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uniFLOW Online has been developed from the ground up to enhance cloud technology’s benefits and meet the needs of businesses who do not want to invest in, or manage, local servers but still wish to control the printing process and benefit from flexible scan workflows. uniFLOW Online is built on Microsoft Azure’s cutting-edge cloud environment technology; servers are not needed, businesses are ready for the future. It brings enterprise security standards and provides high scalability to react immediately to changing demands.
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See the bigger picture
Time to celebrate The year has ended on a high with the inaugural Stockies celebrating the best of the channel, a year that has been quieter than the past few, with resellers able to concentrate on what they do best – selling.
As another year draws to a close, it has been a busy one in the channel. Mercifully, there hasn’t been a global pandemic, supply chain crisis, or surprise war that pushes prices up this year to mess up everybody’s plans. It has been, almost, normal. This means that resellers have been able to concentrate on selling. That’s not to say things have been easy – they haven’t. The economy may have avoided going into recession, but only just and competition remains fierce in many sectors. Of course, this does also provide opportunities to resellers that think creatively and provide solutions that create value for their customers. And there are plenty of businesses in the channel that do just that, and we celebrated the best of them in late November at the first Stock in the Channel Awards – better known as the Stockies – that recognised the best products, vendors and distributors in the channel. What is great about the Stockies is that it is different to all the other awards ceremonies out there as the winners were decided by empirical data from Stock in the Channel over the past year, rather than the subjective judgment of judges selecting from a limited number of companies that had applied for an award – which can mean that the best in a category are missed. It also means that the winners really deserve their awards. You can see more from the Stockies After-
Awards Party – including pictures from the night – on p26 as well as more on all the winners in a special section on p51. At this time of year, many people tend to reflect on the previous 12 months, and we have asked a range of thought leaders from across the channel to give us their thoughts on how 2023 has been for them, the trends in the sector among customers, the new technologies that are disrupting the market and what 2024 might bring. Read more on p44. Elsewhere in this issue, we also have a feature on network security. The challenges to networks continue to grow, especially with more businesses operating in the cloud, which means that resellers have a crucial role in helping customers to ensure that they have the right solutions to keep their business safe, as the results of a cyberattack can be devastating. Read more on p38. On a personal note, I would like to thank all the readers of News in the Channel over the course of the year. Your support is always appreciated. We will be back, better than ever, in 2024. As ever, it is great to hear from people – if you have any topics that you want us to cover, or you want to get involved in editorial or send through an op-ed please drop me a line at email@example.com. I wish you all a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
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Support your Channel Distributors and Resellers by using the new FREE Stock in the Channel functionality: “Authorised Distributors”. Click here to learn more
News You should know p6 Boom Collaboration – Westcoast Partnership Providing more choice in 2024 p18 Multi-Cloud Strategies The challengs for SMEs p21 People Moves Who's going where p23 Stockies 2023 When the great and the good converged p26 Cover Story Ingram Xvantage p36 Network Security Evolving Threats p38 Review of 2023 That was the year that was p44 Stockies 2023 – Roll of Honour The winners in full p51
Boom Westcoast Collaboration – p18
Multi-Cloud Strategies – p21
Cloud technology has become core to many businesses, with many utilising multi-cloud approaches. However, this can pose challenges for SMEs – and providers can help to overcome them.
A new video conferencing partnership is set to ignite in 2024, providing resellers with more choice and more ways to capture more sales.
Cover Story – p36
Ingram Micro’s Xvantage has enjoyed a hugely positive response from the channel since it was launched in March for how it makes business easier – culminating in two recent high-profile award wins.
Network Security – p38
Network security is becoming increasingly important to businesses as more work is undertaken online and the number of outside threats from cybercriminals grows. Resellers have a crucial role to play in helping customers to get the right solutions for their business needs.
People Moves – p23
Andy Nicholls – Kinly, Patrick Zammit – TD SYNNEX, Matt Knell – ESET
Review of 2023 – p44
Editorial Dan Parton 07941 979 845 dan@ newsinthechannel.com Elliot Mulley- Goodbarne 07910 441 024 elliot@ newsinthechannel.com Head of Sales Martin Jenner-Hall 07824 552 116 martin@ newsinthechannel.com Publishing Director Justin Penn 07816 573 186 justin@ newsinthechannel.com Written permission from the publisher is required before any part of News in the Channel can be reproduced. © 2023 In the Channel Media Ltd.
The past 12 months have been relatively stable economically, which means that resellers in the channel have been able to focus on business and the innovations bringing new opportunities in the sector, such as artificial intelligence.
Review – p26
The inaugural Stockies took place at the end of November, a new concept in awards ceremonies in the channel, where winners were based on empirical data rather than a judging panel.
Published by: In the Channel Media Ltd Company registration number: 14363401 Registered office address 14-18 Heddon Street,
Winners – p51
Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1B 4DA In conjunction with:
The full listing of winners in each of the categories
Dell APEX Flex on Demand services now available to UK partners
TD SYNNEX is now offering Dell Technologies’ APEX Flex on Demand services in the UK, providing partners with the ability to offer customised solutions that provide the combination of technology and services needed by customers, backed by the expertise and support of TD SYNNEX’s own cloud and infrastructure and professional services teams. APEX Flex on Demand is a pay-per-use flexible consumption model that provides elastic capacity with the reassurance of on- premises deployment. It allows customers to acquire and make use of the Dell Technologies products and services they need to support business demands while paying only for actual usage. This eliminates the need for large up-front capital investment in products, while providing the flexibility of a pay-as-you model and unlimited scalability. This combination will enable partners to take full advantage of the significant market opportunity for APEX, said Simon Bennett, managing director Advanced Solutions, UK and Ireland, TD SYNNEX.
“With Dell APEX, our partners can deliver the very best and most appropriate technologies and solutions alongside the experience and expertise of our cloud, enterprise infrastructure and professional services teams to design, deliver and support customer projects,” he said. “Partners can create and offer solutions that meet exact customer needs and provide the flexibility of the cloud and peace-of-mind of on- premises deployments. “Dell APEX is multi-cloud by design and our unique capabilities on all three of the major public cloud providers, makes TD SYNNEX ideally suited to supporting partners in taking this attractive value proposition to market. Our teams have the know-how to support partners in making the very best use of multiple platforms alongside on-premises systems and bringing all of that together to deliver the best of both worlds.”
Vertiv acquires CoolTera to boost liquid cooling portfolio
Vertiv has announced that subsidiaries of the company have agreed to acquire CoolTera Ltd, a provider of coolant distribution infrastructure for data centre liquid cooling technology and certain assets, including certain contracts, patents, trademarks and intellectual property from an affiliate of CoolTera. Founded in 2016, CoolTera provides liquid cooling infrastructure solutions, and designs and manufactures coolant distribution units, secondary fluid networks and manifolds for data centre liquid cooling solutions. CoolTera and Vertiv have been technology partners for three years with multiple global deployments to data centres and super compute systems. The acquisition of CoolTera brings advanced cooling technology, deep domain expertise, controls and systems and manufacturing and testing for high density compute cooling requirements to Vertiv’s thermal management portfolio, as well as key industry partnerships already in place across the ecosystem for such applications. CoolTera has a track record of engineering excellence and strong customer service supported by a team of highly
qualified, proven liquid cooling engineers. “This bolt-on technology acquisition is consistent with our long-term strategic vision for value creation, and further strengthens our expertise in high-density cooling solutions,” said Giordano Albertazzi, chief executive officer, Vertiv. “And while the purchase price is not material to Vertiv, the acquisition is essential to further reinforce our liquid cooling portfolio, enhancing our ability to serve the needs of our global data centre customers and strengthening our position and capabilities to support the needs of AI at scale.” Mark Luxford, CoolTera’s managing director, added that it was a logical decision to join Vertiv. “We are excited to join the leader in data centre thermal management,” he said. “Vertiv has demonstrated the ability to scale technologies at a pace that is needed for AI deployment. We look forward to working as a team to deliver next generation liquid cooling technologies at the scale the industry requires. Vertiv is well-positioned to support the industry growth.” The acquisition is expected to close before the end of the year.
Mark Luxford managing director CoolTera Ltd
leader in data centre thermal management. “
We are excited to join the
Year! of the Campaign
Exclusive Networks launches new Marketing Network
Exclusive Networks has launched a first- of-its-kind Marketing Network aimed at evolving the marketing efforts among its partner businesses. This initiative is set to create an ecosystem of collaboration in which marketers can thrive, and their respective businesses can benefit from best practices traditionally reserved for the technical and sales domains. At the core of this initiative lies the recognition of the ‘multiplier effect,’ a proven concept – engaging two or more partners in a deal leads
to 113% uplift in deal sizes. “The Exclusive Networks Marketing
Network is more than just a support system; it’s a vision to promote marketing excellence, elevate industry standards and highlight the intrinsic value of marketing for our partner businesses,” said Hannah Jenney, Exclusive’s head of marketing UK & Ireland. The Marketing Network will seek to elevate partner marketing abilities and achievements via three core principles: l Enablement: This pillar is designed so members of the network enjoy the benefits of knowledge sharing, comprehensive enablement programs and access to insightful content, which will help them improve marketing skills and expertise through collaborative thought leadership l Certifications and accreditations: The Marketing Network ensures members have the skills to succeed, delivered via a CPD-certified, Coterie Community-
Networks Marketing Network is more than just a support system; it's a vision to promote marketing excellence, elevate industry standards, and highlight the
intrinsic value of marketing for our partner businesses.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Titan
Thank you to all our customers for making our 2023 a huge success.We look forward to working with you again next year
T. 020 3870 2130 E. firstname.lastname@example.org www.titandatasolutions.com
WINNER Storage Distributor of the Year
08 Titan is a specialist distributor offering end-to-end data management and cybersecurity solutions and services . By providing best-of-breed products and services , we simplify data management across the lifecycle, ensuring your customer always receives the best fit solution.
powered platform, comprehensive training on effective marketing with ecosystem partners and a range of new certification and accreditation programs. Members will each earn a CPD Practitioner accreditation in partner and ecosystem marketing as well as access to ongoing certification and accreditation programmes to further bolster their development l Leadership: Exclusive Networks will host quarterly meetups and monthly virtual gatherings and maintain an active LinkedIn group as an ongoing digital hub for all members to give and receive ongoing insights, support and ideas. Members will also have the opportunity to connect, grow and foster relationships through a bespoke buddy scheme that encourages inter-peer learning. “Whether they wield substantial influence
growth and prosperity – often with their contributions being significantly less visible or celebrated than other departments,” said Hannah. “That’s where the Exclusive Networks Marketing Network steps in, designed with a deep understanding of how businesses and our partners operate and continuously addressing their pain points throughout the month and quarter. Through robust marketing support and education, we’re committed to helping them achieve their goals. “I’ve already received a list of thanks and enthusiasm for what comes next from the partners we’ve shared this with. It’s great to hear from one-person marketing teams who are jumping at the opportunity to form a community to collaborate with and learn from. Teams like these experience a lot of isolation in their work, and I know they will be grateful for the opportunity to work closely with like-minded people. Who knows what they’ll achieve!”
Hannah Jenney head of marketing UK & Ireland
in a small business or navigate high- pressure roles in huge organisations, these marketeers play a vital role in driving
Merry Christmas from the Exclusively Fortinet Team
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VeUP launches Advisor services to fuel growth for AWS focused start-ups
VeUP has launched a new Advisor service range dedicated to Technology, Alliance and Marketing programs that fuel rapid growth for Amazon Web Services (AWS) focused start-ups. The VeUP Advisor services offer high- potential ISV and SaaS businesses regular guidance from VeUP’s industry leading AWS experts to accelerate their growth through architectural advice, go-to-market strategy and alliance management. Technology Advisor supports start-ups with defining their AWS and product roadmap, technology adoption and optimisation of costs to contribute to successful cloud initiatives. Alliance Advisor connects start-ups with alliance experts to analyse and improve the scope and effectiveness of their AWS partnership, increase co-sell revenue and develop rapid growth strategies through regular advisory sessions. Marketing Advisor helps early-stage companies kickstart their marketing function,
building their brand and identity to help reach and engage key potential customers and markets through VeUP’s insights and experience. The services are also available via the AWS Marketplace, allowing AWS partners to engage quickly and effectively with the VeUP services model. “As start-ups prepare for rapid growth, they are too often left without the proper support or guidance to forge strong partnerships, develop their tech optimally or market their brand effectively,” said Simon Turner, head of services for VeUP. “These shortcomings can be make or break for an early-stage business, which is why VeUP has launched our Advisor offerings to provide a platform for these companies to thrive. “VeUP’s game changing experts can equip start-ups with the tools and knowledge they need to take their business to the next level, by offering regular guidance and touchpoints to strategically deliver on growth plans.”
Simon Turner head of services
Vestel launches large format UHD displays
Vestel Visual Solutions has launched the XN+ and XD+ Series UHD signage displays in large format screen sizes of 75”, 86” and 98”. Built on an ultra-high-speed system on chip (SoC) core running Vestal Android Platform 400 (MB400VS), both ranges make CMS deployment and content management easy while maximising display impact with 500nits (XN+) and 400nits (XD+) brightness. “With digital signage becoming pervasive in retail and leisure, grabbing audience attention means cutting through the visual noise,” said senior product manager Tim Mathews. “With the new XN+ and XD+ models, we have brought our proven high-brightness, UHD resolution display technology to super-sized screens that make the biggest impact in any commercial environment.” Ideal for 24/7 use in retail, entertainment or control rooms, the XN+ Series uses an IPS panel delivering a 50,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio across a 178-degree viewing angle to maximise audience engagement across the largest commercial spaces. The ultra-narrow bezel and shallow depth minimise visual
hardware to further enhance content impact. The SoC supports Android and HTML-5 systems for CMS providers and integrators to manage content without the cost or complexity of an OPS module and external CMS engine. For further flexibility, the XN+ Series has 1 x HDMI output, 4 x HMDI inputs with CEC, Lan, Wi-Fi and multiple USB sockets for additional hardware sources or cloud content. Featuring a SD slot for additional onboard storage and SPDIF optical audio outputs. Vestel’s display set-up menus and features, such as Signal Failover to create a default banner or logo in case of lost source, daisy-chain compatibility, and easy VESA mounting make installation simple and flexible. The XD+ Series brings all the features of the XN+ units in a more affordable package. Ideal for corporate, public premises, entertainment venues and control rooms, the XD+ Series offers 400nits brightness and 16/7 operation in the same ultra-sharp UHD resolution large screen sizes. The XD+ models in 75”, 86” and 98” screen sizes are available now, with the XN+ 75”, 86” and 98” available to resellers and integrators.
Despite human error being the biggest IT security concern for 34% of SMEs across the UK, IT training is missing some of the most common cyber weakness areas for more than half, according to new research. The pan-European survey from Sharp Europe revealed a disconnect between levels of IT security concern and the specific training businesses have in place to address the most common cyber risks. The research of 5,770 professionals responsible for purchasing IT in their SME reveals that employees not following or even having any cyber training is seen as the biggest risk overall to the effectiveness of their businesses’ IT security; more so than large scale industry attacks or concerns around not having the right protection in place. In fact, 24% are now more concerned than previously about technology security risks because of the lack of training for employees. Despite the importance of training, and the concerns around human error, the research revealed that areas that would help address threats that have impacted SMEs, such as virus attacks (25%), phishing (31%), data loss (30%) and password attacks (24%) are simply not covered by a significant proportion of the current training provided to employees. Security training programmes in less than half of SMEs cover passwords (46%), downloading files (46%), connecting to a secure network (45%), or even the basics around logging on and off (44%). “IT security is as much a people issue as it is a technology challenge, our team members are ultimately our last line of defence against threats,” said Matt Riley, director of security at Sharp UK. “Businesses and organisations of course need to have all the right technology in place, such as firewalls and anti-virus software, but they also need to create a security culture and robust training that covers all employees, not just the IT team and senior management. “Failing to have continuously refreshed cyber training in place for dealing with everyday issues like changing passwords, spotting phishing emails and downloading files is a real concern. The recent surge in AI-enabled phishing attacks is rising to new levels of sophistication, meaning more businesses are more vulnerable than ever to attack. To combat this at Sharp UK, we are using new tools to educate and put knowledge into practice. Traditional training methods such as watching videos don’t provide an engaging way for knowledge to be embedded through practical application. New training tools simulate phishing, raising awareness of the threat, and fostering positive conversations within our own teams about cyber security. Ultimately, these training oversights can cost businesses significantly so it’s important to keep investing and evolving IT security training.” Even with the general rise in security concerns only 40% of firms across the UK have increased IT security training since moving to a hybrid model and only 41% of SMEs cover hybrid working in their training programmes. Major cyber risks not covered in IT security training
Boom develops ‘best ever’ conferencing camera
Boom Collaboration has created its most powerful conferencing camera – designed to deliver the ultimate visual performance, backed by the latest AI features. The Boom MAGNA Pro features people and room zone tracking, Ultra HD 4K clarity, a 27x zoom plus an array of connectivity options. Available in the UK from distributor Westcoast, the high spec PTZ camera includes a 70-degree field of view and has been built for professional video meetings, conference rooms, training facilities, boardrooms, live events and broadcast operations. Boom co-founder Fredrik Hörnkvist says the MAGNA Pro is the flagship camera in the Texas-based company’s ever-evolving portfolio – combining power with intelligence. “Our mission is to make meetings better in a simple way,” he said. “This latest innovation is designed to upgrade the video conferencing experience and level up meetings and live events, with Ultra HD 4K at 60fps, intelligent people and zone tracking, plus a huge 12x optical zoom. “Zone tracking is a new and highly sought- after feature where the camera will only detect someone in a defined space, such as when presenting. “A Sony CMOS sensor and advanced focus technology guarantee superior image quality
while multiple video outputs, allow for seamless integration with A/V control systems and live streaming events, delivering enterprise-level video for any space.” Fellow Boom co-founder
Holli Hulett added: “The MAGNA Pro offers next level collaboration with control protocols for VISCA, IP VISCA, RTSP, RTMP, RTP multi-
broadcast and Pelco- P/D. MAGNA Pro easily integrates with A/V control systems
or corporate networks to deliver enterprise level video performance. This is undoubtedly our most advanced and powerful camera to date. “Intelligence is key. With AI real-time tracking, zone-tracking, or full manual control, the MAGNA Pro offers a fully hands-on or hands-off experience for any live event or meeting. Packed with connectivity the MAGNA Pro is full of connectivity options. LAN, RS232, RS422/RS485, USB 3.0, SDI and HDMI ensure all bases are covered. “This premium quality video camera boasts leading auto focus technology and advanced ISP processing for picture perfect output, backed by a three-year warranty.”
Success in AI means going back to basics of good IT management, says IF
While there is much talk about the rise of AI and what it can do now and could do in the future, there is less focus on how organisations using it can maximise its potential. To achieve this, companies must take things back to basics and ensure all technology underpinning their AI strategy is as effective and efficient as possible, according to the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF). The appetite to take on AI is clear. Research conducted by CIF this year found that 86% of respondents consider AI either very important or critical to their business, while 14% have completed the process of migrating applications to the cloud and are now using cloud to develop their AI strategy. The research was carried out a few months after the launch of ChatGPT, with interest in AI
growing further since then. But it is imperative that organisations do not lose sight of the challenges ahead, CIF says. “We’re very much at the start of a new wave of technological advancement, encompassing AI and other emerging tech, such as the metaverse, mixed reality, robotics and IoT,” said David Terrar, CEO of the CIF. “It’s vital for organisations to ride this wave rather than be swamped by it. “Technologies like AI might promise to revolutionise businesses, but getting the best out of them takes time and effort, so businesses must think hard about the journey as well as the destination. “This means taking the time now to put in the groundwork and ensure your AI strategy is built on solid foundations and accurate,
trusted training data. This covers not just your ability to develop and deliver the technology itself, but making sure your house is in order in every other aspect. Having comprehensive cybersecurity adapted to the age of AI, for example, is crucial. “Just as critical is ensuring that you are fully in line with data protection regulations and are quick to adapt to any changes, as falling foul of these could lead to serious problems down the line. “Once the above has been achieved, organisations must, as an absolute priority, ensure that the training data they use to build their AI algorithms is of the highest quality. ‘Garbage in, garbage out’ is an oft- used phrase when it comes to data-related pursuits, and it’s more relevant than ever in AI. The allure of AI lies in its autonomous power, but it can’t reach its potential if the less glamorous work isn’t done in the
background to help it succeed.” Cloud – alongside many other technologies – has an important role to play in helping organisations make the best of AI, according to David. Indeed, 90% of respondents in the CIF report said cloud has helped their company improve in its digital transformation efforts and become more effective as a business, while 96% assert that their cloud strategy has delivered against their expectations for their IT estate. “There are lots of challenges to address in becoming an AI frontrunner in any given industry and cloud remains a powerful enabler in this respect,” said David. “As an established technology that continues to grow in sophistication, it offers an accessible and hugely effective way of streamlining IT and building a more resilient organisation. With stability in IT, ambitious AI projects become much easier to realise.”
David Terrar ceo
Searchlight Cyber launches new program for channel partners
Searchlight Cyber has launched a new partner program, enhancing the company’s benefits for MSSPs, VARs and other key channel partners. The program includes a newly created partner portal that provides dedicated resources on dark web intelligence, including access to specialist training and marketing materials, to enable partners to effectively communicate the significant business risks emanating from the dark web. This new partner program comes in response to demand from the channel for dark web intelligence tools, with Searchlight recently announcing international partnerships with the likes of NCC Group, Semkel and Calibra. The demand for dark web intelligence has skyrocketed over the past few years, as organisations grow more aware that cyberattacks originate in marketplaces, forums and sites they cannot see. In a 2023 Searchlight survey of MSSPs, 65% said that their customers have asked for threat intelligence from the dark web and, of those, 74% said their customers’ interest has been increasing. Additional features of Searchlight Cyber’s new partner program include: l A new, streamlined deal registration process for VARs l A discount program for established VARs based on deal registration
l Co-marketing opportunities, sales enablement and enhanced training offerings. Ben Jones, co-founder and CEO of
Searchlight Cyber, said: “Many of our product features were built specifically with partners in mind, to enable them to meet rapidly increasing demand for dark web intelligence and differentiate their offerings in the crowded cybersecurity market. As SaaS products with minimal overhead costs and no requirement for additional analyst services, our tools enable partners to demonstrate significant value to customers from day one. Through this new partner program, we hope to build on these strong, collaborative relationships by even more closely aligning our incentives with theirs.” Program members will also benefit from features in Searchlight’s products built specifically for partners, including: l Multi-tenancy in DarkIQ, enabling MSSPs to easily switch between company profiles and seamlessly monitor the dark web for threats across their entire customer base l Tactical 30-day licenses for one-off partner engagements such as security audits, penetration testing, or incident response l Automated and customisable threat reporting, which can be branded by the partner, allowing them to offer further value-added services.
Ben Jones co-founder & ceo
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BOOM COLLABORATION - WESTCOAST PARTNERSHIP
Boom time for UK conferencing market
A new video conferencing partnership is set to ignite in 2024, providing resellers with more choice and more ways to capture more sales.
Fast-growing video conferencing manufacturer, Boom Collaboration, recently appointed Westcoast as its official UK distributor to act as a catalyst for further international sales success. Westcoast will supply the complete Boom Collaboration range, including 4K PTZ conferencing cameras, video bars, personal devices and audio speakers to more than 5,000 resellers across the country and beyond. Boom Collaboration was formed in 2020 by Fredrik Hörnkvist and Holli Hulett, in a bid to disrupt the sector and stand out from the crowd by creating high performance, high
value advanced products. The company has big ambitions to take a major part of the UK market – with Westcoast at the forefront. Texas-based Boom Collaboration has quickly developed an extensive conferencing portfolio and operates in 30 countries, with plans to extend to 20 more, having added 12 new territories in 2023. Its operation is underpinned by the creation of four logistics centres covering the globe. Impressive reputation “Westcoast provides us with the perfect platform to enter into the UK and open the
Boom UNO vertical video bar
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BOOM COLLABORATION - WESTCOAST PARTNERSHIP
door to sustained sales success for all parties and most importantly their resellers,” says Fredrik. “We want to offer something a little different both in terms of our products and how we do business. We are not another ‘me- too’ brand. 2024 is going to be a big year!” The Boom UNO vertical video bar, MAGNA Pro 4K PTZ camera and GEMINI expandable audio innovation are some of the many devices available through Westcoast, along with the GOJO multi-camera controller. The Boom HALO video bar is the company’s latest addition, which will be launched early in 2024. “Boom Collaboration might be a relatively new conferencing name, but the company has quickly built an impressive reputation and a very comprehensive product portfolio, which covers everything from personal workspaces to huddle rooms and large boardrooms,” says Westcoast’s UC business manager, Sam Armstrong. “There’s lots of innovation too such as intelligent video bars, expandable wireless audio and even a user-friendly multi-camera controller to facilitate live events.
“Boom Collaboration can offer our resellers something different and it is a very welcome addition to our high calibre UC collaboration division across the UK, France and Germany. We are confident this new partnership will be a big success. “Westcoast offers the vehicle and the platform to drive the brand deep into the UK channel through our vast reseller base, key contacts and internal expertise across sales and marketing. Working with Boom’s extensive support network and wider go-to- market strategy provides a very compelling and powerful combination. “The UC and AV market is quite competitive but at the same time it’s developing and evolving. Covid, bring your own device (BYOD) and the working from home revolution has had a huge impact. Now organisations are looking for new ways to integrate technology especially across multiple platforms. This is one of the big advantages of Boom because it is completely agnostic rather than providing Teams or Zoom only hardware support. “I feel there is a big opportunity for resellers
Sam Armstrong UC business manager
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BOOM COLLABORATION - WESTCOAST PARTNERSHIP
working in the mid-market as well as SMB space. This is the sweet spot for us where Boom can really start to flourish.” More choice Sam adds that as a new brand Boom instantly creates more choice and more opportunities for resellers to clinch more business. “This is simply because they offer something different,” he says. “It’s a competitive market but new technology is always positive for the channel. It keeps legacy vendors on their toes. “The Boom portfolio is so scalable and flexible across all room environments. This provides even more of an advantage. Many organisations have multiple room sizes and different dynamics. They need a video and audio vendor that ticks all the boxes on a universal scale.” Sam feels Westcoast in an ideal partner for Boom and is predicting sales success over the coming year. “We have almost unrivalled channel experience with one of the largest reseller bases in the country,” he says. “We have a big SMB partner base too. Both Boom and Westcoast are looking to build long-term partnerships based on active and extensive support, rather than just one-off purchases.” This ethos and positive outlook are shared by Holli who agrees on the importance of building long-term relationships. “We are young and fresh with new ideas, backed by years of personal experience that already makes us experts in this field,” she says. “We are not afraid to stand out, be bold, brave and loud and do things a little differently. A disrupter to take on the field.” Industry powerhouse Holli adds that it is about offering the highest levels of support to resellers through the distribution channel and going the extra mile with Westcoast. “We don’t want to just stay
in the middle lane,” she says. “We recognise resellers have the relationship with customers. Together we can help them transition to the new world we live in. They can lean on us. We are happy to help.” Boom aims to help plug a knowledge gap in certain areas of the market, from audio and video technology to meeting etiquette, according to Holli. “We work across all sectors of the industry from AV integrators to traditional telephony resellers and accredited partners such as Zoom and Barco,” she says. “We’re completely agnostic though and global sales continue to rise by around 45% year-on-year. “There’s definitely a knowledge gap due to the fast transition of people working from home and an explosion in software-based solutions such as Teams and Zoom. We aim to be the piece that’s perhaps missing in the sector.” Trusted advisor Fredrik adds that Boom’s goal is to emphasise the vital role hardware plays to improve the meeting experience. “We are a trusted advisor about the best end points to drive the end user experience,” she says. “It’s about matching the right equipment to the right rooms and helping organisations to transition at whatever stage of the journey they are on. “Many resellers used to sell traditional telephone systems then IP handsets, but now cloud-based full unified comms systems are taking over with video at their heart. So resellers have to adapt to maintain their revenue streams and that’s where we come in with our knowledge and expertise. “Some resellers have to learn quickly, or they are out of the game. This is where we can help a lot who have come from the traditional ‘voice’ space. Live demos, meeting room design overviews and how to embrace the latest trends, for example. “Our vision is based on creating better meetings. Simply. We offer future proof solutions with solid components and technology to stand the test of time. We cover all user and room size environments.” Fredrik adds that Boom also want to show personality, fun and passion. “We are young with lots of ambition to grow,” he says. “Joining forces with a huge industry powerhouse like Westcoast will add further fuel to the fire and enable us to penetrate deep into the UK and wider international markets. This is a major step forward in our growth strategy and will ensure Boom begins to boom even more.”
Holli Hulett Co-founder
Fredril Hörnkvist Co-founder
The challenges of a multi-cloud strategy for SMEs
Cloud technology has become core to many businesses, with many utilising multi-cloud approaches. However, this can pose challenges for SMEs – and providers can help to overcome them, as Tom Henson, managing director at Emerge Digital, explains.
In recent years, cloud technology has revolutionised the business space. Today, it's estimated that a staggering 94% of UK businesses, from SMEs to vast enterprise- level organisations, have embraced cloud technology in one form or another. The sector, now valued at more than £15 billion, has become the backbone of modern business infrastructure. But with this surge in cloud adoption comes a complex dilemma: the multi-cloud strategy. Is it the panacea for all SME digital needs, or does it present a labyrinth of challenges?
The rise of multi-cloud strategies Multi-cloud strategies are no longer a fringe concept, they have become a central part of how businesses operate in the digital space. Recent research, including a poll conducted by Public First, indicates that 71% of UK businesses are now deploying a multi-cloud approach. Moreover, 56% are considering adding another cloud service provider (CSP) to their tech stack soon. But what is driving this shift towards a multi-cloud environment? The answer lies in the range of needs, as well as future ambitions of SMEs. Each
Tom Henson managing director
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business has unique requirements and goals, leading them to seek out specific solutions that best align with their strategy. This has created a landscape where a one-size-fits- all solution is no longer viable. Instead, a bespoke combination of cloud services, ranging from Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platforms-as-a-Service to Software-as-a- Service, is being increasingly favoured. This trend towards multi-cloud usage is not just about diversification for its own sake. It reflects a deeper understanding within the SME sector that different CSPs can offer varied advantages, whether in terms of cost efficiency, scalability, security or specialised services. As a result, SMEs are more empowered than ever to tailor their cloud infrastructure to their precise needs, driving efficiency and innovation. Challenges in integrating multiple CSPs As we venture deeper into the multi- cloud landscape, it’s crucial to address the challenges SMEs face when integrating various CSPs. One of the most significant issues arises when providers aren't open or don't utilise APIs that facilitate communication with other platforms. This can lead to an inability to exchange or extract data, crucial for generating comprehensive reports. SMEs often find themselves unexpectedly ensnared in financial commitments, whether through hidden costs to access certain platform features, or charges incurred when migrating away from a service. Another challenge is the proliferation of interfaces and platforms that staff must familiarise themselves with. This not only poses a steep learning curve but also increases the risk of inefficiencies and errors. Additionally, ensuring compliance becomes more complex with each new platform, demanding rigorous oversight and integration into the broader security framework. Solutions to these challenges q Vet for openness and interoperability – Prioritise CSPs that demonstrate a commitment to openness and have a track record of interoperability with other services. This can be ascertained through detailed discussions with potential providers and by seeking references from other clients. w Cost transparency – Engage in transparent conversations with CSPs about all potential costs, including those associated with
migration and access to essential features. This ensures that financial commitments are clear from the outset. e Unified management tools – Utilise cloud management tools that can consolidate control over multiple platforms into a single interface. This can significantly reduce the learning curve and improve efficiency. r Compliance as a priority – Work closely with CSPs to understand how their platforms can be integrated into your existing compliance framework. This might involve seeking providers that offer customisable security features that align with ISO 27001 standards, for example. Key considerations for choosing CSPs When selecting CSPs, there are several factors that SMEs must consider to ensure they align with their specific needs and objectives, including: q Data access and ownership – Understanding the nuances of data access and ownership is paramount. It’s essential to confirm whether your data is indeed yours, or if it becomes the property of the CSP. This affects not only how the data is used but also the ability to move or manipulate it in the future. w Quality of support – The standard of support offered by a CSP is a critical determinant. This encompasses not only the responsiveness and availability of support services but also their ability to understand and align with the business’ objectives. e Innovation and roadmap – Assessing a CSP’s commitment to innovation is key. Considerations should include their plans for implementing emerging technologies such as AI and automation, as well as the flexibility they offer in terms of customisation. This will ensure that the CSP can grow and adapt alongside your business. Strategies for overcoming technical hurdles Addressing the technical challenges of a multi-cloud strategy begins with a comprehensive procurement process. This step is crucial, as it enables SMEs to fully understand the technicalities and potential challenges of different platforms. The right procurement approach involves evaluating each potential service in terms of its open architecture, support capabilities, cybersecurity measures and compliance readiness. By doing so, SMEs can identify the
Another challenge is the proliferation of interfaces and platforms that staff must familiarise themselves with. This not only poses a steep learning curve but also increases the risk of inefficiencies and errors.
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