Tag: channel

Microsoft offers start ups Azure credits

Pic Mike MageeMicrosoft has launched a package to lure start-ups and SME’s to its Azure profile by offering them $500,000 in Azure credits. 

The deal, announced by partner Y Combinator, is only available to Y Combinator-backed companies and will be offered to the 2015 Winter and future batches.

It seems that Microsoft is following Google, AWS and IBM which already offer incentives for start-ups to join them.

Microsoft is giving Y Combinator start-ups a three years Office 365 subscription, access to Microsoft developer staff and one year of free CloudFlare and DataStax enterprise services.

It is starting to look like Microsoft is getting more aggressive in its competition with Amazon Web Services and Google, both of whom already offer credits and freebies.

Amazon offers $25,000 in AWS credits and other freebies, while Google offers $100,000 in Google platform credits and IBM offers $120,000 in credit for SoftLayer infrastructure of BlueMix PaaS.

Writing in his company’s bog Sam Altman said that this brings the total value of special offers extended to each YC company to well over $1,000,000. “The relentless nagging from partners to grow faster we throw in for free,” he said.

It is likely that the YC deal is the first of many which will be rolled out worldwide to Microsoft’s partners.


Cisco promises partners a sticky end

 honey1Cisco Systems executives have been promising their channel partners that its Cisco ONE Software Suite will be stickier than a hive of bees who stuck super glue on their feet and went skating on the honey combs.

Cisco ONE (Open Networking Environment) is a software licensing program that provides flexibility for customers to acquire the latest software for infrastructure. Yes, apparently, you can be sticky and flexible at the same time; we looked it up.

The networking supremo appears to be removing the la carte method with separately priced products it has also removed the concept of a software license being tied to hardware.

Under the new system, Cisco ONE covers data centre, WAN and network access software as a subscription. Later this year Cisco ONE will offer perpetual licenses and hearing aids for those who were damaged by Cisco shouting ONE at them all the time.

John Brigden, senior vice president of software strategy and operations for Cisco, said all this means that Cisco is now in the business of flogging “business outcomes” instead of products.

Cisco ONE provides flexibility and drive greater deal sizes as well as more margin incentives through the Value Incentive Program (VIP), OIP, and TIP, he said.

For the channel it prevents multiple sales cycles because it is software tied to maintenance and support with SmartNet brings in a more predictable revenue stream.

“This is very sticky for partners.”

Microsoft takes on Chrome

Chrome-4-Wallpaper-Background-HdSoftware giant Microsoft appears to be attempting to give the Chromebook a run for its money.

Vole has arranged a few deals with some of its hardware partners to create $199 to $249 Windows laptops which are based around cloud storage systems.

HP will be Microsoft’s number one chum and will lead the way to lower-priced Microsoft Windows computers this year.

First off the block will be a $199 laptop dubbed the HP Stream 14. Details for the device leaked to Mobile Geeks. The data sheet that the magazine got its paws on shows a  14-inch laptop which could provide an interesting alternative to a Chromebook.

The HP Stream 14 is a bit like a Chromebooks.  It has a 1366 x 768 display and energy-efficient AMD chips. It has an untaxing 2 GB of memory and either 32 or 64 GB of flash storage as well as an SDXC card slot. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, three USB ports, HDMI out and a webcam.

The laptop runs Windows 8.1 and is connected to Microsoft’s cloud storage services. Like a Chromebook, the HP Steam 14 will come with 100 GB of OneDrive storage for two years, which is the identical

It appears that Microsoft is not going to give the bottom of the market to Google without a fight and we are expecting to see other products from Volish partners in the $199 to $249 price range in the coming months.

Dell puts Hammer on the table

Hammer logoMajor channel player Dell said it has appointed distie Hammer as an international OEM covering its complete portfolio.

The partnership means Hammer will sell into 40 verticals including military, defence, media, entertainments and telecommunications.

Gerard Marlow, general manaer at Hammer said that his company’s experience in bespoke server design helps it to be a Dell OEM.  The company has over 50 sales and technical professionals in house.

Dermot O’Connell, executive director of OEM business at Dell says that the partnership means Hammer will be part of his company’s overall channel strategy.

Dell to extend its channel model

dellchannDespite the BBC World Service this morning claiming that Dell will carry on making desktops, notebooks and servers in perpetuity, there’s another string  to the hardware giant’s bow.

And here in Budapest there’s a three day security conference which is exclusively about software. And, of course, security.

This all follows Dell’s acquisitions of Force 10 and SonicWALL – it hopes that will help it build its data centre business.

Andy Zollo, VP of Dell EMEA, opened up by asking how long the Brits stayed up last night. Apparently until 3AM, it seems. Growth areas include the cloud, big data, and mobile. Mobile he said generates 592MB per month for each device. And 50 percent of mobile device traffic is video. He said by the end of this year there will be more mobile devices than people on the planet.

Dell’s revenues from security in EMEA accounts for 51 percent of revenues. Its products it is positioning include security and data protection.  It has formed a security named account team covering different sectors with around 2,000 customers across Europe. It intends to build its channel presence in the future. There was a lot of direct business while SonicWALL was largely indirect.  Zollo says Dell EMEA is placing its best on the indirect model.

HP rejigs its channel people

HPDiversity and change are cited for the reasons that there’s been a reshuffle at HP Enterprise Group channel  personnel. Diversity and change. Change and diversity – those two magic words say so much and at the same time so very little.

Out is Kevin Matthews while in is Johnny Ansell.

Ansell is the new UK and Ireland indirect director for HP’s enterprise group.  He’s been at HP for fifteen years but most lately ran the HP networking business for the last 10 quarters.  Who has replaced him at the networking business remains a mystery.

According to a statement from Andy Isherwood, HP’s managing director, Matthews and others have driven “continuous growth” for over five years.

Isherwood cited his achievements as growth, relationships, and “innovation”.

What’s happened to Matthews?  HP isn’t ready to say but Isherwood said he will let us know, “once we have fully transitioned the channel business to the new leader”.  Happy transitioning.

Sennheiser hires channel woman

Jane WheelerHeadset and UC manufacturer Sennheiser said it has created a post of reseller sales manager and hired a woman for the role.

Jane Wheeler will be reseller sales manager for Sennheiser Comms.

Her job will be to work with the channel, build relationships and affiliations and to educate resellers about the products, build training programmes, organise events and provide support for resellers selling products to people.

She said she is looking forward to promoting the products into the channel, while sales director Jane Craven said Wheeler has a track record in the sector.

Channel can’t cope with cloud

cloudbustChannel players are finding it tough to cope with the fast change in cloud services, according to a report from MTI.

MTI surveyed both UK resellers and services providers and 77 percent of those responded said that Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) was the top priority for their clients.

Less than half provide IaaS directly and only 22 percent can provide the service through vendors, MTI claimed.

That, claimed Chris Roberts, channel sales leader at MtI, meant there’s a gap between what clients want and resellers offer.

“It’s very difficult for resellers to be flexible enough to provide solutions as and when they come into fashion when demand from clients peak,” he said.

Nearly two thirds of resellers and service providers generate 40 percent of their turnover services.

Databarracks helps reseller victims

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeCloud service company Databarracks said it has introduced a reseller network called the deProgramme.

What does this mean?  According to Phil Gunning, channel manager at the company, channel players have been “victims of complexity. The point of any channel partnership for both parties is to reach more customers.”

He hit out at labels and jargon.

“Customers don’t care whether you’re a gold certified partner or if you’ve sat through hours of vendor training.”

His deProgramme, he claims, will eliminate red tape.

“The vast majority of channel programmes are broken. They’ve been too prescriptive without offering enough individual support or incentive for partners to thrive. Our most successful partners are the ones who work with us and take advantage of our resources to sell more and better support their customers.”

Databarracks will show off its services at Cloud Expo at the horrendous Excel conference centre, later this week.

Swivel hires reseller channel man

truckAnup Vora has been appointed reseller channel manager by Swivel Secure.

Last year, Swivel moved to a single tier channel way of selling and the company said this appointment is its next stage in its reseller programme.

Swivel has authentication products and the company believes resellers can include its offerings as part of their enterprise portolios.

Vora said that demand for authentication in the enterprises has never been higher. “Resellers should be bundling security as standard,” he said. “Multi-factor authentication shouldn’t be overlooked.”  It’s an incremental revenue stream for resellers, he added.

Vora has had years of experience in building channels including jobs at SMS Passcode and Check Point Software.

Spigraph M&A makes it big

Wayne DaveyDicom’s takeover by Spigraph International Group has been finalised.

That, according to the company, makes it the biggest value added distributor (VAD) of document capture and processing technology in the EMEA region.

The VAD’s channel is being integrated – it has something like 6,000 resellers in 20 countries.

Spigraph will have a turnover of £130 million, offering its customers access to the biggest scanner manufacturers and software publishers, it said.

There will be some re-organisation – that’s what it means by saying it will optimise its product ranges.

Wayne Davey will be CEO of the combined Spigraph operation, while Joachim Froning, previously CEO at Dicom, will take on the role of senior vide president.

Cloud can yield SMBs 30% savings

Lisette Sens, ZynstraThe channel is being forced to rethink the landscape because of the pervasiveness of cloud computing.

But there are ways for resellers to make margins through cloud offerings, despite the preponderance of services that are available.

That’s according to Lisette Sens, head of channel at Zynstra. She was appointed to the role last week with the remit to sell products through the supply chain.

Sens said one way to attract businesses was through resellers educating SMBs about the benefits of cloud offerings. SMBs can save as much as 30%, she said, implementing desktop enterprise systems.

“This market is growing and should be taken seriously,” she told ChannelEye. “The SMB market is looking for trusted providers. We have done trials in the market and we’re working with Easynet.”

She said reselllers need to find their place in this changing landscape in order to maximise their margins.

“We want to show the SMB world that we really understand them and work with the channel to deliver,” she said.

Symantec reveals plans for EMEA partners

symantecSymantec resellers need not fear getting the chop as the security company unveils its new channel strategy .

Although a little light on detail, when asked about the current size of its partner channel and the ideal size of a future channel, Symantec’s VP of EMEA partner management, Mark Nutt, confirmed that having the right channel mix was more important than the overall size.

But there can be little doubt the vendor will be shedding a number of under-performing resellers and replacing them from some of the new partner categories it has identified – there are eight such categories, according to Nutt, who also stressed the important role for disties in the future of the Symantec channel.

“Distribution has a tremendous amount to offer but we need to work out where the value to our partners,” Nutt said. “Now that we’ve identified eight different partner types, we need to better understand which parts of the channel we need to explore, which to invest more in and which that streamlining.”

Although Nutt stressed he was “not looking to turn partners off; it’s not about reducing numbers” it looks likely some resellers will have to forge relationships with distributors, such as TechData, Arrow, Avnet, Ingram and Cohort.

Those disties that can help Symantec recruit from new partner groups will be of particular interest.

The vendor is also streamlining its product offering down from around 150 different products to less than 10, in order to make the task of addressing customer needs more straightforward for resellers.

The changes are part of a global strategy which will lead to a new partner programme which goes live in February 2014 but will be officially unveiled in April.

Symantec is also opening a telephone-based partner account management team that will be run from its Dublin offices.

Citrix goes channel cert nuts

cloud 2Cloud company Citrix said it has revised its certification programmes, with less examinations and a simplified system.

It is offering three certifications to its channel, all relating to XenDesktop 7.

Those are Certified Associates, Certified Professionals, and Certified Experts.  These all relate to apps and desktops.

Citrix said it will add similar certifications for networking and mobility in the next few months.

Tom Flink, VP of worldwide channels at the company said: “We continue to evolve our channel program in an effort to make it easier for our partners to do business with Citrix, and help them identify and capitalise on new revenue streams. The new simplified structure and guidelines make it easier for our partners to achieve and stay up-to-date on the latest Citrix certifications. Through the new certifications we are also providing our partners with the comprehensive skills and expertise they need to sell end-to-end, holistic solutions that will differentiate them from competitors and allow them to generate more Citrix-related revenue.”

PC market continues to be weak

IDC graphIDC released figures estimating that worldwide PC shipments accounted for 81.6 million units in Q3 of 2013 – that’s a drop of 7.6 percent, compared to the previous year.

But IDC said it had expected a decline of 9.5 percent for the quarter.  It said that shipments were weak in the early part of the quarter but business buys and channel intake of Windows 8.1 based systems happened in September.

IDC said emerging markets continued to be weak, while the channel and vendors were stock heavy on Ivy Bridge systems and eroded by lower priced smartphones and tablets.

Upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments in the enterprise desktop section.

Rajani Singh, senior research analyst at IDC, said that the US market hasn’t changed that much. There may be a small increase in the fourth quarter, he said. But that will be followed “by a challenging 2014”.

In EMEA the PC market continued to decline with weak consumer demand a shift to tablets.  The channel maintained lean inventories during the period.

The only bright light were “pockets of investments” despite companies still being reluctant to spend any money.

Lenovo is the top vendor and is expanding into the channel, while HP and Dell were numbers two and three.  Acer and Asus both were weakened by lack of spend by consumers. Asus doesn’t have a significant corporate user base.