Lenovo’s channel moves backfiring

sammykinlaw-lenovo-3-580x358Lenovo US channel chief Sammy Kinlaw’s  surprise move to exit the outfit might be a sign that the outfit is in trouble with its channel.

Sammy Kinlaw is departing as vice president and channel chief for Lenovo’s North America PC business from January 19, several months after making what he called a “drastic change” in Lenovo’s channel programme to make conditions more equitable for reseller partners.

Over the pond, the channel felt that Kinlaw was put in an untenable situation by channel changes rolled out October 1. The changes included the elimination of some backend rebates slashed partner profit margins by as much as 30 percent to 50 percent. In some cases, the changes are making some multi-year enterprise contract deals unprofitable.

Some enterprise partners feel that Lenovo has negatively impacted the ability for channel partners to make money on enterprise-level accounts, which is a huge chunk of business.

The theory is that Kinlaw worked out that he would be damaging the relationships with his contacts if he stuck around working with the company that made him do them.  He cleared his desk and moved to Lexmark.

The Lenovo moves to slash back-end payments, spiffs and programme discounts in its $30 billion PC business are forcing some to look at shifting business to HP and Dell.

Securitas breaks into France

1072046-1898728147Securitas has acquired all shares in the electronic security company Automatic Alarm in France.

Automatic Alarm is a nation-wide system integrator and installer of electronic security solutions, including intruder systems, video surveillance and access control, with multiyear maintenance contracts. The company, with 250 employees.

Securitas President and CEO, Alf Göransson said: “The acquisition is in line with our Group strategy to integrate electronic security into our on-site and mobile security solutions offerings. This major acquisition positions Securitas as a significant player within electronic security and it strengthens us as the market leader in France.”

It has been a busy month for Securitas. The outfit acquired all shares in the security solutions company Süddeutsche Bewachung in Germany a couple of weeks ago

Süddeutsche Bewachung  offers on-site, mobile and remote guarding in the Rhein-Neckar area in the south-west of Germany, with headquarter located in Mannheim. The company has a very solid customer portfolio, comprising many customer segments. With this acquisition, Securitas strengthens its position in this area of Germany.

It has also been hitting the headlines for firing Muslim security guards at Orly airport after the 2015 Paris terror attacks for refusing orders to trim their beards.


VMware lets staff go

vmware-partner-link-bg-w-logoVMware has confirmed it is laying off “a small percentage” of its employees.

VMware CEO “kicking” Pat Gelsinger is refusing to say who is being let go, but we don’t think it will be him. A VMware spokesperson said the cuts were made this week but did not offer any further details as to which areas of the business will be affected.

“Workforce rebalancing is a continual activity across VMware’s businesses and geographies to ensure that resources are aligned with business objectives and customer needs. We continue to recruit in areas of strategic importance for the company.”

After completing its acquisition of EMC, Dell was rumoured to be axing up to 3,000 jobs in 2016. VMware contributed $2 billion to Dell’s bottom line in Q3, after seeing its own revenue jump 52 percent. We guess the reward for those figures is getting rid of the winning team.

However the dark satanic rumour mill suggests that it is all part of VMWare’s war on Veeam. Product releases expected from Dell in early 2018 will have a stronger connection between VMware and Dell EMC’s data protection suite that will close the gap between Dell and Veeam.

VMware was built so it becomes an industry standard and, therefore, it has to be able to work with everybody. Veeam CEO Peter McKay came from VMware, so he knows where all the bodies are buried. A leaner and meaning VMWare might help KickingPat kick some bottom lines.


Box-shifter’s rebellion – top Western brands overrun by the Chinese

1900-intl-forces-including-us-marines-enter-beijing-to-put-down-boxer-rebellion-which-was-aimed-at-ridding-china-of-foreigners-When IDG announced its list of the top brands for 2017-you could not help but notice that most of them are Chinese.

While there were lots of brands from elsewhere collecting gongs many were Chinese brands, such as Haier, Changhong, Hisense, TCL, Huawei, BOE, Lenovo, Midea, Gree, Skyworth, Coolpad, iFlytek and Sharp.

IDG works with the beancounters at IDC to conduct professional and comprehensive evaluation of the performance of global electronic brands in the past year by combining the third-party data, network voting and evaluation by jury, consisting of experts from famous global manufacturers or institutions. The evaluated aspects include the industrial status, international strategy and deployment, brand image, market scale and operating profits of global electronic brands.

But this year saw the domination of the Chinese. Among “2017-2018 Top 10 CE Brands”, Chinese brands include Haier, Changhong, Hisense, TCL, Huawei, BOE, Lenovo, Midea, Gree and Skyworth. Furthermore, TCL, Changhong, iFlytek, Hisense, Coolpad, Sharp, MEITU and iQIYI also won various special awards for their products.

TCL C6 won “Global Smart TV of Audio-Visual Experience Award of the Year”, Hisense U9 won “Global Best Display Tech Gold Award of the Year”, CHANGHONG CHiQ-Q5R won “The Best Designed Television of the Year”, CHANGHONG CHiQ-Q5T won “The Best Frame-Integrated Television of the Year”, SHARP LCD-70SX970A won “8K Innovation Technology Contribution Award”, iFlytek won “The Excellent Leader of Artificial Intelligence Industry of the Year”, SHARP AQUOS S2 won “The Best Full Screen Smartphone Innovation Award”, BlackBerry KEYone won “Global Business Security Mobile Phone of the Year”, Coolpad COOL M7 won “The Best Fashion ID Design Award”, MEITU V6 won “The Best Photography Smartphone of the Year” and Coolpad Dynobot won “The Best Kid’s Smart Watch Innovation Award of Technology”.

Citrix announces new partner plan

1_Citrix-SignCitrix has been showing off its new incentives programme, dubbed Citrix Ultimate Rewards, to its channel partners.

During the Citrix Summit in Anaheim, California, Paul Fecteau, managing director of partner programs and operations at Citrix, told the assorted throngs that the goal behind the new incentives program is to increase simplification in doing business with Citrix and to drive partner profit in the cloud market.

Currently, Citrix’s incentives programme has five different elements, which were all built at different times in Citrix’s channel evolution. Each programme element has its own rules, which makes it rather complicated for players to know the rules.

“We recognise that that is a challenge, especially for newer partners who aren’t familiar with Citrix. But even our existing partners have been challenged on occasion”, said Fecteau.

Starting 10 February, Citrix will offer two discount elements – Spark and Drive – and one quarterly rebate element – Accelerate. It doesn’t have an element called Challenge, as far as we can tell.

Spark serves as a replacement for Citrix’s Net New Partner Source program and will reward partners for identifying and registering opportunities Citrix doesn’t know about.

Drive is akin to the current Citrix Advisor Rewards programme and will pay into partners’ Accelerate rebate, plus offer partners a discount for delivering “value-selling activities”.

Fecteau noted that after the launch of the Citrix Ultimate Rewards programme, a new system will ask partners questions about its customer and deal and then automatically identify the incentives the partner can receive.


Westcon names Byford as new MD

AAEAAQAAAAAAAA1xAAAAJGI4OTM2YmJhLTA3MDAtNGVhNS04ODVhLTY1NTMxYjkxNzdhNQWestcon has named Antony Byford as its new managing director in the UK and Ireland.

The newly created position is part of Westcon’s cunning plan to increase the levels of support it can offer resellers.

Byford has worked at Computacenter, Tech Data and Zyxel and held channel development roles at Stratus and Highlight.

Reporting to Rene Klein, svp of Westcon Europe, Byford will increase the support that UK and Irish partners can expect to get from the distributor.

Klein said: “Antony brings a fresh perspective to a new chapter in the evolution of our Westcon business.  He has a great record in creating opportunities for growth and development, he understands the channel landscape, and knows how to build and lead high-performing teams.  His experience, drive, and talents are the ideal fit for us as we evolve our services in the coming year and leverage the opportunities our recent investments in systems present.  Partners can look forward to even greater levels of support and value from Westcon.”

Byford said: “We have one of the strongest, solutions-oriented and service driven propositions in distribution that is only going to get stronger.  As we create new opportunities through innovation in our services, our delivery capabilities and technology eco-systems we can all develop, grow and profit.

“Couple this with such a talented, service committed team, and we’re in great shape to forge ahead, deliver even more for more partners, and ensure Westcon remains the pinnacle of innovation and added-value in distribution.”

Outbound telemarketing market set to grow

Forwarders-set-to-see-growthBeancounters at Transparency Market Research (TMR) have been shuffling their tarot cards and have reached the conclusion that the Outbound Telemarketing Market will grow 3.7 percent a year until  2025

Apparently the global Outbound Telemarketing market is expected to reach a value of $12,201.4 million by 2025. .

The global outbound telemarketing market, by geography, has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa (MEA), and South America.

Asia Pacific dominates the market in terms of revenue owing to low labor cost for outsourcing services in specific countries like China, Philippines, India and others.

Within Asia Pacific, China is the biggest revenue contributor and is anticipated to drive the growth of Outbound Telemarketing market, followed by Japan.

The cost effective and direct sales marketing involved in outbound telemarketing is one of the major drivers in this region. Furthermore, growing number of business organisations in these regions is increasing the share of the outbound telemarketing market, the TMR report said.

ConnectWise swallows HTG

Woodridge, IL, USA --- Great White Shark Opening Mouth --- Image by © Denis Scott/Corbis

Woodridge, IL, USA — Great White Shark Opening Mouth — Image by © Denis Scott/Corbis

ConnectWise has swallowed its strategic partner, channel consultancy HTG.

For those who came in late, HTG is a US outfit offering consulting programmes and coaching to managed service providers.

ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini said: “This brings together a shared vision to help technology solution providers meet their full potential.

“We believe that by combining ConnectWise’s award-winning business solutions with HTG’s best-in-class business coaching programme and extensive peer-to-peer network, we are creating an extraordinary ecosystem that gives all technology solution providers the opportunity to thrive.”

HTG currently has over 600 members from 500 countries across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It hosts over 50 meetings and events annually for its members. ConnectWise has more than 130,000 users in 21,000 businesses in over 50 countries.

HTG will continue to be led as a business unit of ConnectWise by its founder Arlin Sorensen.

Sorensen said he was excited to be part of an organisation that understood the value of HTG’s programmes.

“I’m looking forward to amplifying the reach of HTG thought leadership and creating new transformative programmes that will enable TSPs to take control of their destinies.”

How exciting!

NEC buys Northgate Public Services for £475 million

apolloNEC has written a £475 million cheque for Northgate Public Services (NPS).

The move is aprt of NEC’s bid to spruce up its international safety business. NPS develops software and services for the British police and government sector organisations.

NPS was owned by private equity firm Cinven and employs approximately 1,400 software engineers throughout the UK and India. NEC’s uses biometrics technologies and face recognition and fingerprint recognition technologies to provide its international safety business. This side of the business has been doing rather well in Japan and wants to expand internationally.

The UK and Australian public sector markets are being seen as potential growth areas.

NPS will keep its name and leadership and will integrate some of NEC’s technologies in biometric scanning and facial recognition into its platforms.

Takashi Niino, president and CEO of NEC Corporation, said: “We are proud to have Northgate Public Services, one of the UK’s leading technology companies, joining the NEC Group.”

“With this acquisition, NEC aims to support and strengthen NPS’ technologies for police operations, establish new safety solutions based on a common business platform, and to further develop international markets largely focused on countries within the Commonwealth.”

Stephen Callaghan, CEO of Northgate Public Services, said his colleagues and leadership team have worked incredibly hard over the past two years to get the company into shape operationally and financially.

“Combined with NEC’s business, we will now be able to offer a wider suite of services and software to our existing client base, while expanding in new geographies and technology sectors,” he said.

This acquisition is expected to be done and dusted by the end of the month.

AI will soon know you better than your family

Roman-mosaic-know-thyselfCrystal ball gazers at Gartner, who appear to have binge-watched Black Mirror, are convinced that pretty soon the AI in our computers will know us better than members of our family.

We can’t see it, at the moment Cortina thinks we want to search the internet using Bing when we want to open a news story we were writing last night, but the soothsayers at Big G believe that will change by 2022.

The analyst outfit claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) is “generating multiple disruptive forces” that are reshaping the way people interact with personal technologies, with emotion being at the fore of the next AI development.

“To remain relevant, technology vendors must integrate AI into every aspect of their devices, or face marginalisation.”

The current wave of emotion AI systems is being driven by the proliferation of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and other AI-based technology for conversational systems, found Gartner.

It continued that as a second wave emerges, AI technology will “add value” to more and more customer experience scenarios, including educational software, video games, diagnostic software, athletic and health performance, and the autonomous car.

“Prototypes and commercial products already exist and adding emotional context by analysing data points from facial expressions, voice intonation and behavioural patterns will significantly enhance the user experience,” said Cozza.

“Beyond smartphones and connected home devices, wearables and connected vehicles will collect, analyse and process users’ emotional data via computer vision, audio or sensors capturing behavioural data to adapt or respond to a user’s wants and needs.”

Gartner also stated that by 2021, 10 percent of wearables users will have changed lifestyles, and thereby extend their lifespans by an average of six months.

By 2020, 60 percent of personal technology device vendors will use third party AI cloud services to enhance functionality and services, the analyst claimed.

Cisco fears it will be caught by big chip bug

giant_weta_mike_locke_flicker_cc_20Networking giant Cisco is frantically checking its products to see if they have been hit by last week’s chip scare.

For those who came in late, last week it emerged that Chipzilla had a vulnerability for decades, with the potential to affect millions of computers across a range of operating systems.

Cisco said that the majority of its products would not be susceptible because they do not allow users to run custom code, which is required to exploit the vulnerabilities. But some may be vulnerable, and Cisco is offering updates.

In a statement, Cisco said that the only Cisco devices that are found to allow the customer to execute their customised code side by side with the Cisco code on the same microprocessor are considered vulnerable.

“A Cisco product that may be deployed as a virtual machine or a container, even while not being directly affected by any of these vulnerabilities, could be targeted by such attacks if the hosting environment is vulnerable.

“Cisco recommends customers harden their virtual environment and ensure that all security updates are installed.”

It will be good year for cloud and multivendor disties

richIt is starting to look like  cloud and multivendor distributors will clean up this year. We never tyre of this.

A prophecy from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) has emerged from its laurel scented cave at a time when people had wondered about disties’ future.

GTDC CEO Tim Curran said that it is a critical juncture in the industry’s history where distributors are at the center of increasingly widespread adoption of indirect business.

“All of the report findings essentially confirm the fast-evolving value that distributors continue to deliver – well beyond point-to-point products and services that essentially defined the industry’s earlier years”, he added.

“Comprehensive multivendor solutions are now undeniably imperative. Vendor partners ‘get this’ and are finding dynamic new ways to work with distributors in addressing increasingly complex channel and end-customer requirements. We expect 2018 to be a pivotal year”, said Curran.

The latest research from the industry lobby groupfound that more than 70 percent of vendors expected double-digit growth through distribution. That compares to 55 percent of vendors making the same statement last year.

The top areas of focus will be cloud, security, IoT and data centres. Vendors are also expecting cloud-related services to perform strongly.

As well as selling technology the other aspect of distribution that vendor’s rely on is channel recruitment and there are hopes from many that their partners  uncover some new types of solution providers.

The GTDC research places distribution in a critical place with a view of multivendor offerings that cannot be matched, giving that tier of the channel the chance to develop solutions that direct rivals could never deliver.


Datacentres continue to consolidate

Data centre Beancounters at Synergy Research claim that the value of data centre mergers and acquisitions doubled to $20 billion last year.

Synergy thinks that this is all down to service providers dumping facilities in favour of public cloud and co-location agreements.

It claimed that there was at least one “significant” deal secured every week last year, with datacentre giants Equinix and Digital Realty among those splashing the most cash.

John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy, said the datacentre M&A activity was being driven by enterprises focusing more on improving IT capabilities and less on owning datacentre assets.

“That shift is driving huge growth in outsourcing, whether it is via cloud services, use of colocation facilities, or sale and leaseback of datacentres.

“The dramatic growth of cloud providers is also driving changes in the data centre industry, as data centre operators strive to help them rapidly increasing in scale and global footprint. We expect to see much more datacentre M&A over the next five years.”

On top of the $20 billion that changed hands last year, four deals worth a combined $2.6 billion have been confirmed but not yet completed.

The mass sales marked the reversal of a trend from five years ago when integrators and telcos were pouring investments into their facilities.


Avaya relisting on January 17

avaya logoAvaya is set to list on the New York Stock Exchange again on 17 January after closing the book on its Chapter 11 nightmare.

Once listed, the company will be back having put its period of uncertainty behind it. Avaya had to restructure its business and also offload its networking business.

Avaya entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January last year owing millions to its channel partners.

The vendor has since undergone a year of restructuring, including the sale of its network unit to Extreme Networks, which completed in June.

Last month UK boss MacRae complained that Avaya’s competitors exaggerated the company’s plight to draw customers away from the outfit.

The company has been visiting channel partners as part of its Avaya Edge World Tour to discuss the future.

During the tour, company executives explored how Avaya and its industry partners can design enhanced customer experience solutions that go beyond the digital experience, namely through the application of artificial intelligence, analytics, blockchain and the Internet of Things. The event also showcased multiple demos of Avaya’s existing solutions catering to the needs of various sectors like BFSI, Contact centre, hospitality and more to showcase how customer experience is changing across these segments, Avaya’s solutions and products being at the forefront of this transformation, it reckons.

BSA claims that SME workers happy to grass

MI0002428268SME employees are happy to grass up their bosses over their use of illegal software, according to the British Software Association (BSA).

Research from the BSA revealed that more than a third of Europe’s SME employees would report illegal software use, with UK staff some of the most conscientious.

Those trying to protect the software industry have encouraged whistleblowing as an enforcement tool for decades and it seems that the message has got through.

Most quizzed by the BSA revealed they would want a reward for reporting an issue.

The BSA has a long track record of settling with businesses that have been found to have used illegal software and have settled with the organisation to prevent the case going through the courts.

Sarah Coombes, managing director compliance and enforcement at BSA EMEA, said that the figures were good news for the Channel.

The data shows that more than a third of Europe’s SME employees would report illegal or unethical IT practices in their workplace so businesses need to be quick to ensure they are fully compliant.

“Effective software and IT asset management should be the first line of defence for businesses in safeguarding against unlicensed software and, as always, this is where resellers can really help”,  she said.

“The channel can help businesses purchase legitimate software, however there’s also an opportunity to provide consultation and regular support on becoming and staying compliant”,  she added.

The channel can also provide support in other related areas of the business lifecycle such as cyber threat resilience and data regulation compliance.

“This is all particularly timely given that the new ISO ITAM standard (19770-1) has just been published and could be well used as a blueprint for the development of a robust IT management system”, said Coombes.