Uni gives up on post-Brexit UK HQ

eu-1473823_1280Systems integrator Uni-Systems has given up on its plans to set up shop in the UK after two of its most significant customers committed to relocating their headquarters as a result of Brexit.

Two EU agencies – the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) – announced intentions to move their headquarters out of Canary Wharf, London, last month, picking Paris and Amsterdam respectively as their new homes.

The move will see more than 1,000 jobs leave the UK – 900 from the EMA and 150 from the EBA.

This has put the kybosh on Uni-Systems’  plans to expand into the UK and Paris to better support its largest customers.

But since the EMA is trading London for Amsterdam, plans for a London office have been abandoned.

This means that Uni will set up in Paris first,  probably in 2018.

The EMA has set March 2019 as the deadline for its relocation to Amsterdam. The Dutch capital was selected out of 19 bids to house the EU agency.

Athens-based Uni-Systems has made a significant push to grow its international sales as the Greek banking sector began to shrivel up as a result of the 2007 to 2008 financial crisis. Loumakis said that hefty long-term contracts with the European Union are vital to boosting overseas business.

Global micro data centre market will consolidate

ipr-appeals-consolidationNumber crunchers at Transparency Market Research (TMR) have worked out that the global micro data centre market is to be largely consolidated with the presence of a few dominant companies.

The report suggests that any competition between those that remain will be cut throat.

As regional and global players strive to rake in more revenue, they embark upon joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and partnerships to expand their global footprint. Besides this, these companies are also striving to enhance their capabilities by developing cloud based micro data centre in order to serve a wide range of end use industries.

Key companies in the global micro data center market include Eaton, Hitachi, Panduit, Zellabox Dataracks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development, Instant Data Centers, Huawei Technologies, Rittal, and Schneider Electric .

TMR says the global micro data centre market is expected to clock an impressive 21.1 percent during the 2017-2025 forecast period. At this pace, the market’s valuation of US $3,208.9 million  2016 will become US $14,813.2 million by the end of 2025. Among the key segments based on rack size, more than 40 U segment held the leading 54 percent market share in 2016. Geography-wise, in 2016, North America stood as the leading regional market accounting for 43.2 percent revenue contribution to the overall market.

Benefits over Traditional Facilities for Simplifying Workload Boosts Adoption 

The changing enterprise data centre needs for design and capacity specifications is primarily driving the micro data centre market. Large number of enterprises are adopting micro data centers to store critical data either on premise or in remote locations.

Micro data centres are increasingly being adopted by smaller businesses and large enterprises to simplify workloads that traditional facilities are unable to handle. As a result, companies are moving from local infrastructure to automated micro data centres for information storage. Micro data centres are scalable, self-contained, customizable, self-managed, and cost effective. As server rooms have constraints of being space-intensive, inflexible, and expensive, several companies are shifting towards micro data centres that are easy to install.

Physical Attributes of Micro Data Centre Fuels Demand 

Micro data centres are portable and occupy very small spaces in comparison to traditional data centres. However, they are equipped with various components of traditional data centres which include in-built cooling systems, security systems, telecommunication and storage systems, fire suppression systems, monitoring systems, and uninterruptible power supplys (UPS). The various components of micro data centres are placed in a solid rack and can be easily installed in poorly accessible areas as well. Other features include integrated remote management for temperature, humidity, and power combined with remote monitoring and security. These factors have led to an increase in demand.

Further, the growing demand for edge computing to reduce latency among IoT and enterprises is expected to bode well for the global micro data centre market.

Sutton Power Engineering becomes SitePro reseller

SiteNode-3G-Front-(small)2Sutton Power Engineering has been named as a Telemisis partner and reseller of its SitePro product.

Telemisis designs, develops and manufacturers one of the most advanced remote monitoring, control and Internet of Things solutions for a range of industry sectors. It has been expanding its Partner programme and Sutton Power will resell SitePro as part of an integrated maintenance and support offering for diesel and LPG generators, in the non-rental market.

Sutton Power is better known for its manufacturing of diesel and LPG generators as a SitePro reseller it can get into maintenance and support offering, in the non-rental sector.

Richard Sutton, Managing Director, Sutton Power said that will mean monitoring the performance and status of remote generators, enables maximum performance and heightened security, providing customers with the power they need.

Telemisis Commercial Director, Chris Begent, commented: “We are delighted that Sutton Power have joined our growing Partner Network. With their global reach Sutton Power will be able to bring Telemisis SitePro to customer in new markets and territories.”

Telemisis Partner provides extensive resources, training, incentives and support to help partners differentiate and grow their business with SitePro. The three partner programs that make up Telemisis Partner have been designed to meet the needs of a variety of partner types.

Businesses focus on security and digitisation

Hacker typing on a laptop

Hacker typing on a laptop

A new report claims that business priorities are changing and will see a  greater emphasis on cybersecurity and digitalisation of processes over the next three years.

The report with the catchy title “Corporate Learning Pulse” comes from the Financial Times and the IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance. It is developed from a leadership study conducted among C-Suite executives, HR and Learning & Development professionals working across multiple business sectors in China, Denmark, France, GCC, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and UK.

While the top three business priorities for 2017 were growth, strategy and financial management, the war on cyber-attacks, and the accelerating impact of digital disruption will bring these issues higher in the list of concerns for senior executives in 2018-20.

Top six business priorities for 2017 were Market growth, strategy development and execution, Financial management, Cybersecurity, Digital adoption and leadership development.

While market growth and strategy development and execution arestill the top priority, the next three years will see companies focused on cybersecurity and digital adoption before leadership development and financial management.

The main fear is cybersecurity and the potential threat from hackers and facing up to the effects of digital disruption.

The report said that the top issues are the cloud and the growing impact of technology.

Executives in China and the Middle East are twice as likely to put digital adoption among the top three problems they expect to tackle over the next three years, compared to their European and Japanese counterparts.

The study also focused on attitudes to leadership development and what executive education can bring to business strategy. The need to improve management abilities, and address staff retention and development, are the highest priorities for corporate learning over the next three years. When asked which elements of digital strategy are most important, an understanding of data and analysis of trends ranked highest among the survey’s respondents.

The report said that there is a clear role here for executive education. While traditionally it is seen as a route to leadership development, corporate learning can place a stronger focus on real-world business challenges. From the findings of this leadership study, a better understanding of the impact of digital adoption will be higher on the agenda for senior executives over the next three years.


Explosive Learning Solutions scores Oxford University deal

oxford-robesThe IT Department at Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science has hired Explosive Learning Solutions (ELS), to provide its LEAN IT training and consultancy.

From June to October this year, ELS ran two courses for the Department, each with 11 students, as well as three follow-on workshops. The two courses followed the APMG LITA (Lean IT Association) syllabus, with one workshop designed for leadership and management, while the other two workshops focused on how to compile an A3 planning and problem-solving sheet.

According to ELS’s Head of Operations, Cath Convery, the head of the IT Department needed to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its provision of IT services to the university’s Department of Engineering Science. This involved bringing the department together to work more as a team to deliver an improved service to its customers.

“Being familiar with the concept of ‘Lean’, the Department head felt that this would be the most effective vehicle to use to achieve his aims”, Cath added.

ELS opted to deliver APMG LITA courses to the members of the department.

APMG International is a global accreditation and examination institute, which accredits organisations to deliver training courses and consultancy services for a broad range of professional certification schemes. Its certification schemes, examination and accreditation services support the goal of enabling organisations and professionals to maximise their effectiveness through use of the latest methodologies and core competencies.

According to Cath, the APMG LITA courses not only gave the department a standard and widely recognised performance capability but also provided proof of continuing professional development (CPD) for the department’s members by means of a formal qualification. Cath added this this approach also confirmed, for the learners, that their employer was investing in them as employees.

In addition to the courses, the follow-on workshops were designed to help embed Lean thinking and promote a sense of teamworking into the department culture.

“The courses and workshops were well received by all who were involved”, said Cath. “Indeed, the head of the IT Department has stated, ‘…the team found the training to be both interesting and engaging.

‘Throughout our experience working with ELS we have found them to be flexible, responsive and helpful. Administratively, ELS are reliable and straightforward to deal with and we consider the training and consultancy services offered to be of a high standard.’”

Oracle sees dark clouds ahead

lightning-cloudDatabase outfit Oracle has reported a strong second quarter thanks to an increase in cloud revenue, but is not seeing such a bright future.

Second quarter revenues were up six percent to $9.6 billion compared with last year’s second quarter. Net income was up 10 percent to $2.2 billion.

Total cloud revenues were up 44 percent to $1.5 billion but such growth is unlikely to continue, and some analysts are concerned that something is lurking below the surface.

Despite the strength of cloud revenue in the second quarter, Oracle’s cloud growth is forecast to slow in the current quarter to 21 to 25 percent, which is one of the factors that unsettled the market.

Changes are happening within Oracle and its methods of revenue gathering. There has been more take-up of unlimited licence agreements which could be a precursor to cloud migration and BYOL, and has helped slow the new licence revenue decline from 19 percent last year to a flat year and $1.3 billion revenue.

Larry Ellison, Oracle CTO, said the vendor will soon deliver its autonomous “self-driving” database.

“The new artificially intelligent Oracle database is fully automated and requires no human labour for administration. If a security vulnerability is detected, the database immediately patches itself while running.

“No other system can do anything like this. Best of all, we guarantee the price of running the Oracle Autonomous Database in the Oracle Cloud is less than half the cost of running a database in the Amazon Cloud.”



Maverick sails across the pond

Columbus-flagship-Santa-Maria-discoveredAV distributor Maverick is carrying out global expansion and will be borging the Americas and Asia Pacific into its  European operation.

Maverick AV Solutions works with audio-visual brands. Over the past 20 years,  Maverick has grown from a team of seven people in the UK into something somewhat larger.

Preparation has already begun with Jon Sidwick and the Maverick AV Solutions team working closely with the Americas’ leadership team to ready for expansion into the US and then throughout the Americas region.

Jon Sidwick, VP Maverick AV Solutions explained: “This is a new chapter for Maverick with a new brand and the strongest mix of manufacturer partners we have ever worked with.

“We are extremely proud of relationships we have built with our customers and vendor partners and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for the support of Maverick to date. I am excited for a new challenge, working with an already established team of AV specialists in these markets to bring the experience from the European teams and create new services and solutions for customers in the regions.”

Joel Chimoindes joins the team with senior management experience, having spent the last year as managing director at Beta Digital Media Solutions and eighteen months as European Solution & innovation director at technology and infrastructure solutions business, Azlan, also part of the Tech Data Group. Joel’s role will be to work alongside the European management team to continue the unprecedented growth within the region, growing the vendor portfolio and helping deliver improved solutions and services for client.

The huge growth in audio-visual applications being adopted by companies of all sizes, educational institutions and government agencies, around the world means that now is the perfect time to expand Maverick’s approach across the globe.

The spinners said: “Maverick’s collaborative, scalable, platform-based solutions and top flight vendor portfolio is well-positioned to meet the needs of this fast-growing market. This successful model will now be expanded into the Americas and Asia Pacific. In the Americas, the Visual Solutions practice, part of the endpoint solutions portfolio, will be incorporated into Maverick in the coming fiscal year.”

Whatever that means.

Thales swallows Gemalto

Barracuda-1Security outfits Thales and Gemalto have reached a merger agreement.

The pair have settled on an all-cash offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Gemalto, for a price of €51 per share.

Patrice Caine, Thales’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said that the acquisition of Gemalto was a milestone in the implementation of Thales’s strategy.

“Together with Gemalto’s management, we have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of our industries and customers. Our project will be beneficial to innovation and employment, whilst respecting sovereign strategic technologies.”

He said the pair share the same culture and DNA which must have been a traumatic merger meeting.

It means that Gemalto’s 15,000 employees will join the group to make a significant digital security player.

Philippe Vallée, Gemalto’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am convinced that the combination with Thales is the best and the most promising option for Gemalto and the most positive outcome for our Company, employees, clients, shareholders and other stakeholders. We share the same values and Gemalto will be able to pursue its strategy, accelerate its development and deliver its digital security vision, as part of Thales.”

Over the past three years, Thales has increased its focus on digital technologies, investing over €1 billion in connectivity, cybersecurity, data analytics and artificial intelligence, in particular with the acquisition of Sysgo, Vormetric and Guavus. The integration of Gemalto, reinforces Thales’s digital offering, across its five vertical markets – aeronautics, space, ground transportation, defence and security.

Altogether, this new business unit will represent around 20 percent of pro forma Group revenues and rank among the top three players worldwide, with €3.5 billion revenues in the digital security market.

Apparently, according to the spinners: “Thales will be ideally positioned to offer an end-to-end solution, to secure the full critical digital decision chains, from data creation in sensors to real-time decision making. This unrivalled and innovative technology portfolio will put Thales in a highly differentiated position to provide enterprises and governments with a seamless response to the data security challenges that lie at the heart of their digital transformation.”

Whatever that means.


AI will start to create more jobs by 2020

sat-ai-head-640x353AI will start to create more jobs than it eliminates by 2020, according to beancounters at Gartner.

While most of the news has been focusing on how many jobs AI will kill off, Gartner has now given a timeframe to when some of the changes will be felt in the workplace with the analyst house forecasting that 2020 will be the moment when AI starts to create more jobs than it eliminates.

In just over two years 2.3 million positions will have been created thanks to artificial intelligence with 1.8 million roles having been killed off thanks to the technology.

Gartner research vice president Svetlana Sicular said, any significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route.

“Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation — that overshadows the greatest AI benefit — AI augmentation — a combination of human and artificial intelligence, where both complement each other”, she added.

She urged IT leaders to start looking at ways to get people facing the end of their jobs ready for new roles.

“Now is the time to impact your long-term AI direction. For the greatest value, focus on augmenting people with AI. Enrich people’s jobs, reimagine old tasks and create new industries. Transform your culture to make it rapidly adaptable to AI-related opportunities or threats,” she said.

Cold calling getting out of hand

coldcalling_0Customers are claiming they are receiving up to 40 “unsolicited and unhelpful” IT supplier calls a day as cold calling is getting out of control.

VAR Probrand, which surveyed IT suppliers and buyers, found that over 60 percent of end-user respondents were being hounded by between nine and 40 calls from IT suppliers.

On average, 90 percent of those calls last between one and five minutes, so end users are burning up to three hours a day fielding unwanted calls. What is bizarre about the sudden uptick is that cold calling is mostly ineffective. Probrand points to research by the Harvard Business Review which finds that 91 percent of cold calls do not work.

Probrand said that there was a complexity and inefficiency out there that the industry at large needs to tackle customers are changing the way they buy – they still want to purchase either on or offline, but it has to be “on their terms” and without disruptive sales calls throughout the day.

The research also found that half of IT suppliers were frustrated by a lack of visibility of end users through the channel.

The study also found that 26 percent of distributors and vendors said poor third-party marketing was a big challenge, while 32 percent were frustrated with poor ROI from reseller marketing activity. Poor reporting was also cited as a contributing problem.

Kaseya releases MSPs and MME business tool

jXupbaWiKaseya is launching a business intelligence and benchmarking tool specifically designed to assist MSPs and MMEs.

Created to ‘ensure the success of its partners’, MSP insights is built on proprietary technical and business data to allows MSPs to quickly and easily benchmark their business metrics against other MSPs in their region. It also allows businesses to analyse new and emerging MSP service offerings, evaluate bundling and pricing strategies, and review detailed technical trends.

Kaseya chief product officer Mike Puglia said: “Our customer-centric mentality is what drives Kaseya to constantly develop new technology, tools and services meant to help our MSP customers grow revenues and earn more market share. Competitive analysis, though extremely important, can be costly and time-intensive. Through our new MSP Insights portal, MSPs can now benchmark their business services and strategies against the wider MSP community. What’s more, Kaseya has done the analysis so our customers can easily access the critical information they need and focus on what is most important, running and expanding their own business.”

The size of the global managed services market is expected to grow from $152.45 billion in 2017 to $257.84 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 11.1 percent. It is a huge and competitive market. Cost savings were once the primary driver for MSP services. With Kaseya MSP Insights, service providers can quickly benchmark their own list of technology solutions and services against what other providers offer-delivering a huge competitive advantage. Mick Shah, SVP of technical services at a leading MSP, Dataprise, sees tools such as this – that offer insight into competing MSP services – as critical to service providers, Puglia  said.

“The ability to look under the covers, so to speak, at what our competitors are offering customers speaks volumes to our sales team. Kaseya MSP Insights allows us to stay in front of market technology trends and see what new technologies our customers require. This empowers us to continually update the types of technology and services we offer, which directly leads to new business and overall company growth for Dataprise.”

Channel fills direct sales team void

skills-shortage-delays-building-25-11-2002New research from partner relationship management specialist Impartner suggests the channel can step up to fill a shortage of direct sales staff.

The report said that direct sales teams are becoming harder to come by and the channel is getting even more of a chance to fill the void left because of recruitment problems. A lack of experienced candidates and high salaries being demanded by those who do have the skills have put the squeeze on firms trying to build their own sales teams.

As a result, more business is being given to indirect partners that can support the products and services with knowledgeable staff.

Impartner CMO  Dave Taylor said that the current situation is a huge positive for resellers and heralds a golden age of the channel.

“In a business climate where qualified enterprise sales candidates are costly and in short supply, companies can’t put all their revenue eggs in the direct sales basket.”

Almost ninety percent of the hiring managers that were quizzed by the firm reported problems with recruiting decent sales staff, with just over half revealing the problem had worsened in the last 18 months.

“Why struggle to hire direct sales people in an extremely competitive market that’s stifling your ability to increase revenue, when the indirect sales channel provides an immediate avenue to growth?” Taylor asked.

However, the channel will have to work harder for those suppliers that already had relationships with indirect partners, and direct only players would have to develop a strategy with distributors and resellers.


Dixons Carphone needs help after 60 percent profit drop

news-tmp-56002-dixons_carphone_0--2x1--400Dixons Carphone had admitted that its UK mobile business  needs some work after profits plummeted by sixty percent to almost £100 million.

Group revenues increased by one percent to £4.87 billion during its fiscal H1 ending 28 October, while EBIT decreased by 50 per cent year on year.

The central issue was the outfit’s domestic UK business which saw EBIT fall by £9 6 million year on year which Dixon’s dubbed a “challenging” mobile market.

CEO Seb James said that rising handset costs have discouraged consumers from replacing existing devices, but pledged to address Dixons Carphone’s UK profitability “in due course”.

“The UK postpay mobile phone market is tougher, with a combination of higher handset costs and relatively incremental technology growth continuing to cause customers to hold on to their handsets for longer and some to choose a subscriber identity module only (SIMO) contract in the meantime”, he said.

“In addition, the later launch of the iPhone X pushed some sales into the second half of our financial year. Throughout the period, we made a very conscious decision to fight hard to drive sales in our product offering, and this has impacted mobile profitability.”

He added: “We recognise that the performance of the mobile division needs addressing, and are taking action to adapt our model in order to cement our place in a changing world. We will update the market on these developments in due course, but we believe that we can, over time, reduce the complexity and capital intensity of our mobile business model, and increase the simplicity and profitability of what we do.”

Analysts warned of likely store closures as Carphone was dragged down by a three percent fall in like-for-like sales. The business has pledged to deliver a “simpler, less capital-intensive business”. In the second three months of the half year, mobile sales slumped six percent, although more than half of that drop was the result of the delayed launch of the iPhone X.

James said the company would do more to sell broadband and TV packages alongside phone deals, update its IT systems to make them less complex and change the way phone packages were financed.

He said a 25 per cent increase in the price of “flagship handsets” such as the iPhone, partly prompted by the fall in the value of the pound following the EU referendum, and the slowdown in technological progress meant that people were holding on to their phones for an average five months longer. As a result, more people are looking for SIM-only contracts rather than two year deals with a phone thrown in.

Device makers embracing software over hardware

Software-and-Application-SecurityA report from digital security outfit Gemalto has found that the device manufacturing industry is embracing software over hardware as its primary business model.

The change highlights how crucial software is becoming to device manufacturers, in improving business performance and growing revenue. And, as end-users begin to demand more options and control of their devices and data, entire industries are being forced to change their business models and strategies to cater to their customers.

According to Gemalto’s ‘How Software is Powering the Hardware Renaissance‘ report, the majority (84 percent) of organisations in the sector are changing how they operate. More than 37 percent have already made a full shift to a software-centric business model, one that places software at the core of how a company delivers value and generates revenue.

The research also found that 94 percent of respondents have increased their investment in software development in the last five years. Germany is leading the charge. All German organisations questioned have boosted their software-based services over this time; with France second (98 percent) and the US (93 percent) in third.

Hardware technology companies are already reaping substantial benefits – of those that have changed their models, the average increase in revenue has been 11 percent. They expect further growth in the next five years, with the revenue from software projected to rise from 15-18 percent.

As well as revenue growth, businesses that have moved to software-based selling have seen other benefits. Over eight in 10 have driven diversity in hardware with software features (86 percent), implemented remote feature upgrades (84 percent) and improved customer experience (84 percent). Businesses also report having a more flexible strategy that allows them to adapt to market change (79 percent), better control copy protection (76 percent) and being more competitive (73 percent).

These changes are also having a positive impact on employees. The majority of businesses have retrained their employees (64 percent) and hired new ones (58 percent), with 61 percent also revealing they have or intend to reshuffle employees into different roles.

With businesses starting to see the potential of the IoT, software-based business models are generating commercial benefits. Around nine in 10 respondents believe IoT is driving growth in the industry and that IoT itself is a chance to change their company’s business model (85percent). Enabling automated upgrades (61percent), remote support (57 percent), collecting usage analytics (54 percent) and gathering increased and higher quality customer insights (53 percent) are the main benefits businesses see IoT enabling.

Changing from hardware to a software-based selling model isn’t without challenges. When it comes to practicalities, almost all organisations (96 percent) that have changed, or are changing, have experienced some difficulties in making the transition work.

Looking at the challenges faced in more detail, half of the respondents reported that they needed to hire staff with different skills. Around one in three said solutions evolved organically without a central strategy (36 percent) and managed new sales and operational methodologies with old legacy processes (34 percent), caused challenges in the transition.

Gemalto Senior Vice President, Software Monetisation Shlomo Weiss said: “The results of this survey validate what we see on a daily basis with our customers as we help them make this transition. Companies who adopt software-based revenue models will reap three main benefits: long-term relationships with their customers, predictable revenue streams and a clear competitive advantage. From gaining insight into product usage, to pay-per-use payment structures and on to new market penetration – all the companies we surveyed identified a real need to transform how they do business.”

Cisco boss talks about how he changed the world

cisco-ceo-john-chambers-my-dyslexia-is-a-weakness-and-a-strengthCisco’s former CEO John Chambers told the assembled throngs at  the 2017 annual shareholders meeting conference,  that his outfit changed the way the world worked.

Chambers, who was CEO between 1995 and 2015, announced last September that he would also step down from the chairmanship.

Chambers said the world had a perception that Cisco was merely a “router company” but it really was aiming big.

“When we outlined a vision, almost 27 years ago, we said this company can change the way the world literally works, lives, learns and plays”,  said Chambers.

“We had the courage to say that we can change the world and do it to the benefit of creating unprecedented opportunities for our shareholders, our customers, our employees and our partners. And we had the opportunity to really also establish a culture which is probably what I am most proud of.”

Chambers then congratulated current CEO Chuck Robbins on the smoothness of the transition into his leadership.

“This is often a transition that does not go well, especially in high tech,” he said. “I want to thank the board. It has been a joy. And very often people don’t realise a great company or leaders, everybody likes to write about the successes, but it’s really how you handle your challenges and your setbacks that determine if you’ve got a great company or not.”

Looking towards the future, Chambers said Cisco is going to be a company which leads in digitisation and will “once again continue to change the world.

“This company has the courage to dream big dreams like no one else, set audacious goals of being one or two in everything we do, build a team that is diverse and challenges each other and [is] not always in agreement, but once we decide to move, we move as one organisation,” said Chambers.

“Cisco will always be in my heart… I will move on to my next chapter in my life, which will be around start-ups and really generating jobs throughout the world,” he added.