Stories by David Ramli

EMC overhauls partner program for 2011

Storage vendor, EMC, is preparing for a major increase in SMB resellers as it introduces big changes to its partner system for 2011. It also plans to double its channel-dedicated headcount.

AVG (ANZ) aims for 4000 resellers

Security vendor, AVG (A/NZ), has signed on 3460 resellers and is aiming for 4000 by February 2011, according to its corporate sales director, Michael Dowling.

Harvey Norman profits up, but not enough

Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) has reported a net profit from underlying business increase of 15.8 per cent to $290.04 million compared to the same period last year, but failed to reach market expectations.

JB Hifi CEO posts record profit, then quits

JB Hi-Fi CEO, Richard Uechtritz, is stepping down after announcing his company’s half-year profit jump of 29 per cent to $76 million. The result was achieved despite a tougher Christmas sales period. Uechtritz leaves the retailer in top form after 10 years at the helm, having led it through years of steady growth in profit and market share against stiff competition and the recent Global Financial Crisis. He is being replaced by COO, Terry Smart, but will return as a non-executive director by July or August. According to the JB Hi-Fi’s results, revenue rose by 23.16 per cent to $1.55 billion in the half-year ending December 31, 2009. Comparable store sales also grew strongly despite missing last year’s Government stimulus spending. “We are once again extremely pleased with this strong result, particularly the comparable store sales growth of 6.5 per cent in December,” Uechtritz said. “JB has proven very resilient throughout the economic downturn, which led to low consumer confidence and spend. “We opened new stores, expanded our offering and reduced our prices on the back of increased economies of scale and [had] a continued focus on cost.” Analyst predictions of a slowdown in Christmas sales were recently borne out by December sales figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics , which showed a drop by 0.7 per cent. Despite continuing doubts from both retail analysts and global markets, the retailer said it was on track to deliver its promise of a 20 per cent full-year revenue increase to $2.8bn. It also expects profits to rise 24-27 per cent to $117m-$120m.

Eade aims for growth in new channel role at Lenovo

Lenovo’s new channel director, Callum Eade, is pumping resources and boosting staff numbers to accelerate the vendor’s indirect strategy on the back of rebounding global profits. Eade was formerly the director of small business and consumer and began his channel role in October. “In the last eight weeks, we have hired 12 staff for channel support and infrastructure. We had that based in KL and we’ve brought it back to Sydney,” he said. “For us to have that locally means we have Australians speaking to Australians, Kiwis speaking to Kiwis. “Our highly experienced channel account executives are able to sit down with our key channel partners and really become strategic partners with our business.” The director’s comments come after Lenovo’s decision to retrench almost 3000 staff in 2009 started paying dividends. Profits have returned, with China’s domestic demand playing a major part in the rebound. Eade acknowledged Lenovo had been through tough times but said the company was looking to grow. “I’ve been mandated to hire more staff, so with the economic climate we’re in we couldn’t be in a better place. The challenge is now on me to turn that into results,” he said. “There’s no question, it’s going to be successful. “I have two new sales managers and the difference is recognising who the key partners are. Instead of having an account executive or business development manager [BDM] covering 20 resellers, the idea is we identify what their core competencies are as an SMB and we focus them at the partners we see as key to our business.” The appointment of Alan Munro as country manager following the departure of Phil Cameron was a major boon, Eade added. “Alan Munro has worked in Europe and the UK. He’s a vice-president and we’ve never had someone of that executive level running the A/NZ region,” he said. “This gives us an enormous amount of mindshare.”

Stealth is good

The Unisys Secure Private Cloud Solution is being aimed at government and enterprise customers wanting a fast and tough-to-hack option. The technology, underpinned by what Unisys calls ‘Stealth’ was initially developed for the US military. “We are protecting some of America’s most sensitive data with Stealth,” said Brett Hodgson, Unisys New Zealand managing director, at the launch of the service in New Zealand. Hodgson explained the technology “cloaks” or hides data and devices from unauthorised access and secures the data within client confined community of interest. Hodgson says benefits of the technology include protecting the confidentiality of data in motion and at rest, eliminating the need to modify applications or to web-enable them for the cloud and ease of deployment. The technology simplifies IT infrastructure and establishes a verifiable chain of custody for your data.