Although it has long served managed service providers and VARs focused on the midmarket, outsourced NOC specialist NetEnrich feels it’s time for a change.
While the company has taken a bundled approach to the SMB market since last year, its engagements through MSPs and VARs with midmarket companies were too often heavily customized, according to NetEnrich general manager Justin Crotty.
“A lot of our partners in the market like the service offering we have there, but the challenge was that it wasn’t well-defined,” Crotty said. “We had a packaging issue.”
The company is aiming to eliminate that packaging issue with the launch of Mission Critical Operations packages, which aim to create bundles of commonly-consumer services, and ease the quoting and pricing process for the company’s solution providers.
According to Cisco Systems’ worldwide channel leaders, the company’s partners are doing more services than ever before.
Those who know Cisco in general, and its partner organization in particular, know that the company measures everything, so it’s no surprise that this kind of information would be at the fingertips of people like Edison Peres, worldwide channel chief, and Keith Goodwin, senior vice president of the company’s partner organization. The executives, whom I caught at last week’s Cisco Partner Velocity event in Las Vegas, said solution providers aren’t just doing more services than ever before. They’re also doing higher-value services.
Peres reported that when Cisco started taking annual measurements of partner profitability, the majority of partner services offerings were in the support and break-fix categories. Fast forward to today, and services make up 40 to 45 per cent of partner profitability, with a much higher level of focus on consulting and professional services.
HP’s been building its managed print services business in the channel for a number of year’s now, but the volume got turned up to 11 at the company’s Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas last month.
From Canadian IPG channel chief Patrick Harrison, to Canadian IPG boss Lloyd Bryant, all the way up to worldwide IPG lead Vyomesh Joshi and even CEO Meg Whitman, the messaging was consistent.
And that message was that channel partners should be looking to make print a contractual, and not transactional, business.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to invest in an HP printing practice,” Bryant said. “We’ve seen tremendous growth in managed print services, and we’re committed to delivering MPS through our channel.”
Cisco Systems is updating the courses and certifications for its CCNA Security and CCNP Security designations. The updates follow on the vendor’s regular 18 to 24 months renewal cycle for its certifications, and the new versions of the courses will include more material related to IPv6 and access control lists.
It’s no secret that security continue to evolve, and as businesses change with new technology trends like bring your own device (BYOD), mobility, cloud and virtualization, there’s a greater need for IT security professionals to keep their education and certifications up to date. With the updates of CCNA Security, Cisco is providing focused content on how to protect networks from threats that are designed to attack IPv6. According to Tejas Vashi, director of product management at Cisco, the skill levels around IPv6 security are being moved down from the engineering to the associate level.
Ian Gordon, director of marketing and channels for Trend Micro Canada.
Trend Micro has announced Deep Discovery, the third generation of its threat management solution previously known as Trend Micro Threat Detection Appliance, a product that the company is using to address the growing challenge of targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats.
“[Deep Discovery] is building upon some technology we already had, but we’ve listened closely to customer and heard that targeted threats are becoming much more commonplace, and despite their best efforts to stop them with technology, some of them are getting through,” said Ian Gordon, director of marketing and channels for Trend Micro Canada.
The new version is the first for the company that can run either on a standalone appliance or as a virtual software appliance, a measure that will provide more flexibility and “lets it fit more easily into the data centre,” Gordon said.
Amanda Jobbins, vice president of partner marketing at Cisco
LAS VEGAS – Amanda Jobbins paints a picture of the average marketing professional at a Cisco channel partner. It is a lonely picture.
Jobbins, vice president of partner marketing for Cisco, describes a person who is alone, or at best on a very small team, surrounded by much larger sales and technical teams, and reporting into management that often at best dismisses the value of marketing and at worst equates it with something roughly akin to sorcery.
The picture is made all the more poignant by the fact that I know from conversations with partner marketing leaders that it is all too often an accurate one.
But Jobbins has some ideas that, just maybe, will make that marketing professional a little less lonely.
HP Canada’s Personal System Group is looking to take channel partners back to school, seeing a growing opportunity in the education vertical on the heels of a major win in the Toronto District School Board.
Leyland Brown, vice president and general manager of PSG for HP Canada, said that after a major win delivering HP mini netbooks to TDSB schools along with partner Metafore, the company is looking to make a name for itself in the education vertical.
“Education is the one market segment where we have the opportunity to take share,” she said.
And that opportunity comes as the game is changing in the education field – more schools are open to variants of the Bring Your Own Device strategy, and that’s changing how school boards think about technology.
Marlene Mullowney, account executive at Datto Canada
He’s not Victor Kiam, but Modest Mycyk did like the product so much, he bought the company. Or at least the Canadian rights to the company.
The channel community may know Mycyk best as a peer – from his Saskatchewan-based solution business, Nova-Tek Innovations. But they’re going to probably hear a lot more from him in his new role heading up cloud-based managed backup and disaster recovery solution Datto in Canada.
As a VAR, Mycyk has been a Datto customer since 2009, when it spun up a node in its Saskatoon data centre. Since then, it’s grown that business, and now it runs multiple cluster nodes. Over the last year, it’s been building channel connections for Datto in its home province, and in the fall of last year, it became Datto’s official presence in Canada.
And now Mycyk is looking to start working with solution providers across Canada.
Avnet Technology Solutions and its sister company Avnet Electronics Marketing are extending their digital signage practice, jointly launching the Brilliant Digital Signage Suite of Services that aim to move the distributor and its VARs from dealing with digital signage hardware to content, services and solutions.
Avnet has long had connections with digital signage vendors, but about eight months ago, it started to recognize a shift in what VARs were looking for, according to Larry Fullop, vice president and general manager of supplier sales acceleration in the Americas for Avnet Technology Solutions.
“We have a pretty good hardware support offerings, but now we’re seeing getting into design and implementation,” Fullop said. “We’ve started to understand that a strategy around providing solutions.”
For the last five years, the company has brought together a group of its worldwide partner base to focus on building marketing strategies. It’s an event that’s different in tone from the more familiar partner conference model. Yes, there’s no doubt this is a Cisco-hosted event. But the majority of the main-stage time is devoted to subject matter experts from the marketing world.
The event is focused on education, and it’s an education that Cisco needs to rely on more heavily as its Partner-Led strategy puts more onus on its channel partners to market to their SMB and midmarket customers.
Amit Walia, vice president of product management for the information management group at Symantec.
For the recent past, Symantec has kept to a yearly schedule for its twin backup products, NetBackup and Backup Exec. It deviated from that schedule, forgoing a 2011 edition of the offerings.
But it’s back with a vengeance in 2012, and the company has lofty goals, according to Amit Walia, vice president of product management for the information management group at Symantec.
“Our aspiration is that we want to reduce 80 per cent of the operational cost of backup and recovery over the next five years by bringing it all together, making it easier to consume, and controlling data growth,” Walia said at a recent Toronto event for the launch. “We believe we can do that.”
According to Walia, some clients may even be able to reach that figure with the 2012 launches.
HP Canada PSG channel and SMB chief John Cammalleri
The end of last year saw a very subtle change to HP Canada’s approach to channel leadership. Although it had maintained separate channel teams, and leadership, for its three major lines of business (PSG, ESSN, and IPG), it had largely hung the mantle of “channel chief” on the shoulders of PSG’s John Cammalleri, largely because PSG was the “host” to HP’s Solution Partner Organization.
But late in 2011, that changed. Cammalleri retains his role as head of channels for PSG, but picked up responsibility for PSG’s SMB business. Joining him in a troika of channel chiefs are IPG’s Patrick Harrison and ESSN’s Sal Giulione.
The result? According to HP Canada, partners can expect to see the company’s partner-focused leaders and their teams a lot more often.
Stefan Bockhop, director of channel sales at Lenovo Canada.
They’re number five, but they try harder.
Lenovo Canada has maintained fifth place in the Canadian PC market, but for the first time, the company’s market share eclipsed the 10 per cent mark. That number has long been a major goal for Lenovo Canada channel chief Stefan Bockhop, especially because it’s been almost exclusively done with the help of the company’s channel partners.
Consider that Lenovo is relatively new to the retail market in Canada, which makes up more than half of the PC shipments in this country, and is currently in the “low single digit” in the retail market, according to Bockhop. So there’s no place to go but up.
Mark Hennessy, general manager of global business partners and mid-market at IBM
IBM will be offering financial incentives to its business partners that sell hardware and software together, an initiative that is being well-received by partners.
Mark Hennessy, general manager of global business partners and mid-market at IBM (who is about 60 days into his new role) expanded on the hints given during the morning IBM PartnerWorld general session. Customers are looking for faster time to value and systems that are more optimized for their own needs, and the new incentives are meant to help drive that, he said. When components are integrated, it not only optimizes the solutions for customers but also provides a way for partners to differentiate themselves.
“Our focus is really clear. It’s around growth, profitability and simplicity,” Hennessy said about the various announcements IBM made on the first day of PartnerWorld.
Partners will receive a five per cent incremental rebate for selling eligible IBM systems and a 15 per cent incremental rebate for selling eligible software together to a single customer. Partners can gain an additional 10 per cent rebate for selling a solution aimed at particular IT challenges on the software element of the total solution.
In the final part of our my video interview with Tech Data chief executive Bob Dutkowsky, he discusses one of the bigger launches the distributor has put together in the last year Stateside, its TDmobility business practice.
But mobility, Dutkowsky points out, is a very different beast in Canada, or in Europe, than it is in the U.S., so the distributor’s approach is to let region play to its strengths. It’s an interesting look into Dutkowsky’s philosophy in working with his international subsidiaries.
Dutkowsky also addresses why mobility means so much more than just smartphones, and why that will be even more the case in the near future.
WLAN vendor Meru Networks has introduced Gary Abad as its new worldwide channel chief. Abad, most recently North American channel chief for Kaspersky Lab, joined the company earlier this year, just in time for the company’s sales kickoff event.
It’s fortuitous timing for a new channel chief to join the company – to immediately be able to do a deep dive on the firm. More fortuitous still for Abad that the company, which does “very close to 100 per cent” of its business through the channel, had many of its top partners up for the event.
It’s not a big-tent channel program – the WLAN vendor counts about 1,000 worldwide partners in total, and about 100 partners across North America make up 80 per cent of its business – but Abad said he’s impressed by the “fierce loyalty” he has seen thus far among its partners.
It’s a loyalty that Abad is looking to build upon by investing more in education and enablement.
Five-peat: Tech Data Canada chief Rick Reid with the company's fifth consecutive distributor of the year award
The Reseller’s Choice Awards are now five years old, and Hewlett-Packard and Tech Data are once again big winners.
TechnoPlanet recently held its Reseller’s Choice Awards presentation for 2011, at The School Fine Dining in Unionville, Ont., and for the fifth time, Tech Data Canada took home best distributor of the year award. It also added best availability and delivery, best customer service, best product support, best industry event and best terms and conditions.
Meanwhile, HP Canada also proved dominant, taking home a whopping 19 Reseller’s Choice Awards.
In all, some 700 solution providers voted in the 2011 awards, said TechnoPlanet president Julian Lee.
I was on location, and caught interviews on podcast with three of the night’s big winners: HP Canada’s Heather Kent, Tech Data Canada president Rick Reid, and Dan Latendre, CEO of Igloo Software, which took home best new vendor. I also chat with Lee about the awards.
Check out the podcast, and a full list of winners, after the jump.
Technology Capital Investors, a venture capital firm focused on working with managed service providers, has made its first move into the Canadian market with a location in Toronto. Now it’s looking to build up a group of Canadian MSPs to add to its network in the U.S.
TCI started investing in MSPs after coming to the realization that managed services are in demand, but that “MSPs are a very difficult business to scale,” said Sam Attias, managing partner at TCI.
“Today, there are less than three per cent of the managed services community north of $10 million per month in recurring revenues,” Attias said. “If you want to get to those numbers, organic growth is very difficult given when you need to get there.”
That’s four weeks earlier than last year’s registration opening, Noakes notes.
“I’m personally excited by the plans in place for WPC 2012 as well as the setting, the cosmopolitan city of Toronto,” Noakes writes. “The WPC Business Owner team has been laboring for months to make this the most exceptional WPC yet.”
Jon me after the jump for some more thoughts on WPC in Toronto, as well as a bit of a trip down memory lane to the issues the channel was facing when last Microsoft brought its partner community to Toronto.