Microsoft to jack up prices

banner_220x220Software King of the World is feeling a bit short in the money department and thinks that the best way to remedy this is to jack up its prices on a range of on-premise and cloud products in October, the vendor has confirmed in a blog post.

The changes include a 10 percent increase in Office 2019 commercial prices, while the price of Windows 10 Enterprise will also be raised.

Microsoft said the changes will be implemented in October, with a preview set to be available in September.

Writing in his bog, a SpokesVole said: “On 1 October 2018, we will adjust pricing for our licensing programmes and make price adjustments to on-premise and cloud products.

“These changes will highlight the benefits of our pricing for a cloud-first world, help us move from a programme-centric to a customer-centric pricing structure, and create more consistency and transparency across our purchasing channels.”

It appears that the changes will simplify Microsoft’s licensing offering but on the downside prices will rise with Voles  Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) partners may be the most affected.


Netscout teams up with IBM

banner_220x220Service assurance, security, and business analytics firm,Netscout Systems has signed a deal with Biggish Blue.

Under the agreement, IBM will useNetscout ‘s Smart Data Technologies which includes its Adaptive Service Intelligence (ASI) patented technology to drive data-centric workflows and decision making for Communication Service Providers (CSPs).

The collaboration centers on Netscout’s software-based InfiniStreamNG real-time information platform, which provides visibility into physical and virtual networks by instantaneously converting high-volume network traffic into granular yet highly contextual subscriber meta-data or Smart Data at the collection point. Mutual customers will benefit by feeding Netscout’s subscriber-centric Smart Data for voice, video, data and OTT services into IBM’s Telecom Analytics Solution.

Netscout’s Smart Data combined with IBM’s analytics capabilities provides the “always on” multi-dimensional subscriber meta-data, enabling CSPs to better understand the behaviors and motivations of their customers through a data-driven, customer-centric business model and drive network change. With this new integrated solution that utilises Netscout’s CORE to RAN network data view, CSPs gain better insight into customer needs, allowing them to innovate across core operational and service areas, including customer care, sales and marketing to ultimately reduce subscriber churn and strengthen and grow revenue. The solution will also enable CSPs to create new business models around customer behavior modelling as well as participation in broader ecosystems that will drive CSPs overall value.

This agreement allows IBM to offer selected models of Netscout’s ISNG probes, via a pure software model. This OEM arrangement provides Netscout’s and IBM’s customers another channel to purchase NETSCOUT software along with IBM’s Telecom Analytics Solution as a bundled offering.

“Demand for proactively predicting customer behaviour is on the rise, and along with it the need for flawless network performance in order to ensure the highest quality customer experience, which is critical to maintain loyalty and prevent churn,” said Anil Singhal, co-founder, president, and chief executive officer, at Netscout. “By adding the rich data from Netscout’s Adaptive Service Intelligence technology to IBM’s Telecom Analytics Solution, we are able to bring together network and subscriber data from multiple sources in a way that offers an unparalleled, end-to-end view of what the customer is actually experiencing. Communications service providers need smart, real-time performance data for smarter insights and smarter analytics. This partnership delivers it.”

IBM’s  Gary O’Driscoll said: “”Communications Service Providers need to leverage vast volumes of information, so they can make more intelligent decisions and assure both exceptional customer experiences and network performance in today’s dynamic environment. This collaboration is part of a long-standing relationship between our two companies that focuses on a wide range of products including lab test equipment, field installations tools, and monitoring and troubleshooting systems. By working together, we are committed to providing more value to our shared customers.”

Paul Fox gets new roles

banner_220x220Getronics CEO UK & International’s, Paul Fox will be a busy lad – he has been promoted to Global Head of Sales for Getronics as well as for Pomeroy, which was recently acquired by Getronics, and appointed to Getronics’ Management Board.

The move is part of Chairman and Group CEO Nana Baffour’s latest wave appointments.  Fox became CEO of Getronics’ UK & International business units in August 2017, having joined Getronics in October 2014 as Global Business Development Director.

As Global Business Development Director, Fox led Getronics’ global shift to digital solutions while also managing the UK sales organisation in the capacity of CSO.  As CEO of Getronics UK & International business units, he had overall responsibility for about 40% of the company’s worldwide revenue.

With a personal philosophy of commitment for the long term, Fox is a proven global business executive noted for his disciplined approach to business development and is the ideal leader for global sales organisation.  He has worked previously for Samsung (6 years) and Lexmark (10 years), progressing through increasingly senior sales positions into major international management roles.

Fox said: “My focus at Getronics has been on helping both mid-market and enterprise companies use digital technology to support their business growth objectives.  As Getronics’ head of sales for UK & International, my primary focus has been on growth, and I look forward to bringing that experience to bear in my new and expanded role.”

“On behalf of the entire team, I am delighted to welcome Paul to the board,” said Nana Baffour, Chairman and Group CEO of Getronics. “I firmly believe that to grow and to be the best, we must have the best people proposition and be willing to do things differently.  Paul not only shares these beliefs but has operated according to them from the day he joined Getronics.”

Blue Jeans expands channel

banner_220x220Cloud service Blue Jeans Network which connects desktops, mobile devices and room systems into a single video meeting have introduced a new tiered plan and a significant expansion of its channel program to address increasing customer demand for BlueJeans Meetings, BlueJeans Rooms and BlueJeans Events solutions.

The new programme will invest in expanding business with partners who include BlueJeans in their unified communications solutions and help customers migrate from legacy conferencing solutions to BlueJeans’ modern cloud platform. The programme offers additional benefits and incentives to partners who invest in the skills and certifications required to deliver successful customer outcomes.

the key design point of BlueJeans’ expanded channel programme is to help punters create intelligent workplaces with BlueJeans Rooms, which make any room a smart, one-touch video, audio and web conferencing room that is easy to use and manage. Increasingly, partners are the delivery vehicle for BlueJeans Rooms, which experienced 280% revenue growth from Q1 to Q4 in BlueJeans’ recent fiscal year.  The new channel programme will equip partners to scale their BlueJeans Rooms deployments rapidly.

George Mogannam, Chief Revenue Officer, BlueJeans Network said: “We worked closely with our partners and listened to their feedback to build a programme that extends beyond referrals to give partners more control as well as the ability to generate additional revenue and margin. The goal is to establish a framework that leverages the best of BlueJeans and our partners so the customer receives a solution that is a perfect fit for their organisation. The market has responded enthusiastically to BlueJeans’ integration of Dolby Voice technology and our integrations with Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Teams. It is clear that enterprises increasingly expect BlueJeans to work across all our partners to solve the challenges of the modern workplace.”

The BlueJeans channel programme will equip and incentivise partners to help customers transform workplace productivity using BlueJeans and the complementary solutions of its alliance partners, including Dolby, Facebook, Microsoft and others.

AMD looks to take more of the service market

banner_220x220AMD supremo Lisa Su said that the company is planning to take a much bigger chunk of Intel’s server market thanks to the “incredible opportunities ahead” with AMD’s next-generation, 7-nanometer processors.

Speaking to the gathered throngs, Su said the company began sampling its 7nm graphics chip, or GPU, with select customers in the second quarter and expects to start shipping the product later this year,

Su said. AMD’s 7nm EPYC server CPU, code-named “Rome,” has also started sampling with select partners and will launch in 2019 while the 7nm client CPU will ship sometime after that, the CEO added.

“I do believe we have a very competitive position in 2019”, Su said.

AMD’s progress with its 7nm chip manufacturing process is significant because Intel has been struggling with its 10nm process, which is comparable to AMD’s 7nm and has been delayed for multiple years because of manufacturing issues.

Su reiterated that the company projects to reach mid-single digits in the server market share by the end of the year and double-digits in the mid-term. The company’s EPYC server chip line, which launched a little over a year ago, is now in over 50 platforms, including HPE’s ProLiant DL325 Gen10 server, which Su said offers significantly lower cost per virtual machine than  Intel.

Su said a majority of the EPYC platforms have been shipping to multiple customers, with some deployments ranging from the hundreds to tens of thousands. That contributed to a 37 percent year-over-year growth in AMD’s Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom business to $670 million for the second quarter.

Su said EPYC sales and shipments have grown more than 50 percent sequentially. After seeing a longer qualification period with customers for the first-generation of EPYC, code-named “Naples,” Su said the company hopes for the timeline to tighten with “Rome,” the next-generation chip.

“With Rome, I think there is enhanced interest,” she said.

Su said the company is aiming to increase EPYC adoption in the high-performance computing, data analytics and virtualized enterprise environment segments.

The company’s Computing and Graphics business grew 64 percent year-over-year to $1.09 billion, driven by strong sales of its Radeon graphics products and “continued growth” of its Ryzen CPU products. At the same time, the business saw a 3 percent dip from the previous quarter, which AMD attributed primarily to a dip in revenue from GPU products in the blockchain market.

SnapLogic updates its partner programme

banner_220x220Self-service application and data integration SnapLogic announced significant updates to the SnapLogic Partner Connect Programme to enable global technology, service, and reseller partners to expand their enterprise integration and digital transformation capabilities and offerings.

New program benefits will allow SnapLogic partners to a take advantage of the $12 billion application and data integration market. SnapLogic’s recent investments in its partner program have resulted in 60 percent growth in the past year, and the channel is projected to represent 40 percent of company revenue by the end of 2018.

Rich Link, Vice President of Global Channel Sales and Strategic Alliances at SnapLogic said: “SIs, VARs, and technology providers face increasing pressure to act as strategic extensions of digital teams rather than one-off integrators. Our customers are undertaking numerous digital initiatives around cloud data warehousing, data lakes, master data management (MDM), human capital management (HCM), customer relationship management (CRM), and Customer 360 that rely on integration for success. With these updates to the Partner Connect Program, we’re enabling our partners around the world to rapidly gain the expertise required to accelerate our customers’ strategic digital initiatives and deliver repeatable solutions built with our leading Enterprise Integration Cloud platform.”

Updates to the SnapLogic Partner Connect Programme include:

●      Training and education: Full curriculum of free sales and technical training to help partners rapidly build pipeline, close deals, and successfully implement SnapLogic technology. The number of trained SnapLogic consultants around the world has grown by more than tenfold year-over-year.

●      Aggressive reseller discounts and referral rates: New deal referrals and reseller discounts encourage partner profitability. SnapLogic works closely with partners to support efforts to sell and deliver SnapLogic solutions to customers.

●      Solution incentives: Special deal incentives to reward partners who build and go-to-market with repeatable solutions based on SnapLogic and SnapLogic’s technology partners such as Workday, Snowflake, and Reltio.

●      Partner portal: Provides a single destination for updates, deal registration, field assistance requests, collateral access, LMS system access, and discount relief requests.

●      Tiered program structure: Allows technology and implementation partners to customize their investment in SnapLogic and opportunities to grow their business.

SnapLogic Partner Connect Programme has been expanding with the addition of 11 new channel partners in EMEA.

Wind River starts downsizing

banner_220x220Wind River Systems is laying off staff after Intel sold the industrial Internet of Things software outfit to a private equity firm last month.

More than 64 employees, including a vice president, have cleaned out their desks in California and it appears that the company will make layoffs at its other offices across the world.

Wind River, which develops embedded operating systems, became an independent company in June after Intel completed its sale of the business to TPG Capital, a private equity firm that bought McAfee from Intel in 2017. McAfee had also made layoffs shortly after it was acquired.

The deal to sell Wind River was announced in early April while Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel was under the leadership of former CEO Brian Krzanich, who was ousted last month following the disclosure of a relationship he had with a former employee that broke company policy. Intel had acquired Wind River in 2009.

When the deal was announced, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group Tom Lantzsch said the spinout of Wind River was “designed to sharpen our focus on growth opportunities that align to Intel’s data-centric strategy,” despite industrial IoT remaining a part of that strategy. Wind River had been a part of Intel’s IoT Group, whose annual revenue grew 20 percent to $3.2 billion last year, but the subsidiary had been a small percentage of that business, a source said at the time. Intel, however, did say that Wind River was profitable while declining to break out its sales.

Commsworld wants to create largest UK private network

banner_220x220Scottish telco Commsworld is set to create the largest privately owned network in the UK.

The Edinburgh-headquartered company has a cunning plan to build its own national optical core network, which will see it connect with more than 20 of the UK’s cities, including Manchester, London and Birmingham.
It has already agreed 10-and 12-year deals with Zayo and CityFibre, respectively, allowing it access to long-distance fibre networks.

Ricky Nicol, chief executive at Commsworld, called it a “milestone” that brings the company from a predominantly Scotland-centric provider to a UK provider.

“Previously, outside Scotland, we’ve used fibre networks owned and managed by others, but this development means we have full control – and the bandwidth available is only determined by the equipment we use on the end of the fibre”, he said.

“While we’ve been able to comfortably provide fast speeds and a high level of service, this expansion of our network opens up so many more possibilities to us to transform the amount of business we will do south of the border.”

Commsworld’s network will comprise a 2,058km service across the UK, with access to CityFibre’s 830km metro network, which services cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol.

The Scottish provider will also have access to Zayo’s London metro network, along with the option of utilising its subsea links to the US and Europe.

As a result of this expansion, the telecoms firm will open another 30 points of presence in datacentres across the UK.

“Working with Commsworld’s established systems integrator partners, and in conjunction with G-Cloud 10 and other framework accreditations, this gives us the opportunity to significantly grow revenues across England,” Nicol said.

HPE wants partners to accelerate on-premise IaaS

banner_220x220HPE has said that its channel partners to be the key to unlocking  flexible consumption models.

HPE made several announcements around its GreenLake service at the Discover 2018 conference in Las Vegas. The service offers various plans allowing customers to pay for their on-premise infrastructure using a cloud-like as-a-service model based on their usage.

However while all this is popular in the US, UK outfits have trailed behind the rest of Europe in the adoption of these services and HPE thinks that this is because it has been poorly promoted.

HPE told the assembed hacks at the connferencre that HPE’s channel partners will be the key to unlocking that. It is investing a $1 billion in simplifying the processes and procedures for channel partners, as well as a new channel-centric flexible capacity offering.

“Flex Capacity for Partners: that will be key to our success in getting Flex Capacity generally ramped in the UK. And then once customers are up and running on Flex Capacity, the ability to – for want of a better expression – upsell them onto a GreenLake Hybrid Cloud solution, I think will start to increase”, HPE said.

It will mean that buybacks are easier, incentives have been increased, compliance challenges have been lessened and the overall process is supposedly much simpler.


SCC sees fifth year of record earnings

Surprise Kitten Kittens Cat Money Animals PetSCC is celebrating its fifth consecutive year of “record” earnings.

The Birmingham-based reseller has seen a strong year for services for its UK operations and its EMEA revenues for its financial year ending 31 March 2018 increased by nine per cent to £1.8 billion.

SCC says it enjoyed “strong EBIT growth” in its Spanish and French operations but did not break out specific figures. It claims that UK EBIT was £16 million, compared with £17 million taken from financial statements for the previous year.

Sales drawn from services climbed by four per cent to £325 million or 18 per cent of overall turnover.

SCC said it had carried out “major investment programmes” to its datacentres in Birmingham and Hampshire which positively affected its services business for UK customers.

It claims a healthy 13 percent sales growth for its French business stemmed from thriving long-term relationships in the public and private sectors, while the UK continued to enjoy a “strong performance” in services.

“Performance of the business over the last year has been exceptional with growth and improved profitability in all our key trading operations”, CEO James Rigby said.

“There is now a need for all businesses, whoever they are or whatever they do, to digitise their operations and outsourcing that requirement is an effective way to manage the continual investment needed for growth.

“We have invested over the past few years via our cloud services and datacentres in anticipation of that demand and we expect to continue our current performance levels in the coming years.

“We will continue to invest in our capabilities and that means areas such as artificial intelligence and cognitive computing where we are already well placed to meet customer demand. Our performance is also based on the success of our strategic acquisitions we have made over the past few years. We will continue to look at opportunities which fit our strategic criteria and help further grow our capabilities.”

SCC’s latest annual results follow the completion of a three year plan to grow its services business.


3D Printers are healthcare’s disruptive tech

o-OFFICE-3D-PRINTER-facebookA new study commissioned by Ricoh Europe claims that new printing technologies are having on European healthcare.

According to the research, 68 percent of healthcare professionals believe new printing technologies have the potential to fundamentally transform the health sector.

Including advances in customised prosthetics and on-demand drug manufacturing, 74 percent of healthcare experts now use new printing technologies to improve accurate diagnostic rates and lower mortality rates.

In addition, 51 percent say applying new printing technologies to rapidly manufacture customised implants, such as bone and dental grafts, significantly reduces the time patients need to spend in hospital and are crucial for improving recovery times.

David Mills, CEO, Ricoh Europe said: “Tasked to do more with less, making use of innovative printing technologies will prove essential in enabling Europe’s healthcare systems to continue to provide high-quality care. New techniques such as printing aquagel organs means it’s now possible for surgeons to practice suturing and the removal of tumours before real-life operations. Printing medicines layer-by-layer to target specific diseases could soon be commonplace.”

With life expectancies increasing and the prevalence of chronic diseases rising across Europe[1], treatments are becoming more complex in nature as ailments affect patients later into their lives. In response, 65 percent of healthcare providers are using new printing technologies to tailor printed materials to differing needs including those of older and remote patients.

More than 46 percent of healthcare professionals go so far as to say that without investment in 3D-printing they will struggle to meet the needs of patients in the next five years.

Mills added: “It’s not just through cutting-edge developments that healthcare facilities are benefiting from advances in printing technologies. Healthcare is an intensely admin heavy sector. By digitising their systems, providers can reduce paperwork to save time, cut costs and improve security.”


Suppliers and vendors face portfolio challenge

files-portfolioVendors and their channel partners are having a job telling customers what is inside their portfolio according to analyst outfit TechMarketView

Its latest UK SITS Market Trends and Forecasts 2018 report said that there was plenty of opportunity for those selling software and services but getting on top of the proposition and channel partner bases is an issue.

Georgina O’Toole, chief analyst at TechMarketView said: “The biggest problem suppliers face is getting to grips with their own offerings. As their portfolios morph, as they take on a broader array of partners, and as they bolt on digital acquisitions, front-line salespeople and account managers can struggle to understand and articulate their organisations’ capabilities. Communicating (to both IT and non-IT decisions makers) the digital boundaries the organisation is breaking needs to be a top priority to secure new wins and renewals.”

The other issue that the SITS industry is dealing with is trying to keep up with changes as product areas blur into each other.

O’Toole said that traditional market boundaries are being tested more than ever and that an impact on the market.

“The change is both market and supplier-driven. True digital transformation involves all elements of SITS; investment in one area can necessitate improvements in another”,O’Toole said.

TechMarketView expects that tight market conditions that delivered 1.6 percent growth last year will continue, with 2018 also likely to produce sub rqo percent improvements.

Microsoft starts another Windows 7 upgrade campaign

framedwindowsSoftware king of the world Microsoft has started another campaign to ween addicts off Windows 7.

Microsoft has told its channel partners that those customers still on Windows 7 need to be targeted for upgrading to its latest OS and has advised resellers to start banging the drum around the forthcoming end of support deadline. Vole said that partners needed to renew the call for a move to Windows 10.

Louisa Gauthier, product and marketing leader at Microsoft. said: “The end of support is coming in 2020 and it’s time to make the shift to 10.”

Microsoft has put together a video encouraging users to move to a combination of Windows 10, more up-to-date hardware and Office 365. That campaigning to customers starts now and will run for the rest of the year promoting the benefits of a move. The message will change from January 2019 to contain more urgency about the looming support deadline in January 2020.

“Why is end of support so important for us? Because it is a huge opportunity to get your customers to modern. It is an opportunity estimated to be worth $100 billion when you put together all the partner services, Office and solution opportunity over three years”, she said.

The chances to pitch Windows 10 also existed across all customer sizes and segments. “If you were just to start with your customers that were on four year old plus devices the opportunities would be significant”, said Gauthier.

“If your PC and software are more than four years old then it’s time to move to a new Windows 10 device. Modern Windows devices are cheaper to manage and faster to run”, she said.


Microsoft gets all hybrid

Canalys 2018 Software king of the world Microsoft wants to work with partners around something it calls a “hybrid message” in the coming year.

While we thought it wanted to deliver press releases to its partners in a Prius, apparently it means something cloudy. Vole was talking a lot about  Azure and the move to cloud but the firm is working with partners to stress the benefits of the hybrid approach.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said that pushing hybrid was going to be a theme with the channel.

“I think that these hybrid used benefits are being sorted of best-kept secrets. So, I’m hoping that going into this next fiscal year, we do a much better job, and customers do a much better job, but they don’t benefit because the advantage Azure has because of the hybrid used benefits across the entire workload are pretty phenomenal.”

“We had a good set of sessions at our partner meetings this week just really making sure that everybody understands those benefits. So, I don’t think that, that is really played out. If anything, all the growth we have seen is in spite of that not being broadly revenue driving growth”, Nadella added.

The fourth quarter numbers for the three months ended 30 June showed that the firm had delivered $30.09 billion in revenue with net income of $8.9 billion slightly ahead of the same period last year.

Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased by 10 percent with Office 365 driving that with an increase of 38 percent year-on-year.  Server products and cloud services were up by 26 percent with Azure improving by 89 percent.

Enterprise services revenue improved by eight percent and Windows OEM increased by seven percent. Windows commercial products climbed by 23 percent and Surface remains an important area delivering 25 percent growth.

For the full year the firm smashed through the $100bn barrier with revenues of $110.4 billion, a 14 percent improvement on fiscal 2017, with the cloud driving a lot of that growth.


Cisco invests in UK AI partnership

9a59692a0714a8132caa23822c97bdccCisco is writing a cheque for a $100 million  investment in the UK to speed up the nation’s artificial intelligence programmes

The outfit wants to create a London-based artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in partnership with University College London, which will house more than 200 researchers and academics.

Prime minister Theresa May welcomed the news, stating that it was a “vote of confidence” from Cisco in the government’s Industrial Strategy, which is a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of UK workers.

“I particularly welcome the announcement of the new AI research centre in partnership with UCL”, May said.

“Research has shown that AI could add £232bn to the UK economy by 2030 and developments like this will help with our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.”

The investment is part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration programme, which works in conjunction with the UK’s Industrial Strategy to address challenges in the areas of AI, digital inclusion in an aging society, increasing network capabilities on public transport and investing in digital innovation in the green sector.

Digital secretary Jeremy Wright said the UK has become a “natural destination” for large tech companies to operate in.

“Cisco’s strong commitment to the UK highlights that we have the ambition, research excellence and regulatory environment for world-leading firms to develop the innovations that will change people’s lives for the better”, he said.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said that the vendor is committed to accelerating digital growth in the UK.

“We believe that the UK’s expertise in AI and its commitment to making sure future innovators have the right digital skills will help ensure the nation’s citizens are well positioned to capture the opportunity ahead”, said Robbins.