Stories by Vera Alves

The child actor turned IT specialist

His first name means “visionary” and can also be literally translated as “dreamer”. And that is exactly how Swapneil Diwaan likes to think of himself. Diwaan has been part of Gen-i’s procurement team since November last year and has been busy looking after about 100 of Gen-i’s corporate customers.

Adobe prepares for 'explosion of growth' in New Zealand

Adobe has announced the launch of a new channel programme, Adobe Partner Connection. The programme, officially launched this month, is a mix of local and worldwide changes and, according to Adobe ANZ managing director Paul Robson, is “tailored for New Zealand”.

TomTom GO LIVE 2050

A few months ago, TomTom’s vice president for the region, Chris Kearney, told me the New Zealand market had been a tougher one to get into because Kiwis have this idea that they know everything about their country and so they don’t need gadgets telling them where to go.

Traditional backup solutions are 'broken', says Symantec

Security vendor Symantec has announced new set of solutions to address backup problems for both small businesses and enterprises. The company says the new solution enables 100 times faster backup, as well as easing management and recovery, in case of disaster. The new product is the result of research conducted by Symantec to 1400 IT professionals worldwide, which revealed that 49 percent of them cannot meet Service Level Agreements (SLA) because of too much data. According to the company, the results show that the traditional approach to backup is broken and a new model needs to be implemented. A total of 72 percent of respondents said they would switch backup products if speed doubled. The survey also found that organisations have an average of four different backup solutions to protect physical systems, and three solutions to protect virtual systems. “Today, Symantec unveils a radical new plan to modernise data protection that will drive out 80 percent of the operating costs associated with backup over the next five years,” says Deepak Mohan, senior vice president of Symantec’s Information Management Group. “Symantec is announcing a new set of solutions that address the problems in backup – from the most complex of enterprise data centres requiring a true tiered-recovery strategy to the smallest business that needs the confidence that they can easily recover their data.”

Ingram Micro and Express Data get bigger slice of Microsoft

Microsoft has selected Ingram Micro as its Value Added Distributor (VAD) for virtualisation and Express Data as VAD for Unified Communications in New Zealand. The two distributors were selected after the vendor sent out an RFI to distributors in the country, as part of a worldwide VAD programme. “The key is for distributors to increase the amount of resources and technical capabilities,” explains Ingram Micro general manager for Vendor Management and Marketing Scott Cowen. “We increased those.” Cowen says that Microsoft virtualisation resellers working with Ingram Micro will now benefit from extra training, roadshows, sales and technical presentations, along with other things. “We have a larger dedicated Microsoft team, with a couple of new staff hires.” For Cowen, the VAD recognition from Microsoft comes also from the fact that the distributor has been working strongly in the virtualisation market, not only with Microsoft but also with VMware, HP and IBM servers. “A lot of [this] is what we were doing already,” he says, adding that, in spite of that, they have brought in additional resources. Cowen says the Microsoft team at Ingram Micro is also working alongside regional resellers, “the ones outside tier 1, who rely more on the distributor”. General Manager of Express Data Paul Plester also believes the extension of the distributor’s partnership with Microsoft, through the VAD of UC stamp, comes from Express Data “very long experience with networking and unified communications”. “Our resellers will be able to leverage that,” he adds. “We do thousands and thousands of phones every year,” says Plester, adding that the distributor is adding products such as Aastra and Plantronics to complement its Microsoft Lync offer in the UC area. “We are now a one-stop shop for Microsoft Lync requirements and we encourage Microsoft resellers to encourage those who used to be instant messaging customers to migrate to Lync. Once they see it, it takes off by itself,” adds the GM. Like Ingram Micro, Express Data has also added extra training and more staff through its VAD certification from Microsoft. “We are very comfortable with our channel partners,” says Plester, optimistic about the value of the new programme. “We have been working with Provoke and Kordia (who sells the only Lync certified network in New Zealand. It has got very good momentum,” he adds. Ingram Micro is hitting the road with its roadshow focused on HP Infrastructure and Microsoft Lync and System Centre from February 21 to March 8. Cowen says he expects to get good feedback from resellers as the company travels the country with the roadshow.

Endace eyeing US for growth

New Zealand-based vendor of network monitoring and recording products Endace has hired former Juniper VP Spencer Greene to head a new team the company is setting up in San Francisco, US.

Juniper turns new leaf with resellers

Juniper Networks says it hasn’t been paying enough attention to partners and 2012 is the year to change that. The company had its first global partner conference in Las Vegas last month where it announced a range of new initiatives being rolled out to its worldwide network of partners over the next few months.

2012: Year of the reseller as managed service provider

Ian Funnell, general manager for IT solutions provider CodeBlue, says his company has always been a managed services provider more than a reseller. And that is the direction he believes all resllers must take if they are going to evolve. Not only should resellers think of themselves as delivering services, but they should develop relationships with their customers to become the authority in IT implementation. “CodeBlue was started seven years ago specifically to deliver managed infrastructure services,” Funnell says. “This is what we do and is absolutely the way of the future. We have never referred to ourselves as a reseller because we see our relationship with our clients as partnerships building their IT strategy. The technology comes second.” According to Funnell, the company takes “an agnostic approach to technology” and that no particular IT trend is going to answer all of a customer's needs. “The cloud is such an example," Funnell says. "Some businesses it suits, some it doesn’t: our approach is to fit the right technology to our clients’ business requirements." As with many others in the channel, Funnell sees the role of the reseller as the trusted advisor. This mindset seems to have been working for CodeBlue. Last year, the company launched its “virtual CIO” initiative, “to deliver to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) the considerable cost savings and business advantages that dedicated CIOs bring to very large companies,” as Funnell described it at the time. “2011 was a huge year for CodeBlue,” he says. “We have seen a real uptake in cloud services and we have experienced growth in every one of our seven branches across the country. Staff numbers now exceed 80.” Funnell expects the growth trend to continue in 2012. We have a greater depth of skills and experience now, and have introduced some new services that we believe will gain more uptake,” he says, citing the “virtual CIO” initiative as an example. Funnell says the new service is “generating a lot of interest”.

A big year ahead for Craig Richardson and Jade Software

2012 has only just started and it is already shaping up to be a big year for Jade Software. The company, as managing director Craig Richardson explains, is two years into a three-year transformation process that will ultimately see them focusing “more on products rather than systems and processes”.

2012: Year of the reseller testing new waters

Gore-based Southern IT was started in 2009 by Glen Perkins. He says that because he started his business during the recession, he still does not know what a normal year would have ended like. As it stands, with the global financial crisis still impacted business all over the world, Perkins says 2011 was still a great year to be in the technology business.

2012: The year of the lean channel

Simms’ managing director Paul Johnston says 2012 will be “a very busy period” for the company. Simms will continue to build up on the vendor partnerships it started in 2011 and there is also the possibility of adding more vendors to its portfolio of products.