Dell promises to beef up the channel

A bevy of senior Dell EMC executives spoke to a bevy of tech hacks this morning and spelled out in detail their promise of reseller goodnesses for their mega storage and server businesses.

Speaking at the Canalys Channel Forum in sunny Barcelona, the company was quick to say it was prepared for the British exit from the EU (Brexit) from day one, and even before day one. It is talking to the UK government and to other bodies and organisations to ease the transition if and when and however it comes.

But, and relating to its channel strategy, Dell EMC said it had given its resellers a lower price, and “that forms a strong incentive to the channel. Large accounts worldwide are wide open. If our partners win that business they’re protected.”

Michael Collins

Dell EMC’s Michael Collins showing determination

Dell EMC said it will be a partner led strategy.

“Speaking to our partners and what they want from us is to look at the opportunities that exist in our enterprise business. We have to give them the ability to sell right across the range of Dell’s product portfolio.

“We’ve looked at where the opportunities are for the channel. We’re putting a commitment to the channel in order to invest and win incremental business, to be protected and we’ve introduced “partner of record” – that means the customer is locked to the partner for a period of a year. It’s exactly what our partners asked for.”

Dell EMC said there are two flavours of its preferred programme.

“It’s not just for enterprise customers but we’ve expanded this to include commercial as well. The benefit for the partner is really simple. When partners sell more, they make more margin and revenue and it gives incremental opportunities. This is very much based around our storage portfolio.”

Further, Dell EMC is pushing into its enterprise IoT business for large organisations and will offer eight bundles aimed at specific environments.”

It’s the software that is the secret, the company claimed, and the bundles are related to large requirements such as energy requirements for connected organisations.

“It is not going to pay all the bills this year, next year or even the year after. These are early attempts to figure out how to promote this technology. We have IoT training for customers and partners and have made this available through our distributors.”

Around a half of its enterprise storage and server offerings are fulfilled through the channel, the company claimed.

Vendors need to oil the resellers aching joints

Steve Brazier, the top analyst at Canalys gave his views on the future of the channel in the European market right now in the European forum held in rainy Barcelona today. And apparently there are more storms on the way.

And as well as giving his predictions on the way things are going, he turned his attention on the top six vendors and the way they were disappointing distributors and resellers.

In a wide-ranging keynote, Brazier said that the trade war between China and the USA introduced uncertainties into the market and no-one can predict the shape of things to come. It could be that we see large shifts in manufacturing and companies like Samsung that manufacture in Vietnam rather than China could reap huge benefits from not facing heavy tariffs.

He said that partners make most of their money from the top six and it’s all down to a question of margins. The channel and the vendors, he said, had introduced friction into the border between direct selling and through partners.

He said that there’s more friction between vendors and the channel. The vendors demand loyalty from their channel while the channel wants vendors to stop selling directly. There’s a danger that vendors are not being open about the data they get from their “partners”.

“We’re expecting some tough questions in the private sessions.”

Banking alternatives see spike in inquiries

oldbankFar-reaching IT failures and outages at traditional banks in recent months have triggered a surge in enquiries to banking alternatives, reveals one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

deVere Vault, the global e-money app and multi-currency prepaid card, today reports a 35 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in enquiries.  It follows a series of technical glitches at several major banks, affecting millions of customers.

Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, comments: “People have long been getting fed-up with major banks’ high fees, hidden costs, limited working hours, and less-than-impressive customer service, amongst other things.

“But this recent litany of IT failures has, it seems, prompted many of them to look beyond traditional banking and seek out alternatives, such as deVere Vault.

“Indeed, we’re largely attributing deVere Vault’s 35 per cent jump in enquiries in the last quarter to people being negatively impacted by the chaos within the traditional banking sector.

“By switching to alternative banking solutions users typically enjoy much lower fees, plus on-the-go, 24-hour, hassle-free, borderless access to, and use of, their money. It’s not just the banks’ massive IT disruptions that are driving consumers towards alternative solutions.  Geopolitical factors, such as Brexit amongst many others, are causing exchange rate volatility – but these alternatives are multicurrency, meaning users have the ability to mitigate the adverse impact of currency fluctuations on their cash.

“In addition, the world is increasingly globalised and people are ever-more internationally mobile.  These alternative banking options are ideal for those who frequently travel as they can be used wherever, whenever.”

He added: “It is becoming increasingly evident that fintech [financial technology] firms are filling the gap left between what traditional banks are offering and what clients are now expecting, especially in terms of customer experience.”

Green said: “By providing those who use them with access to, and management and use of their money with no stress, no hassle and no hidden charges, wherever they are in the world, the demand for alternative banking solutions in our ever-more globalised world looks set to continue to soar.”

Axis gets a foot in the door with Police

policemanAxis has been named a full member of Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, as a wide range of network video products receive its Police Preferred Specification accreditation

SBD is part of the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives’ (PCPI) group of crime prevention organisations, which operate in support of the Police Service throughout the UK. Membership was awarded after 15 of Axis’ network video products were accredited for achieving SBD’s Police Preferred Specification (PPS) standards for security.

The PPS accreditations include a variety of devices from AXIS Companion, a complete solution that brings the reliability of professional video surveillance to small business owners. This gives SMEs the confidence and reassurance they need to invest in cost-effective networked video technology, and reap the security and business benefits that connected devices offer.

The PCPI SBD was established in 1989 and works with police forces and industry suppliers to create high standards of crime prevention equipment, with the ultimate aim of reducing both the risk and fear of crime. SBD requires products to be rigorously tested or certified independently before it is prepared to consider them for its coveted PPS accreditation.

“Axis is driven by a vision to constantly innovate for a smarter and safer world. Having SBD accreditation provides customers who are procuring security equipment and video surveillance technology with that extra level of knowledge that Axis products are proven and trusted,” says Atul Rajput, Regional Director Northern Europe at Axis Communications. “We have worked hard to ensure that all of our products deliver to the highest standards, for both enterprise and small business.”

The company said that network video is essential for crime prevention and prosecution and can help communities feel safer and more secure. It  has a major role to play in the development of smart city technology. Image data from shopping centres, transport networks and city surveillance is not only used to fight crime, but also to provide intelligence around the movement of people and goods throughout an area.

In addition, while a large part of SBD accreditation focuses on ensuring devices are safe from physical attack, it is equally important that the cybersecurity of new technology is given the same priority.

“Axis has worked hard to ensure it has a safe and secure platform for network video. Axis engineers pride themselves on designs that make device management and issuing firmware updates simple but fully protected against malicious hackers and online criminals. Once IP video is securely installed on the network it can be combined with other data sources to deliver real insights for smarter living,” Rajput says.

“We welcome Axis as a full member to what is a select group of companies that have demonstrated the necessary criteria to meet our strict standards for SBD accreditation,” says Guy Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, Secured by Design. “The role of network video surveillance is increasingly vital for communities across the UK, and it is important that vendors such as Axis are proving that this technology can be built and deployed responsibly and reliably.”

Axis products that have achieved the PPS accreditation include devices from the AXIS Companion range of indoor and outdoor cameras, as well as thermal and radar imaging equipment, and the Axis Network Horn Speaker. This gives Axis’ partners the ability to provide businesses of all sizes and needs with full solutions and externally certified equipment.

Cloud Foundry launches certified systems Integrator programme

two-clouds-1385018843_27_contentfullwidthOpen source outfit Cloud Foundry has announced its the Cloud Foundry Certified Systems Integrator programme.

The programme is  designed to help Systems Integrators (SIs), consultancies and professional services organisations highlight their expertise working with the Cloud Foundry family of technologies.

These organisations have demonstrated contributions to the Cloud Foundry community through contributing code, hosting meetups, public marketing of the platform, Foundation membership and more.

  • Cloud Foundry Certified SIs will receive the following benefits:
  • Top-level visibility in The Foundry, the largest open source marketplace in existence
  • An official Cloud Foundry Certified SI badge to use in their marketing material
  • Reseller discounts for Cloud Foundry Certified Developer exams

The Foundation also announced two new projects — Eirini and CF Containerisation — have been accepted as incubating projects by the Project Management Committees (PMCs), which oversee platform engineering of the open source projects, to further the interoperability of Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes.

Vertiv announces Joachim Fischer as EMEA channel sales director

indexVertiv has announced the appointment of Joachim Fischer as channel sales director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The company said that Fischer brings significant channel experience having previously worked as general manager sales for NEC in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH), leading substantial channel development programmes.

Fischer will lead the creation of an enhanced product portfolio specifically designed for the channel, along with a competitive commercial policy and a series of marketing initiatives and programmes to support resellers. Moreover, his role will be essential in supporting new product developments for this segment, as well as bringing edge computing solutions to the market.

Vertiv EMEA vice president Karsten Winther said the company had been working intensively to develop a comprehensive list of value propositions – a sophisticated channel dedicated product portfolio, additional investments in reseller recruitments and further investments in channel marketing programmes.

“This is with the ambition to attract partnerships based on trust and significant mutual growth in our channel distributors and resellers, as part of our broader go-to-market strategy. We have incredible potential – paired with Fischer ’s expertise in driving both projects and run rate business with the channel and all of our new initiatives; we can make substantial progress to become more attractive to channel partners and help expand our reach into this ever-changing, dynamic and critical market area.”

Fischer said: “I am very excited to join Vertiv and to help shape the company’s new channel programmes in EMEA. This market has its own particular dynamics, and I look forward to applying my experience and knowledge to match its needs.”

US software outfits plan $5.2 billion merger

Merge-AheadCloudera and Hortonworks have announced plans to merge, creating an organisation valued at $5.2 billion.

The pair claims the merged outfit will be “the world’s leading next-generation data platform provider”.

The new firm will have a revenue of around $720 million and will save 125 million a year.  There is no word at this point how those savings will be made, but we suspect more than one person will be cleaning out their desk and leaving the building.

Cloudera CEO Reilly is set to helm the new business, while Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden will join the board of directors.

Bearden said: “This compelling merger will create value for our respective stockholders and allow customers, partners, employees and the open source community to benefit from the enhanced offerings, larger scale and improved cost competitiveness inherent in this combination. Together, we are well positioned to continue growing and competing in the streaming and IoT, data management, data warehousing, machine learning/AI and hybrid cloud markets. Importantly, we will be able to offer a broader set of offerings that will enable our customers to capitalise on the value of their data.”


Metaphor headed for £10 million revenues

PF-loadsamoney_2177214kMetaphor IT is confident that it is going to break the £10 million barrier within the next three years.

Founder Richard Callis expects the company to generate a turnover of £7 million by the end of its current financial year on 31 March 2019 and to hit the magical 10 million barrier it will use a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.

Acquisitions have been a critical part of Metaphor IT’s growth so far but the company has not found any which are the right fit, yet.

Metaphor has Rackspace, Citrix and Microsoft among its vendor partners acquired in September 2016, with the purchase of Surrey-based Teagen, but Callis admitted that it will acquire only companies that meet a set of rules.

Acquisition targets must fit in with Metaphor’s existing three pillars of cloud and virtualisation, security, and managed services, and must have revenues of £5m or below, he said.



Brexit about to give the application development market a kicking

1046922917The application development, testing and maintenance market is about to be dusted up by Brexit, according to a report from a report from Information Services Group.

Banking, financial services, healthcare and life sciences are likely to suffer some adverse impact from Brexit as no one knows what software they are going to need.

This means that the majority of companies in the UK have not yet begun preparing for Brexit, and there are growing fears of supply-chain disruptions. As for providers, the large ones should be able to cover most situations that arise, but smaller UK-based providers may struggle with the changing market dynamics.

Many vendors hope that there will be a spike in demand after 29 March next year as customers try to get in-line with any changes quickly.

Banks had already started to move headcount out of the UK, and there was talk of some movement in the car manufacturing areas, and that would be a strain on existing systems based on the current situation, the report said.

There were also signs that aside from Brexit customers were looking for more focus on next-generation options from their application development management partners. Areas of interest included: analytics, IoT, cloud-native architecture, SaaS-based offerings, security, customer experience and mobile.

BlueJeans increases US expansion with Ingram Micro channel deal

imagesBlueJeans has penned   a distribution deal with Ingram Micro as part of its push into the US market.

The pair already has teamed up in Europe and Asia Pacific market. Under the deal, Ingram Micro will send BlueJeans’ unified communications products, including BlueJeans Meetings, BlueJeans Rooms and BlueJeans Events up with its channel partners throughout the US. They will sell them on to businesses looking for collaboration tools.

Jeff Yelton, executive director of Ingram Micro, said that BlueJeans was a cloud-native meetings platform and a natural fit with Ingram’s growing unified communications and collaboration portfolio.

“Demand for intelligent workplaces is building among businesses of all sizes, and we’re excited to extend our relationship with BlueJeans and expand our U.S. portfolio to include BlueJean’s one-touch video, audio and web conferencing solutions”, he said.

Managing the relationship with Ingram Micro, BlueJeans has appointed a new SVP of global channels Barry Ruditsky who joins BlueJeans from Actiance, where he worked with ISVs and OEMs, including IBM, and launched a global VAR programme for the company.

“There is a terrific market opportunity for BlueJeans as we continue to work alongside the industry’s best partners, including Ingram Micro. Enterprise companies in every market segment are fully aware of the impact that meeting and collaboration solutions like BlueJeans have on the morale, engagement and bottom line of the business. There is an endless runway for us to grow with our partner community.”

Labour productivity figures create call for AI

Forwarders-set-to-see-growthAccording to the latest labour figures productivity in the UK is still growing but still hasn’t reached the two percent growth rate the country was seeing before 2008, despite Britons’ long office hours and intense work ethic.

However Digitial sales tranformation outfit  Altify said that it is because employees spend too much of their workday focused on admin hygiene tasks, instead of investing their time in those that bring actual value to the company and the economy.

So says Altify, the digital sales transformation company, which claims that the use of the right AI tool will help employees focus on high-value tasks and reverse the toxic lifecycle of hard work, long hours, and little of the productivity that results from genuine job satisfaction.

Altify CEO Anthony Reynolds believes that AI is the key to the productivity puzzle and said that augmented Intelligence will not signify the end of human work, but rather the beginning of it.

“Once freed from mindless tasks which uphold administrative hygiene but bring little else, in the way of value to their customers, closed sales or job satisfaction. Sales teams all too often find themselves spending their time swamped in banal administrative tasks. This is perhaps why sales has not yet fulfilled its full strategic potential for organisations and points to the same conclusion for the UK’s corporate landscape as a whole.”

Masergy makes EMEA channel expansion

banner_220x220Masergy, a US provider of secure hybrid networking, cloud communications, and managed security solutions, is expanding its channel programme in the EMEA region and is looking for new parters.

Following its initial success, the enhanced programme will be implemented to attract new partners and grow the existing strategic partner base in the region, the outfit said.

The Masergy Global Partner Programme is designed to work with different business models, including value-added resellers (VARs), master and sub-agents, system integrators, solution providers, and consultants.  The programme allows partners to leverage Masergy’s expertise in servicing global customers by delivering world-class Secure Hybrid Networking with Managed SD-WAN, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Intelligent SIP Trunking, Cloud Contact Centre, and Managed Security with detection and response solutions.

Bill Madison, Vice President of Global Channel Development at Masergy said: “We know that many enterprise IT departments are seeking innovative service providers that deliver enhanced agility and security to their businesses. Our expanded focus in EMEA will build on our current success in the region. We are adding dedicated channel resources with a focused strategic plan, and will work closely with partners to deliver bespoke solutions personalised to customers’ unique business requirements.”

Masergy has a tiered partner program and provides partners with a competitive monthly residual compensation structure along with certified product training, joint business plan mapping, market development funds, and comprehensive pre- and post-sales support.

Steve Harrington, Channel Director EMEA at Masergy said his focus was to strengthen relationships with existing partners and grow a channel base with new partners in EMEA.

“I am excited about the significant market opportunity for Masergy and our partners as our innovative technologies, customisable global solutions, and industry-leading customer experience sets us apart from our competitors.”


Reseller Sales management shortage jacks up wages

banner_220x220Reseller Sales directors have seen a 60 percent increase in their basic salary this year from last year as a skills shortage bites.

Research conducted by Robertson Sumner recruitment agency attributed this salary rise to the skills gap, stating that channel companies are raising their wages to attract appropriately experienced candidates to their organisations.

Marc Sumner, founder of the channel recruitment agency, said there were more vacancies than people and that is a real worry for businesses.

“There were no reseller candidates on the market looking for jobs; they are either happily employed, or they are looking to work for vendors.”

The survey was conducted across 3,000 candidates over a six month period this year, and the results indicate that senior sales positions at vendors also saw salary increases of between seven and 12 percent.

Distributors were seeing sales salaries remaining stable because there is a sufficient supply of skills among distributors, so they do not need to raise salaries to attract candidates, but that this may be to their detriment as these candidates look to the more lucrative packages offered by vendors and resellers.

“You don’t usually see people in distribution move to a reseller – the next logical step would be to go to a vendor. But they are certainly falling way beyond reseller and vendor packages, that’s for sure.”

The onus is on channel companies to solve the skills gap, according to Sumner.

Silver Peak ties in with Axians

banner_220x220Silver Peak has formalised a new partnership agreement with Axians UK, the VINCI Energies brand dedicated to ICT.

Axians UK will join the Silver Peak partner programme and immediately offer the Unity EdgeConnect business-driven SD-WAN edge platform to its current and prospective enterprise customers.

With EdgeConnect, Axians’ customers will benefit from the outfit’s unified WAN edge platform. EdgeConnect is centrally managed and uniquely unifies core network functions, SD-WAN, WAN optimisation, routing and security, at the branch into a business-driven SD-WAN edge.

Sales director for the UK and Ireland at Silver Peak Allan Paton said:

“As geographically distributed enterprises seek to accelerate cloud-centric business initiatives, they quickly realise that their existing WAN is not architected for the cloud. With Axians’ networking expertise and proven delivery track record for professional installation, deployment and technical consulting services, we are already providing customers with the flexibility to move beyond router-centric WAN architectures to a centrally managed business-first SD-WAN edge. The partnership with Axians UK is the next step in accelerating the international deployment of SD-WAN.”

Spencer Lea, sales director at Axians UK  said: “With our deep knowledge of the SD-WAN market, it made sense to combine our strengths and talents with Silver Peak to take customers beyond basic SD-WAN products toward a business-first networking model and ultimately a self-driving wide area network,” said  “We have already had some great success with the implementation and project delivery of global and local SD-WAN deployments. Working alongside Silver Peak will continue to bring next-generation network solutions to market that will enable our customers to accelerate cloud initiatives while dramatically simplifying IT operations.”

IT Lab and Content and Code team up

banner_220x220IT Lab and Content and Code have consolidated their operations to create one of the largest Microsoft partners in the UK.

The combined entity will have a £60 million turnover and 550 staff operating out of locations in London, Manchester and South Africa.

IT Lab has been given the backing of private equity players ECI Partners to since that relationship was struck in 2016 it has made no secret of ambitions to use acquisition as a route to growth.

Content and Code is the second deal that the firm has made in the last 18 months following on from an acquisition of cybersecurity player Perspective Risk last May. The details of the latest purchase have not been disclosed.

IT Lab chief executive Peter Sweetbaum remains at the head of the firm and Tim Wallis, founder of Content and Code, will take on the role of Chief Digital Officer of IT Lab and will lead the future relationship with Microsoft.

Craig Fellowes, productivity sales director at Microsoft UK, said: “Content and Code has been one of our strongest and most trusted partners for as long as I can remember and has continued to set the benchmark for excellence in Modern Workplace. This, coupled with IT Lab’s domain and industry expertise make this is a promising combination to provide our customers with an even more complete solution and support. This new partnership will undoubtedly provide our customers with an additional and credible option to consider when choosing who they want to help migrate, deploy and manage their desktop environment.”