Technology Reseller v66

IN PRINT & ONLINE v66 · 2023 THE MAGAZINE & ONLINE CHANNEL RESOURCE FOR MSPS, IT RESELLERS & IT SUPPORT PROVIDERS PAGE 39 INTERVIEW STOrAGE VOX POP PAGE 20 PAGE 30 Is the channel too cautious for its own good? Terry O’Brien on Giacom’s partnership with Sky Business Wholesale How software ushered in a new age of data storage January 01 m BH: UK 02 t BH: Scot 03 w 04 t BH: Scot 05 f 06 s 07 s 08 m week 2 09 t 10 w 11 t 12 f 13 s 14 s 15 m week 3 16 t 17 w 18 t 19 f 20 s 21 s 22 m week 4 23 t 24 w 25 t 26 f 27 s 28 s 29 m week 5 30 t 31 w 01 t 02 f 03 s 04 s 05 m 06 t February 29 m 30 t 31 w 01 t 02 f 03 s 04 s 05 m week 6 06 t 07 w 08 t 09 f 10 s 11 s 12 m week 7 13 t 14 w 15 t 16 f 17 s 18 s 19 m week 8 20 t 21 w 22 t 23 f 24 s 25 s 26 m week 9 27 t 28 w 29 t 01 f 02 s 03 s 04 m 05 t March 26 m 27 t 28 w 29 t 01 f 02 s 03 s 04 m week 10 05 t 06 w 07 t 08 f 09 s 10 s 11 m week 11 12 t 13 w 14 t 15 f 16 s 17 s 18 m 19 t 20 w 21 t 22 f 23 s 24 s 25 m week 13 26 t 27 w 28 t 29 f Good Friday 30 s 31 s 01 m 02 t April 01 m 02 t 03 w 04 t 05 f 06 s 07 s 08 m week 15 09 t 10 w 11 t 12 f 13 s 14 s 15 m week 15 16 t 17 w 18 t 19 f 20 s 21 s 22 m week 17 23 t 24 w 25 t 26 f 27 s 28 s 29 m week 18 30 t 01 w 02 t 03 f 04 s 05 s 06 m 07 t May 29 m 30 t 01 w 02 t 03 f 04 s 05 s 06 m 07 t 08 w 09 t 10 f 11 s 12 s 13 m week 20 14 t 15 w 16 t 17 f 18 s 19 s 20 m week 21 21 t 22 w 23 t 24 f 25 s 26 s 27 m 28 t 29 w 30 t 31 f 01 s 02 s 03 m 04 t June 27 m 28 t 29 w 30 t 31 f 01 s 02 s 03 m week 23 04 t 05 w 06 t 07 f 08 s 09 s 10 m week 24 11 t 12 w 13 t 14 f 15 s 16 s 17 m week 25 18 t 19 w 20 t 21 f 22 s 23 s 24 m week 26 25 t 26 w 27 t 28 f 29 s 30 s 01 m 02 t July 01 m week 27 02 t 03 w 04 t 05 f 06 s 07 s 08 m week 28 09 t 10 w 11 t 12 f BH: NI 13 s 14 s 15 m week 29 16 t 17 w 18 t 19 f 20 s 21 s 22 m week 30 23 t 24 w 25 t 26 f 27 s 28 s 29 m week 31 30 t 31 w 01 t 02 f 03 s 04 s 05 m 06 t August 29 m 30 t 31 w 01 t 02 f 03 s 04 s 05 m 06 t 07 w 08 t 09 f 10 s 11 s 12 m week 33 13 t 14 w 15 t 16 f 17 s 18 s 19 m week 34 20 t 21 w 22 t 23 f 24 s 25 s 26 m 27 t 28 w 29 t 30 f 31 s 01 s 02 m 03 t September 26 m 27 t 28 w 29 t 30 f 31 s 01 s 02 m week 36 03 t 04 w 05 t 06 f 07 s 08 s 09 m week 37 10 t 11 w 12 t 13 f 14 s 15 s 16 m week 38 17 t 18 w 19 t 20 f 21 s 22 s 23 m week 39 24 t 25 w 26 t 27 f 28 s 29 s 30 m week 40 01 t October 30 m 01 t 02 w 03 t 04 f 05 s 06 s 07 m week 41 08 t 09 w 10 t 11 f 12 s 13 s 14 m week 42 15 t 16 w 17 t 18 f 19 s 20 s 21 m week 43 22 t 23 w 24 t 25 f 26 s 27 s 28 m week 44 29 t 30 w 31 t 01 f 02 s 03 s 04 m 05 t November 28 m 29 t 30 w 31 t 01 f 02 s 03 s 04 m week 45 05 t 06 w 07 t 08 f 09 s 10 s 11 m week 46 12 t 13 w 14 t 15 f 16 s 17 s 18 m week 47 19 t 20 w 21 t 22 f 23 s 24 s 25 m week 48 26 t 27 w 28 t 29 f BH: Scot 30 s 01 s 02 m 03 t December 25 m 26 t 27 w 28 t 29 f 30 s 01 s 02 m 03 t 04 w 05 t 06 f 07 s 08 s 09 m week 50 10 t 11 w 12 t 13 f 14 s 15 s 16 m week 51 17 t 18 w 19 t 20 f 21 s 22 s 23 m week 52 24 t 25 w Christmas Day 26 t Boxing Day 27 f 28 s 29 s 30 m week 1 31 t BH:UK week 19 BH:NI week 12 BH: Scot week 32 BH: Scot week 49 BH:UK week 22 BH:UK week 35 One year to the Big Switch Off Printed on environmentally responsible paper. Produced by Sales 020 7501 3333 • Partner Service 020 7501 3150 • Innovative • Flexible • Reliable • Supportive • Cost Effective 2025 Big Switch Off Get ahead of the great migration 2024 planner Contact Sales: 020 7501 3333 Partners: 020 7501 3150 Support: 020 7501 3030 Email: [email protected] FireSwitch® Hosted PBX 2.2 Migrate to next generation hosted telephony Private and Secure IoT Connectivity Powered by CLOUD MOBILE FIXED LINE ® Get your free Spitfire 2024 Wall Planner inside

AD Telecoms and IP Engineering Solutions for Business since 1988 Innovative • Flexible • Reliable • Supportive • Cost Effective Sales 020 7501 3333 • Partner Services 020 7501 3150 fireswitch Our latest fully featured hosted VoIP telephone system, with mobile and desktop softphones, has been designed with your freedom in mind. So users can work from anywhere. It’s highly scalable and resilient, providing an online management portal, call recording and business analytics, making system monitoring and management easier than ever. Connecting people and sites together with next generation communication ... why wouldn’t you? Introducing FireSwitch If you could work from anywhere, why wouldn’t you? Next Generation Hosted Telephony Key Features Softphone Call Recording Reporting Management Portal Inbuilt Call Resiliency 03 If you no longer wish to receive Technology Reseller magazine please email your details to [email protected] COMMENT This is Technology Reseller’s last issue of 2023. What a year it’s been. Business is never easy when uncertainty reigns and this year unpredictability has been a constant all around the world. The UK managed to avoid a recession, but growth has been negligible thanks to a cost of living crisis driven by high energy costs, rising prices and high interest rates. Businesses have also had to grapple with rising wages compounded by the ongoing skills crisis. I have no doubt that readers of Technology Reseller will have helped clients negotiate many of these challenges through the smarter use of technology. This month, we are launching the Technology Reseller Awards 2024 and, as one of the judges, I look forward to reading about how you have met the needs of your customers over the last 12 months and how you (and your colleagues) have done great things in your business, whether that that is in terms of revenue growth, innovation, sustainability, DEI or any other initiative. You can see a full list of award categories on pages 34 and 35 with details of how to enter. The deadline for online entries is March 15, but the earlier you get started the better – especially if you are entering more than one category. Please also take the time to vote for those distributors that you feel have helped you most in the last year. In difficult times it can be tempting to cut back on investment. Our recent visit to Exertis’s National Distribution Centre in Burnley Bridge demonstrates the value of investing in technology as a platform for future growth (see report starting on page 8). Exertis is also a great example of a business that is able to survive shocks to the market by having a diversified offering. This is true not just of the company’s distribution portfolio but also the business interests of the wider DCC Group. Our interview with ManageEngine (page 22) highlights the possibilities for business growth even when customers or potential customers prioritise affordability and cost-cutting. The enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation might be registering weaker buying signals from prospects, but it also benefiting from growing demand from businesses looking to move from expensive solutions to something more affordable and easy to use. All that it remains for me to do, on behalf of everyone here at Kingswood Media, is to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. James Goulding – Editor, [email protected] Technology Reseller is published by Kingswood Media Ltd., 10 Amherst House, 22 London Road, Sevenoaks TN13 2BT • Tel: 01732 759725 Email: [email protected] No part of Technology Reseller can be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. © 2023 Kingswood Media Ltd. Design: Sandtiger Media v66 · 2023 Comment Register online To receive your regular FREE printed copy of Technology Reseller Magazine simply fill in our online registration form at Read Technology Reseller online, on tablets and smart phones Join us : Follow us technology-reseller-magazine Editor: James Goulding 07803 087228 · [email protected] Publishing Director, Social Media and Web Editor: Neil Trim 01732 759725 · [email protected] Advertising Director: Ethan White 01732 759725 · [email protected] Account Manager: Jeff Root 01732 759725 · [email protected] Art Director: Nick Pledge 07767 615983 · [email protected] ISSN 2632-9301 (Print) ISSN 2632-931X (Online) 04 News Brother calls for smarter meetings 08 Distribution Technology Reseller visits the Exertis National Distribution Centre in Burnley Bridge 12 Distribution News IT sales through distribution to return to growth in 2024 14 Working Together This month’s round-up of new distribution agreements 18 Cover Story Spitfire’s One Network a platform for growth 20 Interview Technology Reseller talks to Terry O’Brien and Damian Saunders about Giacom’s partnership with Sky Business Wholesale 22 IT management ManageEngine pursues growth with enhanced offering 24 Reseller news NG Bailey opens 5G Lab at Leeds HQ 26 AV Econocom targets AV growth with launch of new brand 28 60 seconds with… Ronan McCurtin, VicePresident Sales for EMEA at Acronis 30 Data storage How software is reshaping the data storage market 34 Technology Reseller Awards 2024 What you need to know 36 Sustainability How to consume IT in a more responsible way 39 Vox pop Is the channel too cautious for its own good? 42 People New faces, new places AWARDS 20 24 Royal Lancaster Hotel London Thursday 23rd May 2024

01732 759725 04 NEWS Majority home working down 50% Analysis from JLL, a global commercial real estate and investment management company, shows that the proportion of employees working fully remotely or attending the office just 1-2 days per week has fallen from 39% last year to 20% this year. Its Is hybrid really working? report reveals that 87% of international organisations are encouraging employees to return to the office, with one third now making attendance compulsory on particular weekdays. Take-up varies across Europe, with staff in France and Belgium spending an average of 3.5 days per week in the office and staff in the UK spending just 2.2 days in the office. Overall, in H1 2023, 79% of employees globally were in the office more than three days a week, compared to 51% in H1 2022. ······ Time to drop hybrid Over half (51%) of AV professionals believe it’s time to drop ‘hybrid’ from ‘hybrid work’ and just call it ‘work’. That’s according to Kinly’s Trusted Connections 2023 report, which surveyed 150 UK-based AV professionals, nearly two thirds (59%) of whom do the majority of their work from home, with 12% working completely remotely. ······ IT pros AI fears Less than half (44%) of IT professionals have a positive view of AI tools, according to new research from SolarWinds, with one in four believing they will eventually pose a threat to society and 48% advocating stricter regulations. Even so, 28% are currently using AI tools to help with their work, with a further 28% planning to invest in AI tools. Sascha Giese, Tech Evangelist at SolarWinds, said: “The buzz around AI, particularly generative AI, is grabbing the attention of business leaders. There are clear opportunities to reduce costs, create new product lines or enrich existing offerings. While this enthusiasm from the C-suite is great for increasing IT budgets, it’s understandable certain reservations persist among IT professionals – particularly when it comes to AI replacing their key daily tasks. “Properly regulated AI deployments will benefit employees, customers and the broader workforce. But it needs buy-in from the right people. Transparency over AI concerns and a collaborative, open discussion between business leaders and IT teams is key. Until then, we will continue to see a cautious, ‘wait and see’ approach from IT teams slowing the adoption of these revolutionary tools.” ······ Zero power digital art winners London-based art collective C-LAB and Italian student Giacomo Erba have been named as winners of the inaugural PPDS MUSE Digital Art Award at the world’s first ‘zero power’ digital art exhibition in the Fabbrica del Vapore cultural centre in Milan. Supported by Italy’s National Museum of Digital Art (MNDA), the competition invited artists from around the world to visualise challenges posed by the global ecological and climate crisis and to inspire a better future. Twenty short-listed artworks from 200 submissions were displayed on 25in Philips Tableaux ePaper displays in full colour without using a single kilowatt of electricity. As overall winners, C-LAB received €3,000 in cash and a Philips Tableaux NEWS continued... Brother calls for smarter meetings Cut the small talk to boost productivity is the unambiguous message from UK workers surveyed by Brother UK as part of its Meaningful Meeting Manifesto campaign. More than half of the 2,000 whitecollar workers polled complain they attend too many unengaging and poorly structured meetings (53%) and spend too much time on calls and catch-ups that are a drain on their productivity (55%). A similar proportion (57%) say they only attend one useful meeting a week. Four out of five (81%) believe they could get just as much done in shorter meetings and catch-ups by eliminating time wasted by waffling colleagues (59%), small talk (48%), late-joiners (31%) and people not paying attention (31%). More than one third (43%) are convinced colleagues try and do other work during meetings. When it comes to the pre-requisites of a productive meeting, 88% agreed that timekeeping is important, followed by keeping to a strict agenda (78%), circulating actions notes (74%), putting laptops and phones away (73%) and keeping cameras on if virtual (61%). Two thirds (67%) believe face-to-face meetings are more productive than virtual meetings (24%). Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director of Brother UK, says that meetings are still important for corporate culture, problemsolving, building relationships and developing new customers, but believes many could be shorter. He said: “Our findings also uncovered that meetings that overrun and waste time have a negative impact on morale and attitudes at work. Half of respondents (54%) admitted that they feel frustrated, with 27% feeling demotivated and 25% going as far as to say they think less of their colleagues. Greater consideration of time, place and how to better facilitate calls and catchups will help nurture more productive meetings.” photo: BraunS vis iStock 05 NEWS Things are looking up A better way to look at connectivity. Sky Products and services subject to availability and location. Scan to find out more.

01732 759725 06 NEWS ePaper display for Living Dead — On the Trail of a Female by Laura Cinti in collaboration with Debbie Jewitt and Howard Boland. Giacomo Erba, a Milanborn 22-year-old visual artist attending the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, won the MUSE Student Award for ‘Gneiss/3 ore/°1200°, 2022, Digital photography’. Last month PPDS announced the launch in early 2024 of a 32in (16:9) Philips Tableaux ePaper display that can be used standalone or as part of a network of displays managed and updated remotely using the PPDS Wave cloud platform or third party solutions. ······ Smart patches Avery Dennison, a materials science and digital identification solutions company, has highlighted the opportunities in digitally enabled clothing through its partnership with the San Francisco 49ers. In its capacity as the Official Cutting Edge Embellishment Partner of the American football team, Avery Denison and San Francisco 49ers marquee sponsor Levi Strauss & Co jointly developed an NFC chip-enabled iron-on patch to commemorate the team’s first 10 seasons at Levi’s Stadium. This NFC-enabled patch, included in season ticket-holder gift boxes, can be activated by a single tap from any smartphone. Doing so unlocks a video message from General Manager John Lynch thanking fans for their support and showcasing highlights from the past ten seasons. Steve Mason, Vice President & General Manager of Embelex, Avery Dennison, said: “Fan engagement opportunities are at the core of any professional sports team. Avery Dennison prides itself on our Digital Solutions which connect the physical Embelex product with our digital capabilities. In a competitive landscape such as professional sports we anticipate further adoption of these 1-to-1 fan engagements and new lines of communication to open. The possibilities are endless.” ······ AI alright for some Office workers are six times more likely to believe generative AI benefits employers rather than employees, according to new research by Ivanti. Its Getting Employees on Board for the AI Revolution Report reveals high levels of concern about the impact of advanced AI, particularly among IT workers who fear that AI will poach their jobs and increase their employers’ bottom line at their expense. More than one third (36%) of IT workers are very concerned that generative AI tools will take their jobs in the next five years – 17 points higher than office workers. ······ AI course for business leaders As AI technology evolves at a rapid rate, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI has launched a four-week, 14hour online course designed to provide business leaders with the practical skills needed to use AI responsibly within their organisations. Driving Value from AI from The Data Lab addresses the primary questions leaders have about AI in an entirely non-technical way, bringing together insights from practitioners across Scotland with expert guidance from Strategy Advisor and Coach Craig Paterson. The Data Lab is offering a 50% discount to anyone who registers for the course before December 22 using the code: EARLYBIRD50. driving-value-from-ai. Your AI guide: Craig Paterson, Executive Education Advisor ······ Too busy to care The buzz of notifications, reminders and messages from multiple platforms and communication channels is reducing productivity and leading to a decline in engagement with cybersecurity training, warns CybSafe, a provider of cloud-based software to improve people’s security decisions and behaviours. Its survey of 1,000 office workers found that 54% ignore cybersecurity alerts and warnings, with 47% admitting that information overload is having an impact on their ability to identify threats such as suspicious emails. Almost three quarters (72%) say they are occasionally overwhelmed by the amount of information and communications they get at work. This extends to cybersecurity training, with 41% complaining that there is too much information to retain and use. Just 23% feel engaged with their cybersecurity training. ······ Web3 skills in demand The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is reporting a clear shift towards the prioritisation of cutting-edge technologies in recruitment. The new Corporate Recruiters Survey shows that amongst global firms looking for tech skills in graduates, 80% want expertise in Web3, blockchain and virtual reality; 75% are seeking proficiency in operating cloud-based technology; and 74% are looking for competency in AI and Machine Learning. Overall, the most essential skills for graduates are communication, data analysis and strategy expertise, with growing demand for multilingualism, active listening and cross-cultural competence. The GMAC is a global association of graduate business schools. continued... True cybercrime stories BT Business aims to put cyber security front of mind with the launch of a five-part podcast highlighting the remarkable true stories behind some of the world’s most high-profile cyber-attacks including the casino that was hacked via its fish tank. Available on Spotify or Apple, True Cybercrime Stories by BT is narrated by Adrian Lester, star of The Undeclared War. He said: “Truth is so often stranger than fiction, and in the dark underbelly of cybercrime that adage certainly rings true. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed recreating these tales with BT, and while not every business will have a fish tank that can be hacked, I’m sure all listeners will take away some valuable lessons to stop them getting caught out.” 07 NEWS You ain’t seen nothing yet Data volumes in a typical organisation have increased by 42% over the last 18 months and are projected to rise by more than 700% in the next five years, claims Rubrik Zero Labs in its research report The State of Data Security: The Journey to Secure an Uncertain Future. Recent growth has been driven by big increases in data generated by SaaS and the cloud, up 145% and 73% respectively, compared to data growth of 20% from onpremises systems. The Zero Trust data security company warns that UK businesses are ill-prepared for this data explosion, with 66% of IT and security leaders reporting that current data growth is outpacing their ability to secure data and mitigate risk and 98% already experiencing significant data visibility challenges. ······ False positives still a right pain False positives, when systems are flagged as having problems when none exist, have been revealed as the biggest frustration for IT administrators for the second year in a row. In a survey by IT monitoring experts Paessler AG, 40% of IT admins cited this as a frustration (up from 34% last year), ahead of notification noise (34%) and automation challenges (31%). Other frustrations include management reporting (23%), making my work visible (19%) and missing access rights (8%). Martin Hodgson, Director Northern Europe at Paessler AG, said: “IT teams often grapple with recurring challenges, where issues may seem amiss but turn out to be false alarms. This can take a toll on business, incurring costs, downtime and productivity losses. Getting a better understanding of crucial areas that demand attention avoids the fruitless pursuits in search of non-existent problems.” Half (52%) of IT admins in the UK view cloud adoption as their main challenge for the next 2 to 3 years; 45% cite extra pressure to maintain a resilient IT infrastructure in an age of hybrid working and cybercrime; and 18% reference AI. Paessler has announced the launch of the Qbilon observability platform in the UK, following its acquisition of the company a few months ago. Qbilon gives IT staff in medium-sized and large enterprises greater visibility of their IT systems and the interconnections between them by automatically capturing and analysing data and optimising hybrid IT landscapes, thus reducing the time IT teams spend on capturing IT data, troubleshooting and firefighting. ······ Nine out of 10 CTOs… Nine out of 10 CTOs see technical debt as their biggest challenge heading into 2024, reveals new research by IT services and consulting company STX Next, followed by capacity (68%) and security (62%). The 500 CTOs surveyed for STX Next’s 2023 Global CTO Survey also highlight lack of budget (52%) and employee retention (42%) as major challenges. MSP tools n ConnectWise has announced several enhancements to its suite of cybersecurity management solutions for IT solution providers (TSPs). These include new workflow orchestration and robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities within the ConnectWise SaaS Security workflow engine, enabling cybersecurity engineers to eliminate manual tasks through configurable triggers and actions; enhanced alerting within ConnectWise SIEM solutions to make it clear which incidents are a priority and which are irrelevant, saving investigation and triage time; and expanded SIEM monitoring, alerting and incident response for Microsoft 365 environments with pre-built dashboards offering out-of-the-box event notifications and investigations. n Kaseya is extending its TruPeer programme to MSPs in the UK, Ireland, Benelux, the Nordics and Germany. Combining the benefits of a traditional industry peer group with training and mentoring, the programme has 400 members in the US where it has been running since 2021 and where members typically command an average seat price 20%-30% higher than the industry average. The TruPeer EMEA programme is being run by former MSP and TruPeer member Oliver Mackley. He said: “When I joined the programme as an MSP, it changed my life. We were able to service our clients more strategically. Within 18 months, we had halved the number of support tickets. At the end of the first year, our net profit had grown to 17% (after a fair market salary for both owners) and for the following three years it was well over 20%. I want to share this amazing experience with other MSPs.” n N-able, a provider of RMM, data protection-as-a-service and security solutions for IT service providers, has enhanced its Cove Data Protection platform with an extra layer of protection against data loss for Microsoft Teams, including backup and recovery of teams, members, settings and files. MSPs and internal IT organisations can now manage Microsoft 365 backups and recoveries from the same unified dashboard as servers and workstations, protecting critical data stored in Microsoft 365 Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint and now Teams with one integrated solution. Backups are fully automated and performed several times a day. More than 6,000 N-able partners utilise Cove Data Protection to help prevent data loss across more than 58,000 customer domains.

01732 759725 08 DISTRIBUTION products acquired through Exertis. While dropship might be a small part of the distributor’s existing business it is a good example of how the company is investing in and expanding its operations in response to changes in the way people buy and sell products, epitomised by the rise of stock-less e-tailers with extended product portfolios and growing demand from vendors to be able to reach customers through direct-to-consumer platforms. These demands clearly require very different capabilities to those provided by the traditional distribution model in which a distributor takes a vendor’s product and ships it to resellers/retailers who then service the end user. So that it can continue to provide ‘reach, simplification and leverage’ for partners in this new distribution landscape, Exertis has invested £5 million in a selfserve e-commerce platform with better integration, ease of use, pricing and product breadth. The platform is already being used by 40% of Exertis’s B2B customers and is enjoying sales growth of 400%. The technology behind the platform also empowers vendors to sell directly to end user customers, with dropship carried out by Exertis. Exertis UK Chief Executive Tim Griffin points out that as well as better serving the needs of customers, this enables vendors to discover more about their customers. “One of the challenges that vendors have in a world where they are disintermediated, either through a retailer or through an e-commerce platform, is that they don’t know who their end user customers are. Enabling them to have their own direct-to-consumer websites lets us feed back data on their customers, which they then own.” To make the most of its new systems and services and to provide capacity for future growth, Exertis has invested £25 million in automation at its Burnley Bridge NDC, including a four-storey Pick Tower for the faster picking and packing of orders. Described by Griffin as ‘the jewel in the crown’ of its £90 million distribution centre, the Pick Tower gives retailers and resellers the ability to consolidate multiple items, including hardware and software products, in the same package and, in doing so, differentiate themselves in a competitive market through the dynamic bundling of products. Referencing Exertis Ztorm, a digital distributor of gaming and software online and via gift cards, Chief Portfolio Officer Phil Turner adds: “We have the asset base and the portfolio base within our business to enables us to put hardware and software together. That’s key for us. We are about to go live with a digital bundle Next-day delivery is one of the wonders of modern life, and one that it is all too easy to take for granted. In fact, many different processes – supported by a great deal of investment – are involved from the moment the customer goes online and clicks ‘buy’ to the point the courier places the package in their hands the following day. Exertis, the UK brand of technology distributor DCC Technology, one of three divisions of the £22 billion turnover DCC Group, has made multi-million-pound investments in a new SAP system (now fully functioning, with all teething problems resolved), an e-commerce platform and warehouse automation to enable it to deliver items to end user customers on behalf of its clients, known as dropship, with a successful e-commerce next-day delivery rate of 99.56%. With 1.8 million orders to 1.3 million homes, generating £212 million in annual revenue, dropship currently makes up around 10% of the 17 million units shipped annually from the NDC. However, this side of the business has been growing fast – at around 25% – and Exertis expects volumes to double in 2024 as it forms new partnerships with vendors and retailers. Changing expectations Next day ‘dropship’ on behalf of Exertis customers such as AO, Argos, The Very Group, Ebuyer, Microsoft Store and John Lewis & Partners is just one of the services provided by the company’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Burnley Bridge, alongside bulk deliveries to resellers’ and retailers’ own distribution centres (DCs) and fulfilment centres (FCs), plus third party logistics (3PL) services like returns processing for vendors and resellers (including a used device collection and resale service for large estate technology upgrades). There is also a Vendor Flex option, which allows businesses like Amazon, for example, to run their own warehouse operations within the NDC to shorten their supply chains and accelerate time to market for Huge investment in its National Distribution Centre in Burnley Bridge is enabling Exertis to offer retailers, resellers and vendors an expanded range of services including dropship direct to end user customers In the fast lane 09 DISTRIBUTION Continued... product. We can also do added-value services in terms of asset tagging, memory upgrades, Autopilot and imaging for our customers,” explains Chief Logistics Officer Sion Wineyard. The warehouse operates seven days a week, on a 24-hour basis from Monday to Friday. It has a permanent workforce of 330, supported by temporary workers who swell the workforce to 650 during the busiest times of the year. To minimise its carbon footprint, Exertis has installed energy-saving, motionactivated LED lighting; 14 EV chargers for use by Exertis, staff and visitors; and a 65,000 square foot array of 3,000 solar panels on the roof. This generates 40% of the NDC’s annual electricity consumption, enough to power 210 homes for a year, with any excess exported to the national grid. The array reduces Exertis’s carbon emissions by 450 tonnes per year, adding up to 11,000 tonnes over the array’s 25year lifespan. Attention to detail Everything about the NDC is on a very large scale, but its operational excellence is based on attention to the minutest detail. This includes breaking down its core activities – receipt, processing and despatch – into distinct steps. On an average day, these add up to 50,000 individual tasks, giving each worker 130 to complete per shift. Or, as Wineyard put it, “50,000 is the number of steps in our dance”. The 24-hour day is broken down into three periods of eight hours: Receipt (6am to 2pm); Processing & Despatch (2pm to 10pm); and Stock Replenishment and Retailer Fulfilment (10pm to 6am). On an average day, 90 articulated lorries will deliver 650 pallets and 550 SKUs to the NDC (rising to 1,300 pallets and 800 SKUs in the October/November peak), followed by 100 collections by Pallex (for pallets) and couriers (for packages). The 32 aisles of warehouse racking, each 100 metres long and 16 metres high, can accommodate 31,000 pallets. Workers pick stock using 42 low-level order pickers and 16 VNA (very narrow aisle) trucks that can reach items on the top tiers of racking. Pick Tower The size of the NDC warehouse brings its own inefficiencies – just think of those five football pitches and the ground staff must cover in carrying out those 50,000 tasks. Hence the Pick Tower investment. Essentially a giant cage with 51,500 storage locations and 72 pick zones spread across four levels and 25,000 square feet, this secure, restricted facility reduces manual processing and touchpoints, as well as distances travelled when picking stock. This is important as 55% of dropship orders are received in the with Microsoft which they’ve been pushing for some time, and our digital bundling capability allows us to do that.” Of the 1.8 million dropship orders to date, involving 19,000 different products from 250 brands, 157,000 have been bundles. Exertis NDC By any measure, the NDC at Burnley Bridge is an impressive facility. Opened seven years ago as the primary distribution centre for Exertis’s Retail and B2B businesses, it replaced the company’s existing campus in the area, which at its peak had seven warehouses, with one enormous space offering state-of-theart technology, sophisticated security, e.g. automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) and biometric access control, plus additional capacity to support future growth and efficiencies. Only last month, Exertis opened a consultation period to consider a proposal to close its warehouse and distribution facility in Raunds and move operations to Burnley Bridge. Exertis also has warehouses in Elland, Leeds (Supplies), Lambourn (Hypertec memory and accessories) and Basingstoke, but Burnley Bridge is comfortably its largest distribution centre in the UK and Exertis is confident that from FY2025 it will be able to warehouse and distribute all stock from that one location. The 550,000 square foot building took 18 months to build using 20,000 tonnes of concrete and 40,000 tonnes of steel. The actual warehouse has a footprint of 460,000 square foot – the size of five football pitches – with planning permission for a further 200,000 square feet should it be needed. It rises to a height of 22 metres, with a workable height of 18.8 metres, higher than a stack of four double-decker buses. Eighteen months ago, Exertis added a 120,000 square foot mezzanine floor within the existing footprint, providing additional working space including 60,000 square feet dedicated to returns processing and manufacturer-accredited testing. “Within the facility, we have a 7,500 square foot Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) service centre, so we can offer our vendors full test capability in terms of return Sion Wineyard

01732 759725 10 DISTRIBUTION last hour of the business day, with a final pull-time of 10pm. The Pick Tower has a shelf pick location, a pallet lane and a carton lane. In the case of the latter, two types of carton (large and small) are barcoded and launched into the Pick Tower on 2.1km of conveyor. This travels past pick points where item(s) are added to the cartons. At the end, they are weighed to make sure they have been packed with the right quantity of the right products. After the paperwork has been added, they proceed to the compactor where the height of the carton is reduced by folding the edges down so that there is a void of less than 8% in any parcel. These folded down edges protect the contents and ensure Exertis is not ‘shipping air’. Currently, 72% of all SKUs processed by the NDC are Pick Tower-compatible (some are too large) and the plan is to bring more of those items into the facility to enhance Exertis’s ability to consolidate orders and pick to order. Currently, just over one of the four floors is being used, so there is plenty of unused capacity. “One of the things that you will see over time is us consolidating more and more of the volume that we ship to customers through that particular capability,” explains Griffin. Data-driven In addition to its investment in infrastructure, Exertis is making significant advances in two other keys aspects of digitalisation: optimisation and automation, including machine learning/ AI; and digital marketing & ecommerce to help create a seamless, Amazon-like experience for customers. In the last 12 months, Exertis has established a data analytics function from scratch, investing in data scientists, data engineers and data analysts. Headed up by Dr Adeala Zabair, the Data Science & Analytics team derives insights and understanding from datasets to drive efficiencies in procurement and stock management. “The DNA of our business is becoming a lot more data-driven,” says Turner. He adds that Exertis is also doing a lot of work in robotic process automation (RPA) to optimise workflows for its own employees and for reseller partners. “We get thousands of emails on a daily basis from resellers saying ‘Can you quote me on this product? Or can you give me a price for this product?’ and it’s really, really easy with RPA to take that, supply a quote and do it in seconds rather than wait for a salesperson to respond.” Turner points out that the combination of data analytics and process optimisation also aids sales effectiveness. “Being able to predict churn, being able to provide cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, being able to provide switch-sell products for some of our vendors, alternative products where we’ve got constrained stock. Getting all those tools into the right people’s hands at the right time delivers value to our customers. And this function is starting to deliver that.” To stay abreast of changing consumer behaviour and the growing influence of TikTok and YouTube in the procurement process, Exertis is investing in its digital marketing capabilities to engage directly with influencers and specific consumer profiles on multiple platforms. “We’ve created a programme where we will start to do the marketing for our reseller partners and drive those end users, those customers into our resellers, so we’re not relying purely on our resellers bringing business to us. We’re doing a lot more for our vendor partners as well, who look to us to provide that leverage and reach.” As an example, he cites last year’s launch of the PICO VR headset, which Exertis managed and did the marketing for, including pop-up stands in Westfield, France and Germany. Griffin adds that in the meantime, Exertis will continue to invest in NDC operations to ensure its service offering and product delivery is as effective as its marketing. “We are constantly evolving the facility – we put in that mezzanine floor 18 months ago – and we will carry on investing in the facility to develop new capabilities. Services is one of the areas that we will be expanding, with continuing investment in close-to-thebox configuration opportunities. And we will continue to consolidate Pick Tower applicable SKUs into the Pick Tower.” How these developments affect the number of steps in the Burnley Bridge dance remains to be seen. All one can say for certain is that Sion Wineyard will be counting them. continued... 11 BUSINESS BRIEFING AD Nimans even greater opportunities for resellers! At Nimans we’re going even further to make connectivity even simpler! With an even more compelling portfolio of connectivity, UC platforms and hardware, so now there’s even more reasons to connect with one of our connectivity experts. Get in-touch 0161 925 1530 [email protected] Formerly Beyond Connectivity

01732 759725 12 DISTRIBUTOR NEWS Infinigate unites tools from five vendors in integrated security offering Infinigate UK&I is offering reseller partners and their customers a simpler approach to cyber observability by integrating tools from five of its specialist vendors – Anomali, Cybereason, Gigamon, LogRhythm and Vectra – in a complete package from a single provider. The Next-Gen Cyber Observability (NGCO) framework unifies tools from these vendors in an integrated, interoperable offering that provides enterprise SOCs with risk visibility across every aspect of their extended hybrid networks. Building on the traditional cybersecurity triad of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Network Detection and Response (NDR) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), the NGCO adds advanced threat intelligence tools and data analysis for deep and rapid identification and prevention of cyber breaches. Components include Gigamon’s Deep Observability pipeline; Vectra’s NDR platform, which leverages AI and deep learning to uncover cyber threats within the network; Cybereason’s NGAV and EDR for endpoint protection; LogRhythm’s AXON SaaS SIEM platform, with analytics and Incident Response capabilities; and external Threat Intelligence from Anomali. .... Avitor Group launches Avitor Collection As Avitor UK and parent company Avitor Ireland continue to work more closely to provide clients with a complete distribution route for the UK and Irish markets, Avitor Group has launched a joint digital brochure. Available on the Avitor UK website, the Avitor Collection showcases the AV distributor’s product range, including LED, unified communications, commercial display, digital signage and software products, plus complete solutions for MS Teams rooms, Education and Hospitality. .... Nimans goes the distance A team of 14 employees from technology distributor Nimans and digital marketing solutions provider Pioneer Group has raised £1,493 for Stockport County Community Trust (SCCT), a provider of support services to vulnerable adults and children in the Stockport area. Together, the team completed a gruelling 10k Tough Mudder course at Cholmondeley Castle, overcoming obstacles such as the Arctic Enema, Cage Crawl, Mud Mile, Augustus Gloop and Electric Shock Therapy. Pictured left to right: Dave Wardle, Operations Manager, SCCT; Richard Bovingdon, Business Development Director, Nimans; Ade RigbyBates, Health and Wellbeing Lead, SCCT; Alison Warwood, CEO, SCCT; Chris Pownall, Schools Lead, SCCT; and Matty Bailey, Social Inclusion Lead, SCCT .... Datech to expand into new areas Datech, the design software business of TD SYNNEX, has announced plans to expand its solutions portfolio so that new and existing partners can address a broader range of design software opportunities. As the leading distributor for Autodesk, OPSWAT brings something new to Distology OT portfolio IT revenue sales through European distribution will see modest growth of 2.6% year-on-year (YoY) in 2024 after a tough 2023, according to CONTEXT, the global IT market intelligence company. CONTEXT’s team of analysts expect revenue sales for 2024 to be in a range of -0.5% to 6.5% (2.6% is the central forecast), up from a 2023 forecast of -6%. Growth drivers include new AI-based products and use cases; a delayed product refresh cycle; positive comparisons with the previous year; and, potentially, new government stimulus following elections in Spain and Poland. Forecast revenue growth ranges by category are: n PCs: 4.9% to 11.7% for Mobile computing and -0.8% to 8% for Desktop computing n Enterprise servers: -0.4% to 7.6% n Enterprise storage: -0.2% to 7.7% n Displays: -6.2% to 2.6% for Desktop monitors and 1.7% to 11.7% for Large Format Displays (LFDs) n Networking: -10.2% to 1.3% n Imaging: -5.8% to 3.9% for Printer hardware and -3.3% to 0.6% for Consumables CONTEXT Global Managing Director Adam Simon said: “2023 has been a tough year for distribution and all the IT Industry as businesses suffered a loss of confidence to invest. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Q2 2024 will be the turnaround quarter. We predict volume and value growth rates converging and then continuing in the second half of the year, helped by positive YoY comparisons.” IT sales through distribution to return to growth in 2024 OPSWAT, a leader in Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) cybersecurity solutions, is expanding its footprint in the UK through a new agreement with Distology. The addition of OPSWAT’s end-to-end cybersecurity platform to Distology’s operations technology (OT) portfolio gives partners another weapon with which to combat the growing danger to Critical National Infrastructure from threats that can evade traditional signature-based and behaviour-based anti-malware defences. Alessandro Porro, VP Global Channel Sales at OPSWAT, said: “As OT and IT systems converge for greater business efficiency, managing security gaps can become a challenge. This is where OPSWAT comes in to detect and prevent sophisticated attacks that can evade traditional signature-based and behaviour-based anti-malware defences.” “We are excited to partner with Distology, as their commitment to bolstering cybersecurity through disruption and innovation will amplify OPSWAT’s advanced threat prevention solution MetaDefender Core, by bringing our industryleading technology to organisations through an extensive network of resellers and integrators across the UK.” Alessandro Porro 13 `AD AD ? DISCOVER YOUR DRIVE Discover how storage optimized to deliver the right combination of speed, capacity and endurance can change the way you work and play. From high-capacity, workhorse HDDs to efficient and speedy SATA or NVMeTM SSDs, WD Color Drives let you find a purpose-built device that’s perfect for your project, profession or passion. 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01732 759725 14 DISTRIBUTOR NEWS WORKING TOGETHER Infinigate expands UK offering with WatchGuard subscription billing and Anomali, Bugcrowd partnerships Infinigate, the value-add distributor specialising in cybersecurity, secure networks and secure cloud, is continuing to expand its cybersecurity portfolio at a rapid rate with the announcement of new or expanded partnerships with WatchGuard, Anomali and Bugcrowd. Meeting demand for more flexible consumption models, Infinigate is offering subscription billing across WatchGuard’s entire cybersecurity suite initially through its specialist secure cloud business, Infinigate Cloud, prior to its roll-out across the whole of Infinigate UK. WatchGuard’s Unified Security Platform brings together network and endpoint security, secure Wi-Fi, multifactor authentication and network intelligence products and services. Michael Frisby, Senior Vice President of Cloud Services at Infinigate Group, said: “We’re delighted to be the first UK distributor to bring fixed price subscription services for WatchGuard partners across the full product portfolio through the CORE platform (Infinigate Cloud’s Marketplace & Integrations platform). This will remove complexity and currency exchange fluctuation risk for our resellers, which in turn reduces operational overhead and frees time to focus on the end customer.” Just as Infinigate’s WatchGuard partnership builds on the vendor’s existing relationship with Nuvias, an Infinigate Group company, its new partnership with Anomali in the UK, Ireland and France extends an existing relationship between the vendor and Infinigate Group company StarLink in the Middle East and Africa. Anomali’s Next-Generation Security Operations Platform leverages a big data engine, AI & machine learning and the world’s largest intelligence repository to automate threat hunting, reduce meantime-to-respond and empower business stakeholders to safeguard operations. Sachin Menon, Senior Vice President Channel Sales and Alliances at Anomali, said: “With the recent addition of Anomali Match Security Analytics and other product enhancements to the Anomali Security Operations Platform, we are significantly expanding opportunities for partners to modernise their customers’ security operations and optimise their existing security and digital transformation initiatives. Applying AI to SOC performance, managing telemetry against external threats and driving automation to respond in seconds, rather than days or weeks, is a powerful incentive for customers to choose Anomali.” In addition to these developments, Infinigate has enhanced its portfolio with solutions and services from multisolution crowdsourced cybersecurity platform Bugcrowd. Initially available in the UK & Ireland (with an EMEA roll-out to follow), services include pen testing as-a-service, bug bounty, vulnerability disclosure programs (VDPs) and attack surface management. Lewis Dick, Alliances Director at Infinigate, said: “Through Bugcrowd, our partners can provide their customers with access to highly skilled hackers who can ensure rigorous testing, on demand and on rotation.” Ingram Micro to distribute Keeper Security in UK Keeper Security is expanding its presence in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg through a new distribution agreement with Ingram Micro. The provider of zero-trust and zeroknowledge cybersecurity software for protecting passwords, passkeys, privileged access, sensitive information and remote connections hopes the partnership with Ingram Micro will empower thousands of resellers to address the problem of compromised credentials, which research shows are responsible for more than 80% of modern-day breaches. Robert Stockford, EMEA Director of Cyber Security for Ingram Micro, said: “Keeper’s solutions are a great fit to our overall cyber security offering, helping our partners deliver an easy-to-manage solution based on a zero-trust methodology to keep their customers’ data safe.” Keeper also provides dark web monitoring, secure file storage, singlesign on integration, compliance reporting and detailed event logging. Symmetry partners with XMOS to help accelerate IoT design creation Symmetry Electronics, a global distributor of wireless connectivity solutions, sensors and audio-video technologies, has entered into a strategic partnership with XMOS, a fabless chip design specialist at the leading edge of intelligent IoT. Working together This month’s round-up of new distribution agreements continued... Datech will continue to offer specialist service and support to Autodesk partners, including business development, pre-sales support and technical enablement, while bringing additional vendors into its portfolio. Jaap Smit, Vice President, Datech, Global, said: “In recent years, we have seen an accelerated growth in the design market, with designers and organisations becoming much more digitally focused due to the arrival of sophisticated 3D and visualisation software. This digital revolution has created new opportunities for partners and provides another area in which we can expand and grow our business. We look forward to introducing new vendor partners to our portfolio in the coming weeks and months.” .... TD SYNNEX targets financial services with new ecosystem TD SYNNEX is encouraging partners to collaborate on the development and marketing of new solutions for the financial services industry with the formation of a community ecosystem for that sector. Bringing together partners that have access to the financial services market with ISVs and businesses that have specialist expertise, applications or services in that area, the Financial Services Industry Ecosystem is the seventh to be launched by TD SYNNEX in the UK. Its launch follows the establishment of industry ecosystems (for Healthcare, Manufacturing and Retail and Distribution) and technology ecosystems (for Sustainability, Cybersecurity and Red Hat containerised solutions). Neil Cornish, Ecosystems Business Manager at TD SYNNEX, said: “Financial services organisations have extremely diverse needs and with the exciting new developments we are seeing in generative AI and in data analytics, there is huge potential to create new and differentiated solutions and to drive additional value for customers. “One of the big talking points at our first meeting was around DORA – the Digital Operational Resilience Act, the requirements of which all financial services organisations will need to meet by the start of 2025. It will also impact third party providers, and many will need help to become fully compliant, creating new opportunities for partners to work together to address these requirements.” Neil Cornish