Formpipe Lasernet teams up with HSO

Formpipe Lasernet – which provides document output management solutions for Microsoft Dynamics – has partnered with HSO, the provider of enterprise business solutions.

The move is all part of a cunning plan to expand Formpipe’s UK business.

Mike Rogers, chief commercial officer at Formpipe Lasernet, said: “We are continuing to build on our partner first strategy and are delighted to welcome HSO onboard. Formpipe Lasernet is a global company and the addition of HSO will strengthen our presence within the UK. The Lasernet product set and partner ecosystem continues to go from strength to strength, so partnering with HSO was a natural choice.”

HSO brings over 25 years of industry experience to Formpipe Lasernet’s established partner portfolio, said Webb. With offices in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, APAC and the US, HSO is said to have delivered successful implementations in almost every country in the world. HSO is an award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in implementing and supporting ERP & CRM business solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and providing Managed Services to multinational enterprises in Retail, Distribution, Manufacturing and Services.

Mark Cockings, Head of Alliances and Sales Operations at HSO said : “HSO are pleased to be partnering with Formpipe Lasernet to deliver a comprehensive solution for document management with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our joint proposition enables customers to quickly and efficiently create, modify, control, disseminate and archive branded documentation across their entire organisation. This partnership continues HSO’s strategy to work with best of breed organisations to deliver innovative solutions to meet the growing business needs of our customers.”

It’s a while since ChannelEye has come across the expression “best of breed”. Glad to hear the channel’s mastery of the English language continues, unabated.

Mosher takes control of Bromium’s field operations

Bromium has announced that Kevin Mosher has joined the company as its  Chief Revenue Officer.

Mosher will oversee all revenue generation processes, and lead Bromium’s global field operations and go-to-market efforts.

Bromium CEO Gregory Webb said he was  delighted to have Mosher join the Bromium team.

Mosher joins at a time when Bromium is poised for rapid growth with a differentiated, market-leading solution, he said.

“Along with his network of trusted CIO, CISO, sales, and partner relationships, Kevin’s expertise running high-performing field and channel organizations makes him the ideal leader for increased customer time to value and growth.”

Prior to joining Bromium, Mosher was SVP of Worldwide Sales at cyber security start-up ArcSight, where he oversaw revenue growth from $4 million to $700 million in seven years.

He was also instrumental in helping take the company public in 2008. Mosher then led Global Sales at data security company Delphix, where over a period of three years he significantly grew revenues, increased deal size, and expanded the company’s market share. Mosher also held leadership roles at Oracle, Portal Software, and Accel Partners, a venture capital firm.

Large format displays are still a growth market

banner_220x220Distributor sales revenues from large format displays (LFDs)  grew by eight percent in the third quarter.

Beancounters at CONTEXT have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and concluded that despite the positive growth of LFDs, interest in videowalls remains high even if sales declined by  nine per cent year-on-year.

Revenues and volume sales in Western Europe declined in that period, with weakness coming from all screen sizes, says CONTEXT. The only growth spot was 49-inch displays, the sales of which more than tripled.

Despite the weak performance of videowalls, standard and interactive displays saw double-digit sales growth in early Q3. Amongst standard LFDs, 55-inch displays remain dominant, but there is a visible trend towards smaller 49-inch, 43-inch and even 32-inch displays, together with growing by 82 percent.

Ultra large displays, 85-inch and above, still account for a smaller volume share but interest increased. Volumes of these models more than doubled in early Q3. Amongst displays with a touchscreen, the most significant shift has been noticed for LFDs with 75-inch, which now account for over 20 percent of volume sales.

The first eight weeks of Q3 saw the average selling price (ASP) decline across all types of displays. For instance, the ASP of the most popular 55-inch non-touch LFDs dropped by over €100, which is a 10 percent decrease year-on-year.

CONTEXT Senior Analyst for Displays at, Dominika Koncewicz said: “Strong sales in early Q3 follow the already very positive trend for LFDs at the beginning of 2018, which should continue in the second half of the year. Despite weak performance, we should see more videowalls as well as increasing interest in high brightness outdoor displays.”

Alibaba launching a London datacentre

banner_220x220The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that the Chinese retailer Alibaba is launching a London datacentre.

The rumours are based  on  information displayed on a newly added landing page, where the outfit said it offer flexible compute services from £30.87 a month from its new London region as it bids to take on AWS, Azure and Google in the UK.

Under the heading ‘London is Calling’, Alibaba trumpets the fact that “an Alibaba Cloud datacentre is coming to the UK”, although stops short of confirming a launch date.

Alibaba is not commenting further but the evidence does seem to have legs. It seems to suggest that Alibaba is gearing up from a real battle for the clouds in the UK.

Alibaba operates 18 cloud regions globally, 14 of which are in China and Asia-Pac. Two are situated in the US, a country Alibaba is reportedly struggling to crack. Its only European region, Frankfurt, serves continental European customers.

Featured products for the London region include flexible computing, storage, networking, database and security.

In its latest quarter ending 30 June 2018, Alibaba claims its cloud computing business grew by 93 percent year on year to $710 million.


Campaign for Clear Licensing looks into support contracts

banner_220x220The Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) has turned its focus on vendors’ software support and maintenance contracts.

The outfit said that that customers are paying for expensive support from vendors, without knowing what is included.

It said that in some cases, customers are paying an extra 20 percent a year on top of the software cost. CCL has been researching the software licensing market.

Martin Thompson, founder of the CCL, said: “The ideal outcome for this research was to generate a ranking table of which software vendors provided the best and worst support, with whom organisations logged a call most often, and so on.

“However, the results were completely unexpected. The typical respondent had no idea of support volumes, support quality or the strategic value of software maintenance renewals at all. In short, software maintenance renewals are not facing enough scrutiny.

“With the average support and maintenance contract costing the equivalent of 20 percent of the licence fee each year, it is high time that customers held their software vendors to account.”

CCL said that “the vast majority” of respondents to its survey did not have enough information about their firm’s licensing activity to make informed decisions.

Thompson added that there is an opportunity for customers to negotiate a cheaper price for their maintenance contracts.

“Software publishers are benefiting from the lack of scrutiny over what is included in their maintenance contracts, particularly when it comes to the inclusion of security patches. By bringing greater scrutiny of the software maintenance market, those in ITAM (IT asset management) can bring considerable leverage to the negotiation table during renewal discussions. With historically very little scrutiny of this expensive and often unavoidable expense, we will be keeping a close eye on changes in customer and vendor behaviour in this industry over the coming years.”

Ex-hacker launches blockchain powered cybersecurity is releasing a security product which combines artificial intelligence, bug bounties and blockchain to make effective protection make accessible to all.

Founded by ex-hacker turned cybersecurity expert, Tayo Dada, Uncloak aims to create next generation cyber security threat management.

The outfit claims that the only way to protect against hackers is to stay a step ahead. Much like a weather forecast, Uncloak identifies potential cyberthreats that are on their way, enabling businesses to be prepared and suggesting solutions to secure their systems before threats arrive.

Uncloak uses advanced artificial intelligence to identify hackers, their behaviour and the information they are trading publicly on the internet or via the “dark web”.

Then, by putting out bug bounties using a fully automated blockchain system, both ethical ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ hackers are able to be paid in a legitimate way for finding and sharing the newest threats and vulnerabilities.

Uncloak works on a low-cost subscription model for organisations. Companies have access to a personalised dashboard which searches everything from printer passwords to vulnerable software within the company’s network to measure their cyber security. This dashboard shows the threat levels, and offers simple advice on how to address any potential vulnerabilities.

When a new threat is identified, the client is alerted and given steps to resolve the issue. If they aren’t able to action the solution themselves, Uncloak will connect the user with a verified local IT security expert who will be able to resolve the problem at a pre-defined and agreed cost.

Companies can subscribe to Uncloak using traditional currencies, but the platform also has its own UNC Token which can be used to pay for Uncloak subscriptions, cyber security support from recommended partners and to anonymously pay hunters to check for security bugs in specific applications.

The pre-sale of UNC tokens is now open to companies and individuals wanting to invest in Uncloak, with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) starting 25th September. Companies can buy the limited amount of UNC Tokens at their lowest rate, while investors have an opportunity to buy into the commercialisation of this next generation cyber threat management solution.

Uncloak’s public platform will launch in Q4 2018.

Rackspace ramps up its channel

Cloudy outfit Rackspace said that its year-long spruce up of the channel is continuing and it needs more partners.

It said that it is in a position to provide its partners with a wide number of options to take out to customer, across public, private and hybrid cloud environments, and as a result has seen its base increase.

At the moment it is contacting traditional VARs looking to take steps into the cloud as well as providing options for those looking to add more options for their customers looking at a multi-cloud strategy.

John Coulston, Director of Partners & Alliances, Rackspace, EMEA, said that it was building and investing more in the channel.

“We are definitely looking for more partners and have a significant growth target for our channel”, he added “We have pretty big aspirations in the channel space.”


Dell quarterly revenue hits $23 billion

Tin box shifter Dell saw its sales rise across the board as quarterly revenue hits $23 billion.

The vendor is now forecasting non-GAAP revenues of between $90.5 billion and $92 billion for its full fiscal year and non-GAAP operating income of between $8.4 billion and $8.8 billion.

Revenues increased by 18 percent in non-GAAP terms to $22.9  billion for the quarter, while non-GAAP operating income hit 13 per cent growth to $2.1 billion. The firm reported a GAAP operating loss of $13 million.

Its Infrastructure Solutions Group increased by 24 percent and Client Solutions Group 13 percent.

Servers and networking swelled 34 percent year on year and storage hit 13 percent sales growth.

VMware meanwhile grew revenues by 11 percent to $2.2  billion and logged $736 million  in operating income.

Dell claims to have pushed a record number of client units in Q2 and saw triple-digit growth for its VxRail and VxRack lines.

Michael Dell in a statement: “We are in the early stages of a global, technology-led investment cycle in which every company is becoming a technology company. As our results indicate, Dell Technologies is perfectly positioned to grow, gain share, drive innovation and be our customers’ best, most trusted partner on the journey to their digital future.”

Dell is currently gearing up to return to the stock exchange, which the firm claims will allow it to simplify its capital structure.


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.