Well that’s what just happened here in the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I, here in Barcelona, on the seventh floor.
Dattocon opened, as so many of these IT conferences do, with a lot of flashing lights and noise. This conference held by Datto in Barcelona is really aimed at its MSPs, and there’s plenty of them here, along, of course with a load of vendors, hoping to help you keep your Office 365 and other IT products secure.
Datto wants to recruit more MSPs, and there’s a heap of vendors here seeking to woo the attendees here.
The few remaining hacks of the Channel Free Press found themselves on the 41st floor of the Arts Hotel tower in Barcelona today when they felt an enormous noise and rumbling shake their minds out of concerns about Lenovo and generalised lethargy.
Fiona O’Brien, an Irish woman from Lenovo, sought to reassure us wee timorous cowering beasties but actually we just wrote it off as just one of those things that happen when you’re isolated hacks afraid of heights and depths.
The Arts Hotel shut down its network of elevators because of an escalated security alarm and the staff decided to temporarily stop the lifts from working.
We have reached out to the PRs at the hotel to dig out the truth, going forward.
Goodness knows what would have happened if you desperately needed to visit the wazzeria and you were stuck in the lift. It took me right back to the days I got stuck in the lift at Hampstead-on-the-Hill, and found myself stranded with a beautiful woman and a lovely Indian man. We didn’t panic. We just gritted our teeth and carried on, carrying on…
Hundreds and hundreds of channel delegates here at the Canalys Channel Forum in Barcelona have one thing in common and that is that to the best of our knowledge the majority of the blokes here have willies.
But that may change in the future and reliable sources at one of the Big Six vendors here at the conference agrees with Dell and EMC and thinks that it is likely that change in the gender gap in the channel community will happen sooner rather than very much later.
Dell EMC, without being personal, agreed with that view and has already put in place several programmes to assist both its channel partners and employees working with it to welcome diversity.
It has set up both a woman’s partner network and a unit promoting female entrepreneurs, a company representative said. Dell EMC has achieved near parity with approximately 45 percent of its staff women.
It is also actively encouraging young girls to develop their computer science skills, and also has a programme to allow its male employees to emphasise with the strengths women can bring to the industry. It promotes diversity in all fields.
A male executive at the conference who spoke on the condition he and his company remained anonymous, told ChannelEye: “Women traditionally find themselves on the PR and marketing side. Women are more efficient than men. They get things done and when they say they’re going to do something they do it, unlike men.”
Which, of course, begs many questions and there are more questions than answers.
Dell’s chief commercial officer, Marius Haas, tipped up at the Canalys Channel Forum today to talk about how it’s vastly extended its channel programmes worldwide.He faced the channel audience like Lenovo’s executives did before.
Haas said that 70 percent of enterprise customers prefer to work through the channel. Of course, at one time, practically all sales were direct. Forty percent of its share is now through the channel and it’s invested $125 million in programmes.
In some countries 100 percent of its business is through the channel, Haas said.
Dell going private has been a catalyst for change, Haas said. It doesn’t have to bother thinking about shareholders now, just customers. Dell now has five and 10 year plans and is thinking long term.
Haas said Dell had made great progress with enterprise customers and talking to distributors about how to win more customers.
Dell now has a two tier distribution model because it gives an opportunity to be more aggressive in terms of customer wins.
Customers he said, aren’t looking for more vendors and would like one vendor to supply software, services and hardware, Haas said. “It’s a holistic conversation,” he said. “In the thin client business it starts with end user experience but very quickly moves to the apps the customer would be running, and what’s the storage system, and what’s the software to manage it.”
Haas said that he wants both direct and indirect business to grow. Channel business is growing faster than direct sales, he said.
Dell has hired senior executives who have channel in their bloodstreams. “Dell is committed to the channel,” he said. Dell will create more opportunities and generate demand for the channel.
She said that the reason for splitting the company was to be more focused. She said it was remarkably complex on all fronts whether it was the IT or the supply chains HP used.
On August 1st HP started operating as two separate companies she said, and on November 2nd there will be two separate Fortune 50 companies.
She believes that HP will demonstrate the success of the separation. The two companies will be called HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She said HP wanted to avoid inventing a new brand name and wanted both companies to be linked to the HP heritage.
HPE will have a green rectangular logo. HPE will include HP financial services. On November the 2nd, both companies will probably still be in the same buildings. She said that there’s a joint venture between HP Inc and HPE to work together on the supply chain to leverage the size.
Whitman said the biggest challenge was the IT separation. She said the company had to change emails, URLs, servers, and the rest. She said HPE will be a much faster and agile company but one thing that won’t change is partner focus. “Channel is in our DNA,” she said.
Whitman said she has rooted out the “nay sayers” in the company. She said the separation means both companies will have something of a rebirth. Everyone in both companies is going to be “fully engaged”.
She said HP has increased R&D spending every year for the last four years. She said in a software defined world infrastructure matters more than ever. She thinks configuration of infrastructure to apps will be an important part of HPE’s strategy.
Software is only seven percent of revenue but HPE is about providing answers for the new type of IT.
She said that the slimming down of headcount in the services business recenrly was intended to make that business unit leaner and meaner and HPE expected revenues in that sector to grow.
She said the Safe Harbour provision that the EU court ruled was invalid yesterday wouldn’t affect the two companies too much, because data was generally held locally. There may be changes but she believed HP set that process going four years ago.
One question from the audience that was asked, but wasn’t aired, was whether Whitman would vote for Winsome Carly Fiorina as president of the USA.
He said PC makers have been cheating on benchmarks for years but without the consequences Volkswagen is experiencing.
He said the industry is much more complex than it used to be. It’s hard for everyone to keep up with everything. Complexity, he said, is good news for channel people.
He said that the crash in oil prices is good news for European countries. But countries producing oil and commodities are going to have some difficult times including Brazil, and Australia.
But the strength of the dollar means prices have gone up in 2015. Putting prices up has clearly reduced demand.
He said there’s been a massive shift in spending into service providers and datacentre growth. Close to 50 percent of all servers that ship this year will go into datacentres. This slim margins. investment is driven by consumer companies.
Datacentres are building white box systems and even if the big brands win big server orders it’s at extremely slim margins.
But more datacentres means networking and security sectors are growing. Bringing compute and storage in a single console benefits a certain kind of customer.
Nutanix and Simplivity would like to be bought but the price may be too high.
The client computing market is only 13 percent for the first half of this year. The smartphone industry is moving away from operators. Large smartphones in the first half of this year showed 110 percent growth.
The tablet and notebook PC markets are disappointing. The industry has had too much inventory and negative scales, declining by nine percent in the first half of this year.
Microsoft invented the hper converged notebook category while Apple and Google are following suit. Microsoft is now competing directly with their OEM partners.
There’s a shift for Apple to to an all Apple microprocessor model. Microsoft hasn’t helped the channel or the OEMs with its free Windows 10 upgrade. Google products could make real headway. Google will put pressure on Microsoft and Intel.
When companies are struggling they become defensive.
Cisco has been through dramatic personnel changes in the last four months but Canalys expects it to exit some businesses but the new “vision” is still to come. A CEO change is likely at EMC.
Dell is now committed to two tier distribution through the channel. IBM lacks agility and it lacks growth. Microsoft’s new CEO has done a much better job than the previous CEO and has shifted to services and apps rather than Windows. Azure is only behind Amazon in terms of cloud services.
Cloud computing still has its challenges but the industry has moved so far to the model that it can’t go back. Software as a service is the primary model everyone will have to deal with.
The channel is doing very well and some good things are happening. We’re expecting a major UK channel partner to do a public flotation this year. He said that the channel has had to bolt on different services including managed services, cloud security and co-location. Creating a channel mix can be very lucrative.
Distribution has shown year on year growth in the European sector. The operating marin in Q2 amounted to 1.1 percent. European distributors have grown over the last three years.
The outfit said that it wants to spend $600 million on 5G wireless research and development from 2013 to 2018.
But speaking to reporters at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Huawei Chief Executive Ken Hu said that 5G research spending was likely to rise, without giving specific figures.
Huawei was Europe’s seventh-largest patent filer in 2014, up from 13th the previous year, according a report published last week by the European Patent Office (EPO). It was granted 493 patents by the European agency in 2014, although they were not all 5G related.
5G is supposed to be the next big thing, promises superfast internet speeds, broader network coverage and peace in our lunchtime.
It is also expected to be the driver to hook up objects to the internet from cars to health monitoring devices or the internet of things. The commercial launch of 5G is expected to begin in 2020.
“We have made quite a large number of technology innovations and breakthroughs,” Hu, deputy chairman and ‘rotating’ chief executive of Huawei, said.
These give Huawei a stronger position in terms of intellectual property, he said.
Hu urged cooperation among telecom operators, equipment makers and other industries to agree on a single set of standards for 5G technology to ensure a global market.
White Bull Summits, which runs an annual conference aimed at connecting startups and funds each year, said it is looking for nominations for 13 awards for people that have made a difference in the field.
It has 13 new categories which it will award at its Barcelona conference next month, including best male entrepreneur, best female entrepreneur, best law firm, best in communications and PR, best angel, best corporate VC, best executive search and others.
The nominations can be made until September 15th by going to this link.
The firm will announce its 60 “Bully Award” finalists and nominees on September 15th, with winners receiving awards at Pathways 2014 on October 6th to the 8th.
Farley Duvall, co-founder of White Bull Summits, said the conference represents its fifth anniversary and will bring VCs, startups, equity companies and angels together under the same roof.
TechEye will be attending the conference.