Stories by Phil Parent

Know-how, can-do

If you’re selling complex ICT solutions, you should have distributor, vendor or your own internal pre-sales solution architects on your speed-dialler. “The sooner you get a solution architect into the sales process the better,” says Jeff Maslin, senior business manager, infrastructure - servers and storage at Ingram Micro. “A good business development manager or account manager should waste no time and bring the solution architect into the conversation early. If you don’t, and if you don’t have the in-depth experience in the products and context to get it right the first time, you’ll run the risk of not delivering the best solution, losing business and damaging reputations - yours, your company’s and the vendor’s.”

Biting into the almost free lunch

If you have a well-thought-out marketing initiative, one than includes a specific activity, a budget, a realistic return on investment and a method for quantifying the results — then there are market development resources available from vendors to help you achieve your goals.

Feeling the need for speed

Considering the costs of hardware, network management software and the skills and expertise required to build secure and scalable enterprise networks, especially today’s hybrid wired, wireless, virtualised and ‘in the cloud’ configurations, the costs of internet connectivity are relatively modest. And, on top of that, there are at least a thousand different plans offered by more than a hundred locally-based internet service providers (ISPs).

Managing the virtual network: Challenges and opportunities

Network management is a moving target. The task is made more complex if the network is distributed amongst in-house, remote and ‘in the cloud’ infrastructure. And then, on top of that, you have virtualised servers and desktops that don’t increase the hardware footprint but increase the number of available services. But while the network management tasks become more demanding, more organisations are looking to cut costs and rationalise resources. So you have the same old story…network managers are being asked to do more with less.

Spoilt for choice

The New Zealand datacentre marketplace has matured with a number of providers now offering a wide range of datacentre products and services. For resellers, this means that, regardless of your customer’s requirements, you can help them select the right datacentre, or mix of datacentre services, for them to store their data and/or host their applications. The benefit for your customers is that they can decrease their reliance on in-house ICT resources, focus on running their businesses and perhaps even reduce their overall ICT costs. The benefit for resellers, of course, is that you can increase your revenue streams by offering value-added services such as consulting, remote management or service aggregation.

Bring your own device, store your (big) data elsewhere

2012…the year that BYOD and big data moved onto centre stage, virtualisation and IaaS (and all the other cloud/datacentre-based ‘XaaS’ acronyms) firmly established themselves as mainstream, the UFB rollout began to build momentum and, as usual, distributors and vendors rearranged their relationships to tap into new and existing opportunities. But business as usual sees both good and bad. UFB infrastructure provider Huawei came under a cloud of suspicion due to their ties with the Chinese government, Maclean Computing abruptly filed for liquidation in July and Renaissance, a major player for years, dropped out of the scene. Yet in spite of a sluggish economy, both internationally and domestically, the IT industry not only held its own but recorded significant growth...according to October’s Technology Investment Network’s TIN100 report, “companies in the ICT sector grew their revenue by 9 percent, as opposed to manufacturing which grew at a near flat .1 percent.”

Tablets: An important piece in the desktop replacement puzzle

With all of the ink and trees (or bits and bytes) expended on ‘desktop replacements’ the question has to be asked: will any one device replace the desktop PC? The answer, of course, is no. The desktop PC has been with us for some three decades and has reinvented itself from a very basic tool for personal word processing and spreadsheets to the primary hub around which every other bit of hardware and software revolves. However, that role is changing as more and more devices - smartphones, tablets and laptops - are taking over more and more of the tasks that were once the exclusive domain of the desktop.

The BYOD magic bullets

With the uptake of mobile IT, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and cloud computing, what are the prospects for a virtualised device as a viable solution to the problems of effectively managing devices?

What do ya know? The state of business intelligence

Business intelligence is morphing from a big ticket, long sales cycle, ‘nice to have’ solution for large, data- and cash-rich enterprises into a pervasive technology that can be used advantageously within mid-sized Kiwi organisations by upper-level management, operational managers, production staff, suppliers and customers.

2011: Head in the clouds, feet on the ground

2011 has been notable because, in spite of the so-called global financial crisis, the New Zealand IT business has been ticking along quite nicely. New Zealand technology companies had a five percent increase in revenue in 2011 and passed the $7 billion revenue mark for the first time, according to the Technology Investment Network (TIN). The technology sector is now New Zealand’s second largest exporter, behind dairy. On top of that, a Market Measures survey of 158 domestic technology firms, released in October, found that companies that sell direct miss out on the growth potential provided by distributor and reseller channels.

2010 in review: Industry gears for positive change

This year was all about consolidation. We saw mergers, restructures, a few receiverships and lots of people shifting companies and roles, all in a slowly recovering economy. On the one hand, the high dollar kept IT imports affordable, while on the other, the GST rise slowed growth. The IT game itself was fairly steady.

Year in Review: The pace of change in 2008

An election, a recession and currency fluctuations are enough to cause most market sectors to take a breather. Not so in ICT. It’s a compliment to our industry that it can weather the extremes. Business makes the world go round and today’s businesses run on servers, storage, networks, applications along with the services to install, support and upgrade them. There are lots of success stories out there about businesses using IT to differentiate themselves.

Channel challenges for the courageous: 1997-2007

Ten years is a long time in anybody’s book. Though in the IT industry 10 years is an eternity. In 1997 you used a mobile phone that looked like a brick to make calls. You took pictures with a camera and shot videos using a video camera. Email – if you used it then – was accessed from your 486 PC.

Queenstown's Digital 7 star still on the rise

Good technical people, a focus on service and the ability to differentiate your company from the competition is a recipe for reseller success regardless of size. Queenstown-based Digital 7 has achieved steady growth in a hyper-competitive market over the last four years by doing the basics right.