Tag: channel

Amazon plots New Year partner revamp

usa-mockingbird-heights-munsters-vampire-grandpa-magazineAmazon Web Services (AWS) is planning a New-Year revamp of its channel partner programme.

The big idea is to promise incentives for resellers which commit to specialising in its core cloud technologies.

Terry Wise, vice president of worldwide alliances, channels and ecosystems at AWS, told the assembled throngs at the AWS Partner Summit keynote at the cloud giant’s annual user and partner conference, Re:Invent, in Las Vegas, that the AWS Channel Reseller Programme will get a full rebrand in 2018.

It will be renamed the AWS Solutions Provider Programme, and will feature beefed-up benefits and support for partners, Wise said.

“What customers are telling us is they want AWS to actually recognise and incentivise a set of partners that provide more of the specialised services”, he said.

The bookseller will use a tiered incentive structure for its new-look partner programme, with resellers specialising in managed services, cloud migrations, DevOps and other areas set to reap bigger rewards.

“Further incentives and investments in partners working with us on the front end to bring net new opportunities to the AWS cloud are coming”, Wise continued.

Furthermore, resellers who go above and beyond from a customer support perspective will also have their efforts recognised via the programme, he added.

“We’re going to make changes in the support model by recognising our reseller partners (who provide a great high-quality support experience) with a different economic model, and a much more flexible way in which you can offer support to our mutual customers”,  Wise said.

“Collectively, these areas are going to give our channel partners the opportunity to substantially improve the profitability of their business.”

More details will arrive early in 2018.

 

Channel wins from AMD push

funny-elephant-push-on-the-car-pictureMoor Insights and Strategy principal analyst Patrick Moorhead, says that the channel will be the winner from AMD’s push into the PC and server chip markets.

Moorhead said that the move will give channel partners more options for meeting growing OEM and customer demand for silicon supplier alternatives to Chipzilla. System makers and businesses have been wanting more choice when it comes to processor vendors. The thought is that more competition will accelerate innovation and drive down prices.

AMD’s upcoming chips should give them options in important segments of the PC and servers spaces, which will be a boon for partners, Moorhead said.

“AMD-powered PCs and servers bring more choice to the channel and, in some circumstances, differentiation for the channels who assort it. Ryzen Threadripper [for PCs] and EPYC [for servers] are unique in very highly threaded environments and EPYC in single-socket systems.”

Intel has long been the dominant player in both PCs and servers, with market shares of 90 percent.

ARM and IBM through its OpenPower efforts are also making a push for a greater presence in the server space, although this is of limited impact.

An AMD meeting with financial analysts unveiled more details about the company’s upcoming Threadripper and EPYC processors – as well as next-generation Vega Frontier GPUs for workstations – giving the industry greater hope for more competition in the chip market and a boost to the somewhat stagnant PC and server markets.

Threadripper is a high-end PC chip with 16 cores and 32 threads and scheduled for release this summer.
Meanwhile AMD is bring in Ryzen processors aimed at systems like 2-in-1s and gaming desktops, as well as low-end systems, which are due out later in the year and are based on the Zen microarchitecture.

AMD has also announced EPYC, codenamed “Naples” and based on Zen and that will offer up to 32 cores and 64 threads with bulked-up capabilities around interconnect and memory. It could also help reduce costs for large enterprises and cloud datacenters by enabling a single-socket EPYC server to potentially replace a two-socket system powered by Intel Xeons.

We are expecting to see more details at the Computex 2017 show next week in Taiwan.
Moorhead was confident Threadripper will do well in both OEMs and the channel.

“AMD announced that the Ryzen desktop [chip] would be in the top five desktop OEMs by the end of June, and I have seen models already from Lenovo, Acer and Asus. EPYC is newer, and I’m interested in seeing third-party testing. Intel has 99 percent share in servers, so there is a strong desire to have an alternative,” he said.

“The channel should take advantage of all the channel training AMD has available and also trial the products to get up to speed with how they work, Technical training is the fairest priority, followed by go-to-market training.”

The channel should use market development funds from both AMD and OEM, he added.

Channel is now cloud-ready

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudIngram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit was told that the channel has understood the opportunities that cloud can deliver.

The Summit was told that while the Channel was slow most now accept that the cloud is an unstoppable force changing business and their approach to the market.

Ingram Micro’s UK Cloud Summit heard from the distributor and vendors about the trends in the market.

Ingram Micro director of cloud & software UK&I Apay Obang-Oyway said that it was  one of the first times that he had seen that the Channel has got the message and people were nodding their heads.

He cited Blockbuster, which failed to spot the streaming revolution until it was too late, as an example of the risks of not adapting to change.

“A lot of CEOs are petrified of being Blockbusted. A lot of partners can see the changes.”

He said the industry was at the start of the fourth industrial revolution and technologies including IoT, big data, social and cloud were driving those changes.

“While it is all very good and exciting it is bringing a lot of disruption, which you can look at negatively or positively. Within that there is a load of opportunity for channel partners but you have to understand this is a different reality and it is no longer business as usual, its business unusual. The opportunity is huge and represents significant numbers,” he added.

 

Snow goes to channel first approach

ALG-L50-073Snow Software has announced it is setting up a channel-first policy to make sure all sales happen with partners.

Snow is a Software Asset Management outfit and it expects a channel will help it meet growing demand for software asset management support.

A SAM skills shortage is looming and as a result customers will be leaning more on partners to make sure they can help them plug the expertise gap.

To support the increased channel focus the firm has launched a partner portal, updated its programmes with more emphasis on joint marketing opportunities.

The company said that it will make sure the channel can perform the function customers will be looking for the vendor is encouraging partners to use its training facilities with the Snow Academy, which is an online learning platform.

Urban Bucht, global vice president partners at Snow Software announced that he will be developing partner relationships and he will be bringing on new partners to provide greater reach in the market.

Intexit McAfee looks to channel for new life

mcafeeHaving escaped Intel’s clutches, security outfit McAfee is looking to its channel to provide it with a way forward.

Intel bought McAfee for $7.7 billion back in 2010 and announced last September that it had agreed to sell its stake to TPG Capital for $4.2 billion. Thoma Bravo has also become an investor through an agreement with TPG and former Intel Security general manager Christopher Young has been named McAfee CEO.

McAfee is sticking with a current partner programme that runs through until 2018 along with its existing product plans.

But the outfit is claiming that the “new” McAfee will be reacting differently to threats and creating more opportunity for its channel partners.

The firm has a well-established and loyal channel and a brand that is already well known by partners and customers.

Young indicated what could lie ahead saying that as a standalone company with a clear purpose, McAfee gains the agility to unite people, technology and organisations against our common adversaries and ensure our technology-driven future is safe.

Europeans will lean on tech

european-commissionGood news for the channel as research from Ricoh Europe suggests that companies want to lean more on technology to improve their fortunes.

While the world is feeling rather uncertain at the moment, many feel that the way the work will change in the near future as a result of digital disruption, economic uncertainty and political turbulence.

More than 95 percent of people thought their business would benefit from the changes.

Most people that were asked for their opinions by Ricoh saw technology as the best way of making sure they could improve the fortunes of their business. On the wish list were using IT to improve customer communications, increased productivity and simpler business processes.

The weak point was that most felt that there will be even more of a scramble for skilled staff.

Ricoh Europe CEO David Mills said: “How people relate to, engage and execute their work is fundamentally changing. In the years ahead we’ll see businesses fall into two distinct camps. Firstly, those with strong fundamental processes which empower employees by enabling them to do their best work, adapt and thrive. Secondly, those businesses which shy away from change and unfortunately set their employees up for failure.”

“As the world feels the impact of unprecedented change, business leaders must ask themselves where they see the most beneficial return on bringing more innovative technology into the company. To enable their business to stay focused on its long-term goals, and remain competitive, often the best place to start is with their employees,” he added.

Resellers are being bombarded with advice from vendors to get more involved in the trend.

Softcat gets the cream

fatter catChannel outfit Softcat is reporting some rather good figures for its first public full year.

The channel player reporting strong results and a £28m special dividend. The firm saw a 12.8 percent  increase in revenues to £672.3m and gross profit coming in at 17.5 percent up on last year at £120.7 for the year  ended 31 July. That gross profit number was helped by a one-off procurement saving of £3.4m.

Softcat saw a 7.5 percent  increase in customer numbers and increasd its staff by 21 per cent to support its growth plans.

The channel outfit went public in November last year and the share price has consistently outperformed the initial valuation.

Martin Hellawell, Softcat CEO, said that the last financial year had seen it open an office in Glasgow, add 133 to the workforce and pick up a clutch of best partner awards from leading vendors.

“We are pleased to report continued strong organic growth at Softcat with 12.8 per cent revenue growth, 17.5 per cent growth in gross profit and 15.2 per cent growth in adjusted operating profit, achieved against a backdrop of very modest growth in the UK economy which has equally been reflected in the IT market,” he said.

“We have continued to win large numbers of new customers and earn increased spend from our existing customers.  This has been achieved by our relentless focus on customer service, which is in turn driven by an excellent and engaged team of people at Softcat,” he added.

UK’s tech channel bewildered over Brexit

euThe UK’s tech channel is in a panic this morning as its managers try to get their head around Friday’s Brexit decision.

Gartner has forecast that Britain’s tech buyers will now stop spending in 2016 and 2017, turning earlier growth numbers negative and the industry will fall into recession. There is also a fear of the cost of hiring EU workers, taxes and tariffs which is enough to send the industry into a tail spin.

Still at least we won’t have those nasty foreigners telling us what to do, we can just sit around muttering there will always be an England as the French start turning off the power.

Most of the tech companies have said that they needed Brexit like a hole in the head and are wondering how they can recover their position.  Basically the issue is that global business value chains are more integrated, while Brexit envisages a market which was out of date 40 years ago with Britannia ruling the waves.

SAP has said that things might be alright if the country pulls finger quick and makes its escape as fast as possible.

However, outfits like Alfresco Software moan about the huge uncertainties which gets more than half its business from the EU.

 

 

UK eCommerce traffic is mostly mobile

SmartphonesBeancounters at SimilarWeb have been adding up the numbers and dividing by their shoe size and decided that 65 percent of total ecommerce traffic in the UK in January 2016 came from a mobile device.

However the report said that despite the dominance of mobile, brands need to plan more carefully. Most ecommerce businesses need a better understanding of the true role of mobile within the omnichannel.

Marketers make the mistake of being focused on mobile at the expense of other channels. Unless the response is supported by analysis of a brand’s own consumer journey and mobile’s role within it, it can be easy to take the wrong action, the report said.

Basically a high level of mobile visits don’t translate into makign piles of dosh. More than 69 percent of shoppers say they have searched for a product or service on their phone, then gone on to purchase on a computer or offline. When purchases are made on mobile, the monetary value of the sale can be less – the average order value on mobile purchases is 20 per cent lower than on desktops.

The report suggests that budgets should be spent in a way that optimises overall conversions, rather than on any single device. There needs to be better cross-device measurement and attribution, so that marketers concentrate their effort where it’s most useful.

IBM to spruce up channel

ibm-officeBiggish Blue has released details of its revamped channel programme which will start in January 2017.

Apparently the men in suits want to better define the relationship a partner has with IBM and have a common terms used across its channel programmes.

Like most things IBMish this will involve lots of business speak. For example IBM is standardising on the term “competencies” and will have 44 “competencies” in place by the beginning of 2017.

IBM will have new cloud incentives that last the entire life of the renewal process and there will be a programme that specifically rewards builders of IBM embedded systems.

Some new IBM services will only be resold by channel partner. These will be aimed at midmarket customers that the IBM direct sales force does not normally bother with.

IBM wants to put more cash into its channel and give resources to partners that develop its intellectual property.

To fund those investments, IBM is also limiting the amount of money it invests in partners that focus mainly on order fulfilment.

Partners will be assigned a platinum, gold or silver designation based on the amount of revenue being generated over a specific time period, customer satisfaction with that partner and the number of competencies attained. The actual size of the partner will be less relevant in attaining those designations.

Brown becomes Exertis channel supremo

exertisDistributor Exertis has appointed Phil Brown to lead the commercial business units and IT reseller base for B2B and VAD solutions.

The official title on his business card is sales and commercial director for IT but he has a pretty wide ranging brief. Apparently Exertis wants to expand its company’s partners by aligning the sales and commercial units more closely.

Brown was previously B2B sales director which saw him look after the core IT and specialist sales teams, reseller partners and B2B vendors. Before this, he was commercial and marketing director at Exertis.

In a statement Brown said: “This position will enable me to help develop the Exertis proposition and ensure that all our partners have access to a wealth of great technologies, solutions and services we offer. I can’t wait to get started.”

Exertis UK’s managing director, Paul Bryan, added: “Phil has already demonstrated his skills and attributes in the course of his previous roles with us and I am confident he will build on this in his new role. This is an important next step in our evolution as we enhance our focus in the market.”

Exertis recently announced that is it has realigned the structure of its networking team ahead of the market trends it expects to unfold in 2016.

Dell, EMC prepare for channel merger

Sarah Shields, DellEMC and Dell have gone into overdrive in the expectation that the two companies will merge.

Sarah Shields, general manager of Dell UK, said that both companies had put senior members in place to work on the integration plans. She said that EMC products are complementary to Dell’s.

“The integration is a bit of a no-brainer,” she said. She said there are some obvious synergies and she herself was looking at the EMC programmes already in place.

“From our point of view it’s business as usual and so far it’s looking very positive,” she said.

She said that Dell shifted its business model to include the channel eight years ago, and although she declined to give figures, said channel business accounted for 40 percent of the company’s revenues.

She said that while business worldwide had been challenging last years, Dell had continued to grow. She said that both channel revenues and units were both positive.

Avaya creates midmarket channel programme

avaya logo Avaya has started a new midmarket programme for a ‘limited number’ of Avaya Connect channel partners.

The imaginatively titled Avaya Midmarket Select Programme enable partners to offer Select Engagement Packages of services and products specifically aimed at the midmarket.

Avaya has been worried that the midmarket has been tricky – particularly when it comes to Unified Communications. Fully integrated solutions, which rely hardware and software sit at one end of the market while cloud only packages are parked at the other with little for the middle ground.

Avaya says that it already has more than a dozen channel partners already signed up in the US, Canada and Europe, and has now opened the programme to others. Partners must meet requirements for training, expertise, business plans and growth targets.

The company said that the programme will dramatically reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for purchasing, deploying and supporting midmarket solutions.

The packages offers a complete stack of enterprise-class solutions such as unified communications, contact centre, video, networking, mobility, and professional services.

Avaya’s roots are in proprietary hardware, but it appears to be successfully using commodity hardware and standards-based software. It recently launched it’s own software-defined networking architecture earlier this year, rivalling solutions from both Cisco and VMware.

Symantec pledges itself to the Channel

symantecSymantec talked up its channel plans even if its global sales boss, dubbed a “channel champion” has exited the company.

In a second-quarter conference call Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss said he was concerned about the exit of Adrian Jones as Symantec’s head of global sales. Weiss called Jones a “channel champion”.

Symantec chief executive Mike Brown said Jones’ leaving will not put the brakes on Symantec’s channel momentum.

“The good news is, we have a pretty deep bench of folks with experience with the channel,” he said. “Symantec always have been a channel company. We’ve been a channel company for 30 years.

“So I think those partners who work with us for a long time know that our commitment is unwavering there. And it’s great that we’ve now introduced Secure One, our new channel programme, which now for the first time can be focused on security partners.”

He said that previously Symantec’s channel was previously more geared towards our Veritas business.

Symantec is spinning off its information management arm Veritas on 1 January but the duo split operationally on 3 October.

Veritas unveiled its new partner programme this week and apologised for some technical issues thrown up by the split last month.

Brown insisted when questioned that Jones’ leaving will not put the brakes on Symantec’s channel

“At our October partner event, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive as we laid out our strategy with the launch of Secure One, an enhanced channel partner programme tailored specifically for security-focused channel partners. The new programme consists of training, deal registration, technology support and incentives to drive the results for successful long-term relationships.”

The “master shopper” has evolved says John Lewis

evolutionThe third annual John Lewis Retail Report has discovered that a new ‘master shopper’ has emerged to take advantage of multichannel retail.

According to the report, this ‘master shopper’ has learned to combine channels and devices in order to create their own optimal shopping experience.

As the report said that using all these options creating a more flexible journey. Shopping today is less about “I need it now” and more about “I need it how, when and where I want.

The report suggests that stores are still important, but fulfil a function which, according to the report, is increasingly linked to leisure time.

John Lewis has noticed that services such as Beauty and spa treatments in its stores are getting a lot of attention.

But the growing use of mobile and multichannel services like click and collect have created a new landscape for retail in which customers switch between devices and channels – online and offline – with ease, the report said.

The proportion of traffic to the John Lewis website from mobiles increased to 60 per cent in the last twelve months and mobile revenue grew by 68 per cent.

The retailer predicts that we’re yet to reach peak usage.

Two thirds of John Lewis customers use both physical shops and online channels and the number who bought from both channels increased by 9 per cent over the past 12 months.

Almost 20 per cent of customers buying a computer have more than ten interactions during a buying journey.

An average of three of those interactions involve online research on John Lewis or on other websites.

Facebook is the most popular social channel for John Lewis, though it uses different channels for different reasons.

What all this means is that multichannel retailers like John Lewis need to realise the number of channels and influences that affect the customer’s purchase and make this process as easy as possible.

With the number of channels used by these ‘master shoppers, it becomes more important for retailers to have a presence on as many as possible.