Channel fears more Brexit price rises

are-we-afraid-noThe UK channel fears more price rises after the UK government triggers Article 50 this month.

The UK is expected to go tell the EU it wants out later this month, if it can get approval from the House of Lords.

So far, lots of vendors have jacked up their prices but there are fears that more could be in store for the channel.

Each time there has been a major Brexit development the pound has received a kicking and some are getting prepared for more potential issues with prices.

HP, Dell, Lenovo, Apple and Microsoft have raised hardware prices between 10-15 percent and software prices by 20 percent, but it is likely that there will be more price hikes in the works,

The hard Brexit is coming when the dollar has seen considerable rises and since hardware components are traded in the US currency, this ultimately means price rises.

Many channel partners avoided passing too many price rises by managing stock but that could be impossible if further hikes come through the supply chain.

When Article 50 is triggered and the formal process starts, the channel is at the mercy of the overall economy which means price rises could be spectacular.

Many of the major vendors supplying from the USA face significant pressure for them to recover ground lost by exchange rate changes.

Amazon’s cloud goes down

Amazon-Cloud-OutageAmazon’s cloud partners are tearing out their hair and stamping on their rabbits after the service went offline in the US.

Portions of Amazon Web Services, which is the world’s largest cloud computing company, went offline Tuesday afternoon, affected multiple companies across the United States but especially on the east coast.

The outage appeared to have begun around 12:45 pm ET. It was cantered in AWS’ S3 storage system on the east coast. Many of the services that firms use AWS are for back-end processes, and therefore not immediately visible to consumers, though the outage could disrupt customer-facing activities like logins and payments.

Shedloads of websites crashed and burned including Airbnb, Down Detector, Freshdesk, Pinterest, SendGrid, Snapchat’s Bitmoji, Time, Buffer, Business Insider, Chef, Citrix, CNBC, Codecademy, Coursera, Cracked, Docker, Expedia, Expensify, Giphy, Heroku, Home Chef, iFixit, IFTTT, isitdownrightnow.com, Lonely Planet, Mailchimp, Medium, Microsoft’s HockeyApp, News Corp, Quora, Razer, Slack, Sprout Social, Travis CI, Trello, Twilio, Unbounce, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Zendesk.

The dashboard of Amazon Web Services, which tracks the status of the service, is unable to change colour, Amazon said. It is because the status dashboard also runs on the service that is down.

While the spectacular crash might not have effected many European companies, it does make cloud packages where data is sent across the pond look a lot less reliable.  Interest in cloud packages and SAAS is picking up, but huge outages like this make it a harder sale.

Ixia goes all out for the channel

 

Ixia-Labs-2Network testing and visibility specialist Ixia has decided to look to partners and distributors to help it increase enterprise sales and wants to become 100 percent channel based.

It launched its Xcelerate partner programme a couple of years ago and has worked out that its global partner “ecosystem” was playing a vital role in delivering the innovation, expertise, and excellence enterprise customers want.

CEO of Ixia Bethany Mayer,  said: “Relying 100 percent on channel partners to provide world-class service to enterprise customers reaffirms our confidence in every organization participating in our Channel Xcelerate Partner Programme.”

The firm already has 800 partners on board globally and is on the hunt for more. The vendor works with the Exclusive Group in the UK and is close to sealing a deal with a global distributor shortly.

Gabe Luis, head of enterprise segment and technology partners EMEA at Ixia, said that the decision to go 100% channel was a big deal for the firm and would mean that significant revenues would now be going through partners.

“It shows a commitment to the channel and reassures our distributors and resellers that we are very commited,” he said.

The vendor provides network visibility tools and testing solutions, which it has worked hard to make easier for resellers to pitch to customers.

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Watchdog gets companies to agree on fairer cloud

lightning-cloudThe Competition Market Authority (CMA) has got three more large cloud storage providers to agree that users should be given clear and fair terms and conditions

The watchdog has already got an agreement with Dixons Carphone, BT, Dropbox, Google and Mozy to make changes to their contract terms. Now the CMA got the key cloudy types Amazon, Apple and Microsoft to agree.

Taking the pledge means not hiking prices on a whim or making the terms and conditions too complex.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA acting chief executive was pleased that Amazon, Apple and Microsoft had joined their seven rivals and agreeing commitments to improve their terms and conditions.

“Millions of cloud storage users will benefit from fairer terms which will help them make the right choices when using cloud storage services,” he said.

The CMA started a campaign in October last year, writing an open letter to storage cloud providers, and has so far got most of the household names to sign up.

The outfit will monitor firms terms and conditions and expects firms to do the same to ensure they can keep up with the law and make sure conditions are as fair and clear as possible.

“People rely on cloud storage to keep things such as treasured family photos, music, films and important documents safe, so it is important that they are treated fairly and should not be hit by unexpected price rises or changes to storage levels,” added Coscelli.

Gartner sees IaaS getting shedloads of investment

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINGartner is forecasting an uptake in public cloud spending and  IaaS is going to be the main winner.

It looks like resellers that have taken the effort to specialise in infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are going to be laughing all the way to the bank for the next year or so.

Beancounters at Big G say that IaaS as the main area to benefit from a general upswing in customer spending on public cloud services.

They expect worldwide spending on public cloud services to increase by 18 per cent this year, which equates to $246.8 billion.

The IaaS market is expected to grow by 36.8 percent with SaaS not too far behind with a 20.1 percent. The SaaS market is expected to slow a bit quicker because it is further along in the maturity cycle and a lot of customers are already using HR and sales applications in the cloud.

Customer attitudes towards public cloud have improved as firms like Amazon have been successful at promoting the idea of putting data onto their platforms. Sid Nag, research director at Gartner said that while fears about security are still out there but there is also a pressure towards digital transformation strategies and an acceptance from most users that the public cloud will play some role in their future.

“The overall global public cloud market is entering a period of stabilization, with its growth rate peaking at 18% in 2017 and then tapering off over the next few years,” he said .

“While some organizations are still figuring out where cloud actually fits in their overall IT strategy, an effort to cost optimize and bring forth the path to transformation holds strong promise and results for IT outsourcing (ITO) buyers. Gartner predicts that through 2020, cloud adoption strategies will influence more than half of IT outsourcing deals,” he added.

UKFast and Cisco team up with Open University

hqdefault (1)UKFast and Cisco have teamed up with the Open University to tackle the IT skills gap and improve the technical expertise available to Northern employers.

UKFast invited schools across the North West to sign up to take advantage of the support being offered to teachers by the Cisco Net Academy.

UKFast held a launch event last week and has already seen 73 schools sign-up to take advantage of the resources that the networking giant is offering.

UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones said that while everyone was talking about the skills shortage in technology, and there’s no way we can combat that shortage if teachers do not get the tools to deliver cutting-edge digital training.

Technology is evolving so quickly that we need to focus on supporting teachers and keeping them up to speed with the latest developments,” said MBE.

“Just last week a skills audit by Manchester Digital called on employers to engage more closely with education. It’s something we’ve been doing at UKFast for years and we’re seeing amazing results. You can see from the incredible uptake for the scheme from schools and colleges that it’s something they’re crying out for,” he added.

Cisco and UKFast are working with the Open University to deliver the academic programme and there is still a chance for schools to sign up to the programme.

Nuno Guarda, head of corporate affairs for Cisco in the UK & Ireland said it was critical to have strong partners like UKFast and the Open University because they bring amazing value to the curriculum and help deliver it to local schools.

“This has been Cisco’s flagship CSR programme since 1997 and we’re aiming to help everyone, not only IT professionals, become more confident in their use of technology and help them understand how it fits in the world that surrounds them,” Guarda said.

 

 

Europeans will lean on tech

european-commissionGood news for the channel as research from Ricoh Europe suggests that companies want to lean more on technology to improve their fortunes.

While the world is feeling rather uncertain at the moment, many feel that the way the work will change in the near future as a result of digital disruption, economic uncertainty and political turbulence.

More than 95 percent of people thought their business would benefit from the changes.

Most people that were asked for their opinions by Ricoh saw technology as the best way of making sure they could improve the fortunes of their business. On the wish list were using IT to improve customer communications, increased productivity and simpler business processes.

The weak point was that most felt that there will be even more of a scramble for skilled staff.

Ricoh Europe CEO David Mills said: “How people relate to, engage and execute their work is fundamentally changing. In the years ahead we’ll see businesses fall into two distinct camps. Firstly, those with strong fundamental processes which empower employees by enabling them to do their best work, adapt and thrive. Secondly, those businesses which shy away from change and unfortunately set their employees up for failure.”

“As the world feels the impact of unprecedented change, business leaders must ask themselves where they see the most beneficial return on bringing more innovative technology into the company. To enable their business to stay focused on its long-term goals, and remain competitive, often the best place to start is with their employees,” he added.

Resellers are being bombarded with advice from vendors to get more involved in the trend.

ADVA expands its Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem

prova-d-orchestra-fellini-591645ADVA Optical Networking has expanded its Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem with six new members, joining its network functions virtualization (NFV) partner programme.

Signing up are Iricent, Jolata, Netrounds, Quortus, Senetas and Viptela.

Senetas CTO Julian Fay said that by adding his outfit’s high-assurance encryption solutions to the Ensemble Harmony program, it could provide CSPs and enterprises with easy access to scalable and robust data protection for all Layer 2 networks and topologies.

“The Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem is all about ensuring openness and interoperability. It’s about coming together to offer a robust and comprehensive virtualization solution. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

ADVA Optical Networking’s Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem is a group of hardware, software and service partners who are considering accelerating automation and virtualization initiatives.

The big idea is that CSPs can instantly access the latest innovation to rapidly and efficiently provision new services.

ADVA Optical Networking global marketing programme director Brian Irish said that the Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem just kept on growing.

“Driven by customer engagements, including most Tier 1s across the globe, the momentum here is incredible. We’re thrilled to welcome our newest partners. The latest expansion means more players, more technology and even more choice for our customers,” he said.

Amazon promises to create 5,000 UK jobs

amazonOnline retailer Amazon is set to create more than 5,000 jobs in Britain this year as the outfit boosts its UK operations.

Amazon, along with other tech giants such as Google and Apple, has increased its commitment to Britain in the last year, saying Britain’s referendum decision to leave the EU last June did not affect its investment plans.

The plans to add over 5,000 jobs in 2017 is a record for Amazon in Britain, although at least 2,000 of the jobs had been previously announced. The moves would take its permanent workforce in the country to 24,000.

Doug Gurr, UK country manager at Amazon, said the jobs would provide “even faster delivery, more selection and better value” for British customers.

Amazon’s new head office in London will have capacity for more than 5,000 people by the end of the year, the firm said. The concentration of tech expertise in London has been cited by many firms as an attraction.

 

Microsoft tells partners to pass on Surface price hikes

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the world, Microsoft, has told its channel chums to pass on the price increases of its surface gear.

The move is expected to cause a few headaches as resellers will be the ones left explaining why prices have risen.

The reason is the value of the pound and the Brexit tax. There have been some price rises already with the large hardware vendors passed on the currency fluctuations but now everyone is having to do it. This is mostly because the only thing that is selling for 90 euro cents a pound turns out to be the pound.

Vole has said that it is increasing hardware prices on the Surface and the Surface Book by 15 percent, as a direct consequence of the state of Sterling.

The vendor has given the channel some leeway on exactly how much it will pass on those increase, but really a 15 percent increase is about the only way it can happen.

A spokes Vole said that the price increases only affect products and services purchased by individuals, or organisations without volume licensing contracts and will be effective from February 15, 2017.

“For indirect sales where our products and services are sold through partners, final prices will continue to be determined by them,” it  added.

Microsoft is doing its best to encourage the channel to sell more of its Surface line. Schemes like a try-before-you-buy and increased services have all launched in the last few months to tempt more users.

Other vendors that have looked at prices include HP and Apple and earlier this week the speaker manufacturer Sonos revealed that it was also increasing the costs for customers because of exchange rates.

Still at least the UK can be re-assured that as soon as the UK gets out of the EU more than $380 million a week will be spent on the National Health Service.

IBM updates channel programme

A not so mobile X86 PCThe ever shrinking Biggish Blue has announced changes to its channel programme with the aim of making its plans with Q2 a bit better.

IBM wants to encourage its partners to move into the high growth areas of cloud and security. This week it is holding its PartnerWorld event in Las Vegas and the announcements have been flowing out from the conference.

One of the planks of its cunning plan is to increase the number of competencies in the PartnerWorld programme, with the number heading up to the 40 mark.

Marc Dupaquier, general manager, IBM Global Business Partners said that as digital and cloud “solutions” continue to transform industries, the time is now for IBM partners to deliver cognitive solutions with deep vertical expertise built on the IBM Cloud platform and made available in an omni-channel environment.

This includes an expanded and redesigned the PartnerWorld programme to guide Business Partners of all types and models in developing capabilities aligned to our cognitive solutions and cloud platform strategy to deliver high client value.

While IBM started off revising its PartnerWorld programme at the beginning of the year the men in suits have being rolling out enhancements with the additional competencies.

Some of the additional competencies coming in Q2 include in security Information, Risk and Protection and in cloud the Cloud Video and High Speed Transfer. The Watson Internet of Things side of the business will offer Continuous Engineering and there will also be a new Competency in IBM Global Financing to help partners offer “Financing” as a core capability.

Another part of the growth strategy includes embedded solutions, a simplified reselling process and enhanced software incentives.

The embedded solutions agreement that IBM is making available should make it easier for partners to use their own branding on solutions that are built on Big Blue technology. The vendor is also providing a Ready for IBM Cloud validation for ISVs to make it easier for developers.

After April there will be more software incentives to increase the rewards available to those partners that sell the vendor’s product range.

Intel says channel has key role in cloud security

wintel_blimp_featureIntel Security which has just released its second annual cloud security report which says that the channel has a key role in reassuring customers about hosted data.

Intel Security said that there was a gut feeling among some users that keeps them worrying about data integrity and that should be a chance for a reseller to step into the breach and ease their passage to the hosted world.

It suggested that the UK is one of the most risk-averse when it comes to cloud adoption. Some of that is caused by a skills shortage making it harder for customers to move to a hosted environment, but there are also real concerns about moving sensitive data into the cloud.

Stuart Taylor, UKI regional director, channel at Intel Security said that security concerns and the skills shortage seem to be holding UK organisations back when it comes to cloud adoption.

“While our research clearly demonstrates that businesses in the UK are the least likely globally to implement a proactive cloud-first strategy, that is not preventing cloud from being adopted across the business. This often leads to shadow IT practices which make it difficult for IT to get a firm control over corporate data in the cloud,” he said.

The Intel research found that 40 per cent  of cloud services were now being commissioned without the involvement of the IT department.

Taylor said that with more data shifting across to the cloud, it was essential that the correct security controls are put in place.

“By moving towards a cloud-first strategy, organisations can encourage the adoption of cloud services to increase flexibility, reduce costs and set up proactive security operations. To this end, we work closely with our channel partners to ensure they can advise end users on the steps needed to secure cloud deployments,” he added.

Intel’s channel partners understand that taking a proactive stance was the key and can help companies go beyond initial protection by ensuring the correct technology is in place to rapidly detect threats and correct their systems when necessary. However, this focus on the threat defence lifecycle must go hand in hand with shifting the defender-attacker dynamic, he said.

Microsoft looks to channel to sort out its small blue things

hqdefaultSoftware King of the World Microsoft is ending pay-as-you-go Azure access for new smaller customers on the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, as it turns to channel partners to win small customers.

At the moment punters are purchasing Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis through the MPSA.  Vole’s new customers seeking the payment plan will be “guided” towards Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme.

According to Richard Smith, Microsoft’s general manager for commercial licensing the new licensing focus was a matter of “enhancing and creating synergies” across the ways in which it goes to business.

It means that customers seeking to dip their toes into Azure on a PAYG basis will now need to go through the Channel.

Vole will not make much extra cash from selling through the channel, but Volish thinking is that small suppliers are more likely to stay signed up to a Channel programme than sticking to something more direct.

Many smaller customers don’t see the true benefits of the Azure cloud because they lack the skills.

By encouraging customers to work with partners via the CSP programme, it will mean that there is a  greater chance of success and ultimately a greater consumption of services from the Cloud.

Infosys moans about reporting of board spat

infosysudacityOutsourcing giant Infosys is getting a little miffed about the ways that the press are reporting concerns about the way the outfit is managed.

Infosys Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said talk in the media on concerns over corporate governance at the software services firm was “distracting”.

For those that came in late, there are appears to be a war of words between Infosys’s founders and its executive.

Sikka insists he is on good relations with the firm’s founders, including N.R. Narayana Murthy.

Infosys’ founders, who own 12.75 percent of the firm, have questioned the pay of Chief Executive Vishal Sikka and severance payouts given to others, including former finance head Rajiv Bansal. According to local media reports, the founders have also questioned the appointment of an independent director.

“All this drama that has been going on in the media, it’s very distracting – it takes away attention – but underneath that there is a very strong fabric that this company is based on and it is a real privilege for me to be its leader,” Sikka said at an investor conference.

Infosys, founded in 1981 when seven engineers, including Murthy, pooled $250 – mostly borrowed from their wives, is expected to address the governance concerns at a separate news conference at 1230 GMT today.

“My relation with the founders is wonderful,” Sikka said at the investor conference hosted by brokerage firm Kotak, adding he typically meets Murthy five or six times a year.
Sikka, a former member of the executive board at German software firm SAP, took the top job at Infosys in 2014, becoming its first non-founder CEO.

The board has backed Sikka, and has brushed aside concerns over CEO compensation, appointment of independent directors and severance pay relating to former employees, saying those were old issues and that full disclosures had been made.

Symantec gets its blue coat on

51Tg15QMqQLSecurity outfit Symantec is nearly ready to roll out its unified partner programme which merges its own channel with that of Blue Coat.

For those who came in late, Symantec bought Blue Coat last year for $4.65 billion and is working out a way of merging the two channels.

Symantec is to launch a Secure One channel programme this Spring and it is pretty simple. There are two areas – core security and enterprise security and four tiers of registered, silver, gold and platinum.

The whole thing is being pitched as a chance for resellers to cross and up-sell.

Partners can boost their margins with opportunity registration on non-standard pricing deals, development funds for gold and platinum partners and the chance to get a performance rebate.

Symantec vice president for global partner sales Torjus Gylstorff said that partners will have the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell, providing mutual customers with “leading solutions to solve the world’s biggest cyber security problems.”

Other key initiatives include transitioning Opportunity Registration to a front-end discount only, which ensures that the financials of doing business with Symantec will be more predictable.

The firm is going to share more details with partners as it gets closer to launch in April.

“With a $30 billion-dollar opportunity in cyber security, we will see massive growth potential in our industry this year. We’re excited about this new era for our company, our partnership and our program, and we look forward to defining the future of cyber security, together,” he said.