For the second year running, Ingram Micro Canada used its end-of-year vendor event, Ingram Micro Experience, to both thank its top vendor partners for a good year, and brighten the end of the year for a couple of local charities near and dear to the hearts at the distributor.
Held at the posh Trump International in downtown Toronto, Ingram used the event to both update its vendor partners on its strategy for 2014, and raise some additional funds, providing donations to three worthy causes in total. I caught up with Ingram’s Mark Snider, Jennifer Johnson, and Dave Mason at the event to explain the premise.
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Bad news for anyone expecting PCs to make a big comeback before the end of the year: Market analyst firm IDC has revised its estimates for PC shipments in 2013, and the decline is steeper than originally forecast.
According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, global PC shipments will have declined by at least 10.1 percent in 2013, tallying just above 300 million units or barely above 2008 volume.
Worse, IDC projects desktop and notebook computer shipments to continue to decline in 2014 by at least 3.8 percent.
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Two channel conferences in the same town at the same time. Where else?
Las Vegas is a familiar destination for many solution providers, a favorite venue for conference organizers. But for one week early next year, it’s going to be a converging spot for two of the largest partner communities in the industry, as HP holds its Global Partner Conference in Sin City the same week as Cisco’s annual Partner Summit.
It’s not the first time the two giants have gone head-to-head, and this time lacks some of the drama of the first. In 2010, both companies were making headlines by splitting their longtime reseller agreement and agreeing to disagree as HP made inroads in Cisco’s networking turf, and Cisco’s data center computing dream of UCS started to take shape. With that drama as a backdrop, and much fueling from a press corp that loves anything remotely juicy, John Chambers took to the stage in San Francisco as (then HP CEO) Mark Hurd did in Las Vegas.
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New Westcon CEO Dolph Westerbos
Westcon, a New York-based specialty distributor of security, unified communications and data center solutions, announced yesterday the appointment of Dolph Westerbos as its new chief executive officer.
“Dolph has a great track record of managing organizations that couple premier technology-based solutions and services, built on strong operational capabilities. Combined with his global background and experience in emerging markets, this makes him a great fit to take Westcon’s market leadership even further,” said Jens Montanana, CEO of Datatec, the parent company of Westcon Group.
Westerbos succeeds Dean Douglas, who helmed the organization since 2008. Douglas, a stalwart of channel advocacy and distribution services, is departing to pursue new, undefined opportunities.
Cisco Canada’s Rebecca Leach
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McMurry/TMG CEO Matthew Petersen
Channel partners looking to grow their businesses through client acquisition and retention are getting on board with advanced content marketing like never before. It’s a rapidly changing — sometimes amorphous — science that’s as vital as it is confusing for IT providers that concentrate much of their business development efforts on technologies and solutions sets.
To understand the state of content marketing and peer inside the strategies of its key players, Channelnomics Editor-in-Chief Chris Gonsalves sat down with CEO Matthew Petersen and CMO Keith Sedlak from content marketing powerhouse McMurry/TMG. Our exclusive interview comes as the firm approaches the one-year anniversary of the merger between McMurry and TMG (formerly The Magazine Group Inc.) which created a market leader with 280 employees in four U.S. locations.
While not every channel partner requires the services of a large firm like McMurry/TMG — a $100 million company with blue-chip clients that include 75 of the Fortune 500 — the insights these content marketing thought-leaders provide in multi-channel and integrated marketing programs, real-time content streams, and the judicious measurement of program effectiveness are valuable to any organization looking to juice their brand and ride the content marketing wave.
HP CEO Meg Whitman
The bleeding appears to have stopped at Hewlett-Packard Co., with revenues and profits mostly in line with expectations and senior executives trumpeting successful turnaround efforts at the beleaguered company. But a mixed bag of results among HP’s individual business units continues to give the channel pause about a vendor partner who may be steering the right course but is still far from fully righting the ship.
HP on Tuesday reported a 2.8 percent drop in Q4 revenues $29 billion, along with a 13 percent drop in earnings per share. The Palo Alto, Calif. company managed a profit of $1.4 billion significantly better than the $6.9 billion loss in took a year ago, mostly due to the massive write-down associated with its ill-advised acquisition of software-maker Autonomy.
While far from stellar, the results were good enough to narrowly top most Wall Street analysts’ already tepid estimates for HP, which continues to be pounded by lackluster sales of traditional IT hardware like desktop PCs and laptops in the era of mobility and cloud computing.
Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin
It’s been more than six months since Synnex Canada announced plans to purchase distribution rival Supercom Canada in a $36.5 million deal, and Synnex Canada chief Mitchell Martin says the deal has proven to be a good one.
The deal, announced in March, completed in April and integrated in May, is already resulting in monthly sales total larger than last year’s numbers for Synnex Canada and Supercom Canada combined, Martin reported.
“Having one plus one become greater than two is pretty rare, especially when the business segments we focused on were common,” Martin said.
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Joe Quaglia, president, the Americas, Tech Data
Tech Data has appointed Joe Quaglia the new president of its Americas business, effectively putting the seven-plus year veteran of the distributor atop its business in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
Quaglia takes over the role most recently held by Murray Wright, who left the distributor in September to take over as CEO of reseller Zones.com, the second consecutive Tech Data Americas chief to defect to the solution provider side of the channel. In January 2010, Ken Lamneck left the same post to take over as CEO of Insight Enterprises.
Quaglia has had a number of U.S.-focused roles for Tech Data in his time with the distributor, including covering both sales and marketing executive roles.
“As [Tech Data CEO] Bob [Dutkowsky] told me, ‘no training required,’” Quaglia quipped.
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Peter Larocque, president of North American distribution at Synnex.
Canadian solution providers wondering when some of Synnex’s “Solv” packages will appear in this country have an answer – very soon. And it appears that there will be more help arriving for the Canadian subsidiary and its customers.
At its Varnex Fall Conference in San Diego last week, Synnex announced that Peter Larocque, formerly president of U.S. distribution for the company, had been appointed president of North American distribution. And while it remains clear that Mitchell Martin remains in command as president of Synnex Canada, it certainly appears Synnex is taking a long look at sharing more resources across the 48th parallel.
Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing for North America at Synnex, explained that Larocque’s promotion comes at a time when Synnex CEO Kevin Murai is spending a good deal of time working on the company’s acquisition of IBM’s Concentrix business, announced two months ago. The change, Stegner said, will allow Larocque to “free up some U.S. resources to support the Canadian team.”
The first tangible evidence of the change, a trio of the company’s “Solv” practices are debuting, or will soon debut, in Canada, largely using the resources and experiences of offering those packages in the U.S. market.
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Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO of security vendor Sophos
The state of IT security in small and midsized businesses may be worse than previously thought, according to a new study that finds a majority are in deep denial about the risks of cyberattacks and the compromise of critical data. The study by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by UK security vendor Sophos Ltd. found 58 percent of SMB IT decision makers do not see cyberattacks as a significant risk to their business.
That attitude pervades despite the fact that IT security disruptions cost the 2,000 SMB survey respondents a combined average of $1,608,111 over the past year.
Perhaps most troubling, the Risk of an Uncertain Security Strategy study found that the more senior a manager was in their SMB organization, the more likely they were to dismiss the seriousness of potential cyber threats.
“The scale of cyberattack threats is growing every single day,“ said Sophos CTO Gerhard Eschelbeck, “yet this research shows that many SMBs are failing to appreciate the dangers and potential losses they face from not adopting a suitably robust IT security posture.”
Varnex Japan chairman Shozo Yamada (left), with Varnex US president Steve Hull (center), and Varnex Canada president Tim Lomax. (Courtesy Synnex Corp.)
Shozo Yamada was a busy man at this week’s Varnex Fall Conference in San Diego. Yamada, CEO of Okayama, Japan-based solution provider Santec Corporation, met with executives from Synnex and Varnex solution provider members, and even trade media, exchanging stories and comparing notes on business by way of a translator.
Aside from speaking a different language from his U.S. and Canadian counterpart, Yamada seemed like one of the gang. And in a very real sense, although he was a guest of honor, he was part of the gang. Yamada was in San Diego as the first-ever representative of Varnex Japan to attend a North American Varnex Council.
Synnex, by way of its Synnex Infotec subsidiary acquired in 2010, became the first of the North American distributors to launch its reseller community in Asia, with an initial group of 24 solution providers.
“It’s a unique opportunity to have a distributor host this kind of a community,” Yamada said through his translator. “The distribution model is getting more global, and this is a big differentiator for Synnex.”
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Dimension Data Cloud CEO Steve Nola
Global IT solutions and services provider Dimension Data plc this week rolled out a new suite of SaaS hosting and application management services for growing partners and ISVs looking to simplify cloud hosting and management operations.
The new SaaS offering takes advantage of Dimension Data’s capabilities in SaaS hosting, systems integration and cloud IaaS, to deliver support services that improve SaaS application uptime, reduce costs and bolster app security, the company said.
Dimension Data’s SaaS Solutions should be particularly helpful to developers wrestling with the switch from transactional, locally-installed software products with perpetual licenses to pay-as-you-go hosted software services. The offering provides guidance and operational best practices to help ISVs transition to a SaaS-based business model or scale to a growing audience, officials said.
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Shawn Pearson, vice president of worldwide channels at Websense
Security specialist Websense rolled out the usual pomp and circumstance with the recent launch of Triton 7.8, the latest in the series of application suites to thwart advanced persistent threats. But behind the scenes with the channel team, Websense is placing Triton as the cornerstone of a new class of partner engagement.
Shawn Pearson, vice president of worldwide channels, helped transform the Websense partner network from transactional product sales to strategic security service providers. Triton 7.8, he says, allows solution providers to develop advanced security practices that address a multitudes of threats.
Triton, a package Websense launched four years ago to evolve beyond its Web-filtering roots, compiles security capabilities that combines intelligence and threat prevention for Web, data and e-mail streams. The latest version includes ThreatScope, a system of inline sandboxing that isolates malware and exploits in real time. It features data loss prevention, phishing detection and awareness tools, and other deployment and optimization features.
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Adnon Dow, vice president of global mobility solutions for Synnex.
Synnex Canada is building up its game in mobility. The Canadian subsidiary is following its U.S.-based parent’s lead with the rollout of MobilitySolv, the latest member of the distributor’s family of “Solv” solution bundles.
The distributor is in the mist of the first phase of a three-phase rollout for MobilitySolv, said Adnon Dow, vice president of global mobility solutions for Synnex. It’s building out its line card of vendor offerings in the mobility space, then will build out the company’s VAR community around mobility, the stage it’s currently at in the U.S. After that, Dow said it will turn its attention to building ecosystems and specific solutions around verticals on industry opportunities.
“We’re about 85 percent there in Canada,” Dow said of the effort to develop the line card. “We’re trying to tie down the carrier relationships and figure out the go-to-market with them. That was the most intensive effort we had in the U.S., and it’s just really happening.”
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At a memorial service for CMO Dan Sottile at its Calgary headquarters Wednesday, Long View Systems announced the establishment of the The Sottile Family Support Trust Fund in the executive’s honour.
The solution provider is setting up the fund to help Sottile’s family, and requests that anyone interested in contributing send payment to its headquarters.
Long View Systems
Attention: Sheri Jamieson
3100 255 – 5th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3G6
Sottile, a top executive for Long View for more than a decade, passed away suddenly while on a business trip to the company’s up-and-coming operation in Houston two weeks ago.
New Dell channel chief Cheryl Cook
Dell Inc. is wasting little time taking advantage of its newly privatized freedoms, today announcing a significant reorganization of its channel and sales leadership to sharpen its go-to-market strategy in a way that should benefit most reseller partners.
In a letter to the company’s 143,000 solution providers, Dell channel chief Greg Davis, the most public face of Dell’s partner efforts since its inception six years ago, announced he’s moving on from his channel leadership role in a move that will consolidate direct and indirect sales management at the Round Rock, Texas, vendor. The full letter is reprinted below.
Taking over for Davis as vice president of global channels and alliances is Cheryl Cook, formerly Dell’s vice president of enterprise solutions, a role that saw her leading Dell’s enterprise go-to-market strategy and sales coverage. Cook is no stranger to the channel, having come to Dell from Sun Microsystems where she served as senior vice president of Americas sales with responsibility for Sun’s Americas channel organization.
Symantec Americas channel chief John Eldh
Symantec Corp. is pivoting back to the channel, realigning its partner program to focus on high-value partners, solution providers with specific technology specializations and high-touch field engagements with sales. The goal: to increase consistent organic growth through the channel and reduce conflict with solution providers in the field.
The security and storage management specialist announced the changes last week at its annual Partner Engage conference, where solution providers heard from CEO Steve Bennett and channel chief John Eldh on the need for and logic behind breaking down barriers between partners and product groups, and the need for deeper field engagement.
“Our new strategy focuses on sustained partner growth, delivering the innovative technologies, superior service, and differentiated value our customers demand. We’re committed to making it easier to do business with us, and we promise to do a much better job helping you build the competencies you need to support our customers and grow your business,” writes Bennett in a letter to Symantec partners.
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ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini
IT Nation, the annual ConnectWise user conference held last week in Orlando, continues to set the standard for channel events. The success and value of this event is more than its ability to put on a good show, but more in the continued and consistent focus on driving execution and operational excellence in channel businesses.
From the opening moments to the closing curtain, IT Nation repeatedly rang the message that business skills, planning and execution are the keys to success more than any one individual technology. ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini, in his keynote address, reiterated a theme he’s used over the years that his company is more about enablement than software.
“We are committed to doing everything in our power to anticipate industry shifts and provide our partners with a dynamic platform for growing their businesses,” said Bellini. “ConnectWise is more than a software company – we’re a skill-building company that offers support, education and a commitment to community, all tightly integrated around innovative software, that helps our partners achieve success right now and well into the future.”