Businesses still have a use for notebooks

Multipurpose-NotebookBeancounters working for Spiceworks have been adding up some numbers and dividing by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that companies have not given up on laptops yet.

Spiceworks thinks that companies will continue to invest in laptops for their staff for at least a year while they check out ways to make their systems more flexible.

Some of the reasons for laptop spend has been the migration of Windows 10 and towards some of the more mobile form factors and the shift towards using kit that can give staff flexibility should see more spending on laptops.

Research from the firm has found that 43 percent of buisiness are planning to expand their laptop investments in the next year and a quarter of firms are also looking to buy tablets.

The demand for laptops and tablets underpins a belief from 53 percent of customers that staff will be using mobile devices as the primary tool in the future.

Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks said that many predict the popularity of mobile devices will lead to the ‘death of the PC,’ this prophecy won’t become a reality anytime soon in the corporate world.

“It’s true that desktop PCs will become less prevalent in the near future, giving way to laptops, but tablets and smartphones still face usability challenges that prevent them from enabling key tasks in the workplace. So for the foreseeable future, traditional PCs will remain dominant while tablets and smartphones serve as complementary devices”, he added.

The continued interest in PCs is positive news for Dell’s channel partners, with a quarter of users indicating they would be spending on that vendor. HP and Lenovo come in next in customer preferences with customers also looking to increase the number of Microsoft PCs in the business.

Pen and paper still have power in the retail sector

main-qimg-3f6a39f94b87b844bacc6bd8cbec27c9Beancounters at Lightspeed and SaveTheHighStreet.org have found that a third of UK independent businesses are still using pen and paper to manage vital parts of their businesses such as managing inventory and ordering stock.

Of the 2,000 businesses surveyed from the SaveTheHighStreet.org database, only 15 percent indicated they had an EPOS system installed to help them run day-to-day operations.

These results come as a surprise considering the variety of innovative technological options currently available, that are designed to suit all financial and technical requirements, the report said.

With independents feeling the increasing pressure to juggle both an online platform as well as a brick-and-mortar store, the need to implement the right technology becomes paramount in order to be able to compete.

Modern electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems can become virtual business assistants, having the ability to help manage stock and inventory, and give independents the information they need to make informed business decisions.

Lyndsay King, Founding Partner & Community Director at SaveTheHighStreet.org said: “From the very start, our goal has been to help British independents face the ever-changing economic landscape and find the tools to remain competitive against the big players in the market. Technology is a key piece of the puzzle for SMEs going forward. Business owners who have adopted tech systems to manage day to day business are finding they save time, money and are able to see their businesses profit and grow faster. It’s worth the initial investment to get it up and running.”

Jerome Laredo, Vice President EMEA and Asia at Lightspeed commented: “Technology has become such an important part of how we manage our daily lives. We can see just how far we have come and the incredible effect tech has had in a relatively short amount of time. Yet there is still such a small percentage of independents that use up to date technology in their businesses. Working with 45,000 SMEs, we know what their pain points are and we have designed tools to help independents run their business seamlessly, from wherever they are.”

Google offers second tier cloud

MI0002204246Search engine outfit Google is offering a cheaper and cheerful version of its GCP cloud network.

While it will have lower specs than the real deal, Google insists that it matches those offered by its public cloud competitors.

Writing in his bog, Google’s SVP of technical infrastructure  Urs Hölzle, said that the search engine was the first major cloud provider to offer a tiered network service, breaking its Google Cloud Platform (GCP) into a Premium Tier and a Standard Tier.

“Over the last 18 years we [have] built the world’s largest network, which by some accounts delivers 25 to 30 percent of all internet traffic. You enjoy the same infrastructure with Premium Tier. But for some use cases, you may prefer a cheaper, lower-performance alternative. With Network Service Tiers, you can choose the network that’s right for you, for each application.”

The Standard Tier is available at a lower rate because it uses ISP networks to deliver traffic to a user’s cloud applications, rather than its own private network – which is used for the likes of Google Search and YouTube, Google said.

Google is unlikely to find many takers to opt for the lower standard, but that the move will be used to market the high performance of its network. The move is being touted in the channel as clever marketing.

Google lags in the size and number of datacentres but it can say its rivals don’t have the same quality.

 

SUSE appoints first UK top tier reseller

hqdefaultOpen source player SUSE has appointed its first top tier reseller giving the UK and Ireland job to Securelinx.

The Dublin-based firm was named SUSE’s first Solution Partner in the UK&I. According to a statement it got the job because of its acute understanding of the market and a deep technical expertise.

By getting to Solution Partner level, Securelinx gets deal registration incentives for new business but also access to campaigns and other marketing tools. It is also seen as a feather in the cap that will provide differentiation with other suppliers in the market.

Securelinx has been working with SUSE since 2003 and has built up a team of enterprise server certified engineers and has made sure it lined up its skills behind key technologies, SUSE Storage, SUSE Manager and OpenStack.

Danny Rowark, SUSE regional director EMEA West at SUSE said that Securelinx had a rich history of delivering enterprise-grade open source solutions and innovations to customers, and has continuously tracked, adopted and leveraged advances in open source technology.

“It’s an impressive track record and we know that Securelinx will continue to help its customers deliver innovation and value via SUSE technology as a SUSE Solution Partner,” Rowark said. Securelinx’s managing director Brian Farrell said that it had a deep appreciation and knowledge of open source.

“Working closely with SUSE across all these emerging technical solution areas made joining the SUSE Partner Program a very logical fit for Securelinx. The program enabled our abilities across multiple disciplines to be measured and recognised, ultimately leading us to achieve our Solution Partner accreditation”, he said.

“We are very pleased with the level of executive support we received from SUSE management. Reaching the grade of Solution Partner means that we are not just a technically certified organisation, but also one that is commercially grounded within SUSE’s local market approach. Already, we see new opportunities opening up that will lead to increased revenues for both parties and even better results for our combined customers”,  he added.

Canon wants more from its channel

canonCanon has appointed a new partner manager and is looking for a bit more from its UK channel.

James Pittick, who has been with the vendor for a decade, largely working on the direct sales side, has been given the role of director of B2B Indirect Sales, Canon UK and Ireland.

He will be working closely with the existing partner base but Pittick is also keen to strike up some fresh relationships with those channel players that can take the vendor into fresh verticals and geographical areas.

Pittick said that Canon has had a very successful channel for over three decades but it needs to evolve. Canon needed to stay relevant and continually look at how we deliver value and ultimately inspire partners to want to work with it.

The vendor has been going through its own changes in the last year and managed print is now the core of its approach to the office business and it has also got production and industrial markets it can serve.

Canon has its software and document management offerings that can also be taken up by partners.

Pittick said that Canon needed to create environments to enable more of partners to sell more of its tech. He saw his role as identifying new channel partners that could take it into new technology sectors or areas.

He said that there were opportunities for current partners to sell more and the vendor was looking to work with system integrators that were selling print as part of a wider solution.

Pittick will be reporting into Rob Ferris, director, Document Solutions at Canon UK & Ireland, who said that the task for Pittick was to drive the strategic development of its channel sales strategy.

Infosys board “night of the long knives” causes chaos

image069Outsourcing giant Infosys appears to be suffering from the fallout of a boardroom coup.

The founder of Indian outsourcing giant Infosys staged a boardroom coup with four directors ousted and a former CEO returning to steady the ship.

Last week CEO Vishal Sikka announced his shock resignation, citing a series of “malicious” and “personal” attacks from Narayana Murthy, who founded the firm in 1981.

Now it seems that was all part of a grand plan from Murthy who has has now gone a step further, leading a boardroom coup that has seen four board members depart – including Sikka and chairman Ramaswami Seshasayee.

Seshasayee has been replaced by Nandan Nilekani, who co-founded Infosys and served as its chairman between 2002 and 2007.

Outgoing CEO Sikka will no longer stay on until his replacement is found, as was previously planned.

Nilekani said: “I am happy to return to Infosys, now in the role of non-executive chairman, and look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and in executive management on the business opportunities we see before us and delivering benefits to our clients, shareholders, employees and communities.

“I thank Vishal for his service as the CEO of Infosys over the last three years and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Nilekani will have to rebuild the board and lead the search for a new CEO, while trying to steady the ship – and client and investor nerves.

Computacenter sees surge in UK business

ukflagReseller giant Computacenter is seeing a resurgence in its UK business.

The reseller and IT services giant announced its half-year results for the six months ending 30 June, with revenue up 15 percent year-on-year to £1.7 billion.

In the first part of the year the UK business had been highlighted as a company weak spot. Year-on-year sales sliding one percent, while Germany had soared 23 percent and France six percent.

CEO Mike Norris said that services revenue in the UK showed good improvement during the first half of 2017.

“Whilst the managed services pipeline has been rebuilding, the UK business has defended its contract base by completing a number of significant contract renewals.

“Services margins have improved in the UK, partly as a result of the increased mix of professional services, a business once again operating at sustainable levels of utilisation, and partly because of across-the-board execution in line with expectations within the managed services portfolio.”

Computacenter shares rose as much as 19 percent on the London Stock Exchange on the back of the announcement.

However, the outfit’s German business pulled further away from the UK in terms of revenue, coming in 26 percent up on the previous year at £762.6 million.

The French arm of the business grew 14 percent to £228.6 million, while Belgium was up 24 percent to £30.5 million.

Large suppliers focusing on G-Cloud now

lightning-cloudWhile it was supposed to encourage small suppliers to bid for government contracts, bigger suppliers still managed to snaffle more than half of the G-Cloud contracts.

Large suppliers have taken 53 percent of the £2.4 billion spending all spending through G-Cloud and account for the lion’s share of spend through G-Cloud, according to figures from Crown Commercial Service (CCS) released today.

This is a significant jump on the 44 percent of spend large suppliers accounted for when CCS released data in January, when the overall sales figure stood at £1.7 billion.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson suggested that at least some of the difference could be explained by the fact that some SME suppliers on G-Cloud were reclassified following their expansion.

“We have improved the way we manage our data and we know that a number of suppliers have grown beyond SME status over the reporting period”, the spokesman said.

“Today we published figures that show SMEs have delivered over £1.2 billion of cloud and digital services for government and the public sector since 2012. This means that almost half of digital spend, or £1.39 in every £3, is going to SMEs – giving a major boost to the technology SME sector.”

It is also possible that larger suppliers are now beginning to take the government’s frameworks more seriously.
Larger suppliers had avoided the frameworks because they were public and that would mean showing their price lists to the public domain.

HP is now the bright star and HPE is the red-headed stepchild

Youre-adoptedWhen HP and HPE split, the smart money was on HPE cleaning up, while HP followed the death of the PC into oblivion.

However the latest figures show something strange has happened, and the hardware maker of expensive printer ink is doing better than its enterprise orientated evil twin.

HP third-quarter numbers saw revenue growth hit double digits and profits came in ahead of guidance. Meanwhile HPE has failed to meet expectations for four consecutive quarters. HP’s shares are up by almost a third and the latter’s down by nearly a fifth over the last year.

There really is no reason for this different. PC shipments are in the midst of a five-year slump, according to Gartner. Yet HP’s Personal Systems arm had a third straight quarter of double-digit revenue growth, with desktops returning to growth in the quarter.

CEO Dion Weisler said it reflected the reinvention of its product line in this area: “In calendar quarter two, we outgrew the PC market unit growth by 9.5 points year over year, remaining the number one global PC market share leader with 22.8 percent share.”

HP overall growth accelerated to 10 per cent year on year, compared with seven percent in its Q2, with growth achieved in both its Personal Systems and Print segments for a second consecutive quarter.

The printer market is also in the doldrums, but HP saw growth thanks to a 10 per cent hike in supplies sales, its Print arm grew sales six per cent year on year, and Weisler said HP Inc now has a 38.5 percent total print unit market share.

Weisler vowed that “profitable growth will continue to be our priority”, pointing out that its Personal System Group’s profits, margins and revenues all grew sequentially in Q3 despite the industry-wide component cost headwinds.

“We’ve been proactive with our ongoing productivity efforts, repricing actions and focus on product mix”, he said.

Weisler described Q3 an “outstanding quarter, showcasing strong execution of our strategy he added that the vendor is investing in “future categories”.

It had “raised the bar” in the premium segment with its new Spectre x2, adding that it had expanded its Omen gaming portfolio with a new virtual-reality backpack.

HP made its big entrance into the 3D print market last summer, and Weisler said the vendor has now amassed 45 resellers for the technology globally, as well as more than 20 Reference and Experience Centres. Its 3D print customers include Jaguar Land Rover, Flex and others in the automotive, pharmaceutical, government and education industries.

All up, it looks like HP is doing well.

Digital algorithmic trading firm buys two key competitors

Sports-TradexThe digital algorithmic trading company Sportstradex has bought rival sports trading software firms Algorbet and Global Sports Exchange in a deal speculated to be in excess of £32 million.

Both companies had developed digital algorithmic trading systems that many suspected were based on the pioneering SportsTradex algorithm source code that revolutionised the sports trading market in 2012. The exact figure for the purchase remains undisclosed.

Increasingly high levels of investment are being placed into the Sportstradex Digital Algorithmic Trading System, giving the company a substantial increase in worldwide market share.This unique trading system is designed to identify significant mispricing across several international sports betting exchanges, utilising historical sporting data and input from internal sporting analysts to deliver unprecedented returns for clients and investors.

Further acquisitions are apparently planned as this deal has given http://www.sportstradex.co.uk an opportunity to further dominate the sports trading market and is now firmly positioned as the nearest competitor to sports trading pioneers Star Lizard.

With plans already in place to acquire other rival trading software development companies over the course of the next 12 months, we are certain to see Sports Tradex dominating the badminton courts.

The sports trading market is now estimated to be worth over £1 trillion and with recent announcements from Former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent and his belief that sports betting will be legalised in the United States, this figure is only set to rise.

Experts predict that the legalisation of sports betting in the USA would be one of the biggest developments in sports since the introduction of television, or the invention of cricket.

Security skills shortage

securityIntelligence analyst Cybersecurity Ventures has warned that the cyber-security market is facing an “epidemic” skills shortage.

The California-based research firm has compiled a quarterly Cybersecurity 500 list since 2015, cataloguing what it sees as the hottest and most innovative industry leaders

Feedback from 2017’s top three – Herjavec Group, IBM Security and Raytheon Cyber has revealed growing concern over the widening gap between security threats, and the number of people qualified to tackle them.

The single biggest trend, globally, is that there are chronic work shortages of qualified cyber security staff. It’s an absolute epidemic, the survey found.

From the end of 2013 to 2015, Cisco published research on global cyber security that showed there were one million cyber security positions open globally and Cybersecurity Ventures’ own research suggests that this deficit become worse.

There is a predicted growth in cybercrime coming and by 2021, the company expects there to be 3.5 million vacant cybersecurity job openings.

“The pipeline of security talent isn’t where it needs to be to help curb the rise in more widespread, and more sophisticated, cybercrime.”

There are shortfalls in specialised education in information technology and computer science.

Out of the top ten ranked firms, seven are based out of the US; one in Canada; one in IT security hub Israel; and one UK outfit: Sophos.

Other UK high flyers include BAE Systems (14), BT (29), PwC (32), NNT (54) and KPMG (57). DFLabs in Lombardy, Italy was the highest-ranked continental European firm, at number 19.

Salesforce slags off rivals for abandoning CRM

Salesforce_Logo_2009Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has slagged off his CRM competitors for doing “a horrible job” which has cleared the way for his outfit to make a fortune.

The cloudy software vendor saw its revenue for the three months ending 31 July jump 26 per cent year on year to $2.56 billion – making it the first enterprise software company to hit $10 billion,.

However that would not have been possible, claimed Benioff, if Salesforce’s CRM rivals had not “abandoned” the CRM market.

“When you’re in enterprise software you have to realise, its hard work [and] not everything is going to be perfect all the time – there is going to be problems,” he said. “That’s why being so committed to the customer is more important than ever.

“I have to say our competitors have really done a horrible job in last few years. I just would say that a lot of them have abandoned the CRM market.

“If you talk to the major CRM analysts, and we do that, we just had one of them at our management conference, they are shocked. We’re shocked at how these companies have really walked out of the CRM market. Companies that had huge multibillion dollar positions in the CRM have conceded that market to us.”

Benioff said the actions of others in the market has created an “exciting” opportunity for Salesforce and its chums.

Dell EMC allows top partners to buy VMware software

michael-dell-2Dell EMC’s key UK partners are testing a scheme where they can buy VMware software from the vendor.

The big idea is that the vendor will make sure they can deliver a more complete solution by allowing its level one titanium and titanium black partners get access to VMware software.

Apparently, it is something the channel wanted so partners could combine that technology with the hardware it is selling from Dell and EMC.

The latest move will not have any impact on the VMware channel partner programme and Dell EMC’s distributors have been briefed on the plans and have reportedly given it their blessing.

Michael Collins, senior vice president for Dell EMC Channel Business in EMEA, said that it had always promised partners that it would be simple, predictable and profitable and it had to respond to the demand from its largest partners to make it simpler to add VMware to a converged solution sale.

The scheme is in pilot mode for the second half of this year and being run in the UK and France in Europe as well as the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil with plans to potentially extend it to other countries in the future.

Most of those partners that will be eligible to buy VMware through Dell EMC are already selling the virtualisation software but will now have more choice about how they pull it all together.

 

Scots politicians slam Misco’s Scotland warehouse closure

scots angerInverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan has slammed Misco’s Scotland warehouse closure.

Cowan posted on Twitter that he was meeting with Scottish government agency Scottish Enterprise to discuss the issue – while also contacting skills and training agency Skills Development Scotland.

Misco wants to shut its Greenock warehouse at the end of the year, with all 65 warehouse staff set to be made redundant.

In other social media posts, the Scottish Labour Party’s political director Martin McCluskey criticised Misco bosses for the redundancies, claiming their rationale “doesn’t show much imagination about how [the] facility could be re-used to save jobs”.

Misco has since responded to Cowan and McCluskey on Twitter, offering them the chance to speak with the company.

A spokesperson from Cowan’s office said the MP is due to speak him either today or tomorrow, while McCluskey had not responded to CRN’s request for comment.

The company said the decision had been made to shut down the warehouse because it was no longer economic.  It was set up to ship 6,000 parcels a day and only does 400 and 500 parcels.

Misco is working with the Scottish agency PACE [Partnership Action for Continuous Employment], a Scottish Government initiative designed to help people into a new job, he added.

 

Cloudy Elastifile signs up BigTec

cloud (264 x 264)Hybrid cloud storage start-up Elastifile has signed BigTec as its first European distributor.

The Israeli vendor, which claims its software can help firms move to the public cloud and prevent cloud lock-in, has raised $65 million in funding over the last year, and launched a UK office in January.

Elastifile’s sales director Eddie Galvan said that BigTec’s success building sales for other storage start-ups made it a natural ally.

“We want to successfully penetrate not just the UK market but the European market: we’ve signed an agreement with them across Europe. I’d describe them as an unconventional distributor, meaning they roll up their sleeves and actually generate opportunities and really assist in the sales effort.”

Elastifile’s software is designed to remove barriers for businesses moving to public cloud, and prevent cloud lock-in, by providing a menu of integrated public cloud access.

Resellers with customers that are moving to the public cloud are finding that one of the biggest inhibitors is that they have to re-factor their applications in order for them to run in AWS or Google, or move to a new application, which can be costly and time consuming.

“We enable their customers to move those workloads to the public cloud without this, then save them money on resources in the public cloud when running those applications there, and thirdly, enable them to avoid getting locked into cloud vendors like AWS, by providing the ability to seamlessly move back if needs be,” he said.

Elastifile is backed by Dell, Cisco and Lenovo and has the bandwidth to take on 10 reseller partners across the region. The vendor wants to have another round of funding at the back-end of 2017 aimed specifically at scaling out its sales and channel teams.