Tag: microsoft

Glasswall gets Microsoft’s Gold ISV Co-Sell status

Glasswall has obtained Microsoft’s Gold ISV Co-Sell status which means its sales teams will work with Vole on targeted customer opportunities and related account planning activities, in the commercial and government, defence and security sectors.

Glasswall has developed a Deep-File Inspection, Remediation and Sanitisation Technology – d-FIRST – which prevents malware and understanding of organisational risk from file-borne cyber-attacks. It reverses the traditional signature-based security approach by validating ‘known good’ elements of a file which are finite and bounded, regenerating a new identical and safe copy, typically in fractions of a second.

May’s Brexit gets Microsoft’s backing

Home Secretary Theresa MaySoftware king of the world Microsoft has thrown its considerable weight behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Writing in her bog,  Microsoft’s UK managing director Cindy Rose said the deal was in Vole’s interest because it allowed the “free flow” of data in and out of the UK.

“Many of our customers and partners operate businesses that rely on Microsoft’s cloud computing services. These businesses require the frictionless flow of data across borders in order to operate effectively.  We have consistently advocated to the government the need to ensure this data flow continues post-Brexit.”

Microsoft pricing miffs government sector

Microsoft campusMicrosoft’s price increases have gone down like month old milk left at the back of a fridge with public sector customers and the channel being blamed for not explaining them well enough.

Vole made changes to its pricing structure from the start of last month, with the aim of simplifying things. That meant that there would be an introduction of single prices in some areas and the removal of complicated discount structures in others.

Rubrik launches Accelerator for Microsoft Azure

Cloud data management company, Rubrik launched its Rubrik Accelerator for Microsoft Azure to offer its enterprise customers what it describes as a “single solution” to protect and manage data from on-premises to Microsoft Azure.

Rubrik Accelerator for Azure adds to the Company’s already popular offering for Microsoft customers which features automated data protection for Microsoft Hyper-V, support for physical Windows, and instant database recoveries with SQL Live Mount.

Mike Tornincasa, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales at Rubrik said: ““Every enterprise customer I speak with has cloud ambitions. However, many organizations are held back by complex legacy data management solutions that keep the cloud migration process out of reach. The Rubrik Accelerator for Microsoft Azure makes it easy for enterprises to move to a hybrid cloud model, and in turn, innovate faster, be more productive and unlock cost-savings. Additionally, Rubrik offers customers the ability to manage their entire Microsoft investment on one platform, across on-premises and public cloud environments.”

Microsoft gave it its imprimatur. “Rubrik shares a commitment with Microsoft to drive business results for our customers”, said David Willis, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s US Partner Group. “Our deep collaboration with Rubrik is exciting. Together, we enable our mutual customers to accelerate their Digital Transformation with Azure and deliver for their customers.”

Rubrik continues to align with Microsoft on technology and shared go-to-market investments. Rubrik pioneered Live Mount for SQL to deliver near-zero RTOs and introduced cloud instantiation on Azure for “server-less” test/dev and disaster recovery. Rubrik helps customers leverage the full power of Microsoft with integration across Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office 365, Windows, Hyper-V, Azure Stack, and Azure Data Box. In addition, Rubrik offers support for Azure Government Cloud for customers in the federal space.

The Rubrik Accelerator for Microsoft Azure can be purchased from all Rubrik and Azure channel partners.


ContactEngine becomes Microsoft Co-Sell partner

Microsoft campusTalking AI outfit ContactEngine has been awared ‘Co-Sell Partner’ status as part of the Microsoft for Startups London ScaleUp programme for high-growth technology companies. ContactEngine joins an group selected for comprehensive sales and marketing support and go-to-market initiatives.

ContactEngine’s automated conversation management platform integrates into Microsoft Dynamics to provide an AI-powered ‘voice’ to engage customers across all conversational channels and across all industries.

While traditional CRMs require human agents to engage customers, ContactEngine integrates to automate outbound customer engagement and subsequent transactions, replicating human behaviour through machine learning and natural language understanding. The ContactEngine Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform is hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud, which allows for on-demand global scalability and best-in-class security.

Dr Mark K. Smith, CEO of ContactEngine, said: “ContactEngine shares Microsoft’s objective to optimise organisational outcomes through enhanced customer engagement. We’re pleased to support Microsoft by integrating into their Dynamics Engagement platform to talk to our clients’ customers with intent driven, AI-powered conversations – improving customer experience, and ensuring crucial moments such as sales, deliveries and appointments are executed with precision and minimal effort.”

Warwick Hill, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups, Western Europe, said: “There is a very strong synergy between Microsoft Dynamics and ContactEngine’s automated conversations and customer engagement capabilities. We are pleased to be able to integrate the full power of ContactEngine, into Microsoft’s solutions through Azure.”

Synergy… it’s like energy…

IT Lab and Content and Code team up

banner_220x220IT Lab and Content and Code have consolidated their operations to create one of the largest Microsoft partners in the UK.

The combined entity will have a £60 million turnover and 550 staff operating out of locations in London, Manchester and South Africa.

IT Lab has been given the backing of private equity players ECI Partners to since that relationship was struck in 2016 it has made no secret of ambitions to use acquisition as a route to growth.

Content and Code is the second deal that the firm has made in the last 18 months following on from an acquisition of cybersecurity player Perspective Risk last May. The details of the latest purchase have not been disclosed.

IT Lab chief executive Peter Sweetbaum remains at the head of the firm and Tim Wallis, founder of Content and Code, will take on the role of Chief Digital Officer of IT Lab and will lead the future relationship with Microsoft.

Craig Fellowes, productivity sales director at Microsoft UK, said: “Content and Code has been one of our strongest and most trusted partners for as long as I can remember and has continued to set the benchmark for excellence in Modern Workplace. This, coupled with IT Lab’s domain and industry expertise make this is a promising combination to provide our customers with an even more complete solution and support. This new partnership will undoubtedly provide our customers with an additional and credible option to consider when choosing who they want to help migrate, deploy and manage their desktop environment.”


Microsoft shows off its new things for the Cloud

banner_220x220Microsoft today announced a plethora of new Internet of Things-focused updates to its Azure cloud computing platform.

Some of today’s announcements are relatively minor. Azure IoT Central, the company’s solution for helping you get started with IoT, is now generally available and there are updates to Microsoft’s IoT provisioning service, IoT hub message routing tools and Map Control API.

Microsoft said that the Azure IoT platform will now support Google’s Android and Android Things platform via its Java SDK.

What’s more interesting, though, is the new services. The highlight here is probably the launch of Azure Digital Twins. Using this new service, enterprises can now build their own digital models of any physical environment.

It is the virtual counterpart to a real-world IoT deployment and the idea is that as IoT deployment in the real world changes, so does the digital model. It will provide developers with a full view of all the devices they have deployed and allows them to run advanced analytics and test scenarios as needed without having to make changes to the actual physical deployment.

Writing in its bog, Vole said: “As the world enters the next wave of innovation in IoT where the connected objects such as buildings, equipment or factory floors need to be understood in the context of their environments, Azure Digital Twins provides a complete picture of the relationships and processes that connect people, places and devices.”

Azure Digital Twins will launch into preview on October 15.

Formpipe Lasernet teams up with HSO

Formpipe Lasernet – which provides document output management solutions for Microsoft Dynamics – has partnered with HSO, the provider of enterprise business solutions.

The move is all part of a cunning plan to expand Formpipe’s UK business.

Mike Rogers, chief commercial officer at Formpipe Lasernet, said: “We are continuing to build on our partner first strategy and are delighted to welcome HSO onboard. Formpipe Lasernet is a global company and the addition of HSO will strengthen our presence within the UK. The Lasernet product set and partner ecosystem continues to go from strength to strength, so partnering with HSO was a natural choice.”

HSO brings over 25 years of industry experience to Formpipe Lasernet’s established partner portfolio, said Webb. With offices in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, APAC and the US, HSO is said to have delivered successful implementations in almost every country in the world. HSO is an award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in implementing and supporting ERP & CRM business solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and providing Managed Services to multinational enterprises in Retail, Distribution, Manufacturing and Services.

Mark Cockings, Head of Alliances and Sales Operations at HSO said : “HSO are pleased to be partnering with Formpipe Lasernet to deliver a comprehensive solution for document management with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our joint proposition enables customers to quickly and efficiently create, modify, control, disseminate and archive branded documentation across their entire organisation. This partnership continues HSO’s strategy to work with best of breed organisations to deliver innovative solutions to meet the growing business needs of our customers.”

It’s a while since ChannelEye has come across the expression “best of breed”. Glad to hear the channel’s mastery of the English language continues, unabated.

Acronis partners with Microsoft for Azure

Hybrid cloud data protection and storage solutions provider Acronis has announced a new strategic partnership with Vole for deeper integration of Acronis’ data protection products with Azure cloud services.

The new partnership will allow customers and service providers to even more easily store their data or clients’ data in the Azure cloud. Azure will be available as a storage destination option alongside Acronis Cloud and other public cloud vendors in future versions of Acronis products.

Service providers can choose to buy their Azure storage directly from Microsoft, or Acronis can include the Azure storage costs as part of a single invoice.

The partnership is part of Acronis’ overall strategy to support all workloads, delivering safety, security, accessibility, privacy and authenticity for data stored in local, cloud and hybrid environments.

By delivering full support of more than 20 platforms, native integration with PSA and RMM tools, and growing support of public cloud vendors, Acronis enables service providers to make the most out of their existing cloud arrangements

Acronis President John Zannis said: “A lot of products that we build deliver value to clients using Microsoft technology. With easy, reliable and efficient backup and built-in security in the form of active protection against ransomware, our clients enjoy complete protection of their data. Adding Azure as a native storage destination increases their options, making Acronis solutions even more attractive to use. For any organization that has built their strategy on Microsoft, this is great news.”

Judy Meyer, General Manager, ISV partners at Microsoft, said: “It’s great to see how Acronis is transforming the services it offers to its customers, innovating in anti-ransomware and data protection. Microsoft and Acronis have worked closely together over several years in planning the adoption of public cloud services as part of Acronis’ portfolio, and we’re delighted to see the progress that’s been made in using Azure and the Microsoft AI platform.”

Microsoft to jack up prices

banner_220x220Software King of the World is feeling a bit short in the money department and thinks that the best way to remedy this is to jack up its prices on a range of on-premise and cloud products in October, the vendor has confirmed in a blog post.

The changes include a 10 percent increase in Office 2019 commercial prices, while the price of Windows 10 Enterprise will also be raised.

Microsoft said the changes will be implemented in October, with a preview set to be available in September.

Writing in his bog, a SpokesVole said: “On 1 October 2018, we will adjust pricing for our licensing programmes and make price adjustments to on-premise and cloud products.

“These changes will highlight the benefits of our pricing for a cloud-first world, help us move from a programme-centric to a customer-centric pricing structure, and create more consistency and transparency across our purchasing channels.”

It appears that the changes will simplify Microsoft’s licensing offering but on the downside prices will rise with Voles  Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) partners may be the most affected.


Microsoft gets all hybrid

Canalys 2018 Software king of the world Microsoft wants to work with partners around something it calls a “hybrid message” in the coming year.

While we thought it wanted to deliver press releases to its partners in a Prius, apparently it means something cloudy. Vole was talking a lot about  Azure and the move to cloud but the firm is working with partners to stress the benefits of the hybrid approach.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said that pushing hybrid was going to be a theme with the channel.

“I think that these hybrid used benefits are being sorted of best-kept secrets. So, I’m hoping that going into this next fiscal year, we do a much better job, and customers do a much better job, but they don’t benefit because the advantage Azure has because of the hybrid used benefits across the entire workload are pretty phenomenal.”

“We had a good set of sessions at our partner meetings this week just really making sure that everybody understands those benefits. So, I don’t think that, that is really played out. If anything, all the growth we have seen is in spite of that not being broadly revenue driving growth”, Nadella added.

The fourth quarter numbers for the three months ended 30 June showed that the firm had delivered $30.09 billion in revenue with net income of $8.9 billion slightly ahead of the same period last year.

Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased by 10 percent with Office 365 driving that with an increase of 38 percent year-on-year.  Server products and cloud services were up by 26 percent with Azure improving by 89 percent.

Enterprise services revenue improved by eight percent and Windows OEM increased by seven percent. Windows commercial products climbed by 23 percent and Surface remains an important area delivering 25 percent growth.

For the full year the firm smashed through the $100bn barrier with revenues of $110.4 billion, a 14 percent improvement on fiscal 2017, with the cloud driving a lot of that growth.


AI does not mean the death of privacy says Microsoft

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEOMicrosoft supreme Dalek Satya Nadella has told partners that AI does not mean the death of privacy.

Addressing the assembled throngs in his keynote speech at Microsoft’s Inspire global conference in Las Vegas, Nadella said the tech could improve human relationships, but also warned that ethics must be implemented to ensure users’ privacy.

“We have to do our very best work when it comes to privacy because as technology becomes pervasive in our lives, we have to approach everything with the fundamental assumption that privacy is a human right”, he said.

Nadella emphasised that the IT industry needs a set of “ethical principles” to ensure that technology does not unduly influence real-life events.

“We want to make sure that anything that we do doesn’t amplify bias, doesn’t hijack our attention, and doesn’t sway opinion”, he said.

“The Tech Accord is a fantastic example of that because the world in our time needs a new Geneva Convention. We need to make sure that the most vulnerable populations are protected from these new weapons. And when it comes to AI, we have to have a set of principles that guide the development of AI.”

He did not mention the vendor’s recent acquisition of conversational AI company Semantic Machines, but he emphasised that Microsoft is working to ensure its machine learning will soon have the same conversational capabilities as a human being.

“In the last couple of years, some of the advances – especially as measured by our ability to have human parity in a lot of these perception and language capabilities – is pretty stunning”, Nadella added.

He explained that the “ultimate AI challenge” for Microsoft is to develop a two-way natural conversation between bot and human.

“We’re also trying to push this concept of language understanding or this capability of language understanding to the next level, to have the ability to do full duplex conversations”, he added.

Rimilia signs up for Microsoft’s Scale-up

satanic pactGlobal intelligent financial automation software provider Rimilia  has teamed up with Microsoft after being accepted onto Vole’s ScaleUp programme.

For those who came in late, the ScaleUp programme is part of the Microsoft for Startups initiative and connects companies with new customers and channel partners and is underpinned by a $500 million investment to drive innovation and growth.

The Rimilia solution automates the complete account receivables process, enabling organisations to control their cash flow and cash collection in real-time, using sophisticated analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict customer payment behaviour and easily match and reconcile payments, removing the uncertainty of cash collection.

Rimilia already has a number of customers on the Microsoft Azure platform including Interserve, Speedy Hire, Securitas and Rentokil. Rimilia has commenced migrating its global blue chip customer base onto Azure, and recent customer wins are being deployed onto the Microsoft Azure application service, delivering enhanced security, resilience, scalability and responsiveness.

MD Microsoft for Startups, Warwick Hill, said: “We were struck by Rimilia’s solution. We constantly look to drive value for both Microsoft Clients and the companies being supported in our ScaleUp program – Rimilia is a perfect example of that sweet spot. The ability for our clients to leverage Rimilia’s solution to automate and digitally transform their accounts receivable and audit processes will drive the co-sell partnership for years to come. The power of Microsoft Azure and Dynamics365, coupled with Rimilia’s specific industry and software expertise is a powerful combination.”

Steve Richardson, CCO and co-founder of Rimilia, said: “We are delighted to be working on the Microsoft Startups programme. Microsoft has been tremendously supportive and professional throughout the whole onboarding process. Having never lost a customer to a competitor the extra “stickiness” of working with Microsoft will consolidate that position as well as create a base to support our ambitious expansion plans.”

Microsoft looks to AI to make a conversation

essential-talk-talk-51fd8e90e1476Software king of the world Microsoft has acquired Semantic Machines – a US-based conversational AI company.

David Ku, CVP and CTO of research and AI at Microsoft, said that most bots today, such as Siri and Cortana, can understand basic commands, but nothing more complicated.

“For rich and effective communication, intelligent assistants need to be able to have a natural dialogue instead of just responding to commands”, Ku explained, adding that this was called ‘conversational AI’.

Semantic Machines was founded by Larry Gillick, former chief speech scientist for Siri at Apple. The company claims to enable more natural interactions between humans and computers, and that its developing technology will understand conversational nuances.

Ku stated that this acquisition would integrate conversational AI into Microsoft’s own AI services, such as Cortana and Azure Bot Service. “Combining Semantic Machines’ technology with Microsoft’s own AI advances, we aim to deliver powerful, natural and more productive user experiences that will take conversational computing to a new level”, he said.

Ku said that Semantic Machines’ acquisition furthers the tech giant’s goal of creating computers that can “see, hear, talk and understand” as humans. This will be integrated into the company’s digital assistant Cortana, along with its chatbot XiaoIce, which has conducted over 30 billion conversations with people across Asia and the US.


Ryanair to swap Microsoft for AWS

Software King of the World Microsoft has received a vote of no confidence in its cloud ambitions after Budget airline Ryanair decided to ditch its data centres and shift its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services.

The bucket shop which often charges you more for your baggage than the actual ticket, already uses the Amazon cloud for sections of its business – such as its website Ryanair.com and Ryanair Rooms – but will now shift the rest of its data into it over the next three years.

Ryanair also plans to set up a data lake on Amazon’s S3 service that will useAmazon Kinesis to gain insights from customers and its broader business. It will ditch Microsoft SQL Server and switch to Amazon Aurora for its European email marketing campaigns.

Ryanair CTO, John Hurley said that it wanted to work with the world’s leading cloud to develop and deliver services that will transform customers’ travel experiences.  This will involve rebuilding core applications, converting data into actionable insights, and creating intelligent applications; we are putting the solutions in place to continue our leadership in the travel industry.

Ryanair will also work with AWS’s ML Solutions Lab to create an application that detects surges in demand for specific flights and predicts changes to flight schedules.