distribution of their premium products that embrace an exceptional level of precision and quality.”

“We hope the inclusion of this new vendor will appeal to our customer base and will permit Ingram’s further expansion into new categories.”

Ingram Micro was one of the first to sign up for Microsoft’s Surface as a Service programme, which will allow new services and hardware to its customers based around Redmond’s Surface Tablet.

 

Gartner feels that the IoT and AR will be channel moneyspinners

Man uses an ear trumpetBeancounters working for analyst outfit Gartner thinks that channel operators who can capitalise on  smart machines, augmented reality and IoT platforms  will coin it in.

Big G ponts out that the channel is already a bit of a mess as customers lose interest in PCs and laptops and chose other platforms. Gartner thinks that the numbers of tablets, smartphones and convertibles being used at work is set to grow.

Taking about the ‘platform revolution,’ Big G said that it will see some dominant themes in the next five to ten years.

Mike Walker, research director at Gartner said that the trends illustrate that the more organisations are able to make technology an integral part of their employees’, partners’ and customers’ experience, the more they will be able to connect their ecosystems to platforms in new and dynamic ways.

“This Hype Cycle specifically focuses on the set of technologies that is showing promise in delivering a high degree of competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years,” said Walker.

“To thrive in the digital economy, enterprise architects must continue to work with their CIOs and business leaders to proactively discover emerging technologies that will enable transformational business models for competitive advantage, maximize value through reduction of operating costs, and overcome legal and regulatory hurdles,” he added.

Immersive experiences, which we thought were just about having nice hot baths are actually virtual and augmented reality and the development of gesture controlled devices.

Smart machine technologies is expected to be the most disruptive area with more data being processed than ever before. The development of virtual personal assistants, lots of smart data and drones along with robots are just some of the things that we can look forward to in the not too distant future, Big G said.

“As smart machine technologies continue to evolve, they will become part of the human experience and the digital business ecosystem,” said Walker.

 

Juniper spruces up partner programme

JuniperBerriesJuniper Networks has announced some updates to its partner advantage programme in a bid to reward the better performers.

The “Elite” tier has some new categories including cloud services provider, next gen and rising star,  which will give Juniper to rank its partners better. .

A points-based reward schemehas been introduced so that partners can manage and track deals quicker. That programme starts  next month.

Matt Hurley, corporate VP, global channels and field marketing at Juniper, wrote in the company bog:

“As we built out the Juniper Partner Advantage program in 2016, we found that customer demands were changing and our channel partners were reshaping their business models to address those changes.  To account for these changes in partners’ business models, we’ve created new categories within the Elite level of the Juniper Partner Advantage programme. These new categories enrich the Elite partner tier, which is our highest, most operationally sophisticated partner level. Adding new categories within the tier allows us to place partners at the optimal part of the program that works best for their business needs.”

A Next Gen partner is one involved with software, services and XaaS. Rising stars will head to the  Elite level and will be invited to join based on their business plans.

Referencing the other development in the rewards programme it would make life easier for partners, Hurley said

“In addition to a greatly enhanced user interface for claims submissions, the new program is integrated with our updated Deal Registration System (in AMER and EMEA) to ensure deal preference and pricing advantages, helping partners manage, track and close on deals quickly,” he said.