The Department for Work and Pensions is “reviewing” shedloads of digital and technology projects, but denies the reason is a budget overspend.
According to Computer Weekly, hundreds of IT projects have been put on hold at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and 300 contractors been told to clean out their desks.
Up to 500 projects are under review, on hold or set to be scrapped.
Word on the street is that an audit of DWP’s accounts at the halfway point in the financial year revealed a significant overspend in DWP Digital, the department’s IT team. Numbers like £250 million have been bandied about but a DWP spokesperson has denied it:
“We routinely review our work to ensure that we focus our resources on the most viable options and deliver the best value for the taxpayer. This year we are on track to deliver record digital transformation on a scale larger than most FTSE 100 companies.”
Projects affected include a move to migrate applications away from existing HPE datacentres to the Crown Hosting Service set up by the Cabinet Office, and getting rid of ancient Fujitsu VME mainframes. Several IT suppliers to DWP have been hit. Several thousand Microsoft Surface Pro laptops are “sitting in cupboards” waiting to be deployed as part of a major desktop overhaul.
There appear to be no lay-offs among permanent DWP staff who appear to be being used to take up the slack.
Flextronics is to build up to a quarter of a million x86 servers in Hungary as Lenovo sets up its European operations.
Lenovo says the move will halve delivery times for European customers and partners. The servers for EMEA clients were previously built in Shenzhen in China will now be shifted to Sarvar in Hungary, from the summer.
Lenovo expects the Hungarian plant to assemble EMEA’s full allocation of up to 250,000 x86 servers annually once production is fully ramped up.
Assembly of Lenovo’s full range of storage and networking for datacentre environments will also now be carried out at the plant, which already produces Lenovo PCs and ThinkServers.
The move will boost service levels for clients, with delivery times being cut from two weeks to one, as well as saving on transportation costs. Until relatively recently, IBM built some of those servers in eastern Europe, meaning Lenovo is bringing production back to Europe. Mostly due to transport and logistical considerations.
Within a year, almost all of the approximately 250,000 x86 servers Lenovo builds for the EMEA market will be made in the Hungarian plant. This will allow UK partners more flexibility in how they manage inventory and will also improve the after-sale service they can offer.
Biggish 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.
The glorious Wintel alliance which is still running despite a few hiccups has a cunning plan to see off the threat of Google Chromebooks.
Microsoft and its chum Intel plans to launch a device running Windows 10 with Bing.
Microsoft and Intel are working with all partners to bring cheaper devices to the market and help tackle the growth of Google Chromebooks.
Stage one of the plan is to release a cheap OEM version of Windows 10 with Bing.
As was the case with Windows 8.1, Windows 10 with Bing will be a Windows 10 SKU available exclusively for PC makers and will be offered at a very low cost or even free of charge.
Microsoft has worked out that it needs to slash licensing fees that manufacturers need to pay for installing Windows on their devices.
Windows with Bing is basically Windows 8.1 with Bing offered the same features as Windows 8.1 but came with Bing branding that OEMs could not change.
Users, however, were allowed to replace Bing as the default search engine with Google or something else.
A Windows 10 with Bing flavour will appear later. In fact Windows 10 is designed to be installed on as many devices as possible, and Microsoft expects one billion PCs, tablets, and smartphones to be running it by 2017.
While everyone is talking up the Internet of Things, network giant Cisco has cleared its throat and pointed out that there is a huge skill shortage based around the technology.
Speaking at the Cisco Partner Summit, the outfit’s vice president for Industry Solutions Group, Steve Steinhilber, said that the IoT market will be worth $19 billion by 2020 – $14.4 billion of which will come from the private sector, and $4.6 billion from the public sector.
He claimed partners were getting a 40 percent annual boost to their Cisco businesses through selling IoT kit, but said the skills gap is a pressing concern.
He said that for Cisco and its partners this is a genuinely new available market. But one of the big gaps in the next three to five years is a tremendous shortfall in skills.
“You have people coming from the operational technology space and people coming from the IT space so you need training on how these worlds are going to merge. For Cisco, just in the industrial [vertical market], we see a shortage of 300,000 people with the right skills across the globe.”
In the past nine months, Cisco has trained 38 partners globally as IoT Specialised partners, and another 94 are currently going through the process, Steinhilber said, adding that this should start to fill the gap.
“We’ve begun rolling out a series of programmes,” he said. “Over the next 12 months you will see a serious of other unique training courses focused on industry-vertical skills.”
Cisco 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.”
Hardware giant Dell claimed its two top channel tiers, PartnerDirect, and Premier and Preferred, grew by 29 percent in the last year.
Michael Dell, the founder of the company, told attendees that there are now 1,174 Premier and Preferred level partners in EMEA. He said the channel continued to be important to Dell’s strategy.
Dell claimed that PartnerDirect, including the online solutions configurator has been adopted by over 600 partners across 10 companies.
Michael Dell said: “We see our partners as a core part of our team, our strategy and our future, and we will continue investing to grow our business together.”
Gongs were handed out to UK company Softcat, winning UK partner of the year and platinum partner of the year. Pictured are Laurent Binetti, Greg Davis and Michael Dell himself. Michael Dell is second from the left and we don’t know which one is Laurent, which Greg and we don’t know who the others are. Sorry.
Ingram Micro has had gained another client Down Under, signing on the dotted line with communications company Jabra.
As part of the partnership Ingram Micro will be responsible for distributing the company’s range of call centre and office products within the Australian and New Zealand market.
This includes the recently launched Jabra Motion, which is designed to suit mobile workers with an everyday need for audio conferencing or hands-free calls, in the car or at home using smart devices.
Jabra says that Asia-Pacific is one of its fastest growing markets for unified communications products. It said it was critical for it to establish strong relationships with distributors across A/NZ that could add significant value to its proposition.
The company believes that its collaboration with Ingram Micro will also be beneficial in reaching a larger reseller database and in particular Cisco channels.
The company has also extended its support to its partner network with a launch of the Jabra Business Tool, an iPad sales app, which provides information on Jabra’s business services.
Ingram Micro has opened its doors to 350 channel partners from across the globe.
The distie has hosted what it claimed is its first International Solutions Partner Invitational in Hollywood.
The event, which began on 8 May and runs until today saw partners fly in from North America and Latin America, as well as Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
It is sponsored by 15 technology vendors including Signature Sponsors Motorola Solutions and Psion, now part of Motorola Solutions, and Platinum Sponsors Axis Communications, Elo Touch Solutions and Intermec.
Themed “Mix it Up,” the Invitational is claimed to try and inspire the 600-plus vendor and reseller partners in attendance to think about business differently in 2013, and seek out new markets and service opportunities that will help them grow faster and more profitably.
The event is also claimed to offer channel partners insight around industry best practices and market trends including where the markets are heading and what channel partners need to do to better position their business for success now, and in the future.
Throughout the event, attendees will hear from speakers including Scott Deming, a customer service and emotional brand building expert, Juliann Larimer, vice president of worldwide channels and sales operations for Motorola Solutions and Paul Bay, president, Ingram Micro North America.
It will also feature new Ingram Micro vendors, including TSC Printers and APG Cash Drawer, as well as more than 20 ISVs from across the Americas.
Avnet has extended its Socialondemand service in the UK.
According to the distie, since the marketing initiative launched in April 2012, seven supplier partners and over 150 business partners have joined up.
It said in the last nine months 353 media posts have been reposted by business partners achieving click-through rates of up to 50 percent, with more than 86,000 downloads and retweets.
Initially introduced with Microsoft, Avnet socialondemand is a social media service which syndicates and disseminates targeted social media content from Avnet supplier partners to the social media connections of its business partners.
Avnet claims it’s able to input, categorise and target social media content and then control and track what, when and where it is published, for example, via business partners’ Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
Linda Patterson, marketing director, at the company said Avnet and supplier developed content went further and allowed partners to decide how and when to target customers, while tracking exactly when, where and by whom the content is being read.
She pointed out business partners often had stretched resources particularly in terms of their use of social media and yet they appreciate its value.
Avaya is moving to help partners and disties speed up access to its portfolio of unified communications, contact centre, networking, and SME products.
The business communications and collaboration systems and services company has announced that it will be rolling out its Avaya One Source globally.
It’s also announced three new Avaya Aura suites of UC, mobility and collaboration applications that help simplify pricing and the delivery of UC applications.
According to the company, the suites make it easy and cost-effective for channel partners and customers to select and deploy the right mix of UC capabilities across their entire workforce.
Avaya One Source is said to speed quoting and ordering of all Avaya products through more efficient pricing, processes and tools. New automation capabilities, real-time access to standardised pricing, and an integrated and centralised web-based system is also claimed to significantly reduce order cycle times, enabling channel partners to deliver quicker responses to customers.
The service is said to be available to all 9,000 Avaya Connect channel partners and will also include simplified global pricing and discounting reduces 1,400 Avaya material price groups to 13 and combines over 200 separate pricing catalogs into one.
Avaya One Source is already deployed in key regions throughout the world, with full deployment planned for all countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific by July.
Canon is helping its partners make the most of the increasing demand for compact imaging products.
It has launched two new compact black-and-white multifunctional devices (MFDs) as part of its ImageRunner Advance range, which it claims will create new revenue opportunities in the desktop capture and output market.
According to the company’s recent Office Insights report, value and cost of MFDs were found to be the most important factors in the purchasing process for 34 percent of decision makers, followed closely by reliability – 20 percent and output quality – 18 percent.
Canon said its new devices helped bridge this gap and also added to its partner’s portfolio.
The new ImageRunner Advance 400i and 500i A4 devices have output and capture capabilities in a compact design claimed to provide users with smarter ways of working.
End-users can print from any Google Cloud Print enabled web-connected device, or scan to and print from the iPad, iPhone and Android mobile devices. The Uniflow platform is said to offer configurable document workflows to larger organisations or more demanding environments.
Uniflow also provides a secure platform for users to print from any device to any networked MFD.
The ImageRunner Advance 400i and 500i devices will be available across the UK & Ireland from 1 May 2013.
Canon is helping its channel partners to generate additional revenues with the launch of two new series colour multifunctional devices (MFDs).
According to the company, the i-SENSYS MF8200 and MF8500 both offer high quality and connectivity features and all five new compact laser devices will enable partners to help their small to midsized customers work faster.
Anil Jagpal, European Marketing Manager for i-SENSYS at Canon Europe, said customers were increasingly asking Canon partners to provide office technology products that supported a more connected approach to working and increased the productivity of end-users.
The company also referenced its own recent research that found more than two-thirds of end-users felt that printers or scanners with Wi-Fi connectivity could improve their productivity.
“Our refreshed i-SENSYS range provides our partners with a great business opportunity to convert the strong desire for quality, connectivity and productivity into sales,” Jagpal added.
The new i-SENSYS MFDs are said to be designed to be shared and come network-ready as standard. They are claimed to provide users with the ability to print from a range of mobile and other web-connected devices, using Canon’s Mobile Printing App, Apple AirPrint or Google Cloud Print.
The i-SENSYS MF8280Cw and MF8580Cdw also feature Wi-Fi connectivity, and the i-SENSYS MF8500 series enables users to capture paper-based documents and send them straight from the device to an email address or network folder.
The MF8500 series also support PCL, which allows partners to integrate these devices into their customers’ existing IT and printing environments as well as offering security features that allow partners to meet their customers’ increasing demand for keeping company information safe.
The new i-SENSYS devices will be available from 15 May 2013.
Atlassian has said that bookings from its channel partner network grew by 59 percent in 2012.
The enterprise software company says it has around 284 Expert Partner businesses covering 150 countries worldwide on its book.
iGUAZU has a network of more than 600 trusted business partners in Japan, is Atlassian’s newest partner.
“While enterprise software is increasingly being bought and not sold, we know that many large-scale deployments require professional services and or customization for a successful rollout or expansion of our software,” said Jose Morales, Atlassian vice president.
He claimed that because the company’s software was a “platform” that partners could “leverage and extend” with their own plug-ins and customised integrations, its channel had seen great growth.
Atlassian’s expert partners are said to deploy and customise large-scale software implementations and extend the software platform through customised plug-ins and integrations with existing systems and appliances.
These custom solutions sit on top of Atlassian’s software platform and are sold through the Atlassian Marketplace, a business-to-business marketplace where customers can access 1500 available add-ons. Partners also provide the professional services necessary for large customer deployments.
In 2012, revenue for Atlassian North American channel partners grew by more than 57 percent. Platinum expert partner Appfire, with offices in Boston, San Francisco, Toronto and Hyderbad, experienced record growth in 2012, doubling its staff and watching its five-year average annual growth rate soar to 57 percent.
In the U.K., Adaptavist, an exclusive Atlassian consultancy with offices in central London, achieved close to 100 percent revenue growth in 2012 and as a consequence, doubled its headcount.
Ingram Micro’s North America Services Division has made its Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) available to qualified Cisco channel partners across the US and Canada.
Powered by Cisco, the cloud service has already been available in beta with select Ingram Micro channel partners for several months. It is now set to be demonstrated live at Ingram Micro’s 2013 Cloud Summit April 7-10 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Featured on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, the Ingram Micro HCS is, it is said, an end-to-end system that lets partners make subscription-based, “as-a-service” offerings around Cisco Collaboration technologies including Cisco Unified Communications, Cisco Customer Collaboration and Cisco WebEx.
The service is also said to include the full range of Cisco Collaboration functions along with the tools to deliver these to the end customer in an automated, standardised and efficient manner.
Ingram Micro is also taking advantage of the Cisco Advanced Services team to help its channel partners provision and deploy the service, as well as offering round the clock service management, monitoring and Level 2 and Level 3 technical support.
Jay Miley, vice president and general manager, Advanced Technology Division, Ingram Micro US said that by engaging Ingram Micro, and utilising its dedicated Cisco Business Unit and growing Cloud Marketplace to offer HCS-as-a-service, Cisco channel partners could “establish a new recurring revenue stream without having to invest in the upfront capital to get the business moving.”