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Can't flog software for love nor money? UK mega-reseller Softcat probably ate your lunch

Unstoppable reseller juggernaut Softcat has smashed through the £500m sales barrier in the most recent fiscal year ended July, meaning it has grown for the past 36 straight quarters. In the last four years alone, and in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the the 70s, turnover at the Marlow-based business jumped from …
Paul Kunert, 26 Nov 2014
cloud

Softcat raids Insight reserve, makes off with Baker's scalp

Former Insight EMEA director of product management James Baker is en route to Softcat as the man charged with firing up its cloudy biz. He resigned from Insight last month after being tapped up by his new employer, and is set to manage the "key" vendor portfolio as alliances director when his gardening leave expires in April. …
Paul Kunert, 10 Feb 2014

Softcat smashes through £400m sales barrier

Ever expanding channel biz Softcat has reported another year of double digit growth proving there is life in the classic reseller model. The Marlow based outfit had forecast reaching £365m - £1m for each day of the year - in fiscal '13 ended July, but smashed through that target, growing 30 per cent year-on-year to hit the £400m …
Paul Kunert, 01 Aug 2013
Softcat

Who said run rate reselling was 'boring'? Oh... Softcat did

Unstoppable reseller juggernaut Softcat claims its top and bottom lines swelled 40 per cent in its first half of fiscal 2013 under the leadership of MD Colin Brown who joined from Microsoft last year. Martin Hellawell, veteran of the fast growing Marlow-based biz moved upstairs to the chairman's office last autumn to replace …
Paul Kunert, 22 Feb 2013

McDonalds-card-toting Softcat boss: I couldn't tell you how a computer works

The much-lauded chairman of software reseller Softcat has carved out a high-flying career selling tech - but paradoxically Martin Hellawell can't explain how a computer computes nor the inner workings of a mainframe. Still wet behind the ears and straight out of uni in 1988, Hellawell made an inauspicious entry into the world of …
Paul Kunert, 09 Apr 2013
Houses of Parliament at night-time

Multi-billion pound UK.gov tech framework awarded to 33 suppliers

Crown Commercial Services has told 33 suppliers they have tentatively made it onto the pan-public sector Technology Products framework estimated to be worth between £4bn to £6bn over its tenure. Technology Products, initially labelled as IT Products and Services when programme specs were released in January, is a direct …
Paul Kunert, 02 Sep 2014

Fujitsu calls on channel man to run education biz

Fujitsu has tapped up channel veteran and former employee Ash Merchant to run its education biz in Blighty. Merchant was a group product manager at the firm for almost a year and a half from June 1990 and in the intervening years was a director at schools suppliers XMA, Quadrant Visual Solutions and European Electronique. This …
Paul Kunert, 30 May 2014
euros_channel_money

Microsoft: Yeah, about that 50% post-Christmas customer price hike...

Microsoft has cooked up a post-Christmas gift for service providers to prolong their festive cheer – price hikes of up to 50 per cent on volume licensing agreements. The move has been interpreted by channel partners and hosting firms alike as Microsoft upping the cost for on-premise wares to make its cloudy stuff look more …
Paul Kunert, 07 Oct 2014

Microsoft's 'loss leader' Office 365 pricing strategy? NO THANKS

Microsoft’s advice to its channel partners to sell Office 365 as a loss leader to lure in small and medium sized customers is not something that sits well with suppliers, at least not in Blighty. Thomas Hansen, worldwide veep for Microsoft's Small and Medium Business organisation told attendees at the Asian Canalys Channels …
Paul Kunert, 07 Nov 2014

Soz Europe: IBM to delay System X Lenovo switchover for a month

IBM says it has delayed the European switchover of the outgoing x86 business to Lenovo by one month in a bid to side-step sales disruption in its busiest quarter of the year. Under the duo's original plan, the changeover was due to take place on the 1st of next month but IBM didn't want to risk switching systems during the run- …
Paul Kunert, 25 Nov 2014

Experts gathered round corpse of PC market: It's ALIVE! Alive, we tell you

The XP replacement bonanza reviving the PC market isn't yet over, with estimates suggesting that one in five biz machines out in the wilds is still running the thirteen year-old OS, an HP exec has told The Channel. After eight consecutive quarters of declining sales, the commercial PC market returned to life in the first quarter …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jul 2014
Lehman Brothers London HQ

Enormo reseller Insight seeks experienced sales hands for City pad

Headhunters will be on red alert after Insight confirmed plans to establish a sales outpost in the City in a bid to snuggle up to existing and potential corporate customers. The firm has rented some space from an unspecified service delivery partner in Aldgate to rub shoulders with Kelway, Misco, Softcat, Computacenter and many …
Paul Kunert, 20 Mar 2014

HP crowns networking boss Ansell as king of enterprise channel

After five years sat on HP's enterprise channel throne, Kevin Matthews is heading to an as yet unconfirmed role in the company with networking boss John Ansell to be crowned the new UK king. Talk in the industry about the role shifting emerged late last week and was today confirmed to El Chan by HP UK and Ireland managing …
Paul Kunert, 12 May 2014
Softcat

Microsoft UK bigwig leaps into bed with Bucks biz

Software and services supplier Softcat is bringing Microsoft UK services boss Colin Brown on board as deputy MD, The Channel can reveal. Current MD Martin Hellawell, who pitched up at the reseller-cum-integrator in March 2006, confirmed the recruitment. "There will be a bedding-in process for three to six months, and if it …
Paul Kunert, 06 Aug 2012
firing range - target in cross hairs

VMware takes aim at AWS with hybrid cloudy infra service

VMware will next week launch a hybrid cloudy infrastructure service to take on Amazon in the UK, using only channel partners rather than his own employees to do so, a move many old world tech vendors have so far failed to make. The covers are to be lifted from the VMware Hybrid vCloud Service – launched last year across the pond …
Paul Kunert, 20 Feb 2014

'Conscious uncoupling' of HP 'Ink', HP Enterprise: It's the shareholders, stupid

Just a few weeks ago, anyone would have said that HP CEO Meg Whitman was seemingly cast from the same mould as former Brit politician Mrs Thatcher: the lady was not for turning. That perception of the CEO, who has told people for years that she planned to keep the PC and printer division part of the group because "we are better …
Paul Kunert, 06 Oct 2014

Samsung snaps up Cisco enterprise director for B2B push

Samsung has rustled Cisco's herd and made off with veteran UK enterprise sales director Tim Skinner, who will head up its continued push into commercial sectors. Skinner spent 14 years in the sales engine room at Cisco but this week started at Samsung as director of its B2B operation, reporting directly to Graham Long. Long, …
Paul Kunert, 01 Aug 2013

Crown Commercial Services turn screws on Commodity IT suppliers

Crown Commercial Services is turning the screws on suppliers operating on the Commodity IT Hardware & Software framework by cutting margins and ruling that all orders over £250k will require special approval. These new terms come into effect on 1 March and run for eight months, following CCS's decision to extend the agreement, …
Paul Kunert, 29 Jan 2014
HP CEO Meg Whitman

Reg man grills HP Software big cheese

Traditionally HP Software was seen by many of its business partners on the hardware side of the house – and by default some of their customers – as a fragmented portfolio of specialist applications amassed via acquisition. Evidence of this was on display at Global Partner knees-ups in recent years when the auditorium filled up …
Paul Kunert, 18 Aug 2014

Microsoft's touching Xmas gift for Brits: MORE licensing price hikes

Microsoft has wrapped up a bunch of pre-Chrimbo licensing price hikes for channel partners to deliver to customers at the start of next month. Redmond handed out a summer treat by bumping up volume licences for UK firms from 1 July as it aligned pricing to the Euro. These rises ranged from 1.7 per cent for Open Classic to 25.9 …
Paul Kunert, 09 Nov 2012
channel

Local gov buying group inks £50m software framework

The Pro5 buying consortium has confirmed that 12 suppliers have made it onto the next generation software and services framework agreement. The framework is worth tens of millions over a 36-month period. The procurement group includes the Central Buying Consortium as well as purchasing organisations for the North-east, Eastern …
Paul Kunert, 16 Apr 2012
Microsoft Surface tablets

Microsoft sold out of Surface tablets in the UK... YEP, all 2,000 units

Microsoft may have sold out of Surface devices, but if the experiences of the UK channel are a measure for the rest of Europe, that's not saying a lot. Sources tell us that fewer than 2,000 units landed at the shores of Blighty since Redmond cleared the way for a select band of nine resellers to start peddling its wares from 15 …
Paul Kunert, 10 Oct 2013

Total Computer Networks latest to cock a snook at downturn

Total Computer Networks (TCN) booked another double-digit sales hike in calendar 2012 on the back of a surge in consolidation projects from mid-market customers. The Northampton-based HP- and Microsoft-Gold accredited partner saw turnover bounce 22 per cent, year on year, to a little over £20m - during the worst recessionary …
Paul Kunert, 24 May 2013
Suitcase bulging with cash

Microsoft plans big licencing price hikes, shifting to per-Device model

Microsoft is planning to spread a unique brand of festive cheer before Christmas by bumping up the price of Client Accessing Licenses (CAL). Customers have two options when considering a CAL: the User CAL gives an individual user server client access for an unlimited number of devices; the Device CAL provides access to a single …
Paul Kunert, 18 Oct 2012
Microsoft Surface tablets

Microsoft: That $900m Surface write-down is smarting

Microsoft will today kick-start commercial channel sales of the little loved Surface RT and Pro, as our sources predicted, but the move is being pushed through ten months later than it should have been. Redmond has already paid the price for its stubbornness: selling the device direct and latterly through a handful of retailers …
Paul Kunert, 15 Aug 2013
British snipers practice with L115A3 rifles. Credit: MoD

MoD signs Microsoft mega licensing deal for 180,000 PCs

The Ministry of Defence renewed a three-year Microsoft Enterprise Agreement late on Friday with Software Box Ltd (SBL) for 180,000 seats in a deal that sources value at roughly £15m per year. SBL has held the Microsoft EA with the MoD for the past nine years and channel folk are not surprised the Large Account Reseller won the …
Paul Kunert, 01 Jul 2013
james_rigby_md_sch2

Rigby dynasty to retain control at SCC - 'no IPO for us'

SCC CEO James Rigby plans to pass the privately owned biz to the next generation of the clan rather than co-crafting a retirement plan with his brother based on a flotation or trade sale. The Rigby dynasty's Midlands empire, which includes service-based reseller SCC at its heart, sold distie wing SDG to Tech Data in 2012 for $ …
Paul Kunert, 18 Feb 2014

Administrator: 2e2 owed £412m to creditors when it went titsup

2e2 Ltd crashed out of business owing creditors a little over £412m, the firm's administrator FTI Consulting has confirmed in its statement of affairs. The document, seen by The Channel, revealed debts secured by floating charges of £161.5m pertaining to the integrator's banking syndicate, and unsecured non-preferential claims …
Paul Kunert, 11 Apr 2013
man_inks_deal_channel signs contract services

Ingram Micro and Westcoast ink Microsoft SPLA deal

Microsoft has handed the Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) contract to Westcoast and Ingram Micro, The Channel can reveal. Ten disties responded to last month's Request for Proposal from Microsoft as Redmond overhauls the go-to-market model that saw five large account resellers holding exclusive distribution rights to …
Paul Kunert, 31 Jul 2012
Whiptail XLR8r appliance

All-flash-array flogger WhipTail in mad dash to fortify EMEA base

Self-proclaimed first shipper of an all-flash array, WhipTail, says UK customers are taking to its all-flash arrays in droves, with the company expecting a 1,100 per cent increase in sales this year. But it is expecting the competition to be snapping at its heels fairly shortly, which is why it has recruited an ex-EMC Isilon …
Chris Mellor, 20 Nov 2012
interview_suit_and_tie

IT box'n'services floggers to learn coding as biz want apps

Companies in the IT hardware and services channel are having to bone up on programming or outsource development as big biz takes a growing interest in mobile versions of enterprise software. At the Canalys Channel Forum, the analyst said, thanks to the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), services customers want are …
Paul Kunert, 25 Jan 2013
union_jack

Blighty's IT support services to decline in 2013, 2014, 2015....

2013 will be a "make or break year" for some IT firms in the declining UK support services space, according to the venerable beancounters at TechMarketView. In TMV estimates, the UK IT support and maintenance market declined 3.5 per cent in 2012 to £1.76bn, is set to fall 3.5 per cent again this year and by 2.5 per cent in the …
Paul Kunert, 11 Mar 2013

We love everyone in the SPLA channel the same, honest - Microsoft

Microsoft has insisted it has levelled the playing field for all resellers pushing its Service Provider Licensing Agreements (SPLA). As revealed at the start of this week, Microsoft opened the SPLA programme to distribution heavyweights Ingram Micro and Westcoast in a bid to lure more resellers on board. Five large-account …
Paul Kunert, 03 Aug 2012
man_inks_deal_channel signs contract services

UK.gov IT supremos chat up software suppliers for next summer

Government bigwigs overseeing the UK's public sector IT buyers hobnobbed with suppliers this week to keep them onboard after their current contracts expire. Civica, Computacenter, Softcat, SCC, Equanet, Fujitsu Services, Insight, Trustmarque, Software Box and Phoenix Software convened at the offices of the Government Procurement …
Paul Kunert, 20 Jul 2012
homeless man with sign

Samsung sales-floor rejig leads to layoffs in B2B push

Samsung has crowned Graham Long as the UK veep of corporate and IT sales following a restructure of the division to help its push into B2B. The Korean giant asked its internal sales team to reapply for their jobs, after "aligning the roles" to seven vertical markets. Whereas previously the sales force pushed either mobile PC, …
Paul Kunert, 11 Apr 2012
graph up

Welsh gov splashes its cash on 10 lucky resellers

Ten resellers have won a place on the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) two-year framework for PCs and peripherals. Following a tender for the IT Equipment and Associated Services agreement, Computacenter, Computerworld Wales, Kelway, Misco, Gaia Technologies, Viglen, Stone Computers, Softcat, XMA Computer Products and Desk Top …
Paul Kunert, 03 Nov 2011
5_pounds_sterling_money_cash_moolah

Bunging apps, files into virtual desktops ain't worth it - Gartner

The financial arguments for turning PCs into glorified remote terminals just don't stack up, says a Gartner bod. The bean counter estimates "virtual hosted desktops" - which shift applications and file storage into a centralised farm of servers - will form a market of 80 million units worldwide by 2016. This is a four-fold …
Paul Kunert, 18 Jul 2012

Microsoft shaking up SPLA licensing channel

Microsoft is set to shake-up the way it sells Service Provider Licensing Agreements, The Channel can reveal. The software giant threw out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to existing and prospective distributors recently that need to be completed by today and an appointment is expected mid-August, the timeline sources say Microsoft …
Paul Kunert, 22 Jun 2012
channel

Kelway gulps down Microsoft reseller, plots march on Europe

Serial acquirer Kelway has swallowed Irish corporate and public sector reseller Business & Scientific Services (BSS) Ltd for an undisclosed sum, bagging Microsoft top-tier certification in the process. Founded in 1985, BSS – which Kelway claims is Microsoft's largest large account reseller (LAR) in Ireland – has offices in …
Paul Kunert, 11 Apr 2012
channel

Apple poaches Brit sales boss from HP's PC group

Apple has poached HP PSG channel sales director Trevor Evans to mastermind its assault on the corporate market, The Register can reveal. Evans is already on gardening leave and takes the helm of Apple's B2B partner network at the end of January, sources say. In an internal memo sent to staff and leaked to El Reg, PSG UK boss …
Paul Kunert, 07 Dec 2011
cloud

Resellers could lose out in £4bn gov framework – vendors

The ultra-aggressive pricing suppliers will need to bid so that they can win a place on the forthcoming public sector hardware and solutions mega framework may make it harder for resellers to get involved, vendors have warned. Government Procurement Services invited bids from suppliers last month to win a place on the agreement …
Paul Kunert, 02 Mar 2012
channel_teaser_exit

Bulging Kelway: Too big to get out of the obvious exits

Phil Doye acknowledges that 21 years after setting up reseller Kelway, he still doesn't have a key for the exit. The London-based firm is moving to rapidly integrate new buy Equanet, the once mighty IT dealer that was taken over by Dixons in 2007 and subsequently pulled apart and bent out of shape. The transaction is expected …
Paul Kunert, 25 Mar 2013
choose_service_channel

New £4bn UK.gov IT shopping centre slips launch deadline

Bosses have been told whether or not their businesses have provisionally made it onto a new list of approved IT suppliers for Blighty's public sector - and resellers feature heavily. The three-year IT Hardware and Services (ITH&S) framework offers £4bn in work and sales, and will - after delays - eventually replace ESPO Contract …
Paul Kunert, 06 Jun 2012
channel

Microsoft licensing hike sparks UK piracy, bankruptcy fears

Reseller NCI Technologies has urged Microsoft to shelve the planned pricing overhaul that could see UK customers paying between 20 to 35 per cent more for volume licences. Redmond will align volume licence pricing in the EU - except for academic programmes - to the euro currency from 1 July in a bid to drive some consistency …
Paul Kunert, 16 Feb 2012

Happy dealers, solid managers. So what's wrong at HP?

What’s going on at HP? CEO Meg Whitman has pulled out the scythe and is whipping it through the troubled hardware titan, chopping out the weak and underperforming bits and clearing a path back to a market-leading position. But trouble keeps cropping up. The latest batch came in when HP cried foul play over its $10.3bn of …
Steve Bell, 31 Jan 2013
Our intrepid party playmonaut on a sofa, surrounded by blondes

Think Xmas bashes in your biz are scary? Try partying with the Channel

Etiquette experts Debrett’s has extensive advice for how to negotiate the work Christmas party, including retaining one’s professional gloss and never doing anything one might regret in the morning. Debrett’s has never been to a channel Christmas party. But with a threatened Eurozone double-dip recession, limping distributor …
Steve Bell, 28 Nov 2012
homeless man with sign

Buying Solutions signs £6bn framework deal

The Treasury agency Buying Solutions has said that a pan-government framework arrangement with 20 suppliers could be worth £6bn. The deal, announced on 25 March 2010, will deliver desktop hardware, IT hardware infrastructure, software and associated services to Whitehall departments, their agencies, local authorities and the NHS …
Kable, 29 Mar 2010

Revenues dropping or flatlining at hefty distributor giants

Investors and funders may soon need to see a warning on every distributor prospectus or public filing that over revenues are heading in the opposite direction to up. A slew of recent results from some of the heavyweights show sales have indeed gone south, but after years of near unbroken growth – and given the assumption that …
Ian French, 20 Aug 2012