Cloud Telephones wants to double the number of resellers it works with pro-actively to market and sell hosted VoIP services over the coming year.
The company is currently working with and paying commission to 70 partners across the UK and wants to bring another 70 on-board through the course of 2016 to meet increased demand.
The outfit claims it has seen monthly income from voice services subscriptions grow by more than 200 percent with half of all monthly revenues going to the reseller. It predicts that the growth will continue with higher volume of new customer enquiries it is now generating, needs to engage with additional partners.
In a statement John Carter, Managing Director of Cloud Telephones, said: “The demand is there – we just need more resellers to get involved. Most customers understand hosted voice well enough now and we take all the hassle away from the reseller, so they don’t need to worry about the complexity of getting customers set-up. We generate the original leads, manage all the provisioning and provide support. We have managed thousands of installations already, so the customer gets a great experience and all the reseller needs to do is go out and sell.”
There’s a dynamic in the channel between vendors, distributors and what we used to call dealers but are now forced to call resellers for politically correct reasons.
The basis of that dynamic is the cold fact that they all hate each other. The vendors hate the disties, the disties hate the vendors, the dealers hate the disties and the vendors, the disties hate the dealers. The consumers just, hopefully, buy stuff.
So here at the Canalys Channel Forum (CCF) we were pleased to observe quite a degree of upset at Lenovo for, in the 1990s jargon, “stuffing the channel”.
What that means is several distributors I have talked to here have clearly indicated that they have piles of Lenovo products in their warehouses that not only aren’t selling that well but continue to be delivered to their distributors, willy-nilly.
These sources from various distributors decline to be named, for obvious reasons, but have clearly indicated that they suspect the same thing is going to happen on the X86 server front too.
Lenovo could not be contacted at press time because it’s 05:42 in the morning here in Barcelona and we’re just waiting for breakfast to start.
We’re sure we’ll have our share of nibbles later in the day.
While it has been scaled back because many in the Channel hate it, HP’s daft Value System Integrator sales programme is still running.
The brilliant idea was started as a way to beat Dell on pricing by removing distributors from the supply chain and using that margin to give customers discounts.
It did not work very well and miffed the hell out of the channel. The cunning plan was that HP would not pay resellers any soft margin or marketing funds, just a one per cent rebate, and allow them to boost their coffers by wrapping products in their own tech services.
The model expanded to the private sector, and saw HP competing against its trusted channel allies.
VSI was one of two decisions which killed off HP’s business. The other one was to ask account managers in the Enterprise Group to manage PC resellers to build direct sales.
The move was great for Lenovo who suddenly had SCC, Softcat, Kelway and other big resellers wanting to work with them.
Apparently though HP has now re-purposed so that it is only used in the public sector again. Even that is less of a focus.
HP CEO Meg Whitman promised to remove channel conflict when she started, setting out rules to govern the behaviour of internal sales reps; and passed some enterprise accounts that were directly managed to channel types.
Arrow has signed an agreement with Trend Micro to offer resellers access to its security offerings as part of the ArrowSphere xSP platform.
This gives suppliers and resellers of value add IT services to help sell products to customers.
Arrow will distribute a range of Trend Micro offerings whether for email security or server protection including OfficeScan, Mobile Security, and Deep Security. The last includes anti-malware, verifying web sites, firewall, intrustion prevention, integrity monitoring, log inspection and virtual patching.
Eric Taillard, VP in charge of cloud services at Arrow ECS said that customer demand for cloud security services remains high. “It is an essential building block for value added resellers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Martina Mulas, senior manager in charge of SMB sales and marketing at Trend, said that the distribution agreement will help it “step up” its relationships with MSP resellers. Last year it introduced its MSP programme and partners are moving to managed services and pay as you go buying.
Diversity 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.
Headset 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 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.
People looking to implement BYOD in their businesses are looking for secure network access and iPass has signed a clutch of resellers to promote its Open Mobile strategy.
The company has signed three UK resellers and one German reseller today and is looking to increase its channel partners.
Bridgeway Security Solutions, Olive Communications and Specialist Computer Centres are its three new British partners, while it has also signed mITE GmbH in Germany.
Rene Hendrikse, iPASS VP of EMEA, told ChannelEye that while some sectors – such as the financial sector – there are big opportunities for resellers in other industries.
Hendrikse said: “We can help resellers work with their customers while resellers are looking for solutions to use secure devices.” iPass has a worldwide network of secure wi-fi access points.
He said that in the last 18 months the reseller landscape has changed and customers are turning to BYODs.
iPass is looking to recruit resellers with customers in other sectors such as the airline industry and other sectors.
Resellers are aware of the potential of the cloud but need help implementing complex systems.
That’s according to channel services company 5i – which said today it is launching a Partner Enablement Programme.
Richard Brown, 5i channel sales director, said: “Cloud technology offers many benefits but is also the biggest threat to businesses. And resellers are quick to recognise the complexities of deployment.
“It is the most disruptive technology to dominate the market for a long time. Many businesses see the huge benefits that cloud can bring – but embracing it can be incredibly challenging.,” he continued.
Brown said that resellers’ customers rarely introduce full cloud deployments but are looking for blended cloud and on premise environments.
The 5i programme, he said includes marketing, sales, pre-sales and technical engagement to support partners. If resellers use its services, resellers always keep their customers. Brown said his firm is 100 percent channel focused.
Symantec 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.
Brother said it has created a series of apps intended to help its reseller community and its salesforce.
And to that end, it has given its entire sales force iPads with 3G access intended to help them put the message across about their products to resellers when they’re on the road.
David Peters, who heads up strategic development at Brother UK, said: “Access to our bespoke iPad apps means that our salesforce can easily access our online corporate resources, including those on our partner programme Brother Network, and as a result, provide better answers and a higher level of service.
“Brother UK is living and breathing an agile working culture, which increasingly typifies the working style of many of our partners and product end-users. By investing in the latest technology, we are not only improving our service to our partners, but also showcasing the progress we are making as a forward thinking solutions provider.”
Data management firm Quantum said it has introduced a new channel programme.
The programme – aimed at managed service providers (MSPs) and value added resellers (VARs) offer a cloud back up service using Quantum’s virtual dedupe appliances and vmPro back up software.
The programme uses capacity based, all software subscriptions services which lets VARs and MSPss brand, market and sell Backup as a Service (BaaS). The offering scales as revenue grows and so Quantum thinks that reduces up front capital hardware expenses.
The programme includes online sales and pre-sales training at no charge; customisable matering material; free access to Quantum software for trial and demonstration and technical and support training.
Major distie Avnet introduced its Cloud Enhance programme in the UK.
Its goal is to help its partners and service providers to make money because of the growth of unstructured data.
Avnet is offering a portfolio of inexpensive and secure archiving answers aimed at cutting costs, making IT simpler, and secure too.
Avnet wants to introduce service providers to its business partners to help everybody profit from the cloud.
Avnet claims archiving as a managed service is a mostly untapped market. Some elements of this include File Tiering as a Service (FTaS), File Serving as a Service (FsaS), Email Archiving as a Service (EaaS), Microsoft Sharepoint Tiering as a Service (MSTaS), and File Sync and Share Service (FsaSS).
It’s also moving into vertical sectors too, according to our old mate Sukh Rayat, senior VP of Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA (pictured).
“Organisations are re-evaluating their IT strategies. They need to deal with everything from increased performance and capacity requirements, rising power and cooling costs to regulatory pressures,” said Rayat.
Basically, resellers without the means to deliver managed services will couple with service providers bringing benefits not only to the channel players and the service providers, but to Avnet too.
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.
Daisy Distribution said that it has a promotion that will let some of its resellers enjoying a luxury ski trip to the Alps in March next year.
The resellers have to collect as many point as possible by buying any SIM free Nokia and also promoting fixed line, new and resigned contracts with O2.
The promotion will take place between the 21st October and the 24th of January 2014.
After three months, the “partner points” will be consolidated and divided into three leagues. The league will then be given a percentage of the overall incentive places and winning partners will be drawn at random from each league.
There are 10 prizes to win, getting a three night say at a top Alps resort with fully paid transport, equipment costs and entertainment thrown in.