Tag: channel

EMC transformed itself thanks to Channel

7361653728_ac8edc50eb_cEMC, which was celebrating the release of new tech which could see it take control of the mid-range datacentre market, claims that its rise to dominance is because of its Channel strategy.

Talking to ChannelEye, EMC’s Vice President of Global channel sales, Gregg Ambulos said that a few years ago the company did not have an effective channel strategy and relied on its own sales team.

“That was probably OK when we had only one product but then Joseph Tucci took over as CEO in 2001 and wanted a different approach and a much stronger channel,” Ambulos said.

Since then more than 65 percent of EMC sales come through its Channel and in the area of mid-range data centre boxes.  Also it is starting to notice that partners are starting to defect from rivals like IBM to join in.

Part of this is a strong product line.  EMC holds most of the mid-range data centre business on the basis of its strong server offerings.

Ambulos thinks that this will become more obvious as the new VNX range hits the streets.  The new VNX is a much easier box to sell as it is faster and cheaper than previous incarnations.

He said that the technology changes to the VNX range were driven by EMC’s partners some of which were involved in actually crafting the developments.

Ambulos said that while EMC will be running channel incentive programmes to sell the VNX range, these will be comparatively low key.  Channel partners need very little incentive to sell the VNX range and just really wanted to get started.

 

Hynix downplays massive fire in chip plant

silicon-waferSK Hynix, the world’s second biggest maker of memory chips, is in damage control mode, quite literally. A blaze gutted parts of one of its plants in Wuxi, China, but the company is now trying to reassure the market by saying that damage was largely superficial.

The memory maker claims supply volume will not be affected, as there was no major damage to production equipment. It looked spectacular, but luckily the blaze doesn’t appear to have done much damage. One person suffered a minor injury and the company insists it will resume operations “in a short time period”.

However, the world was watching for good reason. The fab in question produces an estimated 15 percent of the world’s DRAM. Any extended outage would have had a massive effect on supply and prices. Luckily, SK Hynix insists the market will not be affected and the supply chain has nothing to worry about. Furthermore, the company says there is no material damage to any fab equipment in the clean room

The fire started yesterday afternoon and it took almost two hours to extinguish. What made it look a lot worse to onlookers was the fact that it churned out a lot of black smoke, which was concentrated in air purification facilities, which pretty much saved the plant but made the whole incident look a lot more ominous.

MS Surface gets new lease of life

surface-rtMicrosoft’s Surface tablets are refusing to die thanks to a bit of help from another bloated and overvalued mess – the public sector. Phoenix Software reports that it has seen a 40 percent surge in demand for Surface tablets from schools, colleges and the rest of the public sector. We assume asylums are somewhere rank high on the list as well.

The surge came about after Microsoft unleashed Surface tablets on the channel two weeks ago. Phoenix actually had to increase its public sector team by 30 percent to cope with increased demand and it even adopted the Surface itself, through its BYOD policy.

The Surface Pro is fully compatible with Windows-centric networks used in most public sector institutions, and since it ships with Microsoft Office, multiuser support and a physical keyboard, it has an edge over Android tablets and iPads in such an environment. The Surface RT also has a few things going for it, as it replicates the IT suite environment used in many schools, although it lacks compatibility with legacy x86 applications.

It’s good news for Microsoft, which sort of makes us wonder why it didn’t go after known Windows addicts like the public sector in the first place? It seems someone at Microsoft truly thought those colourful TV ads would make civilians buy Surface tablets over the iPad. Could it have been someone who’s about to step down perhaps?

Dell includes channel in desktop-as-a-service move

Dell logoDell is looking to include the channel in its desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) strategy and it is about to offer two options for channel partners. The first one will be straightforward, much like the usual resale relationship, but a deeper approach will let the partners themselves “own” the customers, reports MSPmentor.

The cunning plan is that organisations will find it a lot easier to get into the DaaS business without the hassle of building their own infrastructure. Such an approach should appeal to potential providers, including telecoms, reckons Dell. So far the push will apparently be limited to the American market, where the service launched a month ago, in cooperation with system integrators MCPC from Ohio.

However, the model itself sounds relatively flexible and it should be relatively easy to expand. Dell Director of Sales Enablement Terry Vaughn said the company has already come up with a playbook for the service, which resembles a franchise model. Affiliate/referral margins are percent of revenue in a monthly recurring model, while the co-delivery model requires the partner to achieve Dell certification, but it also provides better margins of 15 to 20 percent.

“We know what we are selling this for direct in the market place, and we are holding the pricing consistent,” said Vaughn. He added that the approach is designed to avoid any channel conflict.

In addition, Dell is offering a free proof-of-concept trial for anyone willing to give the new DaaS strategy a go.

Lenovo cooks up BYOD for channel

lenovo-logoLenovo wants to tap the BYOD trend with a new demo kit, offered to its channel partners and customers. The new “Combat Kit” aims to make BYOD simpler and less challenging. It could also reduce the suicide rate among IT specialists in charge of sorting out the mess that is BYOD.

The kit features several Lenovo devices, mostly tablets and hybrids. Partners can pick the ones that best suits their needs and hand them out to end users, reports CRN. The kit includes the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, ThinkPad Helix, ThinkPad Twist and the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Lenovo brand ambassador Stephen Miller said the sales cycle is changing. In the past, companies would buy ten computers and every end user got the exact same one. With the consumerization of IT, the old one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

“Now it’s difficult. Everybody wants a different device,” said Miller. “You have confusion around what to sell, and end users don’t know what to buy because of the paradox of choice.”

The kit would effectively allow users choose the device that works best for them. Miller said end users can get a hands on experience, and then partners can sell the device that the end users actually want. There seems to be a lot of interest in the kit and there’s already a waiting list, but Miller said partners should still sign up.

Microsoft’s starts Surface move to the Channel

Surface-ElementaryMicrosoft has launched Surface partner programmes for tablet resellers and software developers in a small scale to its US channel.

Writing in his bog, Cyril Belikoff, director, Surface marketing, said Microsoft was launching what he called the “first phase” of expansion into the business channel.

It will allow customers to purchase Surface and commercial services through a small number of authorised resellers.

There is also a new ISV program, called AppsForSurface, which provides devices and funding for app design intended to get key enterprise apps on Surface and Window 8.

While there is no news yet about what Microsoft’s plans are in other parts of the world, it is starting to look like there is a thaw in its plans.
When the Surface came out, Vole’s hardware partners screamed blue murder claiming that Microsoft was treading on its toes.

In response to that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer  said that its channel could sell Surface but only if they order it from a Microsoft store or Microsoft.com. There will be no formal channel programme.

Now it seems that Vole is starting to branch out in a small way and test the water and close to home.

The Surface will be going to Microsoft’s bigger US partners first and Vole does not seem to be that keen to have a huge push.

In the United States that means CDW, CompuCom Systems, En Pointe Technologies, Insight Enterprises, Softchoice, Softmart, SHI International, PC Connection, PCM and Zones Inc. are the first Surface authorised resellers.

That is a tiny drop in the market of the US channel.

Microsoft says the initial Surface resellers bring a variety of value-added services to tablet family, such as asset tagging, custom imaging, kitting, onsite service and support, device recycling and data protection.

In other words, Microsoft really does need the channel to push its surface but it wants to do it without isolating its hardware chums.

VMware hires new channel honcho

Hands across the waterVMware has added a new recruit to its senior management payroll.

The virtualisation and cloud infrastructure company hired Dave O’Callaghan as senior vice president of Global Channels and Alliances.

It is hoped that in his new role O’Callaghan will lead the vision and strategy for VMware partners globally across all routes to market, including service providers, distributors, OEMs, system integrators and outsourcers, and independent software vendors.

His CV boasts positions in the tech industry spanning 30 years and includes positions in senior sales and indirect sales roles at Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems and Memorex Telex.

Most recently, in 2011, O’Callaghan founded and led his own consulting firm specialising in go-to-market strategies for high-tech manufacturers, distributors and solution providers. Prior to this, O’Callaghan served as vice president of worldwide commercial sales at Cisco, where he led sales, strategy and programs of the midmarket and SMB segments.

During his 12 years at Cisco, O’Callaghan also held vice president roles in worldwide distribution and regional sales. He said he was “excited” to be helping his new  customers “solve their biggest IT infrastructure challenges of today and in the future”.

Brother UK gets new MD

Phil Jones with PrinterPhil Jones has been named as the managing director of Brother UK.

The announcement follows Mr Jones’ promotion in March 2012 to deputy MD, a role that saw him take responsibility for the company’s 180-strong workforce and £100 million of sales.

Jones has worked his way up through the company, originally joining as a fax machine salesman in 1995,  later becoming sales & marketing director.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Jones said he was “thrilled” to be given the responsibility to lead Brother in the UK as MD.

“Having joined the business back in the early 1990s with little leadership or business management experience, my journey really underlines Brother’s commitment to investing in people and backing talent – a culture that I’m determined to continue building during my tenure,” he added.

Mr Jones, 45, lives in Warrington with his wife and two teenage children. He is a regular speaker and blogger on leadership, innovation and personal growth and a keen road cyclist, it is claimed.

Embotics goes Microsoft Hyper-V

Hands across the waterEmbotics has released its Embotics V-Commander for Microsoft Hyper-V.

The virtualisation and cloud management software company claims that the new platform, with a new multi-tenant cost model capability, will help deliver IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) with support for multi-hypervisor environments, as well as help customers make the right economic decisions for their virtualised data centres.

Whilst the channel has done a great job of helping their customers to virtualise their IT environments, some customers have traditionally found it difficult to cut through the tough-talking and hyperbole from Microsoft and VMware about which vendor offers the most cost-effective hypervisors.

The new cloud management platform is said to change this offering easy-to-use rapid provisioning, self-service, service catalogues, IT costing and charge back, workflow automation, resource optimisation and lifecycle management capabilities and will now also give users a cost comparison functionality.

Embotics V-Commander is also said to help users integrate Hyper-V into their data centre environment for rationalisation via reclamation, optimisation and workload migration through multi-hypervisor adoption. Apparently data centres can implement Embotics V-Commander and accelerate cloud maturity without simultaneously accelerating costs or complexity.

Embotics V-Commander return on investment (ROI) is gained later through automation and the standardising of services for the best fit.

Additionally, by examining the historical view of the environment and how it grows, Embotics V-Commander can retrofit the environment to achieve ROI. It can also identify waste and help recycle, migrate and reclaim that waste on the Microsoft Hyper-V platform.

E-commerce generates demand for mega-warehouses

warehouse-openOnline shoppers are not just killing main street, they seem to be taking creating a lot of demand for oversized commercial storage units suitable for logistics and delivery outfits. In other words, small warehouses are going out of style, fast.

Property Magazine International reports that 25 million square meters of retail space will be needed over the next five years to keep up with e-commerce trends. That is the equivalent of 3,300 football pitches and some developers might end up driving white Bentleys, just like Premiership footballers.

It is estimated that online outfits will also need an additional three million square meters of specially equipped e-fulfilment space over the next five years. Another 22 million square meters is needed to keep retail stores and satellite warehouses stocked.

The growth of e-commerce will also drive further development of so-called dark stores, which is basically a fancy name for huge warehouses where goods are packed and shipped to consumers.
Jones Lang LaSalle executive Paul Betts argued that many retailers have simply outgrown their supply chain infrastructure and they have to work out new logistics models for multi-channel retail.

VMware needs luck as it sticks its head in the clouds

cloud (264 x 264)VMware has given up trying to wait for its partners to help it become an important name in the cloud space and has decided to do it itself.

Yesterday the outfit unveiled vCloud Hybrid Service to investors. Well we say unveiled we really mean that it told the world that was intending to set up a public cloud service. But it caught everyone on the hop because it was only a couple of months ago that VMware’s Pat Gelsinger sounded so dead set against the public cloud.

Speaking at the VMware’s Partner Exchange Conference in Las Vegas, Gelsinger said that VMware needed to own the corporate workload. He said that the company would lose if they end up in commodity public clouds.

With comments like that to suddenly come out and launch your own public cloud seems a little silly. However what Gelsinger appeared to be saying was that he did not want corporate data on other people’s public clouds.

“We want to extend our franchise from the private cloud into the public cloud and uniquely enable our customers with the benefits of both. Own the corporate workload now and forever.”

But Gelsinger’s plans might be a little tricky to pull off.

When it comes to public cloud there is a lot of top notch competition including Amazon, IBM, and HP who don’t take too kindly to strangers in the market. To make matters worse VMware’s offering will not be around until at least the second quarter.

VMware has chucked a bit of money trying to get the idea of the ground. Former Savvis Cloud president, Bill Fathers, will run the vCloud and has said that the idea will get a level of investment appropriate to that priority and to capitalize on a $14 billion market opportunity.

One of the crucial differences about what VMware is offering is that it is the service “hybrid” so that enterprises should see it as part of the VMware’s packages. The software which the vCloud is based on is called Director. It uses an IaaS environment and lets workloads become managed either in the cloud or in the office in the same way.

But all this is being set up because VMware could not interest its partners in building something similar. VMware had a crack at offering similar products through its ISP partners. But these were a little spooked that vCloud implementation would commodise their products. There were mutterings from ISPs who did not want to pay VMware licensing costs when they had cheaper open source alternatives.

VMware has a job on its hands to prove to VMware Certified Professionals that the public cloud is an extension of the data centre while at the same time convincing them that there are some advantages over the “non-cloud” environments they use now.

The public cloud will be aimed at its existing customer base and sold through its existing VAR and SI channel.

However most of VMware’s channel partners don’t have the skills to help their I&O clients transition from static virtualisation to cloud. So somehow VMware is going to have to give its channel the consulting skills and hope they can bluster their way through conversations where real cloud is needed.
Either way the company has a long way to go before it can sit comfortably among other cloud players. It might just pull it off, but it will take a bit of time and a lot of luck.

Alvea Services launches Infrastructure Service

Hands across the waterAlvea Services has launched its Infrastructure Service, aimed at helping companies with additional virtual servers.

The managed security and cloud-based computing provider, says its new Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has been designed for organisations that may need to vary their computing capabilities at a moment’s notice to match the changing needs of their business. Rather than have to invest in an IT infrastructure that may lie redundant when full capacity is not required, they are claimed to be able to use Alvea’s new service to quickly and easily provision additional virtual servers when they need them.

The company says this is is particularly important for project-based businesses, those that operate around seasonal fluctuations in demand or those that may need additional resource for testing or short-term data processing.

A key feature of the new service is its secure data seeding capability, either via encrypted hard disk or high-speed internet transfer, which allows businesses to move their data to the cloud quickly and securely. There is also a simple user interface to give clients instant provisioning of IT security and cloud services with a pay-as-you go model so that IT departments can react quickly to the changing needs of their businesses and only pay for the computing power they use.

The new service has been built around a UK-based data centre to comply with data “sovereignty” and security requirements and is operated by IT security and data centre management specialists.

The service is delivered and supported by a network of IT and security resellers that provide technical support and advice on how Alvea Infrastructure can be integrated into an organisation’s existing IT environment.

To demonstrate the service,  Alvea is offering businesses free trials of the service, for a limited period of time, and inviting them to ‘try before you buy’ to test out the flexibility of the new service.

Ingram Micro rides high on reseller programme wave

IMIngram Micro said that its time and investment in its resellers is paying off and has launched more partner programmes as a result.

The distie, like many, centres its efforts around education and training for its partners, which it hopes will boost morale and help them sell more products.

And according to Arnet the company is riding the wave of success as a result of a range of initiatives launched over the past year. This includes its enablement training programs, aimed at the SME market, and helped bring in the bucks for the resellers in this sector.

The distie has also launched major programmes including  the Microsoft Training Academy and Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience, which it claims are doing so well that they have been over-subscribed and forced the company to lay on more of these events over the next month, while its Symantec and VMware launch and learn events have also paid off.

The company, which said it a statement that it believed “education and training were key enablers for its reseller partners” has now launched two more programs for March.

Veeam Campus is a program claimed to provide training and certification for Veeam products, while Cloud Advance has been created in partnership with UberGlobal and Microsoft to assist resellers in identifying and capitalising on cloud service opportunities.

The distie warned that interest in both new programs was strong already and early registrations were filling quickly.

IM resellers can register for both free programs immediately.

Can HP clean up its channel conflict act?

clean_up_after_yourselfThe maker of expensive printer ink HP has fast discovered the problems of hacking off the Channel.

For a number of years now, HP has had a problem in that its direct-selling sales teams have been nicking deals from their channel partners. While this has been good for the company in the short term, it has led some resellers to wonder why they should line up deals, when HP would just nick them from underneath them.

We reported on HP’s channel conference here, and here.

Unsure if it was going to keep its hardware business, HP did not seem that keen to tackle the problem. After all if Leo Apotheker’s plan paid off, then there was little reason to care about hardware partners, as they were going to be dealing with a new business, who would presumably be kinder.

As a result hardware sales dropped, in part because of the lack of morale of HP’s hardware partners. More than 70 percent of HP’s sales are delivered through its channel.

All that changed when the new CEO and president Meg Whitman decided to keep HP’s hardware business. She realised that without a fully functioning channel, the whole business was rubbish.
She ordered the company to develop better rules of engagement for HP’s direct sales team which did not step on the toes of the channel.

Speaking to the recent Global Partner Conference, Whitman said that partners had “literally built” HP’s business over the years, and she warned that any move which took business away from the HP channel and going direct would not be tolerated.

“Everyone in the HP organisation is crystal clear on the behaviour we expect. I am holding myself and the executives accountable for that,” she added.

But that did not mean that HP was going to close down its direct sales operations. Indeed the rules that Whiteman has been pushing forward might be hard to implement.

Her view was there are accounts that HP will take direct, but there must be “no mystery” in the process, and that partners who have done months of work on a deal will be paid even if transacted by HP.

The agreement basically makes a few pledges. Partners are not restricted from selling to anyone but the bigger accounts still have to involve an HP field rep.

HP has promised to leave the midmarket to the channel which which is a significant change.
The company’s opportunity registration policies are being used to govern behaviour. If HP accepts a partner’s registration, the company will not sell direct on that opportunity.

HP has set up a “value express pricing” programme, where HP channel partners will be rewarded for the value they provide.

It also has promised for there to be mandatory training on the new rules.

While this sounds good, it is hardly tangible. Under what circumstances would HP take a customer away from its channel partner? How much work would have to be done before a partner got paid?
In fact it might also be difficult for HP to fire sales staff that do pinch deals from partners. While they may be breaking HP’s policies, they are not breaking any laws. Sales teams are not famous being open to what they perceive as rivals when they are looking for commissions.

The only way a channel deal can be protected is if they are go for certifications and will use registration. This makes the deal more open, but it also makes it vulnerable to gazumping by HP’s internal teams.

As Jack Mele, vice president of sales at Data Impressions pointed out, it will only work if the Whiteman’s corporate edict trickles down the way it should.

However it is better than nothing, according to Search IT Channelmany in HP’s channel welcomed the change. Craig Sehi, of Sehi Computer Products said that HP’s new “rules of engagement,” were a welcome relief and was sign that HP is listening to its resellers.

But it is clear that HP has a long way to go before it can calm its jittery channel and get them working together.