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Constant flux Developments in technologies such as cloud and communications means that the channel is experiencing rapid change at the moment – and this is set to accelerate in the coming years, so resellers need to get on board with it now if they are to prosper.
be a key market for this. Driven by hybrid working and demand for seamless and unified communication facilities, the sector is growing quickly, and there is plenty of innovation in terms of the technology used. With such prospects, UCaaS is something that resellers must look to get involved in, as part of their ‘as a service’ offering and as a contributor to their bottom line. Read more on p31.
It was Greek philosopher Heraclitus who uttered the phrase ‘Change is the only constant in life’ and it is as true now as it was then, although changes come quicker in some aspects of life than others. In the channel, change is rapid currently, with the development of such things
as cloud technology and many other products and services that use it a major driver. Resellers are now looking at selling products that they wouldn’t have dreamed of five years ago as new technology becomes available – and affordable – and customer demands adapt to new ways of working. This means businesses in the channel need to adapt too and
The market for off-site data centres is also anticipated to grow strongly in the coming years as more customers seek to move from an on-premise solution to a third party provider. There are many advantages to this, from cutting costs to flexible scaling options and improved security. But it isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and resellers have an important role to play. Read more on p26.
embrace the opportunities that these new technologies bring. For instance, cloud
storage solutions are being looked at as an option by businesses of all sizes. Costs have reduced in recent years and customers enjoy that they can easily access business data that is stored in the cloud, increasing productivity for the business. The flexibility it brings is also valued. With more businesses digitalising, demand should only increase in the coming years. Read more on p18. Another aspect of the channel that is developing at pace is unified communications as a service (UCaaS). Globally the market is predicted to grow by 400% in the coming years, and the UK will
With data, cloud and communications technologies still evolving, and the impact of things like artificial intelligence only just beginning to be felt in the channel, it is reasonable to assume that the pace of change will only accelerate in the next five years. Those that want to prosper will have to ensure they are in the vanguard, otherwise they will be left behind. As ever, I hope you enjoy the issue. If you have topics that you want us to cover in future issues, or you want to get involved in editorial or advertising, please drop me a line at email@example.com
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News You should know p6 ERP Implementation The way forward p12 AWS London Partner Summit Staying at the top p14 Sustainability Channel partners are key p16 Cloud Storage
UCaaS – p31
ERP Implementation – p12
Unified communications as a service is rapidly gaining in popularity in the UK, boosted by hybrid working and the desire of customers to have the same communication and collaborative facilities wherever they are.
With the maintenance deadline for SAP ECC 6 on the horizon, companies are looking to migrate, but which is the right way forward? Don Valentine, commercial director at Absoft, explains more.
What should resellers be emphasising p18
People Moves Who to where p22 Off-site data Centres Consider making the move p26 UCaaS Gaining popularity p31 PSTN Switch Off Are businesses ready? p38 Profile: Netwrix Ken Tripp reflects p42 Opinion Making the switch p44 SD WAN Making the most of cloud p46 The Stockies View the 2023 nominations p48
Off-Site data centres – p26
Moving IT infrastructure to an off-site data centre, rather than on premises can still bring financial benefits to businesses businesses, but there are many other reasons to consider making the move.
AWS London Partner Summit – p14
Sustainability – p16
ESG is becoming more important for business leaders, and this is extending to the channel – and businesses should act now to ensure it can contribute to the bottom line.
AWS shared how partners are at the centre of its growth at the recent London Partner Summit.
Cloud Storage – p18
Speciality Peripherals & Accessories Storage & Security AV Print & Scan Printer Consumables UC&C Networking & Hardware
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With businesses producing and consuming more data than ever, cloud storage solutions are increasingly being looked at as an option by businesses of all sizes. What should resellers be emphasising to their customers?
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Cover Story: Exclusive Networks – p24
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PSTN Switch Off – p38
The PSTN is being switched off in 2025, but many businesses are not yet ready for this and resellers have a crucial role in ensuring that they are prepared before the switch-off, as M247’s Liz Hawke explains
Profile: Netwrix – p42
Published by: In the Channel Media Ltd Company registration number: 14363401 Registered office address 14-18 Heddon Street,
Netwrix’s MSP programme has enjoyed strong growth around the world in recent years as the company has been on top of the changes that the sector has seen. Ken Tripp has seen all of these and more – and is still focused on the future.
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Pax8 teams up with Redstor to deliver smarter backup for MSPs
Cloud commerce marketplace Pax8 has teamed up with Redstor, a cloud backup and recovery specialist, which will enhance managed service providers’ (MSPs) backup offerings. Redstor’s AI-powered cloud backup solution guarantees MSPs’ instant recovery of files across cloud infrastructure, SaaS business apps like M365, Google Workspace, Salesforce and Quickbooks, as well as on- premise data, while eliminating the need for hardware and mitigating against cyber risks. Redstor helps MSPs fuel growth, improve operational efficiency and reduce risk through its software that is built for the cloud and engineered to scale rapidly with product-led growth at its core. “Data loss can be catastrophic for any business,” said Ryan Burton, vice president of product strategy at Pax8. “We are excited to partner with Redstor to arm our partners with an incredibly robust backup solution to safeguard their customers’ most valuable asset – their data.” Redstor, with offices in the US, UK and South Africa, is consistently ranked on G2.com as a leader across 16 categories including online backup and DRaaS. “We’re seeing unprecedented demand
for our software, especially around the protection of M365, Google Workspace, QuickBooks Online and Azure VM environments. Recognising the need for superior solutions, we built better, refusing to settle for mediocrity,” said James Griffin, CEO, Redstor. “We are relentless in our belief that everything can always be improved. The Pax8 partnership further expands our ability to bring a smarter backup product to the thousands of global MSPs who need and deserve a better solution to the protection of modern workloads.” Redstor empowers Pax8 partners to: l Fuel growth: Tap into new revenue streams by protecting critical applications and workloads such as Azure VMs, Salesforce, QuickBooks and Xero, all with 30-day free end user trials l Optimise efficiency: Manage all customers and the protection of their data from a single app, instantly recover customer data from the cloud and benefit from seamless billing integration with Pax8 l Reduce risk: Leverage AI-powered malware detection and data tagging and classification to enable safe recovery from cyber-attacks and help identify sensitive and business critical data.
Ryan Burton vice president, product strategy
Vertiv enhances its three-phase UPS channel offering in EMEA
Critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions provider Vertiv has announced key enhancements to its dedicated offering for channel distributors and resellers. With these enhancements, Vertiv’s market- leading three-phase uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) from 10 to 60kVA, including the Vertiv™ Liebert® ITA2 and its complementary services, are now available in the Vertiv Solution Designer tool and shipping from stock in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). According to Omdia’s UPS Hardware Market Tracker and Analysis 2022, there’s an increased demand for three-phase UPS in EMEA from markets outside of cloud, colocation and telco. These include retail, wholesale, healthcare, manufacturing and other industries. By 2026, the three-phase UPS market in EMEA is expected to grow from $1.66 billion in 2021 to $2.07 billion, a CAGR of 5.84%. “Digitalisation is being leveraged by
companies of all sizes and industries, which leads to an increased need for efficient solutions to protect small and medium sites against power outages,” said Karsten Winther, EMEA president at Vertiv. “The strategic addition of three-phase UPS to our IT channel portfolio allows partners to serve a broader market with industry-leading solutions, enabling businesses to leverage the latest technologies and accelerate their digital transformation journey.” The Vertiv Liebert ITA2 features online double conversion technology, a unity power factor and an extremely compact rack/ tower design. Compared to single-phase systems, three-phase UPS allow higher power capacity and up to 99% efficiency in ECO mode. With the offering, expert support on product selection, set-up and performance optimisation throughout three-phase systems’ entire lifecycle is now available also through the channel market. Vertiv’s three-phase UPS
Karsten Winther EMEA president
Vertiv™ Liebert ® ITA2 UPS 5-30 kVA
Compact, Efficient, & Robust UPS for Critical Applications
offering is enhanced with customised on-site and contract services specifically designed for the channel, while also leveraging the company’s top-tier service network. Having a large portfolio of UPS solutions dedicated to the channel market means that partners have access to a wide range of power protection options, including medium power solutions that allow businesses to expand their digital footprint while still working with their trusted channel partner. Vertiv provides a comprehensive range of specialised services designed to complement channel partners’ business models. The extensive service expertise offers a smooth experience for all parties, providing seamless support across Vertiv’s entire service offering, including on-site services, lifecycle services and digital services such as remote diagnostics and incident management.
Moreover, partners can leverage Vertiv software solutions to empower asset management capabilities and offer the best experience to their end users. In addition to UPS systems, Vertiv’s broader critical infrastructure portfolio is designed to operate more efficiently, increase capacity and potentially lower TCO while integrating seamlessly with the customer’s existing infrastructure, enabling partners to expand revenue streams and increase margins. With manufacturing facilities across Europe and the world, Vertiv solutions can be made available when and where they are needed. Partners can also access dedicated configuration tools linked with an ecosystem of technical and commercial support teams. Vertiv’s Partner Program features benefits and incentives to equip, develop and reward partner engagement.
Vertiv Liebert ITA2
SYNAXON project support enables UK partners to accelerate growth
SYNAXON has launched its Project Support service in the UK, providing partners with a convenient and easy way to deliver complex infrastructure solutions without having to make additional investments in highly skilled technical personnel. As infrastructure projects for servers, networks and storage become increasingly complex, it is more challenging than ever for resellers to keep up and provide the high- level consultancy and support required to successfully deliver such projects for their customers. By making use of SYNAXON Project Support, they can access the expertise they need to deliver quality service and ensure they do not miss out on business opportunities. The service provides partners with direct access to SYNAXON’s qualified solution architects, who work with them to design and deliver the entire project, from the initial briefing and conception through to configuration, followed by final delivery and support. In addition, SYNAXON helps partners increase their competitiveness by negotiating the best hardware prices on their behalf and providing extended warranty on accredited products delivered as part of the solution. Throughout the entire process, the partner remains the first point of contact with the end customer. “Today’s complex hybrid infrastructures and distributed networks make it really difficult
for partners to keep up with the pace of development and change, and maintain key vendor certifications,” said Miguel Rodriguez, managing director, SYNAXON Hub. “That makes it harder for them to compete and win project business. “SYNAXON Project Support solves that problem. It gives them access to certified skills and competitive pricing on the infrastructure products they need. That means they can not only compete for and win new business, but also deliver great results for their customers. Ultimately, that will enable them to take more opportunities – with existing and new customers – and continue to grow. And they can do that without investing in recruiting and retaining additional technical staff.” Initially, SYNAXON Project Support is available to UK partners on Lenovo servers and storage. Accredited support on other leading vendors will be made available later this year.
Miguel Rodriguez managing director
Arrow Electronics signs UK agreement with The Business Software Centre for Microsoft 365 optimisation
IT costs whilst finding the best subscriptions for their users,” explained Phil Hames, director, TBSC. “Smarter SaaS helps Arrow’s channel partners grow their cloud business by securing new customers and retaining current customers through add-ons or a managed service for Microsoft 365 guidance. Across large organisations these inefficiencies can add up to large costs to the organisation which can be eliminated or used more efficiently, helping them to grow cost-effectively.” Nick Bannister, vice president sales of Arrow`s enterprise computing solutions business in UK and Ireland, added: “The ability to offer accurate and actionable data for large organisations means they can optimise their subscriptions and make savings and efficiencies when they’re needed the most. We’re very pleased to be able to offer Arrow channel partners the opportunity to put this functionality to use with their customers around the UK.” TBSC applications are certified by Microsoft and available on ArrowSphere now.
Global technology provider Arrow Electronics has signed a UK distribution agreement with The Business Software Centre (TBSC) to deliver its Smarter SaaS for Microsoft 365 application via the ArrowSphere platform. Smarter SaaS for M365 makes optimising use of Microsoft licenses more efficient for large organisations with many users. The pay-as-you-go solution is an automated, cloud-based, software asset management solution that enables businesses to recognise and manage key factors for optimisation. These include lapsed users, non-allocated applications, poor staff training on M365 applications, compliance, or users on the wrong M365 subscription. Data is provided on a single dashboard and the product automatically recommends how to reduce IT costs while finding the best Microsoft 365 subscriptions for every user. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer our Smarter SaaS solution to Arrow’s channel partners around the UK, helping them to reduce their
Nick Bannister vice president sales
Simplified partner service offers resellers new window into the world of Evolve IP
Global collaboration provider Evolve IP has launched a new ‘window into its world’ of integrated cloud-based communications, to make life simpler for its reselling partners. The creation of a single ‘Anywhere Portal’ is designed to provide a streamlined and more efficient route into Evolve IP’s service stack for provisioning and administration. Evolve IP works with many of the world’s biggest tech companies to create robust and reliable solutions for a growing reselling partner base. It specialises in securely integrating unified communications, collaboration tools, contact centre, voice and omnichannel solutions into the cloud. The Anywhere Portal aims to deliver enhanced levels of service and support. It is based on a new user interface that is fast and clean as well as mobile and desktop compatible. Senior solutions consultant, Adrian Penny, says the new portal provides resellers with the ability to provision, manage and support
their customers all from a single convenient resource. “Anywhere Portal is a single space that houses all the solutions our customers have with Evolve IP,” he said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for them to manage their customers and services. The Anywhere Portal gives them the ability to build and configure all Cisco BroadWorks services via our core telephony platform, allowing them to add customers to detailed configurations easily.” Benefits include full Webex integration, customer password resets, multi-factor authentication and bulk upload capabilities. In addition, comprehensive reporting and business analytics is combined with one click functionality to build multiple devices, meaning no more custom credentials. “Our previous provisioning portal was much more limited,” added Adrian. “We’ve added lots more features and functionality based on a sophisticated engine, which can automate a lot of the core processes which were
Adrian Penny senior solutions consultant
previously manual. It reflects our three core pillars of efficiency, automation and simplicity. “Evolve IP is designed to advance today’s hybrid workplace and the Anywhere Portal represents another powerful step forward to help partners deliver faster, easier and quicker responses to their customers. It’s a win-win for all parties.” The launch of Anywhere Portal has been hailed as a ‘game changer’ by Nikki Hough, UC deployment manager at Babble. “We can build and deploy a significant number of users
easily and efficiently. This complements the industry-leading solutions that Evolve IP can provide the team and makes the Evolve IP offer more compelling,” he said. “Anywhere Portal also provides us with an extra level of security with two-factor authentication, which is a priority for any business’s service that they provide. This solution was the missing piece in Evolve IP’s offering and so it’s great to see it in place. We’re excited to explore what we can achieve with the Anywhere Portal in the future.”
Tukans appointed UK distributor for Blaze Audio
Danish amplifier manufacturer Blaze Audio has partnered with York-based Tukans to distribute its range of commercial audio products in the UK. Blaze only launched in 2021, but as a subsidiary of Pascal A/S, an OEM manufacturer of amplifier electronics for the pro audio industry, their technologies are already well proven in applications ranging from large-scale sound touring line arrays to studio monitors. The Blaze product range currently consists of two series; PowerZone™ which includes two and four channel ultra- compact power amps capable of driving low impedance and 100V circuits and PowerZone™ Connect, a series of fully matrixed DSP amplifiers. “Blaze is already a technology leader in professional audio,” said Michael Dagnall,
sales manager at Tukans. “The PowerZone Connect amplifiers are packed with features but have been designed to be really easy to configure via their built-in web interface accessible through any smart device with Wi-Fi. Our customers appreciate their lives being made easier and this makes Blaze the cornerstone of our audio offering.” René Bahn, sales manager, Northern Europe at Blaze Audio, added: “As a growing entrepreneurial company, we need to work with distribution partners who share a similar philosophy. Tukans has a great track record of bringing innovative brands to market in the UK and we look forward to working with them and their integration partners to deliver some great projects.” The range of Blaze Audio products are now available from the Tukans’ distribution centre in East Kilbride.
Michael Dagnall (l) sales manager René Bahn (r) sales manager, Northern Europe
Salt Security attains AWS security competency status
API security company Salt Security has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Security Competency status in the Application Security category. Salt is the only API security company to have earned AWS Security Competency. Having this certification differentiates Salt as an AWS Partner Network (APN) member that provides specialised software to assess code, logic and applications to detect vulnerabilities and threats. To receive the designation, APN Partners must possess deep AWS expertise and deliver solutions seamlessly on AWS. Salt Security offers the only patented cloud- scale API data lake with time-tested artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable organisations to quickly detect and defend against today’s increasing API attacks. Salt
delivers the deepest insights into API threats and vulnerabilities, including those outlined in the OWASP API Security Top 10 list. “Achieving AWS Security Competency status deepens our AWS integration and reinforces our ongoing commitment to empower customers to secure their APIs in AWS,” said Gilad Barzilay, head of business development, Salt Security. “With AWS Security Competency, Salt provides businesses with continuous API discovery and adaptive intelligence to easily detect and block API security threats in AWS and ensure the safety of their and their customers’ critical data.” In addition to participating in AWS Partner Programs, Salt Security has obtained multiple AWS certifications, most recently being announced as an AWS WAF Ready Partner.
Gilad Barzilay head of business development
Exertis teams with Poly to launch ‘Exertis Voice’ platform
Exertis has launched ‘Exertis Voice’ its new Unified Communications platform, which was unveiled at a launch event on June 22 at the Gherkin in London. Hosted by Exertis Voice and Poly, this event saw speakers presenting on how, together, the two companies can prepare delegates for the telecoms industry’s shift to digital following the PSTN and ISDN switch off in 2025. Presenters included Rik Hubbard (cloud services director, Exertis Cloud), Steve Jobburns (UC&C manager, Exertis Voice), Nick Birtwistle (CEO, Boom), and Geoff Towns (head of enterprise services, Exertis). During these talks, resellers received demos of Exertis Voice and Poly devices and learnt how to find opportunities for them in the market. Currently, 42% of SMEs are still using analogue PSTN and ISDN lines to support their digital solutions. But in 2025, these will be switched off in favour of digital and cloud-based solutions. In today’s ‘working from anywhere’ environment, Exertis Voice solutions and Poly hardware offer multiple benefits and can make the transition from analogue to digital seamless for customers, while helping them differentiate themselves as a trusted partner during this time of change.
Exertis Voice offers a converged, feature- rich product that’s easy to use, scalable between one and thousands of users, and backed up by Exertis-managed services, including a dedicated 24/7 support team. It brings together unified comms, Software as a Service and deep analytics to power businesses of any size, and features mobile PBX, MS Teams integration, advanced analytics, call recordings with sentiment analysis and transcriptions, call centre features, video conferencing and more. “2.5 million businesses are still using traditional phone lines, and there’s a huge opportunity for resellers to align themselves with a solution that can help them not only navigate this new approach, but to benefit from it,” said Steve Jobburns. “Exertis Voice and Poly provide telecoms solutions that enable resellers to help customers succeed in a hybrid work environment, completely stress-free. Exertis Voice offers competitive packages that are unlike anything else on the market, with a fully converged solution. The flexible and programmable features that Exertis Voice can provide enables the ideal solution for customers of any size to make their telephony cloud-based. There’s never been a more important time to act.”
Steve Jobburns UC&C manager
IT resellers gear up for AI revolution
There is growing interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a potential revenue stream for IT channel decision makers, a report has found. Sage’s report – Partnering for Success: State of the IT Channel Ecosystem – surveyed 1,700 IT and tech resellers globally and found that AI is among the most in-demand service for respondents. Of those surveyed in the UK, 42% said that AI and automated services is a revenue stream of most interest to customers today – and they anticipate this will remain the case in 18 months’ time. In addition, 29% of UK IT and tech resellers cited AI and automated services as being vital for their own organisation’s growth. As a result, respondents are investing in adding more skills to their workforce, with 49% of UK respondents recruiting employees with skill sets in AI and machine learning. Cybersecurity solutions are also top of the agenda for channel partners. Cybersecurity was listed as vital for their organisation’s
growth and customer pipeline by 30% of UK respondents, followed by data privacy (29%). Hiring plans are being updated to reflect this, with 49% looking to recruit cyber security skills and expertise. Despite these ambitions, current economic conditions are a concern for UK IT vendors, as 49% listed rising inflation, cost of living and the impact of customers’ businesses as the main issue facing their business, followed by the longer-term impact of societal issues (48%), compared to 46% globally. “The research emphasises the need for companies to anticipate customer demands and make purposeful investments that will propel growth and maintain a competitive edge,” said Eduardo Rosini, EVP partners and alliances at Sage. “Central to this transformative journey is the power of AI, particularly generative AI, as a critical accelerator. This wave of AI still requires judgement, experience and guidance, so humans plus technology working together is where we will get great outcomes.”
Eduardo Rosini EVP partners and alliances
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A new journey to the cloud With the maintenance deadline for SAP ECC 6 on the horizon, companies are looking to migrate, but which is the right way forward? Don Valentine, commercial director at Absoft, explains more.
ERP implementation has changed. And for those companies facing the 2027 maintenance deadline for SAP ECC 6, that is good news. In today’s cloud-first, ‘adopt not adapt’ model, there are no more white boards. No more consultants offering to customise software to meet any business need. And no more long-drawn implementations followed by expensive and disruptive upgrades and a complete loss of commitment to using technology to accelerate change. Instead, SAP is leading a push to ‘protect the core’, advising companies to avoid customisation, use Best Practice Scenarios to define processes and embrace the six- monthly product enhancements. But this is a significant cultural change for everyone involved; companies need to look hard at their SAP consultants, ensure they are on board with standardised implementations and have the skills to support a different approach to innovation and competitive differentiation. Ready to move Companies are gearing up for the move to SAP S/4HANA, with research from the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG), revealing that 70% of companies planning to move to S/4HANA will do so in the next 36 months. While the 2027 maintenance deadline for SAP ECC 6 is, of course, a key driver in migration plans, new functionality (49%) and wider business transformation (47%) were also cited as key considerations.
But while companies are getting ready to migrate, how many are comfortable about the right way forward? SAP’s cloud-first model has fundamentally changed the approach to software implementation. Wherever possible, SAP is advocating a ‘no customisation’ strategy, pushing an ‘adopt not adapt’ model. With this approach, companies can not only fast track implementation but also avoid the costs and complexities associated with upgrading customised solutions. And yet, the UKISUG survey revealed that 72% of organisations say existing customisations present a challenge when moving to SAP S/4HANA. This is down on last year’s results (92%) and 24% of organisations plan to remove customisations entirely – replacing them with standard functionality – compared to 12% in 2021. While this suggests the standard model is gaining traction, more clearly must be done to provide SAP ECC users with understanding of what a move to S/4HANA in the cloud offers and entails. Three options S4/HANA is only available to companies in the cloud – but that doesn’t mean there is no choice. Businesses have a range of options to explore. The first option is Software as a Service (SaaS) S/4 HANA, where companies use the standard product in a public cloud. There is no need to think about customisation or choice of hosting location and product enhancements are automatically available with every new release, providing a route to continuous improvement. The second is the Private Cloud Edition (RISE) of S/4HANA, where companies can choose a hyperscale – Google, AWS or Azure – to provide the hosting service. This approach can appeal to companies with concerns about the security of a multi- tenanted cloud model – as well as those wanting to control when upgrades and enhancements are deployed. A third option is to replicate an on-premise
Don Valentine commercial director
Wherever possible, SAP is advocating a ‘no customisation’ strategy, pushing “
an ‘adopt not adapt’ model.
model, but in the cloud: essentially a business opts to maintain its own SAP system, with complete customisation flexibility. Business differentiation Both the public and private cloud editions of S4/HANA are appealing to the growing numbers of companies that are questioning the level of customisation in existing ERP deployments. Why incur the cost and complexity of customisation, especially when the core functionality meets a business’ needs? Avoiding the upheaval and investment associated with creating, maintaining and upgrading customisations completely changes the total cost of ownership associated with an ERP investment. With SAP’s Best Practice Explorer, companies can quickly gain access to a range of best practice scenarios across several areas, such as purchasing or procurement. It is the way the business uses the ERP and the information that enables business differentiation, rather than specific customisations. Of course, not every company will find all the features it needs in any ERP. For those companies with specific requirements – such as field services support – the private cloud approach with RISE provides customisation options. But even here, the advice is clear: avoid customising the core, and instead use SAP’s Business Technology Platform to support the creation of specific apps that can be integrated with S4/HANA. With this approach, companies can successfully add functionality without adding the cost and complexity of testing every single change in the core product. New consultancy attitude A cloud-first ‘adopt not adapt’ model is very different. But it provides a fast-track route to innovation. There are no long drawn-out implementations; no hugely expensive and disruptive upgrades. Indeed, with smooth, faster deployment, companies should never experience that ‘post ERP’ hiatus, when planned investments and changes are not achieved because the business needs to recover from months of upheaval. Consultants will, therefore, play a different role in the implementation – and that is key. How many SAP partners are actively changing their consultancy skills and mindset to support the cloud-first, standardised approach? From Fit to Standard workshops that
demonstrate the power of the core product to ensuring the business remains on standard implementations, a good consultant can shorten implementations and reduce costs. Plus, of course, by streamlining the approach, a consultant can help the business to create a commitment to continuous improvement, leveraging tools such as BTP to create business differentiating apps and explore other cloud solutions such as analytics that can add value.
Best Practice Explorer, companies can quickly gain access to a range of best practice scenarios across several areas, such as purchasing or procurement.
Conclusion Growing numbers of businesses are
embracing this cloud-first ‘adopt not adapt’ approach. Very few are opting to convert their existing ECC systems, with their existing customisations and data, into S4/HANA. Instead, they are embracing the chance to simplify, to move away from complex and unnecessary customisations and achieve a streamlined, effective and manageable ERP deployment. They are embracing a standard model, in the cloud, to create the foundation for seamless, incremental change that should give a business confidence to innovate and achieve continuous improvement. Through partnering with the right SAP consultancy, they can ensure that they choose the most appropriate model with the best migration path to achieve the optimal results as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
AWS LONDON PARTNER SUMMIT
At the heart of the cloud AWS shared how partners are at the centre of its growth at the recent London Partner Summit.
Getting to the top is difficult, and staying there is even harder. That’s the old saying that dominates any competitive field and can especially be applied to the hyper scaler market, as tech giants fight over market share. As of April this year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) were the number one hyper scaler in the world, with a market share of 33%. Whereas key competition from Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud could only capture 21% and 11% of the market respectively. It’s no wonder why they are steaming ahead. In the first quarter of this year, Amazon’s cloud unit grew revenue by 16% to $21.35 billion, representing almost 17% of Amazon’s overall revenue. It is no surprise then that at the AWS Partner Summit in Westminster’s Central Hall, Chris Sulivan, AWS director Worldwide System Integrators, expressed his gratification for AWS partners and resellers. “For me and others at AWS, we see partnerships as the ultimate marker for customer success,” said Chris. “It is through this synergy that we empower our customers to leverage the best cloud innovation. This technology in the hands of our partners is transformed into something even more profound for our customers.” Customer journey Chris said that the partners guiding customers through the adoption of AWS services was a huge part of their success, alongside the research and development opportunities that customer feedback can kick up. “We commissioned a study to understand how the AWS opportunity translates to our partners,” he said. “What we discovered is that for every dollar of AWS services our partners sell, they can capture up to $6.40 of additional revenue for
services and support that they provide. “We also found that 61% of that opportunity was realised in the first year and that 81% of the partners that responded to our survey told us that our customers are consuming more cloud services at the end of the first 12-month period than when they started. “These findings have become the foundation for the programmes and strategies that we continue to offer, in order to offer opportunities for our AWS service partners, and we’re extremely excited about our progress on this path.” Migrating As you might expect, migration to AWS was a hot topic throughout the Partner Summit, as businesses begin to improve their understanding of the cloud and the efficiencies that it can drive. According to Pragnesh Shah, partner solutions architect EMEA Migrations & Modernisation, AWS, there is a huge opportunity for resellers to work with hyper scalers, to quench the thirst for cloud technologies among enterprises. Pragnesh added that businesses are waking up to the efficiencies the cloud can afford them in combating macroeconomic trends, and the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning trends have also not gone unnoticed. AWS has launched an automated migration tool that helps businesses move to a secure and scalable cloud platform. As Lucky Sharma, senior partner solutions architect UK&I, AWS explained, the platform uses AI to analyse application dependencies, before developing applications for migration, modernisation and ongoing maintenance, creating runtime environments and deploying and managing the applications in resilient and elastic environments. “AWS MainFrame Moderation is a unique
Chris Sulivan AWS director Worldwide System Integrators
What we discovered is that for every dollar of AWS services our partners sell, they can capture “ up to $6.40 of additional revenue for services and support that they provide.
AWS LONDON PARTNER SUMMIT
“Resellers need to have the right skill set in their workforce, they also need to collaborate across the team and have a synergy between them, then you will be able to take advantage of the knowledge they produce, which is not locked into one particular team member. “The second important aspect is process. Resellers need to have a comprehensive process to make a successful migration for their customer. “And the last one is technology; we really have to pick the right tooling. It’s good to have cloud-native tools, or maybe work with a third- party partner to set up as well, depending on your workloads, depending on the type of business outcomes that your customers are looking for.” Splitting strategies Speaking to resellers, Lucky finished his presentation by talking through two overarching strategies that AWS themselves recommend, depending on the type of customer resellers do business with. Through AWS, resellers can take advantage of a range of tools whether they are dealing with a handful of larger companies, or base their business around many smaller
Pragnesh Shah partner solutions architect EMEA Migrations & Modernisation
platform, which helps our customers to analyse, map all of the dependencies, do the transformation, rebuild the code and then, finally, augment the application on a managed runtime on AWS itself,” said Lucky. “This service supports a variety of migration and monitoring patterns, such as automated refactoring, that really helps businesses to modernise their legacy application directly into a popular modern application using the proper frameworks and libraries. “It also supports the patterns like re- platforming where you can simply re-platform your mainstream applications directly from your on-prem solutions over the managed run time on AWS. “This also supports businesses’ data transformation, helping to modernise various kinds of databases, and can also take care of file transfers directly from mainframe applications over to AWS.” Modernisation challenge Although there is clearly an appetite from businesses to migrate to cloud technologies and deepen their relationships with hyper scalers like AWS, getting customers onto the cloud can be a different challenge altogether. Lucky said that there are two common migration patterns that AWS is seeing. Either customers are making a ‘big jump’ to the cloud, which would mean resellers need to re-evaluate their business applications, or re- platform these applications to take everything over the cloud. Lucky added that the complexity of cloud migration can be reduced if resellers think about the job in three important aspects. “Even a smaller migration project is a big complex task,” said Lucky. “During these tasks, we have three aspects that we have to deal with: people, process and technology.
The complexity of cloud migration can be reduced if resellers think about the job in three important aspects. “ ”
companies, from sales to migration. “If you’re dealing with a large-scale
migration, you’ll know the customer and what specific problem they are trying to solve,” he said. “As a result, resellers can leverage programmes like AWS Gap, and run a Migration Readiness Assessment. “We highly recommend partners develop one standardised repeatable solution, which can help sales teams and customers understand the migration better. Finally, partners can rely on map guidance platforms like AWS Perspective Guidance, which tends to have 1,000s of migration partners today. “For partners who work with many small customers, we recommend thinking about some centralised solution as well as programmes like Workload Migration Program, which really helps partners build a business strategy around looking at multiple customer data. “With AWS, partners can learn how to continue to run successful cloud migrations with various AWS gateway programmes, to learn about innovation and funding, as well as AWS Migration Factory, which is a perfect solution for large-scale migration, where partners can automate most of the tasks, activities of the live migrations.”
Lucky Sharma senior partner solutions architect UK&I,
Driving sustainable action ESG is becoming more important for business leaders, and this is extending to the channel – and businesses should act now to ensure it can contribute to the bottom line.
Business leaders are increasingly aware of the need to reduce the environmental impact of their operating model. This extends to their supply chains and channel partner ecosystem, which is now expected to deliver IT solutions that help them reduce their energy consumption and lower carbon emissions. These considerations go as far as determining with whom companies choose to partner. By 2026, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance will be viewed as a top three decision factor for IT equipment purchases, according to IDC’s 2023 sustainability and ESG predictions. Partners that are unable to demonstrate their own environmental impact with clear and measurable metrics, for instance, run the risk of being left behind. Here are five more reasons why it is important for the channel to embed sustainability in their business strategy. q Greater consultancy Developing and implementing an ESG strategy is not only good for the planet; it’s good for business too. A comprehensive sustainability plan creates a way for channel partners to take on more of an advisory role with their customers, helping to ensure customers understand the environmental impact of the technology they adopt and associated services they use. This enables them to make decisions that help them achieve their sustainability ambitions and demonstrate good environmental practices across their supply chain.
and expertise to help them move closer to achieving their sustainability goals.
e Competitive edge Prioritising sustainability in their channel operations will help customers stand out from their competitors, including enhancing their brand reputation. It will also help customers generate greater demand for their offering and create new business opportunities.
r Role of data One of the greatest IT challenges for
organisations aiming to embed sustainability into their operations is a lack of quality data. The ability to receive tangible environmental data from suppliers about their technology products and services will help channel partners clearly communicate to their customers the environmental benefits of the IT solutions they are recommending. Easily understandable and measurable data will also enable the channel to support their customers in their ESG journeys and ensure their sustainable strategy aligns with customer expectations. t Adding value About 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste is produced every year worldwide, according to the UN. As the world seeks new ways to tackle e-waste, the circular economy plays an important role in extending the lifecycle of technology. This does not mean this incurs greater costs or comes at the expense of innovation, for example, through self-healing systems to minimise downtime and human intervention, and built-in drive encryption to securely erase data. Looking ahead Forward-looking channel partners should be putting sustainability at the heart of their offer. The focus of business leaders is shifting as they realise that companies that fail to act now to improve their ESG credentials may face significant financial and business impact in the future. By encouraging ESG to be central to purchasing decisions, the channel can make a difference to the planet and the bottom line.
Andrew Palmer UK channel lead for Enterprise Data & Cloud Solutions Group Seagate Technology
w Strength in numbers The significance of collective action in reducing the environmental impact of
businesses should not be underestimated. It is time for the channel, including distributors, wholesalers and retailers, to collaborate and promote ESG practices throughout the supply chain. This will support achieving their own sustainability goals and each other’s. It can also benefit customers, as having access to shared knowledge and resources can guide businesses to the right technology solutions
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Cloud is forecast With businesses producing and consuming more data than ever, cloud storage solutions are increasingly being looked at as an option by businesses of all sizes. But should businesses go for a full or hybrid cloud storage solution and what should resellers be emphasising to their customers?
Demand for cloud storage solutions has grown quickly in recent years, buoyed by the pandemic but pushed on as more businesses seek to use it as some of the traditional barriers to using it have come down. “It is safe to say that there has practically never been a better time to pivot to cloud storage,” says Will Ominsky, VP of MSP sales at Nerdio. “Businesses who are not currently using cloud storage should reconsider their approach for a variety of reasons. “First, costs have dropped considerably over the past few years. Previously, high costs were the number one blocker to businesses adopting the use of cloud-based storage solutions. Now, this is no longer the case as cloud has become far more affordable. “Second, cloud access is now much more native. End users can more easily access business data that is stored in the cloud, making satisfaction rates higher and increasing productivity for the business. “Third, providers are really listening to customer demands and making cloud solutions more flexible and prioritising security of access to corporate data. By way of an example, Microsoft includes a lot of cloud storage with the most common Windows 365 plans, making cloud storage very accessible for millions of businesses worldwide.”
Will Ominsky VP of MSP sales
CONTINUED applications being on the device 10 years ago to most users now renting Office 365 (Microsoft Azure-based applications) has removed the issue of device dependency for most.” Agility When talking to customers about cloud storage solutions, Paul is clear on what resellers should be emphasising. “Agility, agility and agility!” he says. “When you run out of space on physical devices you are staring down the barrel of upgrade costs and time to affect the fix. With “Every scenario should be weighed upon its own merits, there is no one right answer for all storage scenarios,” he says. “Most commonly a ‘hybrid’ approach is the most compelling. Keep using what you already own and rent what you need from cloud to accessorise it to fit your needs gives the best of both worlds! It allows scalability and flexibility. “Consider your future plans as your no.1 factor. If you are not sure of how much space you’ll need in three to five years, a more flexible (all cloud or hybrid) model would seem logical. If you want to buy up front what you ‘think’ you’ll need for the next five years, you’ll need a brilliant magic eight-ball to get close to ‘right’! “With so much data and many workloads being moved to the cloud, however, consider this: will your on-premise data storage needs shrink? Certainly, the move from office
Full or hybrid? Will adds that customers should be
encouraged to go for a full cloud storage service with things like device management included. “I believe that full cloud storage generally yields better results from an end user perspective and in terms of the corporate control experience,” he says. “With device management options included, users do not need to think about what type of data they are accessing and where it might reside. At the same time, IT administrators can more easily protect, monitor and control access and performance with all data sitting in the cloud.” However, arguments can be made for a hybrid approach, as Paul Baginski, Azure Sales Specialist and BDM at Exertis, explains.
Paul Baginski Azure Sales Specialist and BDM
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