Tag: channel

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Basically the issue is that global business value chains are more integrated, while Brexit envisages a market which was out of date 40 years ago with Britannia ruling the waves.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.

Microsoft thinks it knows what businesses really really want

surface-rtSoftware king of the world Microsoft has been asking its enterprise customers how it can improve the adoption of Surface tablets and Windows 10.

Writing in its Bog, Vole said that it had been chatting to customers who made large global footprints and discovered that the service, management and support options were pinching.

“Many told us they wanted to buy Surface from one partner, in one transaction, and have devices deployed all over the world with a single support and warranty SLA,” the blog says.

This is apparently the reason why Vole announced that Dell and HP will now resell Surface tablets and bring their enterprise-grade support offerings to the devices.

Microsoft has added two new additions to the Surface Enterprise Initiative to speed the adoption of Surface tablets and Windows 10.

Starting at the beginning of 2016, Vole will bring in a new “Microsoft Complete for Enterprise” warranty. This has four elements that the firm says its larger enterprise customers have asked for including the ability to pool warranty claims by company versus individual devices.

Microsoft will allow warranty claims against non-bootable devices. It will bring in rapid replace processing and an on-boarding centre to ensure a premium within the first 30 days.

Vole will assist IT staff to get setup with warranty and support processes as well as provide online training for their employees to get productive as fast as possible.

In addition to this there is the Business Device Trade-In Program.

“Many customers have told us that they want to upgrade to Surface and Windows 10, but have invested in devices and need to maximise the value they receive from those assets,” the blog said.

“With the Business Device Trade-in Program we make it simple. This is different from other trade-in offers in that it is a permanent program for business customers, rather than a limited time promotion.”

With 24 hour quotes, prepaid shipping labels and secure data wipe, business customers can trade their used business laptops, tablets, and phones for credit towards the purchase of new Surface devices.

This offer will be available in the coming weeks to business customers in the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Soon it will be rolled out to Australia, France, Germany and the UK.

Dell-EMC deal will rock the channel boat

Dell logo* DELL has confirmed it will take over EMC for $67 billion.  VM Ware will continue as a publicly traded company.

It now looks almost certain that Dell will announce it is taking over EMC today – a move that will cause ripples right throughout their respective channels.

The deal, said to be worth over $50 billion, is expected to be concluded either today or tomorrow, although EMC, being a listed company, will have to be offered to other prospective suitors.

A prospective suitor this time last year was HP, but HP Inc and HP Enterprise aren’t that interested any more.

For Dell, there are clear advantages to the acquisition. It has been building up its channel portfolio for several years now and at last week’s Canalys Channels Forum, senior executives said that at least 70 percent of its business was now going through two tier distribution. The acquisition will also put Dell into the top league, along with IBM and HP one and two.

Dell has also had a pretty smooth path when it’s taken over other countries, managing to successfully integrate them in a comparatively short period.

Obviously, there will be some consolidation involved and doubtless some people will be made redundant as part of the proposed takeover. But sorting out the channel implications will require some deft and delicate moves on Dell’s behalf. Reports suggest that EMC’s VM Ware division may itself be subject to either a sale or some equity investment.

Lenovo faces a channel grilling

lenovo2This afternoon, two senior Lenovo European executives faced questions from the channel audience here at the Canalys Channels Forum in Barcelona. Gianfranco Lanci and Eric Cador, both big suits in the European market were put through their paces.

Lenovo’s Lanci said the acquisition of Intel servers has gone quite well.”I think it’s maybe another quarter but it’s nearly done.” Lenovo has started making money.

He said the PC market is not going to decline but it’s not going to hit double digit growth. He said the economical situation meant sales were suffering in the emerging market.

Lanci said Windows 10, in terms of performance isn’t comparable to Windows 8 or Vista. It will help the market to recover “a bit”. A number of commercial customers are considering moves to Windows 10 in 2016.

Lenovo is working on converging storage and computing but Lanci declined to comment on whether it would buy into the storage business.

He said consolidation in the PC area is inevitable and the smaller players will disappear. He’s prepared to play a waiting game and thinks that in two years time there will only be four or five PC companies.

Lenovo thinks it’s special because it’s got PCs, phablets, phones, tablets and enterprise products.

Lenovo doesn’t understand why Microsoft has launched a new Surface. Microsoft is both a partner and a competitor. Microsoft asked Lenovo a year ago if it would resell its products and said no.

Lenovo thinks Android will continue to take share. Lenovo ships more Android than Wintel products by a factor of two.

Asked why many Lenovo products were cheaper in retail than through distribution, Lenovo said most of the products sold in retail were different from machines pushed through the channel. Lenovo has to deal with multiple channels.

Lenovo said that when it bought the IBM server business it thought there was room to grow. There’s room for it to take business from HP. It has a great opportunity in Europe and the USA.

Channel complaints about overstock at distribution leading to big cash problems don’t seem to be a problem, according to Lenovo’s Lanci. When there’s overstock it’s usually Lenovo which pays the bill and isn’t paying the bill on overstocking. Lenovo has invested money to solve the problem.

Lenovo will concentrate on going the commercial or enterprise channels. It believes the integration of IBM System x channel partners went pretty well. Lenovo needs value added channel partners and needs to grow volume too. W0

Microsoft expands its Surface channel

tablet Software giant Microsoft has confirmed that more UK Microsoft resellers will get their paws on Surface tablets as it attempts to open up the channel.

Vole has previously worked with just nine authorised device resellers (ADR) since the tablet first appeared in 2013.  It added another six in April.  There were only 150 authorised ADR worldwide, so having so few in the UK was not unusual.

At its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July, Microsoft said it was ready to open up distribution globally and let more resellers in on the action.

Vole said that the channel was going to open to 4,500 resellers worldwide.

It looks like Volish distributers Ingram Micro and Tech Data will have 51 new ADRs on their books from 1 September, pushing the total number in the UK to 65.

Several hundred resellers initially expressed interest in selling the tablet and  Ingram and Tech Data, which then whittled them down to a list of 60. Vole cut the list down to 51. This group of resellers will be able to get the Surface tablet from Ingram Micro or Tech Data from next week.

The new ADRs will have the same Microsoft programme benefits, marketing money, rebates and price points available to them.

Cloud channel support is slack

Every silver has a cloudy liningThe Cloud Industry Forum has warned cloud customers are not getting the levels of support they need from channel partners when it comes to help migrating to the cloud.

In a report the Forum said that part of the problem is that there are some inexperienced channel players who are yet to really grow into being cloud providers and customers needed to make more careful assessments of potential partners.

Customers were having to deal with the result of poor integration with existing legacy systems and a failure by the partners to thoroughly assess the ability of the user’s network to deliver a stable product.

Overall the CIF findings were positive with 90 percent of customers expressing a positive satisfaction rating and 70 percent of IT buyers expecting to increase their use of cloud in the year ahead.

But since cloud migration is a key part of the whole business it does seem to be that more work needs to be done.

The CIF findings also come on top of a recent report from LogicNow that seems to suggest there is a worrying disconnect between service providers and customers.

The gap between customer expectations and partner service plans is a wide one, according to the LogicNow ‘Global IT Service Providers Harmony Report’.

The research suggested that most IT buyers started out a discussion with a service provider with the intention of getting help with a specific, business critical need. But the research found that the channel saw the chance to push wider services and tended to follow their own agenda.

Speaking last month, on the launch of the report Dr Alistair Forbes, general manager at LogNow, said that service providers needed to be patient about rushing into talk to a customer about a range of investment options, rather than dealing with the specific concern brought to their attention.

“Pushing strategic consultancy too early in the relationship gives an impression of under-valuing the immediate concern weighing heaviest on the customer’s mind. IT departments engage with Service Providers because they have a particular problem that needs solving. This must be addressed first to earn the opportunity of a strategic engagement later on,” he said.

IBM prepares channel for millennials

dellyBiggish Blue is predicting that things are going to change now that the millennial generation has entered the workforce.

IBM projects that by the year 2020 millennials will be the dominant generation in its company and its channel partners.

To deal with this IBM’s Mike Gerentine, global vice-president of channel marketing has set up   the IBM Emerging Leaders Initiative and recruited 40 millennial participants – 20 from IBM’s staff and 20 from channel partners that work together in a buddy system.

Apparently they’re collaborating together the way colleagues normally would, via conference calls, in-person meetings, and perhaps some Snap Chat sessions involving customised Bitmoji.

The generation born 1980 or later has sometimes got a bad rap as being too self-involved and entitled, Gerentine says they aren’t that different from other generations.

They are more social and digitally savvy, but they still want to work in a collaborative environment with people. IBM wants to create a groundswell in business partner firms to start developing leaders for the future.

So far the programme is focusing on non-technical employees, those in functional roles of marketing and sales, and the participants are being asked to take on two projects within IBM.

They must be evangelists of IBM’s internal social app, Gerentine says, and become experts of its new digital marketing platform, helping other employees deploy it and then put it to use.

In a statement Gerentine describes the programme as critical because IBM believes millennials are essential to helping define future needs and interests in the technology marketplace.

“I’m fully committed to ensuring that Emerging Leaders have a voice. Our companywide share new technology solutions with them, listen to their feedback, and learn from their insights.”

The programme is expanding. There’s an open call to recent college graduates that are now working at IBM partners, or the employers that hired them, to get in touch with IBM. A nomination form is required to be filled out for consideration to take part in the programme.

 

Dell signs up Tech Data

Dell logoTech Data will distribute a number of products from Dell in the UK and Ireland.

Dell, which in times past was positively averse to the channel, has changed its tune completely in the last few years

The company said the extended relationship with Tech Data underlines its “continued investment” in the channel.

Tech Data is one of the largest distributors of technology products in the world, with sales of close to $28 billion and a network of 115,000 resellers worldwide.

Andy Gass, MD at Tech Data, said in a prepared statement: “Dell has made a strong commitment to the indirect channel by opening its full product range to us.”

And Tim Griffin, CEO of Dell UK said: “Over the past few years, Dell’s Partner Direct programme has grown exponentially and the channel is now, more than ever, an essential element in Dell’s overall business strategy. Partners like Tech Data are pivotal to our success.”