PC sales plunged lower than a Hollywood starlet’s dress in the first quarter of this year, according to Gartner Group.
One big reason for the decline was businesses buying fewer desktop computers, according to the Gartner research firm. It noted companies have mostly finished replacing older PCs that used outdated Windows XP software.
PC sales may get a boost later this year when Microsoft releases its next version of Windows, analysts said, but they’re still expecting an overall decline in sales for this year.
Gartner added that there had been an sales of laptop computers and hybrid models that combine features of tablets and laptops. That could help drive a gradual return to growth by next year.
Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa estimates PC makers shipped 71.7 million computers in the first quarter, down 5.2 percent from a year earlier.
Some computer makers are doing better than others. China’s Lenovo saw an increase in worldwide sales, as did its nearest competitor, the maker of expensive printer ink HP.. However smaller companies, including Dell, saw sales decline.
Global PC sales have fallen steadily over the last three years, but Gartner are projecting a return to growth in 2016. Tablet users are giving up on the technology and are moving back to notebooks.
ASM Technologies has announced a new service designed to help the channel gain lucrative public sector contracts my sticking to strict government guidelines, which require that 25 to 50 percent of all IT contracts flow through SMEs.
The new SME Access Service aims to allow big IT resellers to add hundreds of SMEs to their books, allowing them to navigate through the public sector. It provides system integrators and value added resellers with direct access to ASM’s agile distribution network of SMEs, which should allow them to meet government requirements.
The government currently mandates that public sector organisations must award at least a quarter of all contracts to SMEs by 2015. SMEs are defined as enterprises with a turnover of less than €50 million or fewer than 250 employees. As the euro sign indicates, this is the EU-wide definition.
The requirement means that the channel has to establish new supplier relationships and tap more SMEs in order to bid for government contracts. While it is a clever way of supporting SMEs, it also tends to drive costs up and reduce revenue, as multiple SMEs sometimes must be brought in to bid for a contract.
ASM’s goal is to cut costs and save time by establishing distribution agreements with multiple suppliers, which would make it possible for SIs and VARs to bid for government contracts they otherwise wouldn’t be eligible for. In addition, it allows them to get access to products and services are more competitive prices.
“A number of large resellers have considered adding SMEs to their supply chains in order to meet government requirements, however with contracts to draw up, terms agreed, credit lines to be established and distribution infrastructures to put in place, they are finding this to be a slow, painful and expensive process – especially when they’re trying to sign up a few hundred SMEs in one go,” said Iain Tomkinson, Sales Director at ASM Technologies. “By taking advantage of our existing supplier relationships and agile channel infrastructure, the SME Access Service provides greater efficiencies for the IT channel through immediate access to over 1200 SMEs through just one supplier relationship, so they can continue to bid successfully for government contracts.”
ASM argues that its new programme is a win-win for all involved, as it helps SMEs get more business and build relationships within the channel, while at the same allowing big SIs and VARs to bid for contracts that would be out of their reach without some SMEs on board.
Ingram Micro and cloud provider Outsourcery have conjured up a new cloud service designed specifically for Ingram Micro’s partners and customers.
Under the arrangement, Ingram Micro partners will sell Outsourcery’s hosted version of Microsoft Lync, with enterprise-grade services and unified functionality delivered from the cloud. Cloud computing is a relatively hot trend at the moment, but surveys reveal that almost a quarter of IT organisations are concerned about the lack of staff skills necessary to support cloud solutions. The partnership is supposed to address these concerns.
Apay Obang-Oyway, General Manager, Enterprise Software and Services at Ingram Micro commented: “We have created the Advanced Solutions Division to offer our channel partners a comprehensive approach for identifying and pursuing opportunities within advanced technology categories.
Obang-Oyway said the goal is to help partners grow and diversify while facilitating development in the channel.
“The successful model Outsourcery have already established complements these objectives so taking hosted cloud solutions to market together was the natural next step,” he concluded.
SAP is telling its partners that it is time to cash in on big data. The company estimates that its global partner base will earn up to $220 billion by selling its big data and analytics products.
So it sees a huge opportunity for partners and resellers, who could provide more services and products in addition to SAP software.
A recent IDC report revealed that SAP partners could be in for a lot of growth over the next five years. IDC’s Worldwide Ecosystem Analytics and Big Data: Growth Opportunities for SAP Partners found that EMEA partners could earn $70 billion by 2018, dabbling in big data and analytics. Asia Pacific and Japan should climb to $40 billion, while North America will lead the way with $102 billion.
One of the more curious factoids from the report claims that the digital landscape will grow more than 30 thousand percent between 2005 and 2020, from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes. It’s not called big data for nothing.
“SAP and its partners make a significant impact on the global economy,” said Darren Bibby, vice president for IDC Channels and Alliances Research. “SAP does an excellent job delivering great products for partners to work with, as well as effective sales, marketing and training resources. The result is that the SAP ecosystem is well-positioned for the future and customers will benefit from these additional skills and resources.”
Interestingly, the IDC report concluded that 68 percent of the companies don’t have a business intelligence or analytics strategy, while a whopping 63 percent don’t even know what big data is. However, 69 percent said they are looking for staff who can handle analytics.
As it grows, the industry will change. IDC believes 90 percent of industry growth will come through third-platform technology, cloud, mobile and social.
Unified comms VAR Westcon has been given the sole distributor rights for the newly launched ACS Express from Active Communications.
ACS Express crosses Microsoft’s Lync 2013 Server with AudioCodes Mediant 800 voice gateway on a single appliance.
It can manage PSTN or ISDN, analogue extensions and SIP connectivity with ESBC functionality, and simplifies the deployment and management of Microsoft Lync Unified Communications platform for SMBs, and Hosted Service providers.
Westcon’s Guy Koster (pictured) said there should be some good incremental sales opportunities for the outfit’s partners with this new class of integrated Lync solution.
He said that ACS Express is a compelling proposition as it extends the reach of Lync 2013 enterprise voice into organisations of less than 100 users cheaply.
Koster said that Office 365 reseller partners and Lync hosting providers will be quick to recognise the new sales and services opportunities this solution represents.
AudioCodes is partnering with ACS as the platform provider of choice for the ACS Express. ACS Express is being used in combination with AudioCodes’ new Lync IP Phones to provide simple, end-to-end solution for SMB Lync deployments.