New Tech Data Marketplace Aims To Connect Channel Partners, ISVs and Cloud Providers

Two-and-a-half years ago, the board of directors of IT distributor Tech Data issued a directive that software sales should account for 25 percent of the company's revenues, up from 17 percent at the time. The reason was obvious: Tech Data wouldn't have to carry as much inventory which was eating into its capital.

To get there, Tech Data knew it had to revamp its supply chain in order to connect software vendors and ISVs with implementation partners. Last year, the company launched its Software License Selector, a Web-based portal that allows systems integrators and VARs to locate correct SKUs and place orders right away.

"We figured the only way to scale that business and drive net new incremental revenue was to revolutionize the way software licensing is done in the channel," said Joe Quaglia, Tech Data's senior VP of U.S. marketing. "It's is a complex, tedious, slow and resource-intensive process requiring a lot of knowledge in identifying the right products and getting the products to the right customer."

The Software License Selector lets Tech Data manage orders for hundreds of thousands of SKUs (taking into account the multiple permutations of SKUs) more quickly, accurately and with a much higher level of automation. Since its launch, 70 percent of orders are processed without human intervention, up from 30 percent, according to Quaglia.

While he wouldn't say whether Tech Data has reached that 25 percent threshold, Quaglia indicted the company has made meaningful progress. "We are gaining market share. We have more resellers buying software than we did previously," he said. "That tells us we have reduced that complexity for them, and more resellers are coming back to buy software."

This week, Tech Data is taking that effort to the next level. The company has launched the StreamOne Solutions Store, aimed at letting VARs procure cloud services and electronic software downloads (ESDs). StreamOne is a single platform that emulates an application store not unlike the Apple iTunes App Store.

Once approved by Tech Data, cloud providers and ISVs can market their offerings on the StreamOne Solutions Store and channel partners can resell, provision and bill their customers in an integrated manner, company officials said. Later this year, Tech Data will allow partners to run their own rebranded white-labeled version of the store.

Initial entrants to Tech Data's line card include smaller players such as CloudBasic, HyperOffice, LeadMaster, Message Solutions, RazDog, Retrieve Technologies, Reviora, SiteLock, Sonian and Storage Online. The only big names on the list were Amazon Web Services and McAfee, though Quaglia said the roster will become more comprehensive over time. "We are signing vendors every day," Quaglia said. "There are a couple of big names coming up."

All of the major distributors, including Ingram Micro, Avnet and Synnex, have launched programs to help connect solution providers (VARs, systems integrators, ISVs and MSPs) with cloud providers. An IDC study last summer found 28 percent of those solution providers surveyed have not reported any revenue from cloud services and another 43 percent said less than 10 percent of their revenue came from cloud services.

"Clearly the upside is great and solution providers are looking to their distributors and vendors for assistance in capturing this market," said Virginia Shepherd Agee, IDC's research director for infrastructure channels and alliances. "With StreamOne, Tech Data is addressing that need and offering its partners access to a variety of proven, integrated cloud services for their end user clients. Tech Data's resellers will be able to connect with suppliers of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS offerings which have been vetted by Tech Data, and those suppliers, in turn, gain access to a vast network of resellers."

Tech Data says it has 60,000 active VARs that procure IT products through its distribution channel. By using StreamOne, Tech Data believes it will offer numerous benefits to procuring cloud services and ESDs. It will offer a billing model to support monthly recurring revenue, a consolidated monitoring dashboard, marketing, digital rights management, returns management and vendor blogs. Partners can comment on their satisfaction (or lack thereof) with the products and services they procure or evaluate.

Existing partners can use their current lines of credit to make purchases from StreamOne.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Survey Finds Tablet Ownership Has Doubled

The number of people who own tablet computers has doubled in the past two months, according to a report released Monday by the nonprofit Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

Based on surveys of U.S. adults, Pew Research found that 19 percent now own tablet devices, up from 9 percent in November. Pew Research interviewed 2,986 people prior to the holiday season in November and subsequently conducted two separate surveys earlier this month in which it first interviewed 1,000 people followed by 1,008 a week later.

If you count both tablets and e-readers, 29 percent of survey participants said they own at least one such device, up from 18 percent. For younger people, the number of those who now own tablets (excluding e-readers) is even more pronounced. The percentage of people aged between 30 and 49 who have tablets nearly doubled, jumping from 14 percent to 27 percent, while the percentage of people aged between 18 and 29 who own tablets catapulted from 10 percent to 24 percent.

If those figures reflect how many people bought tablets during the holiday season, Apple should have good news when it reports its first quarter 2012 earnings on Tuesday after the markets close. In just the previous quarter (ended October), the company sold more than 11 million iPads., meanwhile, sold an estimated 5.5 million Kindle Fire tablets in its last quarter, Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente projected earlier this month, according to All Things D.

While tablets continue to sell like hotcakes, is it no wonder that Microsoft is reporting that Windows revenues were down 6 percent last quarter? The steady growth of tablets appears to be cutting into sales of PCs by consumers, but it's not so clear that business users are throwing away their desktops and notebooks in favor of tablets. Rather, they are augmenting them.

"What we're seeing is more a story about people's expansion of their 'screen capacities' more than it's a case where people are substituting small wireless screens for bigger wired screens," said Lee Rainie, director of the Internet & American Life Project at Pew Research, in an e-mail.

Avanade, which has a large practice devoted to helping IT organizations manage the influx of tablet devices, also doesn't see them displacing PCs. "Our Windows 7 transitions are going gangbusters," said Ryan McCune, Avanade's senior director of innovation and incubation.

Are you deploying more apps on your customers' iPads or other tablet devices, or are you being called upon to help secure and mange them?  If so, drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Oracle Poaches Key HP Channel Exec; IBM Taps New Partner Chief

It's no secret Oracle is out for Hewlett-Packard's blood since bringing on deposed CEO Mark Hurd as president. Now it appears Oracle wants to onboard as many HP partners as it can.

Oracle has poached veteran HP channel exec Tom LaRocca, a move that escalates an already heated battle in the partner ranks of the two companies. The war ignited last year when Oracle hired onetime HP channel chief Adrian Jones as a senior VP for systems sales in the Asia Pacific region, a move that led to a lawsuit between the two companies (see "How Adrian Jones' Superstar IT Career Went Sideways").

LaRocca joined Oracle this week, he said in an e-mail to me. At Oracle, LaRocca will be driving the go-to-market plans and strategy for the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), he explained.

With the hiring of LaRocca, Oracle has nabbed a key architect of HP's PartnerOne program. LaRocca, who spent 12 years at HP, joined its Solution Provider Organization in 2004 after serving as a director of program and product management in the company's Enterprise Storage and Server business, according to his bio.

LaRocca oversaw the development of HP's partner programs, where he directed channel marketing, training and certification programs and the PartnerOne channel program.  He played a highly visible role in the HP partner community.

In one of his last efforts at HP, LaRocca was charged with motivating HP's partners to sell the company's webOS-based TouchPad tablets, CRN noted. That effort came to a screeching halt when former CEO Leo Apotheker killed the webOS hardware business just six weeks after launching the TouchPad.

An HP spokeswoman said LaRocca left at the end of December but the company has not announced a replacement for him.

In an ironic development, SAP this week tapped onetime HP channel chief Kevin Gilroy to lead global indirect channels. Gilroy joined SAP two years ago as VP of channel and business development for the SMB segment in North America.

While HP looks to fill a key hole in its channel group, arch rival IBM has named a new leader of its partner organization. IBM has named Mark Hennessy general manager of its business partner organization. Hennessy, a 32-year veteran of Big Blue, has served many key roles at IBM, including CIO and VP of global strategy and sales transformation.

In taking over its business partner organization, Hennessy will oversee a group that services approximately 120,000 business partners. Among his key initiatives will be to help partners gain footing in key growth areas such as cloud computing and business intelligence.

The move is part of an executive shuffle that kicked off with the New Year, when Virginia Rometty succeeded longtime IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on January 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

HP Hedges Its Bets with webOS

Hewlett-Packard's decision to contribute its webOS mobile operating system to the open source community potentially breathes new life into the platform, but the prognosis that it will reemerge as a tangible threat to Apple's iOS, Google's Android or Microsoft's Windows 8 looks like a long shot.

The decision by HP to open source webOS and its ENYO application framework, announced late last week, was somewhat inevitable after months of trying to license or sell it to third parties apparently fell flat. What is surprising, though, is that HP isn't just cutting webOS loose but rather pledging to support the effort as "an active participant and investor in the project."

HP will retain a yet-to-be-determined number of employees on the webOS team, which now amounts to 600 people, HP President and CEO Meg Whitman told The Verge. Whitman also indicated that HP isn't done with webOS-based tablets after all, saying the company might offer new hardware, though she declined to say when, and she cautioned plans could change.

"As webOS gains traction as an open source alternative in the marketplace, you could see webOS on several different types of devices by any number of vendors," an HP spokesman said in an e-mail. "We will explore the viability of putting webOS on devices, just as we do for other leading operating systems."

The notion that webOS will gain traction is difficult to envision, considering HP's botched stewardship of the Palm platform to date, along with the market dynamics that are now playing out. Perhaps HP is trying to hedge its bets in case Windows 8 tablets aren't well-received or the Android market becomes untenably fragmented. Either one or both of those events, far from a sure thing, might create an opening for webOS if HP could create a viable ecosystem.

While the $99 fire sale of TouchPads showed HP that it could sell boatloads of tablets running webOS, unless the company can determine a way to defy existing economics and deliver them at that price-point profitably, it faces an uphill battle.

Besides the Apple iPad, though, no other tablet platform is a sure thing. It remains to be seen how customers will react to Windows 8 tablets, and while the $199 Kindle Fire appears to be the first credible threat to the iPad, today The New York Times is reporting that many people are returning them due to disappointing performance in those devices. Research In Motion's PlayBook has failed to gain critical mass, while Google Android devices have enjoyed limited success. As a user of a webOS-based smartphone myself, even though it lacks applications, I can say it's an appealing platform.

Nevertheless, when it comes to tablets, there is nothing to suggest that HP will create a market mover with webOS just because the company has decided to contribute it to the open source community. HP hasn't even determined an open source licensing model.

That's not to say that no good will come from HP's decision to open source webOS. Never underestimate the creativity of the open source community. But if HP is serious about investing in webOS, the company will need to flesh out this strategy sooner rather than later. Even so, the prospects that webOS will emerge as a spoiler in the tablet market remain slim.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on December 12, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Mike Fouts Takes Over as Citrix's New Americas Channel Chief

After eight years as Citrix Americas Channel Chief, Craig Stilwell has stepped aside from the position to become VP of sales in the Southeast United States. Taking Stilwell's place is Mike Fouts, who actually was a director of sales in the territory Stilwell is moving into.

The move took place Oct. 1 but Fouts made it official in his inaugural blog post today, where he outlined his priorities. Fouts, whose actual title now is senior director of Americas channels and field operations, assured partners that Citrix will continue its model of offering programs, solutions and resources aimed at helping both the company and the channel remain profitable.

In his role as channel chief, Fouts also leads the company's marketing efforts. He signaled plans to help the channel monetize opportunities in virtualization and the growing field of cloud computing. "The primary objective of the Citrix channel program will continue to center on offering innovative programs, solutions and resources that make Citrix the most profitable business for the channel community," he wrote.

Fouts outlined three areas he will concentrate on in the upcoming calendar year:

  • Provide new tools and information geared toward helping partners take advantage of customer interest in virtualization.

  • Facilitate collaboration between partners and Citrix sales organization. "It's important to me that we increase our focus on identifying and implementing strategies to improve that alignment between our partners and internal sales teams," he noted.

  • Increased emphasis on small and medium businesses. This year's acquisition of Kaviza, enabled the introduction of Citrix's VDI-in-a-Box 5, a virtual appliance that uses the company's HDX technology and supports three hypervisors: Citrix's XenServer, Microsoft's Hyper-V and VMware's vSphere, ESX and ESXi. Fouts said Citrix will extend its sales efforts through the channel targeting SMBs. Enabling that emphasis is the company's newly launched SMB certification program.

Fouts takes over at a challenging time for the channel community. Citrix is a company with a growing number of cloud computing products, many of which are just now coming to market. It also is absorbing a number of relatively small but strategic acquisitions. Meanwhile, many partners are still trying to determine the right revenue model to profitably offer cloud products and services.

If you're a Citrix channel partner in the Americas, what would you like to see from the company's new channel chief? Feel free to comment below, or drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on November 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Howard Cohen Steps Down as New York IAMCP President

After six years as president of the New York chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), Howard Cohen has stepped down, citing term limits. Taking his place is Debra Pfundstein, a former Microsoft partner account manager and now a business development manager at Software One.

At last week's New York chapter meeting, Cohen received a sendoff celebration, where various members honored him for his role in boosting the profile of IAMCP. One of Cohen's contributions and rallying cries was that partners should team up with other partners, either formally or by referral.

Relationships made through IAMCP should be a key enabler of partnering opportunities, Cohen has often asserted. "Partners partnering with Microsoft, partners partnering with other vendors, partners partnering with business resources that help them run better business -- that's our agenda, and that's what our members told us was valuable to them," Cohen said in a speech after receiving several plaques.

At his first meeting back in 2005, only 12 people were in attendance, Cohen recalled. His first order of business was to make the meetings more relevant to partners. For example, he brought in a human resources attorney, a benefits consultant and a financial counselor to discuss topics relevant to partners. He also brought in key Microsoft execs to discuss partner programs and other issues.

"It wasn't death by PowerPoint. It was real people talking about real ways to get something done," Cohen told me. "We all go to a lot of meetings that are just a pitch or many pitches, and there was no pitching going on."

Cohen is well-known for his connections within the partner community and within Microsoft itself. He often helps partners find other partners to work together. Shawn Ezhaghi of Prime Retail Solutions in New York recalls a case when he needed a partner with SQL Server and Access expertise and Cohen connected him with several potential candidates.

"Howard has been very influential in putting partners in touch with other partners for any kind of resources they need," Ezhaghi said. "I've reached out to him a couple of times and he was very fast and efficient in getting back to me and I've seen him do the same for others, where he would put out notices when a partner is looking for a skill set that another partner might have."

Among numerous noteworthy events during his tenure, Cohen recalled an appearance two years ago by Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who gave a brief presentation and took questions from members. One member asked about the cloud. Cohen said Turner's response was ironic.

"He said, 'Look, we're no happier about this cloud thing than you are. What do you think we prefer to do, sell shrink-wrapped software for a nice hefty price or charge a couple of bucks a month for a subscription?' Looking back a few years later, I think his perspective has changed an awful lot. Microsoft is nothing but the cloud. That early presentation was very interesting," Cohen said.

In a more recent appearance by Vahé Torossian, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) group, Cohen remembered the executive warning partners the risk of ignoring the cloud.

"Someone said, 'Why should I be motivated to sell one of your cloud services?' And Torossian said to him, 'Because if you don't, within four years you will become irrelevant.' I remember the reaction in the room. Everyone just stopped breathing. It sounded like the nastiest, toughest thing from a very gentle man," Cohen said.

"He then said, 'Don't think I'm trying to be a tough guy, I'm not. That's the reason Microsoft is going all in with the cloud, because we know the value proposition is undeniable. And if we don't do it, someone else will and we will become irrelevant. So I recommend to you that you think the right way.'"

Cohen is known to speak loudly on behalf of the partner community and he has done so on numerous occasions, leading up to the rollout to the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), which put some onerous requirements on smaller partners. Cohen believes the IAMCP played a key role in convincing Microsoft to give partners an extra year to fulfill their MPN requirements.

Though a key advocate of Microsoft's partner community, Cohen also will be remembered for his efforts with the annual Toys for Tots campaign, where every year he would rally members to attend a morning meeting at Microsoft's New York office and then march to Toys "R" Us in Times Square to donate toys for families who can't afford them.

"I think sometimes you need to stop and remember that there are those that are less fortunate and you need to take care of them," Cohen said. "I am proud to be part of a community that does that. It's the most rewarding way I ever started my holiday season, and I look forward to it this year."

Pfundstein, Cohen's successor, said she hopes to follow in his footsteps and work with other local chapters in the northeast region. "I have big shoes to fill," she said. "He may be retiring but if he thinks he's out of this, he's out of his bloody mind."

Cohen said he will continue to attend IAMCP meetings and advise the organization. "I'll still be here participating," he said.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on October 26, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Will HP Hold On to Its PC Business? Maybe

Those who thought the spinoff of Hewlett-Packard's PC business was all but certain will be surprised to learn that the company may opt to hold on to its Personal Systems Group.

HP's analysis is showing that it might be more beneficial to keep the PC business, according to a report published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. Looking to stem the uncertainty that resulted from its Aug. 18 announcement that HP was considering the divesture of its PC business, new CEO Meg Whitman last week said that the company is aiming to announce a decision by the end of October.

PCs count for more than $40 billion of HP's revenues and, while only marginally profitable, give the company huge buying power in the form of components for its servers, storage and networking gear.

According to the WSJ report, divesting PCs would substantially diminish HP's buying clout with suppliers, impact its supply chain and cut into profit margins on other products.

I started to suspect that HP might be having second thoughts about divesting its PC business -- not based on what the company has said, but more on what it wasn't saying. There was just something about the tone coming out of Palo Alto since HP appointed Whitman as CEO last month.

Of course, the company hasn't made a final decision and it could still go either way. Would you like to see HP keep its PC business, or do you think the company would be better spinning it off? Leave a comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on October 12, 2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments

Microsoft Officially Launches Master VAR Program for Dynamics Partners

  • Read our in-depth article on the Master VAR pilot program here.

Microsoft has announced its Master VAR program in an effort to enable smaller Dynamics partners to latch on to larger ones.

Jeff Edwards, director of channel strategy for Microsoft Business Solutions first revealed plans to offer the program this summer during an interview at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles.

The Master VAR program aims to aid smaller partners that don't have the resources to gain the certifications needed under the new Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). Because of the new MPN requirements, those VARs are faced with either having to merge or forgoing the gold competency under the MPN.

Those VARs can sign on as what Microsoft calls Sales Affiliates of the Master VARs, though they can remain independent businesses.

"Partners that choose to work with a Master VAR will be able to leverage centralized marketing, support, operations and training at the Master VAR level thereby reducing costs and accelerating sales," Edwards said in a blog post Friday. "This program is the only channel collaboration model that is officially endorsed by Microsoft and it is currently only available in the United States."

Conspicuously absent in last week's announcement were the identities of the Master VARs. Edwards said Microsoft is still evaluating candidates and that they would be announced shortly. In order to become a Master VAR, the partner must have $1 million in operating capital and $500,000 in gross license revenue over the past year.

It remains to be seen whether partners will sign on for this program. Many partners have spent years or decades building their practices and feel they are being squeezed by the new MPN requirements. Dynamics VARs have told Redmond Channel Partner that their most valuable assets are their customer relationships and they don't want to hand those over.

Edwards argued they wouldn't have to hand them over under the Master VAR model. "Since Sales Affiliates remain independent businesses, they can retain their entrepreneurial spirit, their leadership and the customer relationships that are the cornerstone of their success," he said.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on October 03, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

IBM Commits $1 Billion in Financing for SMBs

It's no secret that small and medium businesses are the key engine to economic growth and job creation.

IBM on Thursday said it will pony up $1 billion in credit to provide financing to SMBs looking to purchase its software, hardware and cloud services through its network of partners over the next 18 months.

The credit will be offered through IBM Global Financing, where partners can create price proposals and file credit applications for their SMB clients online. Big Blue said it will offer lease and loan packages with some starting as low as 0 percent over 12 months with no money down.

In many cases, partners will be able to apply online for the financing on behalf of their customers and receive approvals within minutes, IBM said. The company identifies SMBs as companies employing fewer than 1,000 people.

"SMBs are the engines of new ideas for our economy and for economic growth," said Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM Midmarket Business, in a statement. "As information has become the new currency, the ability of SMBs to survive in an increasingly competitive and global environment is largely determined by their use of new technologies such as cloud and analytics to quickly access the right information and use it as a competitive advantage."

Supporting the financing plan, IBM said it is launching a set of solutions which include bundled hardware, software and service offerings. Areas of focus include cloud, analytics, collaboration and security, IBM said. The company is looking to emphasize offerings on some of its acquisitions that include BigFix, Cast Iron, Cognos, Netezza and SPSS.

IBM said minimum deal sizes are $5,000. Many of the offerings start at $5 for each user per month for 100 users over a period of 36 months.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on September 08, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Samsung Denies It's Taking Over HP's PC Biz

Samsung Electronics denied a published report that it plans to acquire Hewlett-Packard's PC business.

The Web site Digitimes earlier this week reported that Samsung was preparing to take over HP's PC business, citing unnamed sources.

"The recent rumors that Samsung Electronics will be taking over Hewlett-Packard Co.'s personal computer business are not true," Samsung said in a two-sentence blog post today. "We hope this clarifies any confusion that may have occurred."

The future of HP's PC business is very much up in the air, following last week's bombshell announcement that the company was exploring various options for the $41 billion unit, including a possible spinoff or sale.

HP initially said the process could take 12 to 18 months, but Todd Bradley, executive VP of the company's Personal Systems Group, told CNBC, Bloomberg and others that the company hopes to resolve the matter within 8 to 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, it seems HP's PC unit has suddenly become a lame duck business. Rivals including Acer, Dell and Lenovo are already anticipating that they will gain share from HP.

Partners, meanwhile, are left holding the bag. HP's value proposition was its ability to bundle PCs, printers, servers, storage and networking gear for small and medium businesses. But with the current uncertainty surrounding HP's PC business, that advantage is suddenly in limbo, especially considering Dell can also bundle the same gear.

If you're a partner that sells HP PCs, what impact is the company's announcement having on your business plans? Is it business as usual or are you moving toward other vendors? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 24, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

HP Taps Partners To Sell and Deliver Services

As more companies look toward virtualization and cloud computing, solution providers are faced with the opportunity to offer more services than they ever have before. The problem is that many solution providers are still coming up to speed on the cloud themselves. To that end, Hewlett-Packard is looking to make it easier for partners to offer its portfolio of services to customers.

HP last week announced a new specialization to its PartnerOne network called ServiceOne, a designation that will officially go online Nov. 1 at the beginning of the company's 2012 fiscal year. Looking to ramp it up, though, HP is phasing ServiceOne in now for partners.

"This is around a strategy and program that gives the partners access to the broad spectrum of technology services to satisfy their customers' growing requirements for innovative technology solutions," said Ken Archer, vice president of channels and alliances for HP Technology Solutions in the Americas.

"We want to give partners the opportunity to boost their bottom line by delivering innovative services that address every customer need, whether it's datacenter design or everyday support." he said.

Archer said HP offers a wide range of technology services, including professional services, contractual services and CarePack services, which are aimed at providing extended support for enterprise hardware and software offered by HP. Partners can also offer HP's Insight Remote Support.

There are two levels to the new program: ServiceOne Specialist and the premier ServiceOne Expert. The latter comes with rebates, discounts and management tools. While HP will map two-thirds of partners into the entry-level Specialist tier, Archer believes many will aspire to the Expert level.

"As a reselling partner of HP's remarketed services, we will not only be able to resell the HP service, so it's sold as an HP SKU, but we will also be able to deliver on that service," said Pat O'Connor, director of business development for remarketed services at Solon, Ohio-based Agilysys Technology Solutions Group.

ServiceOne offers a much tighter connection together at the customer level, as well, O'Connor said, adding the program offers a close coupling between HP and the partner to give the customer a better experience. It also provides access to many of the capabilities that HP has internally.

"We'll have enhanced tools, we'll have enhanced resources and enhanced functionality as a channel partner if we choose to do that at the elite level," O'Connor said. For HP's Cloud Discovery Workshop, he said the new program is an optimal way to deliver those services, jointly with HP.

Initially, it may be two people from HP's bench and one from Agilysys delivering the Cloud Discovery Workshop, but as time goes by, Agilysys sees delivering the service on its own as an HP-branded SKU.

Indeed, if the partner is being asked by the customer to help them get to the cloud, and they don't have any or sufficient cloud expertise, they now can access Cloud Discovery Workshop, which is the first of the consulting offers HP started rolling out to the channel.

In the end, Archer said, "they might start out in the consulting engagement Cloud Discovery Workshop, move to a network assessment, and then we need to look at what the cloud design is going to be."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Microsoft Announces 2011 Partner of the Year Awards

Microsoft on Wedneday announced its 2011 Partner of the Year award winners and finalists.

The annual awards are intended to recognize solutions that solved customer problems. Microsoft said it received 3,000 entries from over 100 countries. In all, there were 68 categories.

"Each of these partners has demonstrated a unique approach and exceptional dedication in addressing the technology and business challenges of its customers," said Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, in a statement. "The efforts and expertise of these outstanding partners continue to bring incredible value to the companies they serve and the marketplace as a whole. We are honored to recognize their success."

Below are the award winners:

Alliance ISV Industry Partner of the Year
Winner: Invensys, United States
Finalist: Retalix Ltd., Israel
Finalist: Temenos, United Kingdom

Alliance Partner of the Year -- Advanced Infrastructure
Winner: Citrix Systems Inc., United States

Alliance Partner of the Year -- Application Platform
Winner: Accenture/Avanade, United States

Alliance Partner of the Year -- Innovation
Winner: Logica, Netherlands

Application Integration Partner of the Year
Winner: Solidsoft, United Kingdom
Finalist: MPS Partners, United States
Finalist: QLogitek, Canada

Application Lifecycle Management Partner of the Year
Winner: Imaginet, Canada
Finalist: Centare Group Ltd., United States
Finalist: Computer Enterprises Inc., United States

Authorized Distributor Partner of the Year
Winner: Ingram Micro India Ltd., India
Finalist: ASBIS, Russia
Finalist: M:Portal Ltd., Kazakhstan

BizSpark Partner of the Year
Winner: StorSimple, United States
Finalist: Artesian Solutions Ltd., United Kingdom
Finalist: GreenButton, New Zealand

Business Intelligence Partner of the Year
Winner: Nagnoi Inc., Puerto Rico
Finalist: GNet Group, United States
Finalist: Slalom Consulting, United States

Communications Sector Partner of the Year
Winner: Tech Mahindra Ltd., United States
Finalist: Decentrix Inc., United States
Finalist: Extended Results Inc., United States

Content Management Partner of the Year
Winner: KnowledgeLake, United States
Finalist: Content and Code, United Kingdom
Finalist: Knowledgetech Consulting Inc., Canada

Data Platform Partner of the Year
Winner: HP, United States
Finalist: Fujitsu Ltd., Japan
Finalist: Scalability Experts, United States

Desktop Partner of the Year
Winner: Accenture/Avanade, United States
Finalist: CDW, United States
Finalist: Insight, United States

Digital Marketing Partner of the Year
Winner: Catapult Systems, United States
Finalist: RDA Corp., United States
Finalist: Slalom Consulting, United States

Exceptional Sales Management Partner of the Year
Winner: BlueGranite, United States
Finalist: (I) P Ltd., India
Finalist: Quest Software, Canada

Hosting Partner of the Year
Winner: Rise, United Kingdom
Finalist: Mamut, Norway
Finalist: Nervogrid, Finland

Identify and Security Partner of the Year
Winner: Omada, Denmark
Finalist: Edgile Inc., United States
Finalist: Oxford Computer Group, United Kingdom

Innovative Customer Advocacy Partner of the Year
Winner: PERIFEL, Mexico
Finalist: Mimecast, United Kingdom
Finalist: (I) P Ltd., India

ISV/Software Industry Partner of the Year
Winner: Global 360, United States
Finalist: MOTEX Inc., Japan
Finalist: proMX GmbH, Germany

ISV/Software Line of Business Partner of the Year
Winner: Tagetik, Italy
Finalist: NewsGator, United States
Finalist: OpenText Corp., Canada

Learning Competency Innovation Partner of the Year
Winner: Buffa Sistemas, Argentina
Finalist: Everonn Education Ltd., India
Finalist: Sela, Israel

Learning Competency Marketing Acceleration Partner of the Year
Winner: Global Knowledge, United States
Finalist: QuickStart Intelligence, United States
Finalist: the campus GmbH, Germany

Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Business Excellence Partner of the Year
Winner: Zero2Ten Inc., United States
Finalist: Pareto Platform Inc., United States
Finalist: Rose Business Solutions/RoseASP Inc., United States

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Solution of the Year
Winner: proMX GmbH, Germany
Finalist: ClickDimensions, United States
Finalist: CWR Mobility, Netherlands

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner of the Year
Winner: Hitachi Consulting, United States
Finalist: Accenture/Avanade, United States
Finalist: Outsourcery, United Kingdom

Microsoft Dynamics Distribution Partner of the Year
Winner: Accenture/Avanade, United States
Finalist: Columbus, Denmark
Finalist: KORUS Consulting, Russia

Microsoft Dynamics ERP ISV Solution of the Year
Winner: Schouw Informatisering BV, Netherlands
Finalist: NovaVision Software, Denmark
Finalist: To-Increase, Netherlands

Microsoft Dynamics ERP Partner of the Year
Winner: XAPT, United States
Finalist: InterDyn AKA, United States
Finalist: Holding AG, Switzerland

Microsoft Dynamics Financial Services Partner of the Year
Winner: VeriPark, Turkey
Finalist: NAVAX Consulting GmbH, Austria
Finalist: TRAVIATA, Belgium

Microsoft Dynamics Manufacturing Partner of the Year
Winner: Scalable Data Systems Pty Ltd., Australia
Finalist: Holding AG, Switzerland
Finalist: TDCI Inc., United States

Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace Solution Excellence Partner of the Year
Winner: InsideView, United States
Finalist: proMX GmbH, Germany
Finalist: Sonoma Partners, United States

Microsoft Dynamics Professional Services Partner of the Year
Winner: Client Profiles, United States
Finalist: Singhammer IT Consulting AG, Germany
Finalist: To-Increase, Netherlands

Microsoft Dynamics Public Sector Partner of the Year
Winner: Rock Solid Technologies Inc., Puerto Rico
Finalist: Hitachi Consulting, United Kingdom
Finalist: Tribridge, United States

Microsoft Dynamics Retail Partner of the Year
Winner: IGNIFY, United States
Finalist: Ideaca Knowledge Services, Canada
Finalist: New West Technologies Inc., United States

Mid-Market Solution Provider Partner of the Year
Winner: Conzultek, Costa Rica
Finalist: Hyland Software, United States
Finalist: NCI Technologies, United Kingdom

Mobility Business-to-Business Application Partner of the Year
Winner: CWR Mobility, Netherlands
Finalist: PreEmptive Solutions LLC, United States
Finalist: Resco, Slovakia

Mobility Business-to-Consumer Application Partner of the Year
Winner: Neudesic, United States
Finalist: Blue Dot Solutions, United States

Mobility Partner of the Year
Winner: iLink Systems, United States
Finalist: CWR Mobility, Netherlands
Finalist: Telerik Corp., United Sates

OEM Hardware Reseller Partner of the Year
Winner: NCI Technologies, United Kingdom
Finalist: CARTIMEX S.A., Ecuador
Finalist: Motion Computing, United States

OEM Hardware System Building Partner of the Year
Winner: THIRDWAVE CORP., Japan
Finalist: Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH, Germany
Finalist: MouseComputer Co. Ltd., Japan

Online Services Commercial Partner of the Year
Winner: Kyoritsu Computer & Communication Co. Ltd., Japan
Finalist: CDW, United States
Finalist: InfinIT Consulting Inc., United States

Online Services Solution Partner of the Year
Winner: Slalom Consulting, United States
Finalist: Accenture/Avanade, United States
Finalist: ProActive, Denmark

Outstanding Sales Operations Partner of the Year
Winner: Eurodata Systems plc, United Kingdom
Finalist: (I) P Ltd., India
Finalist: Trustmarque Solutions, United Kingdom

Portals and Collaboration Partner of the Year
Winner: Unique World, Australia
Finalist: e-office, Netherlands
Finalist: Synteractive, United States

Private Cloud Partner of the Year
Winner: Convergent Computing (CCO), United States
Finalist: Dell Services, United States
Finalist: NetApp, United States

Project and Portfolio Management Partner of the Year
Winner: PTC, United States
Finalist: SharkPro Software Corp., United States
Finalist: TPG The Project Group, Germany

Public Sector, Education Partner of the Year
Winner: Desire2Learn, Canada
Finalist: Cornelsen Verlag GmbH, Germany
Finalist: Janison, Australia

Public Sector, Government Partner of the Year
Winner: Software Innovation, Norway
Finalist: Spenta, Spain
Finalist: TI-M, Mexico

Public Sector, Health Partner of the Year
Winner: Orangutech Inc., Canada
Finalist: Ascribe, United Kingdom
Finalist: PointBridge, United States

Public Sector, Public Safety and National Security Partner of the Year
Winner: GreenLine Systems Inc., United States
Finalist: Modularis, United States
Finalist: TITUS Inc., Canada

Sales Specialist of the Year
Winner: Prashanth Subramanian -- (I) P Ltd., India
Finalist: PERIFEL, Mexico
Finalist: Trustmarque Solutions, United Kingdom

Search Partner of the Year
Winner: Comperio, Norway
Finalist: Hitachi Consulting, United States
Finalist: RDA Corp., United States

Server Platform Partner of the Year
Winner: CommVault, United States
Finalist: Advanced 365 Ltd., United Kingdom
Finalist: ITQAN Al-Bawardi Computers, United Arab Emirates

Small Business Specialist Partner of the Year
Winner: TechGyan, India
Finalist: Conamex International Software Corp., Canada
Finalist: Syndeo, Mexico

Software Asset Management Innovation Partner of the Year
Winner: Civica, United Kingdom
Finalist: iQuate, Ireland
Finalist: Provance, Canada

Software Asset Management Marketing Acceleration Partner of the Year
Winner: Softline Trade, Russia
Finalist: IQ GmbH, Germany
Finalist: SoftwareONE, Switzerland

Software Development Partner of the Year
Winner: Wipro Technologies, India
Finalist: NetDirect s.r.o., Czech Republic
Finalist: Sogeti, United States

Sustainability Partner of the Year
Winner: OSIsoft LLC, United States
Finalist: Alstom & Infosys, France & India
Finalist: Johnson Controls, United States

Systems Management Partner of the Year
Winner: Dimension Data, South Africa
Finalist: Data#3 Ltd., Australia
Finalist: Hitachi Consulting, United States

Technical and High Performance Computing Innovation Partner of the Year
Winner: Milliman MG-ALFA, United States
Finalist: GreenButton, New Zealand
Finalist: Symscape, United States

Unified Communication Innovation Partner of the Year
Winner: Polycom Inc., United States
Finalist: Jasco, Australia
Finalist: ProtonMedia Inc., United States

Unified Communications Market Acceleration Partner of the Year
Winner: infoWAN Datenkommunikation GmbH, Germany
Finalist: CDW, United States
Finalist: Dimension Data, South Africa

Virtualization Partner of the Year
Winner: M7 Global Partners, United States
Finalist: Bechtle AG, Germany
Finalist: Citrix Systems Inc., United States

Visio Partner of the Year
Winner: Global 360, United States
Finalist: ProModel Corp., United States
Finalist: X-Visual Technologies GmbH, Germany

Volume Licensing Partner of the Year
Winner: CDW, United States
Finalist: Insight, United Kingdom
Finalist: SoftwareONE Comércio e Serviços de Informática LTDA, Brazil

Web Development Partner of the Year
Winner: Infusion, Canada
Finalist: Extend Solutions, Mexico
Finalist: NV Interactive, New Zealand

Windows Azure Platform ISV Partner of the Year
Winner: GreenButton, New Zealand
Finalist: T-Systems Multimedia Solutions, Germany

Windows Azure Platform SI Partner of the Year
Winner: Logica Business Consulting, France
Finalist: Cumulux, United States
Finalist: INFOSYS LTD., United States

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on June 23, 2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments