IBM deepens WanDisco relationship

banner_220x220Biggish Blue has deepened its relationship with WanDisco with the pair saying that they will work closely together in the coming months to introduce new solutions, including greater integration with IBM BigSQL and other products.

WanDisco said it would see an increase its OEM royalty of  50 percent, in addition to introducing a guaranteed annual minimum royalty commitment as part of the move.

David Richards, chief executive officer and interim chairman of WanDisco said: “In the first half we began the transition toward predictable, annual recurring cloud revenue and away from large and difficult to forecast on-premise transactions. This is an expected and extremely positive evolution for our business. It opens up a significantly larger addressable market in the cloud and will enable us to generate a more predictable­ recurring revenue base.

“Unlike on-premise deals, these cloud deals are initially smaller in revenue terms but are expected to scale materially over time as is common with cloud deployments.”

University of Suffolk selects D2L’s Brightspace

Learning technology provider, D2L, has announced that the University of Suffolk has chosen its Brightspace platform.

The University of Suffolk wanted to upgrade from its Blackboard learning platform to one that made the learning experience more modern, engaging and accessible. Following a rigorous tender process, which included staff and students testing Brightspace and offerings from Blackboard and Canvas, the University of Suffolk selected Brightspace.

Ellen Buck, Head of Learning Services at the University of Suffolk said: “Following a review of our academic strategy, we knew we needed to modernise our learning platform.  As a university, we are fully focused on the student experience, therefore it was important that any platform we invested in was welcomed by those that would be using it.”

Aaron Burrell, Digital Learning Systems Manager at the University of Suffolk, delivered many testing sessions and said: “The students unanimously chose Brightspace as their favourite platform. Not only is it modern, responsive and engaging, but it enables our students to be in control of their own learning.”

Brightspace is being developed for students in the University’s new blended learning degree apprenticeship programmes in Nursing, Social Worker and Police Constable. It will then be implemented across the entire university.

” Brightspace is fantastic as it supports a blended learning approach, which gives our students the flexibility to learn wherever and whenever they need to. Whilst other learning platforms we tested were restrictive, Brightspace enables us to teach how we want to teach, and our students to learn how they want to learn. D2L has been a breath of fresh air to work with and we look forward to continuing our relationship.”

Brightspace, it’s claimed, is mobile responsive, offers real-time analytics, a personalised learning experience and is built with accessibility in mind, all within one flexible Virtual Learning Environment. The dynamic and mobile Daylight interface lets instructors design courses easily, create content and grade assignments on their phone or tablet. Brightspace’s built-in analytics lets the University of Suffolk monitor courses tailored to each learner’s experience.

RapidFire Tools will continue to be open

RapidFire Tools will continue to be an open platform despite being bought out by Kaseya

Fred Voccola, Kaseya CEO, insisted that RapidFire Tools will continue to be an open platform and continue to work with other vendors in the MSP community.

“Unlike the business models of some competing providers, users don’t have to worry about RapidFire Tools being exclusive to Kaseya customers. We would never do that to the IT community. Many of our customers use multiple products from other vendors, so to try and lock them in to the Kaseya ecosystem goes against what we stand for.  Our approach has always been to put our customers first and provide them with the best-in-breed solutions they need to run their business.”

Michael Mittel, founder and CEO of RapidFire Tools added that the acquisition will not dampen its current relationships with other IT management platform vendors.

“It cannot be overstated the importance of becoming a part of the Kaseya family, and knowing with confidence that our customers can continue to effectively run their businesses because of Kaseya’s open ecosystem. The RapidFire Tools brand will remain unchanged and our existing customers can rest assured knowing that they will continue to receive the same high calibre products, services, and support.”

Kaseya also announced the launch of Kaseya Compliance Manager (KCM), a product developed by the two companies.

It is billed as an all-in-one solution for both MSPs and internal IT organisations to monitor and manage compliance for all regulations, including GDPR.

UK Channel ponders global expansion

banner_220x220Nearly two fifths of UK channel organisations believe that the global IT channel will expand in the next two years.

Research commissioned by Agilitas IT Solutions show just over half of UK channel businesses actively looking to expand their businesses internationally, with Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America proving the most attractive destinations.

Nearly two-thirds of channel respondents already operate in the APAC region, while 32  per cent are looking to move into South America.

The findings have been released by Agilitas as part of its research into the attitudes of the UK IT channel towards globalisation, and the issues and barriers presented to companies that wish to facilitate international growth.

UK businesses still maintain a degree of caution when approaching globalisation. For example, a quarter of decision makers believe that Brexit and the ‘Trump era’ will have a profound impact on global IT channel growth, with a fifth of all companies believing the European Union exit will significantly delay growth plans.

A third believe that having a presence in other regions minimises the financial risk of having a purely UK-focused business, ahead of the UK’s official EU exit, while 20 per cent  of decision makers cite internal finances and infrastructure issues as the main barriers towards expanding.

Shaun Lynn, CEO of Agilitas said that the research showed that optimism for expanding internationally has never been higher, within the UK IT channel.

“However, they now require actionable insights to consider how, why and when they should undertake this significant internal transformational shift. A mainly prosperous economic landscape, allied to an increased number of industry collaborations, is increasing turnover, allowing businesses to analyse how they can stimulate this further in new markets,” he said.

CDW scores largest G-Cloud deal

banner_220x220CDW won the largest ever G-Cloud deal according to the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

The at £25.7 million deal was agreed in June with the Department of Education saw CDW provide services in the Cloud Hosting Lot of the framework.

Previously the largest deal that had been facilitated by G-Cloud saw consultancy firm BJSS transact a £10.6 million deal with the NHS in April 2016.

According to CCS figures, Capgemini was the biggest G-Cloud supplier in the first half of the year, according to the data, winning £38.5 million worth of business. CDW was ranked second with £26.8 million.

Amazon Web Services was just behind CDW, with sales of £26.4 million.

IBM meanwhile saw its G-Cloud sales top £8 million, while Microsoft made £ 5million. Softcat saw h1 G-Cloud sales of  £2.8 million  and Computacenter made £771,810.

Solar snapped up by Wavenet

banner_220x220Solar Communications has been acquired by Wavenet as part of its much announced M&A spree.

The outfit raised £75 million in funding and said that it was out to expand through aquisitions.

Wavenet CEO Bill Dawson said: “Solar is an extremely capable and exciting business with a very talented team. Its combination with Wavenet will provide added depth to the innovative and business-enhancing services provided to both sets of customers.

“Solar has been successful developing the platform, people and services required for growing the business both organically and by acquisition. This has accelerated its transition from being a leading telephone system reseller in the UK to becoming a fully managed cloud service provider, able to provide superlative technology and a fully managed service.

Solar’s CEO John Whitty, who will remain with the firm said: “Whitty said: “Following an intensive 30 months of growing our business into a successful and agile organisation, the time is right to take the next step and allow our customers to benefit from our significant joint capability and experience in the UC market.

“I am looking forward to being part of the Wavenet team and further helping the group to develop and deliver the cloud UC components.”

Blockchain might work for airline distribution

banner_220x220ATPCO and Blockskye today released a “white paper” describing the key features of Blockchain and its applicability to airline distribution.

The pair announced a proof of concept (POC) on Blockchain and how it could potentially be used in next-generation airline offer management.

ATPCO, Blockskye, and SITA want to generate some debate about how the industry might create value for the market using decentralised airline offer generation based on International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) and ONE Order initiatives.

The concept would enable airline and channel partners to handle the exponentially increasing volumes of data accurately and securely.

The POC uses NDC Exchange, built by ATPCO and SITA, because it is a neutral platform that facilitates real-time connectivity, on SITA’s global IT infrastructure, between airlines and travel sellers so that they can exchange messages easily and cost-effectively.

As airlines and sellers deliver greater value and choice through NDC, it becomes increasingly important for offers to be consistently and accurately managed.

The POC will explore augmenting NDC Exchange with blockchain technology, providing a trusted and secure offer authority that can reduce integration costs and transaction risk for airlines and sellers alike.

Head of ATPCO Research & Development Gianni Cataldo said: “Blockchain is an undeniable transformative force. With the support of Blockskye, we wanted to ask the question, ‘How could this technology be implemented to support the future-state airline distribution ecosystem, and where can ATPCO add industry value?”

The concept of a persistent offer managed by a neutral authority addresses many of the coming challenges of direct distribution. We hope this paper spurs discussion on how technology can drive paradigm shifts and in turn lead to industry alignment,” he said.

Blockskye CEO & Co-Founder Brook Armstrong said: “The travel ecosystem has been searching for a way to engage NDC, build a dynamic marketplace, and empower airlines — blockchain changes the game on all of these.”

There’s an awful lot of TLAs here – apologies – we just report the news. We don’t make it.

Saville restructures

banner_220x220AV outfit Saville has been restructured into three businesses, with its AV and live events businesses now under the Saville Group umbrella.

The firm’s reseller business will now be known as Visavvi, while the live events business has become Sparq.

Saville’s joint managing director Colin Nixey said: “So far 2018 has been one of our busiest years yet. We have invested in creating three new brands to futureproof the company, as well as ensuring our people are the best in the business so that we can continue to support new and existing clients across the UK, Europe and the US.

“It means we can continue to provide excellent service, produce exciting live events and deliver innovative business collaboration solutions to our clients.”

Saville was subject to a management buyout last year, with chairman John Sills retiring. The group saw its revenue decline one percent year on year in the period ending 31 December 2016, to £34.4 million. The firm’s revenue is now over £41 million.

Dyson said: “The board decided we needed to see a change in the way in which we present ourselves through our brands. This will ensure we set the standard for live events and business collaboration for our clients now and in coming years.”

Imagination and Chips&Media team up

Imagination Technologies and Chips&Media announced a collaboration to bring IP solutions for GPU and Video Codecs to customers worldwide.

The partners claim they’re ensuring that Imagination GPU IP and Chips&Media Video Codec IP is available as “integrated and tested solutions” that work together to provide system-level benefits, including a range of compression technologies, such as Imagination’s PVRIC lossless compression.

The IPs are designed around compatible formats and drivers and will enable customers to use best in class technology while removing concerns over incompatibility.

Nigel Leeder, EVP PowerVR, Imagination Technologies, said: “By providing best-in-class IPs from two of the leaders in multimedia technology we can bring to market solutions that significantly benefit our mutual customers. There are a wide range of devices where the combination of advanced graphics and video at up to UHD resolutions are key requirements. We are excited to be working together with Chips&Media to ensure customers get the best choice of IP without further complex integration work.”

Steve SangHyun Kim, CEO, Chips&Media, says: “It’s perfectly possible today to pick up a bundle of GPU and Video Codec IP from a single vendor, but the cost is a compromise in product quality as no single vendor has best-in-class video and GPU IP. Working together Chips&Media and Imagination can deliver a powerful and differentiated IP package that excels in both GPU and video. We are delighted to be working with Imagination to deliver the solution the market wants.”

Let’s face it square on. You can’t have a proper press release unless it includes “best in class” – the teacher’s pet.

Chips&Media Video Codec IP covers all major standards (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, H.263, Sorenson, H.264, RV, VC-1, VP8, AVS, AVS+, HEVC / H.265, VP9 and AV1) at up to UHD resolutions. Imagination GPUs are designed for up to UHD UI, advanced gaming and apps, and are based on TBDR (tile based deferred rendering), a high-efficiency rendering approach unique to PowerVR.

Sage CEO exits

banner_220x220Sage CEO Stephen Kelly has stepped down from his role at the accountancy software vendor, Sage despite apparently turning the outfit around.

Sage’s numbers had been pretty dire this year, but showed signs of recovery during an update to the London Stock Exchange at the start of August.

On his resignation Kelly said: “I joined Sage four years ago and am immensely proud of the extraordinary change that I have had the privilege to lead. I joined a fragmented organisation with minimal presence in the cloud. The major cultural transformation has created Sage Business Cloud which has now grown to £386 million of annualised recurring revenue from a standing start and has driven total shareholder return for Sage of over twice that of the FTSE100 during my tenure.”

Chairman Donald Brydon said: “Stephen has much to be proud of in the very heavy lifting he has led as the group is transformed.

“He energised the group, drove change with relentless focus on customers, and under his leadership the strategy to become a leading SaaS business has been defined. The board remains fully supportive of the overall strategy. We wish Stephen well in the next phase of his life.”




Computacenter goes dutch and swallows Misco’s EU subsidiary

Computacenter has snapped up Misco’s last-remaining European subsidiary in Amstelveen in Holland.

Misco Solutions employs around 200 staff and booked revenues of €134 million last year.

Computacenter claiming to have covered the cost of the transaction using existing cash resources, which presumably means breaking into the piggy bank and looking down the back of the sofa.

The sale went through three months of negotiations and Centralpoint and Bechtle were in the frame to buy the outfit before Computacenter.

The deal marks Computacenter’s first direct presence in the Holland and should give a boost to its Benelux business.

Computacenter CEO Mike Norris said: “While we mainly focus on organic growth, we are interested in acquisition opportunities which either enable us to enter new markets or enhance our services and solutions for our customers. The Netherlands is an adjacent European market for us and we are excited by the opportunity to build the long-term trust of government organisations and some of Europe’s largest companies headquartered there. Our direct local presence in the Netherlands will also allow us to enhance our support to a number of Computacenter’s largest international clients for whom this is a key location.”

Misco’s Dutch arm is the company’s last-standing subsidiary on the continent following the collapse of Misco UK in October 2017, which preceded subsequent closures across Europe.



Tomlin replaces Shields at Dell

Tech Data’s Advanced Solutions boss Rob Tomlin is set to join Dell EMC as UK channel VP, replacing Sarah Shields who is headed off to greener pastures in a more European role.

Shields announced in June that she would become VP of enterprise channels but said she would stay on in Blighty until a suitable replacement had been found.

Tech Data has announced to staff that Rob Tomlin will be leaving to join Dell EMC as VP of channels.

“Rob has been a key player in the integration of both SDG and Avnet into the Tech Data business and we thank him for the work he has done in setting up the Advanced Solutions division. “He leaves a very strong management team behind him in which we have every confidence. The leadership of the Advanced Solutions management team will be picked up by [UK MD] David Watts and we have total belief that the division will continue to grow and build upon the value it is bringing to the channel.”

Tomlin is expected to set up in Shield’s office early in Q4.

Kicking Pat leans on the Channel

banner_220x220Kicking Pat Gelsinger claims his Cloud Provider Program has established a “meaningful” area of revenue for VMware.

The VMware Cloud Provider Programme attributed more than 30 percent to the vendor’s revenue stream, which rose 12.5 percent to US$2.17 billion.

Gelsinger, who is the CEO of VMware, said that there has been a consistency to that area of VMware’s that “shocked” everyone.

“There was a prevailing view in the industry that the big cloud guys – AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform will eat up everybody. The result has been an area of consistent and steady growth for us, and increasingly, we’re being seen as the technology source for all other clouds. Clearly the mega guys are building much of their own technology, but all of the other cloud providers are increasingly relying on VMware’s technologies as the base for building off their cloud”.

Most of that revenue in the past has been driven from vSphere, Gelsinger said and the offering was now gaining more traction for NSX, vSAN and vCloud Director.

“We’re also working to make that program, a great channel for other services. CloudHealth and VMC on AWS will be resold through those channels as well. We’ll be putting more of our products focus through that business relationship. That I believe will be the biggest aspect of our long term growth.”

Gelsinger highlighted many areas of growth opportunities within network with NSX and storage with vSAN, saying VMware was just getting started.

Coppers put New Signature on public cloud

New Signature has signed a two-year deal with the Metropolitan Police to support its public cloud.

The contract was awarded through the G-Cloud framework and is part of the Met’s three-year digital policing strategy.  For those who came in late, the strategy seeks to modernise technology for users in the force and improve the general public’s digital access to the police.

New Signature said the deal is “one of the largest” G-Cloud procurements to date was not saying how much cash was involved.

New Signature founder Dan Scarfe said that the deal was an important momement for the Met in terms of moving their digital work to the cloud and in moving away from their traditional global system integrator (GSI) partners who would normally have scored the project.

He claimed the Met’s move to the public cloud comes from a desire to address the lack of speed and agility it experienced using traditional datacentres and GSIs.

Scarfe added the deal is transformational for New Signature, opening up a range of new markets and customers for the cloud service provider.

Angus McCallum, CIO for the Metropolitan Police, said: “We are very pleased to have selected New Signature to help us as we start to develop and implement our ‘Cloud-First Strategy’ transition.

“The Met is committed to ensuring all our people have the right technology to do their jobs with excellence and New Signature’s involvement is a critical part of building our capability and achieving fast results.”

SOS teams up with FONtevo

banner_220x220SOS Communications is teaming up with FONtevo to deliver  SME based telephony services and solutions for resellers.

This partnership has been developed over the past year for the UK&I market. The partnership is to be launched at the Channel Live event on 11-12 September 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham – where SOS Communications will be looking to recruit new resellers.

At the launch, SOS Communications and FONtevo are focused on bringing something special to the current way of working with distributors in the UK&I. We would encourage resellers to come along to the Channel Live event and see how the new partnership will help drive growth and profitability in their business.

Colin Hepher, CEO SOS Communications said: “This is a great opportunity for UK&I resellers to have access to first class solutions from what we see as the Mercedes of the telecoms world, manufacturer in Germany. With FONtevo solutions, SOS’s track record and 25 years in the industry we will become synonymous with excellent service and solutions that are built to last

FONtevo/ Auerswald CEO, Christian Auerswald welcomes this exciting partnership and said: “As part of our programme to be seen as a global manufacturer with quality at the heart of everything we do, we are proud to be able to partner with SOS Communications to offer a different type of service and solutions to the UK reseller market.