PCM buys itself some Cisco gold

hqdefaultPCM has written a cheque for Cisco Gold partner Provista as part of its cunning plan to rapidly expand in the UK market.

PCM appeared in the UK in May and has been headhunting staff from rivals bought cloud services provider The Stack Group.

Provista is a Glasgow-based network and security reseller with revenues of £7.7 million. The move gives PCM several top vendors including Cisco, Avaya Saphire and VMWare. It scores offices in Aberdeen and Birmingham.

The deal will additionally contribute to its “opportunity to extend its growth of the existing managed services and multi-lingual global service desk within the European region”, PCM said.

Donavan Hutchinson, managing director, UK & International for PCM UK said that with the combined investments and the acquisition of Provista UK and The Stack Group, PCM  was positioned to accelerate its UK growth across all advanced solutions categories.

PCM president Jay Miley added: “We are continuing to follow our global strategy to bring our leading North American solutions to the UK, and this acquisition further expands one of our largest vendor relationships through the acquisition of a UK Cisco Gold Partner.”

Stuart Little, director and major shareholder of Provista UK, said: “When PCM contacted us and shared their vision for the UK, it fit perfectly with our own ambitions to accelerate the growth of Provista in the UK. After having built the business to achieve Cisco Gold Partner status, it is exciting to now be able to be part of PCM and take the business to the next level, offering our solutions and services across the UK while complimenting the other robust PCM offerings.”

GNR Technology backs beleaguered Kaspersky

KASPERSKY-edGNR Technology will distribute the troubled security vendor Kaspersky in the UK.

For those who came in late, Kaspersky was accused of helping the Russians spy on US government networks. The US government ordered the removal of all Kaspersky products throughout the country.  Then the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre expressed a degree of concern over Kaspersky but stopped short of advising businesses and government departments to remove the vendor’s products.

While this is not the best time to add Kaspersky to your portfolio, particularly if you are a distributor who has come risen from the ashes of Entatech last year, but GNR has done just that.

According to Channelweb, GNR boss Dave Stevinson said that Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s leading internet security vendors and there has been no actual evidence to back up the allegations.

He said that Kaspersky is a credible brand in the cybersecurity space and perfect for protecting critical infrastructure businesses.

Stevinson said that GNR was a specialised distributor with a focus on a limited number of brands. Kaspersky Lab and the cybersecurity space is an area where GNR has significant expertise coupled with a huge ambition to meet the shared business outcomes.

Kaspersky’s other UK distributors include Arrow, DSD Europe, Exertis, Tech Data, and Nuvias as, according to the Kaspersky website.


Two women in tech win gongs

i.aspxTwo top women in UK tech have been awarded gongs in the New Year Honours list.

Vin Murria, who is currently a non-executive director on the boards of Softcat and Sophos, has been awarded an OBE. Jacqueline de Rojas, who is president of TechUK, has been awarded a CBE.

Vin was born in what she once described as ‘not much more than a mud hut’ in the Punjab and came to the UK when she was three. Vin was awarded a “women in engineering” apprenticeship at Rolls Royce who then helped her through university where she graduated with a first in Computer Sciences.

Murria founded Advanced Computer Software, which private equity group Vista bought for £725 million in 2014 and netting Murria over £100 million.

She is a Sophos and Softcat board member and is a non-executive director at Zoopla, a senior partner at NM Rothschild, and a managing partner at HG Capital.

Writing in his bog TechMarketView chairman Richard Holway – himself holding an MBE – said it was a surprise that Murria had not received a reward before.

“Vin is not just a successful entrepreneur. Vin has been at the forefront for the advancement of women – be that helping disadvantaged young girls in India, via the PS Foundation that she established, to setting up academies for employees to develop their potential. Vin’s philanthropic activities are almost too numerous to mention. Indeed, I personally am delighted that Vin has recently become a Patron of the Prince’s Trust.  A lot of Vin’s time – both in the past and at present – is devoted to mentoring. Vin has helped so many people along the way – sharing the rewards of her success”, Holway said.

Also recognised is de Rojas, who has had spells in senior management at a number of vendors including CA Technologies, Citrix, McAfee, and more recently a stint at Sage.


Jacqueline de Rojas

Jacqueline de Rojas is the president of techUK, a non-profit organisation which represents the UK’s technology industry.

De Rojas is a non-executive director on the board of Rightmove and on the board of Costain. She was appointed the chair of Digital Leaders in October.

De Rojas is made a CBE for services to international trade in the technology industry.

Speaking of her award on LinkedIn, de Rojas said: “To be included in the New Year Honours list is an amazing endorsement of the progress made in the UK technology industry. We are a digital nation of significance.”

IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft get Blockchain boost

Rusty chain - Wikimedia CommonsDemand for Blockchain is growing so much that it will be one of the largest users of capacity next year at about 60 data centres that IBM rents out to other companies around the globe.

IBM was one of the first big companies to see blockchain’s promise, contributing code to an open-source effort and encouraging startups to try the technology on its cloud for free. That a 106-year-old company like

IBM is going all in on blockchain shows just how far the digital ledger has come since its early days underpinning bitcoin drug deals on the dark web. The market for blockchain-related products and services will reach $7.7 billion in 2022, up from $242 million last year, according to researcher Markets & Markets.

IBM and Microsoft are making a killing from those who are making the transition to cloud services. Suddenly old databases sold by Oracle have a use again. In October, Oracle announced the formation of Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, which helps customers extend existing applications like enterprise-resource management systems. A month earlier, SAP said clients in industries like manufacturing and supply chain were testing its cloud service.

Vole has expanded its partnership with consortium R3 to make it easier for financial institutions to deploy blockchains in its Azure cloud. Big Blue, meanwhile, has been one of the key companies behind the Hyperledger consortium, a nonprofit open-source project that aims to create adequate standards for commercial use of blockchain technology.

A Juniper Research survey found six in 10 larger corporations are considering blockchain, according to the article, which adds that blockchain “is increasingly being tested or used by companies such as Wal-Mart Stores and Visa to streamline supply chain, speed up payments and store records.”

And because of blockchain’s popularity, the CEO of WinterGreen Research predicts that 55 percent of large companies with over 1,000 employees will use the cloud rather than their own data centres within five years — up from 17 percent today.

Honor ebrand crosses 40 million sales threshold

huawei-honor-8-0038-007Huawei’s ebrand Honor has passed a mile stone for a sales model which has managed to dust up the smartphone channel.

Honor has announced that its Honor X series, including smartphones from Honor 4X to Honor 7X, achieved overwhelming sales performance with more than 40 million units sold in the global market

Honor 7X launched in China in October 2017 and is made available to users worldwide recently. In China, the new smartphone achieved remarkable sales results during “Singles’ Day”, the most critical annual shopping festival, on 11 November this year. 300,000 units of Honor 7X were sold within the first two hours of Singles’ Day on Tmall.com, China’s largest online retail platform operated by Alibaba, making the smartphone at the top of overall bestsellers in the price range of RMB 1,000 to 1,999.

The new smartphone also received positive user feedback and sales results globally. Compared to Honor 6X, Honor 7X sales doubled in the first two weeks of its global launch in London, on 5 December.

In India, three rounds of flash sales with a limited number of Honor 7X were announced in India right after the global launch, and 20,000 units were sold out in one hour of each flash sales.

In Russia where Honor is a top-three smartphone brand, the sales of Honor 7X was triple that of Honor 6X in the first two weeks of the global launch, accelerating the already strong momentum in the country.

In the United States, Honor 7X achieved a 250 percent growth in pre-paid orders from 5th Dec to 14th Dec compared to the sales of Honor 6X during the first ten days of its debut.

Honor sells products primarily online via its sites as well as via third-party online retailers. Some Honor products are available to purchase at stores in select markets. Honor can offer smartphones at lower prices because the company saves money by operating online.


Skills gap looms in Europe

mind the gapNew technologies have already started to change staff requirements in the majority of European companies, leaving employers to face a huge skills gap as they struggle to find suitable staff, a new business survey shows.

62 percent of European businesses say new technologies have already changed their employment needs, resulting in a requirement for higher skilled positions in 59 percent of firms. In addition, the survey, conducted by The European Business Awards sponsored by RSM, also shows that 40 percent of businesses are finding it a challenge to recruit for these new positions.

The main reasons cited for the challenge are a lack of available IT and software solution specialists combined with a lack of high-level training and education available in country; market constraints that are leaving traditional sectors over-looked in favour of tech and financial sectors.

Adrian Tripp, CEO of The European Business Awards said: “We wanted to investigate how quickly the consequences of the new wave of technology would affect the European business community and the jobs market, and we found it is not simply an issue for the future, but the impact has already begun.”

He continued: “The concern is that as the rate of technology adoption increases the positive impact on competitiveness could become constrained by skills shortages. The increasing mismatch in the skills required and those that are available will lead to an employment crisis unless all stakeholders – business, educators and government, act now.”

Tripp concluded: ‘At a ‘100 percent Growth’ conference we will be holding in May business leaders from some of Europe’s most successful mid-market businesses will address this and other key business issues.  We hope to find solutions that will help fill the gaps.”

The survey, which included responses from 400 leading European businesses, of all sizes and sectors from 30 plus countries, also showed that whilst technology was changing needs, it was not necessarily changing numbers. 77 percent of businesses said new technologies have made them more productive which has resulted in 35 percent of businesses increasing staff numbers overall and 44 percent keeping numbers the same.

The main motivators for investing in new technology (defined as new software that radically changes how something is produced or performed) were to give companies a competitive edge (57 percent), to solve business issues (21 percent) or simply to keep up with the changing market (11 percent).

The European Business Awards is now in its 11th year and its primary purpose is to support the development of a stronger and more successful business community throughout Europe. Last year it engaged with over 33,000 businesses from 34 countries. Sponsors and partners include RSM, ELITE and PR Newswire.

This year’s Awards Grand Final will be held in Warsaw, Poland on 22 and 23 May.  Further information on this year’s competition or previous winners can be found on the website http://www.businessawardseurope.com

Flowmon Networks expands into UK

ckwk-ofwyauq_vkFlowmon Networks, a European vendor developing monitoring and security solutions for enterprise networks, is setting up shop in the United Kingdom.

After the formation of a new business development team, the company has signed a distribution contract with Beta Distribution to bring Flowmon’s network intelligence to internet service providers and the enterprise market in the country.

The axis of the new business development team is made by Stuart Smith (Sales Engineer) and a former Flowmon’s Key Account Manager for the enterprise segment Filip Cerny (Business Development Manager) coordinating the team.

The new BDM team will be responsible for raising Flowmon’s brand awareness and developing relations with new customers in target industries, in close cooperation with UK channel partners, such as Xantaro, Infradata and Axians.

Frank Dupker, VP of Sales EMEA at Flowmon Networks said that based on current numbers, we are targeting a 500 percent year-to-year revenue growth in the UK.

“Because of this strong growth, we keep investing into local operations. We want to get Flowmon recognized as a preferred NPMD and behaviour analytics technology also by users in the United Kingdom.”

Flowmon has recently announced appointing Beta Distribution as an authorised distributor in the UK. Tony Howard, Enterprise Strategy and Operations Manager at Beta commented. “Signing a leading Cyber Security vendor means we can enable our resellers to deliver a solution to their clients that will manage their increasingly complex IT environment, ensuring the reliability, availability and security of their business are made easy within demanding environments.”

He added: “Flowmon is already recognised as a leading provider in the industry. Their solution has been recognised by Gartner, recommended by Cisco, Check Point and IBM, and they are one of the fastest growing companies in the industry.”

Flowmon helps internet service providers and enterprises to manage and secure their networks via advanced, flow-based network monitoring and behaviour analysis technology utilizing machine learning. Thanks to Flowmon, professionals ensure reliability and smooth run of critical business services and secure business wealth against today’s cyber threats.

UK cyber security staff shortage loom

wargames-hackerUK companies are facing a cyber security staff shortage and companies fear they are being exposed to  hacker attacks.

According to a recent survey of recruitment agencies, 81 percent  expect a rise in demand for digital security staff, but only 16 percent were meeing the demand.

A number of high profile cyber attacks in 2017 have fuelled demand for professionals. In March, the mobile phone company Three suffered a serious breach that compromised 200,000 customers’ data. In April, the payday loan company Wonga had 250,000 customer records stolen including bank account details, phone numbers, and email addresses. A third of NHS trusts werei nfected by ransomware this year.

Adam Thilthorpe, the director of external affairs at BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, warned that  there is going to be a shortage of skilled IT professionals.

He called for an integrated strategy across government and business from education, apprenticeships and diversity initiatives.

“We should recruit more women, ethnic minorities and [retrain] older workers to unfilled posts.”


SSD sales going to boom, claims IDC

773552SSD sales are going to grow like topsy, according to IDC beancounters.

According to its Worldwide Solid State Drive Forecast Update, 2017-2021  report, the firm predicts SSD unit shipments will grow at a five-year CAGR of 15.1 percent, with revenue growing at a CAGR of 14.8 percent to hit $33.6 billion in 2021.

Apparently this is all down to “greater product availability and improved pricing dynamics” brought on by increasing demand for 3D NAND flash. NAND flash supply constraints will start to go away next year, which will bring “further price erosion” to SSD.

IDC added that the enterprise market will continue showing strong demand during the forecast period while customers seek out flash systems for traditional storage uses and server-attached solutions.

According to IDC, with SSD seeing per-gigabit costs decline, SSD attach rates will grow in servers, all-flash arrays, hybrid flash arrays and hyperscale cloud service provider datacenters.

SSD’s price drop will also lead to more adoption of SSD in PCs and other client devices, according to IDC. It predicts that SSD shipments for the PC and consumer electronics markets will grow at a CAGR of 15.8 percent in the same time period.


Bricks and mortar retailers missing digital opportunities

missed opA recent Scandit consumer survey of more than 1,500 respondents in the US, UK and Germany suggest brick-and-mortar retailers are missing valuable opportunities to digitally engage with customers and losing sales in the process.

 Survey results show that almost three-quarters (74 percent) feel positive or very positive toward traditional physical retailers. However, the data also indicates that brick-and-mortar retailers are not taking full advantage of the shopping apps that enable real-time digital engagement and information that prompt customers to buy in the store.

The survey, which sought to gauge consumer attitudes toward brick-and-mortar retailers and benchmark the proliferation of mobile shopping apps that offer barcode scanning in their current shopping experiences, uncovered several alarming facts pointing to retailers’ ineffectiveness in meeting their customers’ expectations.

58 percent of Survey respondents reported that after browsing items in store, they often or sometimes purchase them later with a mobile device. In addition, 41 percent of consumers said when an item is not available in the store they buy it from a competing online or brick-and-mortar retailer.

When respondents were asked what features they would or are planning to use in a mobile scanning app while shopping in store:

  • 30 percent reported they would use it for self-checkout
  • 26 percent would use an app to search for sale items
  • 25 percent would use it to access customer reviews
  • 24 percent of survey participants said they would access in-store coupons

In the UK this was illustrated by 23 percent of respondents saying that they would use a digital shopping assistant app on their smartphone or tablet if they were offered it and 41 percent confirming that a mobile device enhances their shopping experience.

The message from consumers is clear: brick-and-mortar retailers are falling short of delivering a seamless, digitally connected in-store experience that satisfies customers and converts engagement into sales.

These findings are supported by a recently published VDC Research white paper, Reengineer, Restructure, and Revamp Retail with Mobile Data Capture Technology, which reports “omnichannel enablement of the physical store is crucial to meeting customer expectations regarding instant gratification and a consistent shopping experience”. VDC Research highlights two key areas in which brick-and-mortar retailers lag behind online competitors: inventory visibility-in-store inventory accuracy averages around 65%-and digital shopping, with too few brick-and-mortar retailers offering popular features such as product lookup, adding products to shopping carts, self-checkout, etc. To compete long-term, retailers must work to close these critical service gaps.

In light of these findings, Scandit has published a point-of-view paper, Think Like Amazon, to explain how brick-and-mortar retailers can blend the digital and physical shopping experience in a way that turns a typical physical store environment into a connected hub of seamless retailing for employees and customers alike. “Web retailers’ increasing entry into the brick-and-mortar retail space inspired us to share how to leverage current technology to create the store of the future today”, said Scandit CEO Samuel Mueller. “For example, a customer seeking a specific product such as a food item with vegan ingredients can scan an entire shelf of goods and then use augmented reality feedback to have all vegan products instantly highlighted in their smartphone screen display.”

“Consumers and industry experts agree that brick-and-mortar retailers are well-positioned to take back sales revenue from big online enterprises,” said Mueller. “The retail ecosystem is already built around the barcode as the primary source of product information. By using ubiquitously available smart devices and affordable software, retailers can turn barcodes into a seamless customer experience foundation with minimal overhead. The next-generation mobile data capture technology that Scandit provides will help brick-and-mortar retailers compete successfully by allowing them to deliver the best of the online and in-store shopping experiences to their customers.”

Juniper drops Westcon

tumblr_lkfw5nsrRR1qfl25gJuniper Networks will end its relationship with Westcon as an EMEA-wide distributor in 2018.

The networking and security vendor said that signing a pan-EMEA deal with Nuvias in September prompted a distribution review. After January 2018, Westcon will look after Germany Spain, and Holland.

EMEA channel chief Kristian Kerr announced that Juniper Networks signed an EMEA-wide contract with a new distributor, Nuvias, in September 2017.

“As part of this new distribution landscape, from January 2018 Westcon will continue to represent Juniper, specifically in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Juniper will continue to work diligently with our distribution landscape to maintain full focus on our solution portfolio and to build market growth together”, he said.

The move is a bit of a shock as Westcon has been an EMEA-wide distributor of Juniper for the best part of nine years.

Juniper was worried that it might become over-distributed after signing a pan-EMEA deal with value-added security firm Nuvias in September, and a contract with UK-based broadliner Westcoast in February.

2017 has been a bad year for Westcon. Its owner Datatec issued a profit warning in May after it admitted its earnings per share for fiscal 2017 would fall by 66 percent. Westcon’s EMEA business saw sales falling by 30 percent while global sales declined by seven percent.

It was kicked in the bottom line with an SAP roll out that went live in November 2016 and created a mess which its parent company has attributed towards its lacklustre performance.

Westcon’s Americas operations, and 10 per cent of its EMEA and APAC business, were flogged to US distributor Synnex at the start of September for $800 million.


Cyber threats are biggest technology fear

shockThe financial services industry and public sector are aligned in their concerns about data and system security, with both citing a fear of harmful cyber threats emerging in 2018, according to a new study from digital workplace provider Invotra.

The research, conducted among 504 senior IT managers working across public sector and financial organisations, found that 79% of those in the public sector, and 85 percent of respondents in the financial services sector, consider data and systems security to be their biggest priority. Both groups also said that the most notable impact of high profile cyber attacks hitting the headlines was greater scrutiny on existing systems. When asked how well equipped their organisation is to defend itself against cyber attacks, the financial sector showed greater confidence, with 94 percent saying they had a strong line of defence, compared to 88 percent in the public sector.

Fintan Galvin, chief executive officer at Invotra said: “We commissioned this research to understand digital challenges facing the financial and public sectors. Both sectors are under pressure to modernise systems, make them accessible, and to keep pace with emerging technologies; all the while tackling sophisticated security threats. These are real hurdles for IT professionals today so it’s no wonder they have concerns for the year ahead.”

Exploring respondents attitudes to digital transformation, public sector IT managers were asked how well they felt the sector was progressing. 44 percent described digital transformation as ‘an important focus’, but said the public sector is way behind the private sector.  There was greater confidence and belief among financial services professionals, with a smaller proportion (19 percent) feeling financial services lags behind other sectors, and just a small proportion (eight percent) of respondents in the financial sector describing digitisation as ‘an aspiration’ and ‘not an achievable goal’.  In the public sector, a larger proportion (18 percent) said digital transformation was ‘a buzzword’ and described it as ‘meaningless’, and a fifth said digital transformation was too costly compared to 13 percent  in the finance sector.

With the emphasis on improving digital services, Invotra asked how technology professionals rate current investment levels. Almost half (49 percent) of public sector respondents said about the right amount had been invested to support broader digital transformation initiatives, but almost a third (32 percent) said investment to date had been inadequate. In the financial sector, 64 percent of respondents believe the right amount has been invested in improving digital services, and a much smaller proportion (18 percent believe not enough spend has been dedicated to modernisation.

Respondents were also asked to rate their organisation’s investment in emerging technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and biometrics. 46 percent of public sector IT professionals believe about the right amount has been invested but over a third (37 percent) would like to see greater investment. In the financial sector, over half (54 percent) believe current investment levels are appropriate, but a fifth believe their organisation is spending too much on emerging technologies. A far smaller proportion (23 percent) thinks too little is being spent.

Fintan Galvin added: “It’s clear from our study that finance technology professionals understand the need to drive change. But, they are charged with providing an accessible digital workplace with meaningful results in terms of improving people’s work lives, whilst facing sophisticated security threats. And, there is, of course, pressure to do more with less.

“Organisations need to wake up and realise that enhancing digital capabilities is about enabling people and not the sole responsibility of IT departments. This research highlights a need for widespread buy in, and understanding of digital workplace technologies across organisations, and for proper user training. Without this, transforming the internal and external customer experience, is going to prove impossible.”

Solution providers can cash in on the cloud

two-clouds-1385018843_27_contentfullwidthBeancounters at Wakefield Research have asked 250 senior executives at IT companies, value-added resellers and cloud providers  and found that 97 percent  believe offering cloud solutions will grow their business, and 96 percent  believe cloud-based solutions are also more profitable.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Concur and shows VARs that partner with cloud providers are more profitable. Writing on Concour’s blog Sachin Vora said that while it is clear that cloud-based solutions are integral to the future of business, the speed to market for new partners is key in a fast moving technology landscape.

“As channel partners evaluate and embrace available cloud solutions, some partnership models may have more advantages than others when it comes to building a cloud practice and being profitable. In a traditional partnership model like resell, channel partners are expected to build capability and competency across all aspects of a customer lifecycle – marketing, pre-sales, sales, implementation, support and post-sales services.”

While this model has long-term advantages, in the fast-moving cloud/SaaS space, the model limits partner’s expansion and adoption of new emerging technologies. In this scenario, a hybrid co-sell model helps the channel partner leverage their existing customer expertise without the immediate burden of investing in high-cost technical and post-sales capacity.

By implementing a co-sell referral model with a cloud-solution provider, partners can focus on being a trusted business advisor without major investment in technical sales resources.

Time spent on outside tasks such as training, marketing or sales is left to the solution provider so channel partners can focus on the success of their customers and on growing their business. In fact, according to the survey, every single company has expanded their client base since adopting a co-seller model, with average growth of 10 percent .

The survey also found that 77 percent of companies which offer a co-seller model have seen a direct or indirect profit increase since they began using it.

More than 90 percent of companies believe traditional reseller models require significantly more time and financial commitment than co-seller models.

Among those companies surveyed, the top reasons for adopting the co-seller model are:

To free up employees’ time to focus on other tasks (63 percent).

To use more highly skilled sales and marketing support than their company has on staff (59  percent).

To avoid having to train employees on a reseller model (53 percent).

To add more perceived value to their customer base (49 percent).

Knowing how quickly the market is shifting and leaning more and more on cloud, now is the time for partners to set themselves up for long-term success and start solving their customers’ problems today. Almost all companies (97 percent) know their customers struggle with accounts payable processes and expense management systems, and 90 per cent of  companies believe this is an untapped profitability source. By helping customers automate this workload, partners can drive immediate value by improving their bottom line, increasing profitability and simplifying an inefficient process.

In July of last year, Concur launched its co-sell referral channel program for partners interested in expanding their cloud practices with travel, expense and invoice cloud solutions. Since the launch, more than 300 partners have joined the programme.

Channel could turn to AI

sat-ai-head-640x353AI consultants Humanotics and service communications experts soh have announced a new partnership that they think will make it easy for the channel to create practical user focussed solutions that cut costs, boost sales and increase customer approaval.

Fran Fish, Managing Director at soh, said: “AI and chatbots show lots of promise for the service sector but with high profile media coverage of problems at Facebook and Microsoft, as well as scepticism from business journals including Harvard Business Review, clients are nervous about whether the technology can deliver.”

Dr David Naylor, Founder of Humanotics, continued: “There’s a lot of hype around AI. Suppliers are down playing the effort required by businesses to create applications that deliver a return on their investment. The Humanotics – soh partnership is about making it easier to create AI solutions that work well for customers, businesses and frontline advisors.”

The first collaboration between the two companies is the “AI Ready” assessment that helps service organisations make better business cases for AI by choosing the best service applications and thoroughly assessing the impact.

Talking about what will happen in future Fran Fish said: “With pressure to cut costs, get customers to self-serve and to digitise customer operations so that advisors can concentrate on more complex queries, our clients are asking whether digital service — including AI and machine-learning — is the answer. We’re developing how we can help companies use AI and prepare their customer service communications for any digital transformation.”

“Working with soh means we are increasing our focus on the quality of customer conversations embedded in automated assistant or chatbot applications”,  said David Naylor. “We’re also able to work together to strengthen our offering in AI as a managed service. It’s an exciting development for our clients.”

Avaya has exited Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 sees it moaning about rivals

21077-nidal-ab_articleAvaya has exited Chapter 11, and its president has slammed his rivals for capitalising on its woes with “negative selling”.

For those who came in late, Avaya has had a horrible year. But now it seems that it has emerged from bankruptcy protection and reduced its debt by $3 billion and flogged its networking business to Extreme Networks.

Avaya said it is now putting plans in place to float on the New York Stock Exchange.

Writing in his bog, Avaya president Nidal Abou-Ltaif slammed Avaya’s competitors for the approach they took to taking advantage of Avaya’s struggles.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always been ready to leverage the weakness of our competition”, he wrote.

“Throughout my time here we’ve and will continue to have a fierce passion for winning and that will never change. The difference between us and some of our competitors is that we’ve always fought fair and we’ve always looked at who should be the true winner in any outcome – our customers.

“Some of our competitors went down the negative-selling route, trying to put Avaya down in the hearts and minds of our customers and partners.

“Not only does this not work, but it’s also left our competitors less confident in their abilities. Result: we’ve beaten them to the punch on key strategic accounts, with customers preferring to do business with people they trust.”