Technology Reseller v70

what we can do together The latest evolution of our Cloud Market platform: Build brilliant Cloud & Comms solutions, all in one place. THE MAGAZINE & ONLINE CHANNEL RESOURCE FOR MSPS, IT RESELLERS & IT SUPPORT PROVIDERS PAGE 30 distributioN VIEW FROM THE CHANNEL CYBERSECURITY PAGE 14 PAGE 36 How Tenable is taking exposure management to the cloud, OT and IoT Why Climb Channel Solutions sees huge opportunities with Cloudian With Logixal Founder and CEO Daniel Hoile TECHNOLOGY RESELLER MAGAZINE I N PRI NT & ONLI NE IN PRINT & ONLINE SINCE 2016

AD Sounds simple, right? That’s because it’s all taken care of. Brother MPS – Make Printing Simple. We recognise what matters to your customers day-to-day. So whatever their printing needs, we’ll be “At your side” to find the solution that simplifies printer admin, saves time, keeps costs down, and helps them stay productive. Learn more about Brother MPS by visiting BrotherZone. With Brother Managed Print Services, your customers will benefit from: • No long-term commitments • Ink and toner delivered before they run out • Quick breakdown support • Easy supplies recycling Brother MPS. Make Printing Simple for businesses.   03 If you no longer wish to receive Technology Reseller magazine please email your details to [email protected] COMMENT This month’s issue has a bit of a print flavour, or should that be after-taste? Both our ‘View from the Channel’ and ‘60 seconds with…’ articles feature businesses that started out selling print devices and managed print services before moving into IT services, namely Logixal and Aurora. Print is still a big part of both businesses, so after-taste is probably too strong a word, but there’s no doubting the importance of IT to these businesses as they move forward offering customers the ability to acquire/ subscribe to multiple technologies and solutions from one trusted source. On April 23 I spent a fascinating day at the AWS Partner Summit London (see my write-up in next month’s issue). Gen AI was obviously a major theme, with AWS arguing that we are at a tipping point and urging channel partners to get the necessary AI competencies to make the most of the opportunities. This was a great chance to meet AWS partners, many of which have adopted the alternative strategy of specialising in AI and in AWS. There are very good reasons to do that, just as there are to develop a broader, diversified offering. Most resellers have limited knowledge of generative AI but know they need to get up to speed quickly. Microsoft Copilot is the obvious entry point as TD SYNNEX’s David Watts explains in our interview on page 12. From conversations I have had recently it is clear that many resellers and MSPs are relishing trying out Copilot themselves and are using it as a really effective productivity aid. Taking the next step is a big leap and there are big conversations to be had with customers, vendors and partners about use cases, implementation and delivery. In this context, TD SYNNEX’s introduction of an AI Industry Ecosystem is very welcome. I am looking forward to having many more conversations with resellers, MSPs and distributors at the Technology Reseller Awards evening on May 23. It’s only a month away, so if you haven’t yet booked a table, please get in touch to reserve your place at what promises to be a great evening. I’m very excited to discover who this year’s winners are, especially in the Use of AI category. That should be really interesting. See you on May 23. 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. © 2024 Kingswood Media Ltd. Design: Sandtiger Media 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 Bulletin BT to help SMEs cut CO2e emissions 07 Email New email authentication rules an opportunity for MSPs, says EasyDMARC 08 Distributor News Spire Technology joins Westcoast Group 10 Working Together This month’s round-up of new distribution agreements 12 Distribution TD SYNNEX introduces AI industry ecosystem 14 Business Briefing How Climb Channel Solutions and Cloudian are growing together 16 Legislation Are you ready for DORA? 20 Unified Communications Why Gamma is like a fluffy purple dog 21 Connectivity How Gigabit Networks supports reseller partners 24 Reseller News Econocom brings sales agent model to UK 28 I couldn’t do my job without… Rachael Tiffen of Cifas on what helps her through the working day 30 Cybersecurity How Tenable is expanding its offering in line with the changing attack surface 34 Partnerships The role of third party IT providers in MSP service delivery 35 Technology Reseller Awards 2024 Book your table now 36 View from the Channel How Logixal evolved from MPS provider to MSP 39 People New faces, new places 42 60 seconds with… Dave Vavlas of Aurora Managed Services TECHNOLOGY RESELLER MAGAZINE I N PRI NT & ONLI NE IN PRINT & ONLINE SINCE 2016

01732 759725 04 BULLETIN Vodafone building network of IT support hubs Vodafone Business is building a network of Vodafone Business IT Hubs across the UK to provide IT and communications support and managed services to small businesses that don’t have IT expertise in-house. Each of the 300-plus franchises, including 70 in Greater London, will be run by an experienced IT professional who will have their own local territory to run. Trading under the Vodafone brand, the limited companies will sell a portfolio of Vodafone products and services alongside selected products from partner vendors. BU L L E T I N continued... BT to help SMEs halve CO2e emissions BT is encouraging the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses to halve CO2e emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 through a new partnership with the UK Business Climate Hub (UKBCH), a joint government/industry initiative. Analysis by Sage suggests that the UK’s 5.5 million SMBs collectively account for 44% of non-household emissions, making their role in tackling the climate crisis critical to the UK’s chances of hitting net zero by 2050. Halving emissions in the next six years could prevent 280 million tonnes of CO2e emissions from entering the atmosphere. As an industry partner and member of the UKBCH Advisory Board, BT will help set SMEs on a path to net zero by making free resources available on the UK Business Climate Hub and by encouraging them to make a pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, achieve net zero emissions before 2050, and report progress on these goals annually. Chris Sims, Managing Director, Small and Medium Business at BT, said: “From speaking to our small business customers we know that with limited resources, many of them struggle to find the time, the funding or the guidance to help them prioritise sustainability. With the UK Business Climate Hub, we are beginning our journey to reach more businesses with free tools and practical support to help them set the foundations for a greener future and ultimately reach Net Zero.” These resources include net zero plans for individual SMEs, free carbon footprint calculators, online training and the Seven Steps to Sustainability guide. Jola turns 10 Jola, the channel-only supplier of business communications specialising in mobile data SIMs, celebrated its 10th birthday in April, after its best-ever financial performance powered by a network of more than 1,400 resellers, MSPs, ISPs and IT support companies selling unique mobile data and IoT solutions. Commenting on the milestone, Jola CEO Adrian Sunderland said: “Our mission is to serve the channel providing solutions for every mobile data requirement globally. We strive to make unique solutions you can’t buy from anyone else and make them easy to sell, provision, support and bill. We enjoy working with partners on new and innovative solutions to common problems using the latest technologies. When we look back at what we have achieved over the last ten years, it is quite phenomenal. We started with nothing but enthusiasm, a belief in each other and a passion for the channel.” Chris Sims of BT (right) with Chris Taylor, Net Zero Programme Director at the Broadway Initiative, which manages the UK Business Climate Hub BigChange to honour women in field service Job management software provider BigChange has announced a new awards programme to recognise the achievements of women in field service. Launched on International Women’s Day, The BigChange Outstanding Women in Field Service Award is open to any woman working as a technician, engineer or operative within a field service industry. BigChange is also running the BigChange Big on Inclusion Award for existing customers that have taken steps to bring diverse talent into their workforce. The prize of £2,000 is intended to fund a new or existing plan to help achieve this, such as an apprenticeship, coaching or training programme. 05 AD NIMANS Meet, create and collaborate better. Elegant design. Easy to install. Simple to use. Neat Bar and Neat Bar Pro allow your customers to focus on what matters, People. They focus on whoever’s talking and reveal the expressions of others, enabling remote participants to engage in more natural, free-flowing conversation. The ‘go to’ place for Neat.

01732 759725 06 BULLETIN continued... One million milestone Next generation fibre network operator nexfibre claims to have the fastest fibrebuild programme of any UK network after reaching 1 million premises passed and ready for service in just 14 months through its build partnership with Virgin Media O2. With further investment of £1 billion this year, the wholesale-only provider is set to deliver its network to more premises than any other fibre provider in 2024, bar Openreach, making it the UK’s second largest network provider in only its second year of operations. By 2026, it aims to have rolled out fibre to 5 million premises not currently served by Virgin Media O2’s network. Today Virgin Media O2 provides broadband services reaching speeds of up to 2Gbps across the nexfibre network. WiFi on Mars In preparation for future Mars missions, the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) has been testing equipment, procedures and experiments in the province of Ararat, Armenia under conditions that are as close to the red planet as possible. This includes Wi-Fi technology from LANCOM Systems, which is used for communications in the field and with ground control and to transmit data (on heart rates and body temperature, CO2 and oxygen content) from sensors in the six astronauts’ spacesuits via Wi-Fi antennae on the back of their suits. WiFi, also used to control robotic vehicles, is provided by routers and outdoor access points mounted on tripods in a high-availability network of wireless pointto-point links. Speedy printing HP is continuing its multi-year partnership with the Andretti INDYCAR race team, which has come to depend on HP technology for the rapid printing of eco-friendly race car wraps with no hazardous air pollutants. This year, it is using two HP Latex printers (an 800W and 700W) to produce vibrant full-colour (inc. white) wraps for its 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES entries. Jeff Childers, Creative Director at Andretti Global, said: “We have more teams, cars and volume than ever before. Working with HP has enabled us to meet the demanding output required in the racing industry at speeds that would otherwise be unachievable. The HP Latex printers ensure every wrap we produce is as environmentally friendly as possible, while still displaying a full color gamut. “By having the printers in house, we can quickly turn liveries from one race to the next. If a partner is promoting one brand in one market, and another in the next, we rely on the HP printers for the quick turnaround needed.” .... On the button Microsoft has launched its first Surface devices to be optimised for AI and business. Both the two-in-one Surface Pro 10 for Business and the Surface Laptop 6 feature a new Copilot key for AI assistance; integrated Neural Processing Units offering AI features like Windows Studio Effects and Live Captions and the opportunity for businesses to build their own AI apps; and the latest Intel Core Ultra processors, providing 2x faster performance on the Surface Laptop 6 and a 53% speed boost on the Surface Pro 10. Other selling points are Windows 11 Pro, robust security and a host of feature upgrades including an Ultrawide Studio Camera with a 114° field of view and, coming later this year, a Surface Pro 10 with 5G. IT industry regatta returns to the Solent The Russell-Cooke Silicon Cup Regatta, the IT industry’s biggest charity sailing event, is returning to the Solent this September. The annual two-day event gives IT companies the opportunity to network with likeminded individuals on professionally crewed eight or ten-guest yachts, while raising money for three charities: The Genie’s Wish, The Andrew Simpson Foundation and Greig City Academy. Shaun Frohlich, Chairman of the Russell-Cooke Silicon Cup Regatta, said: “Last year’s event yielded an impactful £48,000 contribution to our three charities and we are excited to be returning to the water this September and pushing the funds raised even higher.” Over the last 23 years, more than 7,250 competitors have taken part in the regatta, raising a total of £1.15 million. The 2024 event sponsored by Russell-Cooke Solicitors for the second year will take place on September 17 and 18, with a gala dinner and charity auction at Cowes on the Isle of Wight on the night of the 17th. Photo: ÖWF/Florian Voggeneder 07 EMAIL Email authentication changes a massive opportunity for MSPs, says EasyDMARC themselves as ‘somewhat familiar.’ Three in 10 (30%) said they had heard of the measures but were not familiar with them, and almost a quarter (23%) were not familiar with them at all. Just 37% of organisations have installed DMARC security standard and only 29% of respondents are aware of the changes to email authentication being implemented by Google and Yahoo. Plans for implementation When asked about strategies for implementing email authentication, excluding those who had already adopted it or had no plans to implement it, 51% said they would rely on their IT provider or a consultancy to implement the DMARC protocol. An additional 15% plan to use a specialist service to handle the technical aspects of implementation. This means that two-thirds of businesses, when considering implementation, would outsource it, with only 34% planning to manage and implement the required domain changes internally. Four out of 10 IT decision-makers cited complexity of implementation as a major barrier to adoption. Commenting on the finding, Mike Anderson, EasyDMARC Global Channels Director, said: “There is a critical gap in knowledge and resources within organisations, making it difficult to adapt to the standards now required by providers like Google and Yahoo. This situation presents an enormous opportunity for Managed Service Providers to become indispensable allies. “By offering expertise and implementation services for DMARC and related protocols, MSPs can alleviate these burdens for businesses. Not only does this enable organisations to navigate the complexities of compliance smoothly, but it also opens avenues for MSPs to introduce additional services. As the compliance deadlines continue to pass, and with the majority of businesses poised to seek external support, now is the opportune moment for MSPs to expand their offerings and reinforce their role as vital security partners.” Even though 95% of IT decision-makers felt the changes were a good idea and 98% expected them to have at least a ‘somewhat significant’ impact on reducing spam and improving business email operations, 22% said that not even a decline in email deliverability in the months following the DMARC changes would be enough to persuade their organisation to implement email authentication. EasyDMARC the cloud-native email security provider, is highlighting the far-reaching changes Google and Yahoo are making to their email services as a massive opportunity for the MSP and channel reseller community. Announced in February, the mandate requires ‘bulk senders’ (to start with) to implement the DMARC authentication protocol to enhance email security. Google and Yahoo are already temporarily rejecting non-compliant emails ahead of enforcement ‘no earlier than June 2024’. The DMARC protocol uses SPF and DKIM to help verify that an email sender is legitimate, automatically rejecting, quarantining or reporting emails that fail checks. This measure reduces the risk of phishing and spoofing attacks and is part of a broader initiative to bolster trust in email communications as cybersecurity threats continue to evolve. EasyDMARC believes these rule changes present a great opportunity for the channel to assist customers in implementing technology needed to comply with the email authentication protocols, citing the results of a survey of 1,000 IT decisionmakers across the US, UK, Europe and Oceania which reveal widespread ignorance of email authentication technologies and the changes being implemented by Google and Yahoo. Only 14% of survey respondents claimed to be ‘very familiar’ with email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, with a further 33% describing Automated DMARC compliance At the start of this year, Valimail, a DMARC vendor and provider of automated email authentication and antiphishing solutions, launched a new product to automate the path to compliance with Google and Yahoo’s new email sender authentication guidelines. Valimail Align assesses compliance with guidelines requiring authentication of outgoing email by bulk senders (senders who send at least 5,000 emails in a 24-hour period) and streamlines the path towards DMARC compliance for companies of all sizes. With Valimail’s advanced, patented automation suite, users can ensure SPF and DKIM alignment to meet the delivery requirements set by Google, Yahoo and other email service providers in days, not months. Key features include: n Streamlined compliance reporting: Rapid assessment of adherence status across all sending services to ensure emails don’t end up being blocked; n Automated configuration: Guided workflows to authorise all senders with a single click, eliminating the need for manual decoding of DMARC reports, IP address lookups or DNS change management; and n Intelligent task lists: Step-by-step instructions to help configure or troubleshoot alignment issues for lightning-fast compliance with authentication requirements. Seizing opportunities in DMARC compliance Mike Anderson

01732 759725 08 DISTRIBUTOR NEWS Arrow embraces AI with Copilot for Microsoft 365 availability and new AI Companion Arrow Electronics is expanding its AI capabilities with the introduction of an AI Companion for its cloud delivery and management platform ArrowSphere Cloud, which now also offers Copilot for Microsoft 365 to partners in EMEA. ArrowSphere Assistant is an AI-powered cloud business companion for channel partners who manage their cloud business through ArrowSphere Cloud. Powered by Microsoft Azure AI, it generates reports and makes recommendations to help partners grow their cloud business, improve their financial performance, find efficiencies and develop new and untapped business opportunities. Paired with the ArrowSphere Cloud security dashboard, ArrowSphere Assistant can also provide actionable security intelligence on security postures in minutes, including remediation recommendations. Eric Gourmelen, Vice President and CTO of ArrowSphere at Arrow, said: “ArrowSphere Assistant capitalises on the power of generative AI technology, combined with the robust business data in ArrowSphere Cloud, to provide unprecedented quality of answers to channel partner inquiries.” To help partners make the most of the addition of Copilot for Microsoft 365 to ArrowSphere Cloud, Arrow is delivering a dedicated programme of enablement supported by over 300 Copilot-certified specialists in EMEA that can support channel partners with Copilot implementations. Each one is fully licenced for Copilot for Microsoft 365. .... Arrow, IBM Cloud and Anycloud collaboration Arrow Electronics has expanded its managed services offering with the launch of Arrow Cloud Object Storage for Backup, a new solution with unlimited capacity, available exclusively to Arrow channel partners via ArrowSphere Cloud. The product of a collaboration between Arrow, IBM Cloud and Anycloud, an international vendor of cloud SaaS offerings, the scalable native object storage solution features data storage in IBM data centres; advanced encryption and data protection; an easy-to-use management portal; and a fixed price per TB model whereby customers only pay for their storage consumption, with no setup fees or variables. Lars Kristensen, IBM Cloud Leader Northern and Eastern Europe, said: “Building upon years of successful collaboration with Anycloud and Arrow, we are excited to take the next step, signifying our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions. Together, we will introduce a pioneering market solution for the EMEA region, with plans for global expansion.” .... Westcon-Comstor launches data insights tool Westcon-Comstor has added a new data insights tool to its PartnerCentral digital marketplace platform, giving partners a consolidated view of transactional data and the ability to track trends by geography, end user and product type. Possible use cases of the Partner Insights tool include monitoring and tracking hardware versus software/services spend with Westcon-Comstor or comparing sales growth with a vendor against industry benchmarks. In a survey for the distributor’s recent Bridging the Gap report 59% of partners surveyed strongly agreed that the future of distribution lies in the provision of data-led insights. Gaining access to the right data was identified as the biggest challenge facing partners as they transition to recurring revenue models. Patrick Aronson, Chief Marketing Officer and APAC Executive Vice President at Westcon-Comstor, said: “By providing a single source of truth for transactional data, we’re empowering partners to make more informed decisions, optimise their operations and compete effectively as they look to accelerate their journey to an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) future.” .... ID Connect to help partners profit from subscriptions Infinigate is helping MSPs, VARs and SIs to digitalise their business, increase the efficiency of business operations and meet demand for a subscription consumption model with the launch of a new portal offering an end-to-end digital experience. The Infinigate Digital Connect (ID Connect) portal gives partners single sign-on access to a variety of tools, platforms and services including sales & order administration; a digital marketplace (Infinigate Store) with real time information on product availability; an MSP portal with assisted self-service for sales, order and admin; customisable marketing assets; professional services support; and training courses, webinars, Spire Technology to become Westcoast components pillar Westcoast, the UK’s largest IT distributor, has got even bigger after Westcoast (Holdings) Ltd acquired 100% of the share capital of IT components distributor Spire Technology Ltd. Based in Verwood, Dorset, Spire will become Westcoast Group’s main components pillar and gain full access to all Westcoast customers, finance and tools. Alex Tatham, Executive Director at Westcoast, said: “There are so many benefits to the combination of Spire and Westcoast for both companies, vendors, UK resellers and employees. It will add significantly to Westcoast’s components portfolio, and both businesses emphasise their agility and flexibility when it comes to speed of decision-making and performance as well as a strong customer intimacy. This cultural fit will help realise immediate mutual opportunities.” Spire CEO John Appleton added: “Westcoast can only help grow our business and in return we can bring a range of accretive components vendors to Westcoast’s significant and diverse customer base. We are delighted that we can form part of Britain’s largest privately owned technology group and can use its considerable resources to accelerate our growth.” Eric Gourmelen Alex Tatham Patrick Aronson 09 DISTRIBUTOR NEWS workshops and vendor certification. Klaus Schlichtherle, CEO of the Infinigate Group, said: “Digitalisation is a real game-changer in the way technology is purchased and consumed. Through ID Connect, Infinigate offers a best-in-class platform with tried and tested, consolidated digital workflows. Our goal is to drive growth for the channel thanks to efficient customer lifecycle management, so that end customers, resellers and vendors can benefit from the IT subscription consumption model and quickly adapt to changing market conditions.” .... AudioCodes first for Westcon-Comstor Westcon-Comstor has become the first panEMEA distributor to provide the AudioCodes Live Platform for Microsoft Teams, helping partners to grow recurring revenue with unified communications as a service and contact centre as a service. Hosted by AudioCodes and managed by Westcon in Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Teams, the white-labelled platform brings together Teams direct routing for voice calls, an AI-powered contact centre solution and recording for compliance. Antony Byford, Vice President Cloud and Collaboration Europe at Westcon-Comstor, said: “End-users can sometimes lack expertise around Microsoft Teams unified communications tools. With the AudioCodes Live Platform for Microsoft Teams, we can overcome this and other challenges by providing a hosted voice solution that our partners can bring to market, growing predictable recurring revenues by building as-a-service capabilities and unleashing Antony Byford WestconComstor Sam Paris TD SYNNEX Alison Nixon TD SYNNEX the full potential of Microsoft Teams for their customers.” Lior Aldema, Chief Business Officer at AudioCodes, added: “AudioCodes Live Platform for Microsoft Teams is a proven gamechanger thanks to its ability to enable service providers to offer a comprehensive portfolio for Microsoft Teams with rapid onboarding for their customers.” .... TD SYNNEX to stock Cisco Refresh products TD SYNNEX is making it easier for partners to incorporate a greater range of remanufactured solutions in their Cisco offerings by holding stock of Cisco Refresh products in its logistics facilities across Europe, speeding up delivery times and increasing visibility of product availability. Cisco Refresh remanufactured products include collaboration devices, routers, switches, security solutions and transceiver modules. Sam Paris, Vice President, Security and Networking at TD SYNNEX, said: “Having Cisco Refresh stock on the shelf means that we can serve our partners with agility and transparency. Thanks to Cisco’s rigorous certification process and standards, these products really are as good as new.” Partners can also obtain Cisco Environmental Sustainability Specialisation accreditation via TD SYNNEX. This gives partners access to Cisco programs such as Takeback and Green Pay and enables them to advance toward Cisco Select Partner status. .... Platinum for ProVu UK distributors ProVu and Electronic Frontier have been awarded Platinum Distributor and Gold Distributor status by IP-based communications brand Snom for another year in recognition of their sales performance, customer support and in-depth knowledge of Snom products. Despite the challenging business environment, Snom was able to preserve its market share in the UK, France and DACH, while significantly boosting sales in Spain and Italy. .... Sophos in stock TD SYNNEX has become the first UK distributor to hold Sophos’ best-selling firewall appliances in stock for immediate shipment to partners across the UK. Alison Nixon, Business Unit Director – Security, UK at TD SYNNEX, said: “For Sophos partners, this is a huge change and a big opportunity. Our customers have been asking us to apply our best-in-class stocking and ordering capabilities to the Sophos hardware products and we’ve worked with Sophos to make that happen. This means that our partners will now be able to fulfil orders more or less immediately and that will give them more chances to win new business and deliver a higher level of service to their customers.” .... Avitor Rental Avitor AV & IT Distribution is supporting its partners with the introduction of a trade-only rental service including the supply and installation of a full range of AV & IT hardware for temporary installs or to combat budget restraints. Suzanne Tiernan of Avitor UK said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer Avitor Rental to our clients – not only providing a solution we’ve been asked for but also creating additional revenue streams for our partners.” New finance solution proves power of partner ecosystems TD SYNNEX has played midwife to a new finance solution for town and parish councils by bringing together the companies behind its development at a partner event exploring opportunities in Dynamics Business Central. These were public sector specialist CloudyIT and Microsoft Dynamics Business Central partner Prosperity 24/7, which used its skills in Business Central to build a tailored finance solution for a CloudyIT customer. David Hall, Managing Director of CloudyIT, said: “Through our contacts and knowledge of the public sector market, we were able to identify what was needed by the customer and give Prosperity 24/7 a clear brief on what they needed to build.” The result is GovFinance, a solution built on Microsoft Business Central and hosted on Microsoft 365 that harnesses the power of AI and automation to transform the way local governments manage their finances. It was launched in January at the SLCC (Society of Local Council Clerks) Conference, with the first deal signed seven days later. Ian Turner, Microsoft Dynamics 365 UK lead at TD SYNNEX, said: “The success of GovFinance is an example of how we can help partners unlock new value through personal connections and peer-to-peer engagement. The success story is a testament to the power of our partner ecosystem when we work together to harness expertise and partnership opportunities.” Westcon-Comstor launches knowledge-sharing platform Westcon-Comstor is hoping to encourage greater knowledge-sharing between the 2,300 members of its Tech Xpert community in EMEA with the launch of an interactive peer-to-peer platform that connects cybersecurity and networking experts at channel partners with peers, vendors and the distributor’s own experts in a sales-free environment. The Tech ConneX platform enables technical experts from across the IT channel to share knowledge and crowdsource answers to questions, with near-real time responses to direct messages, Q&As and forum discussions. Users can also use it to find and connect with local peers, join vendor groups and develop skills. Ian Turner TD SYNNEX

Peter Vernon Exertis AV 10 WORKING TOGETHER 01732 759725 Sol Distribution adds Weblib to portfolio Network and security hardware products distributor Sol Distribution has entered into a distribution agreement with Weblib, a provider of digital transformation and connectivity solutions to corporate offices, public spaces, retail and restaurant chains. Flagship Weblib products now available from Sol Distribution include smilein, a mobile ordering and payment system that enables customers to order food on their smartphone; the Smart WiFi cloud Wifi solution; and Ucopia and Ucopia Cloud high density WiFi solutions for managing WiFi access and captive portals. Charlie Dickinson, Operations and Logistics Manager at Sol Distribution, said: “When we first came across Weblib, it seemed like an ideal fit. As we strive to expand our portfolio, especially in software solutions, partnering with Weblib was a natural progression. This partnership is a significant step towards realising our vision of delivering a comprehensive suite of IT solutions, tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients.” Exertis AV moves into business projection with Epson Exertis is building on its long-standing role as a distributor of Epson printers and large format printers by adding the company’s business projectors to the Exertis AV offering. Exertis AV is supporting its move into this new technology area by bringing in Peter Vernon as Projection Business Manager to head up Exertis AV’s new Projection pillar. Craig Waters, Video Projection Sales Manager at Epson UK, said: “Our indirect business sales model means we place great faith in the channel to relay our messaging to customers and help place the right solutions in the right places. Post-Covid business environments continue to change but the demand for large, durable viewing experiences remains consistent whether in the office, at home, or on the move; and Exertis is well-placed to help us continue meeting this demand along with our other distribution partners.” LastPass partners with Distology Distology has expanded its Identity portfolio with the addition of the LastPass password management platform. This enables customers to create, store and manage passwords, bank details, payment cards, addresses etc. and also includes a multi-factor authentication (MFA) tool for organisations that don’t already use MFA (or an IAM platform that incorporates one) or that wish to consolidate into LastPass. The platform enables business users to scale adoption with automation and track company-wide password health with dark web monitoring and password hygiene scores. Each business user also receives a handful of home-use licences for family and friends on the basis that most business customers face the greatest risk of compromise through their personal and professional networks. Distology CTO Lance Williams said; “I am absolutely delighted to welcome LastPass into the Distology portfolio. As an identity specialist, Distology recognises a gap in our work with customers – those passwords that live outside the IAM and those organisations who can’t yet embrace a full IAM platform. LastPass addresses both and more. ” Salesforce extends partnership with AWS Salesforce is making select products available for purchase in the UK via the AWS Marketplace, a digital catalogue with thousands of software solutions that run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). These include Data Cloud, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, Industry Clouds, Tableau, MuleSoft, Platform and Heroku. Customers benefit from a single view across their IT spend, simplified procurement processes and flexible options like private pricing and consolidated billing through AWS. Paul O’Sullivan, UKI CTO and SVP Solution Engineering at Salesforce, said: “Today is a significant moment in our strategic partnership with AWS. With our combined offering and expertise, we’re enabling UK customers to accelerate deployment of Salesforce products and generative AI technologies through seamless buying and billing experiences.” Jamf addition a great opportunity, says TD SYNNEX TD SYNNEX is to offer Jamf’s full suite of Apple enterprise device management solutions to partners in Europe, backed with comprehensive resources, training and support. TD SYNNEX’s Jamf offering includes Jamf Pro mobile device management (MDM) for large fleets of Apple devices; Jamf Now, a streamlined MDM solution for small organisations; Jamf Connect for seamless connections while staying secure with zero trust network access; and Jamf Protect for endpoint threat prevention and security. Stef Van Langendonck, Vice President, Apple Solutions, Europe at TD SYNNEX, said: “The addition of Jamf represents a great opportunity for partners aiming to enhance their specialisation in Apple device offerings tailored for business use, especially in the SMB space.” SYNAXON adds Origin Storage to vendor list Channel services company SYNAXON has added data storage and security specialist Origin Storage to its growing list of vendors. Origin’s full range of storage, data security and accessory products will be added to SYNAXON’s EGIS platform, which provides pricing and availability details from more than 40 distributors. Best-selling lines will also be available through Synaxon Hub. Mike Barron, Managing Director of SYNAXON in the UK, said: “Origin’s outstanding portfolio of vendors and its own products adds a new dimension both to EGIS and the SYNAXON Hub. It gives our partners access to a range of advanced storage and data security solutions that address the dynamic storage needs of today’s customers, bringing new potential for partners to differentiate.” Westcoast to distribute Ergotron ergonomic products Westcoast is bringing ergonomic healthcare and workspace products to partners in the UK and Ireland through a new relationship with Ergotron. These include ergonomic desk and wall mounts, monitor arms for various work settings and specialised healthcare solutions such as carts, wall workstations and advanced battery systems. Working together This month’s round-up of new distribution agreements Lance Williams 11 BUSINESS BRIEFING AD Giacom Giacom’s cloud marketplace provides over 6,000 MSPs and Resellers access to Cloud, Comms, and Hardware products and services from the world’s top vendors and carriers. Our range of automation tools and integrations will streamline your business ops. And, with our enablement resources and tech expertise, you can build the skills you need for the future. Imagine growing your business faster. You can, with Giacom. 03304 333 888 what we can do together

01732 759725 12 DISTRIBUTION TD Synnex launches industry ecosystem for AI to accelerate development and delivery of AI-driven solutions There is clearly a lot of interest in AI, but equally the technology is still in its early days and partners recognise there are many building blocks they need to put in place before they are in a position to deploy AI solutions, such as data collection policies, integration with back end data sources, analytics, secure storage, the right cloud and edge posture etc.. Speaking to Technology Reseller at the Vendor Summit, Watts said that an AI Industry Ecosystem (along with other TD SYNNEX initiatives such as training, certifications, workshops, forums and Microsoft Copilot POCs) had a vital role to play in helping partners find their feet in AI. “The absolute central proposition of our industry ecosystems is to address something that everyone is trying to work out at the same time. In the case of AI, you may have a vendor that has part of the answer as to how AI can be deployed – they may not have an AI solution per se but be providing the network and it’s security and can advise on policies. You might have resellers that don't have the right skill sets and perhaps don't even know what to say when a customer inevitably says to them ‘Should I be looking at AI or not?’. The idea is to start bringing these forums together so everyone's thinking about the problem at the same time.” Use cases Watts adds that one of the purposes of the ecosystem will be to generate more AI uses cases for small and mid-sized business. “Microsoft's ambition is to get case studies out there, real use cases of businesses that people can relate to that aren't about the Central Bank of wherever taking on Copilot, because most people can't relate to that opportunity. It's about an operational department in a small business. And I think that's why these forums are so important.” To begin with he expects channel partners serving SMEs to focus mainly on Copilot. “I've been to a few vendor conference where I've said to CTOs ‘Where would you start with AI, bearing in mind our customer base is mostly small customers? Where would you start if you were them?’ And a couple of them said the same thing, which is a useful starting point. They said they've probably got AI deployed on products that they've taken into their customers, but may not fully understand. A lot of Microsoft products, a lot of products from Cisco, Salesforce and HPE have AI on board. Talking to your customers about the role it's playing in their business already is a nice entry point. “Where do you go from there? Today, it’s Microsoft Copilot. After that, it's very unclear. You've got big consultancies, like BCG, Bain, Accenture, who are saying we can utilise AI to make your customer-facing people super-efficient, but not many people can access that. I think time will bring more SKU-able, pre-packaged products that are easily understandable, but at the moment, you've only really got Microsoft.” Sales boost In the meantime, he expects AI to provide a further boost to the high growth technologies that were doing well before Covid and which continued to be in demand even in 2023 when endpoint sales through the channel (PCs, notebooks, printers, accessories, supplies) took a hammering – down 15%, according to Context figures. “COVID changed a lot of things, but it didn't change the high growth technologies. Partly in response to AI, cloud, hybrid cloud, as-a-service offerings coming from HPE, Lenovo and Dell are continuing to grow really well. Security we expect to grow, and again that market is going to be stimulated by AI. Then, anything to do with managing big amounts of data creatively, bringing as much of it to the edge as possible to give people the functions they require, will continue to do really well. Those have been our key bets for three or four years and that won’t change. “End users are trying to set up more and more data practices for all sorts of really smart reasons and they need a lot of help in doing that. How do you do it smartly? How do you bring it to the edge fast? How do you secure it? That’s the bread and butter of a lot of VARs these days, or MSPs if they're managing the whole thing, and they will continue to thrive.” TD SYNNEX is helping partners develop capabilities in AI with the launch of a new Industry Ecosystem where ISVs, channel partners, vendors and interested parties can share ideas, create partnerships and develop new solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLMs). The distributor already runs Industry Ecosystems for healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and retail and distribution, as well as Technology Ecosystems for cybersecurity and sustainability, and the addition of an AI ecosystem is nothing if not timely. At the TD SYNNEX Vendor Summit in March, David Watts, Managing Director TD SYNNEX UK&I, quoted figures from the company’s Direction of Technology report showing that in 2023 29% of channel partners were working with AI solutions (six times more than the year before) and that 34% of those partners were investing to enable them to have solution offerings by 2025 (two and a half times more than in 2022). Communal Intelligence David Watts

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01732 759725 14 BUSINESS BRIEFING How Climb Channel Solutions and Cloudian are working together to help channel partners address opportunities in AI and hybrid cloud massive growth in unstructured data and data gravity, where applications move to where the data resides to ensure performance and security. It does this by bringing the scale and affordability of cloud-native storage technology to enterprise data centres, where it can be controlled and secured in on-prem and hybrid cloud deployments running on industry-standard servers or Cloudian appliances. Cloudian’s two building blocks are: n a highly scalable HyperStore platform, which joins together nodes in multiple locations, data centres and geographies to form a cluster that can be scaled to exabyte size and managed as a single system, with a 70% lower TCO than conventional storage systems; and n fully native interoperability with the Amazon S3 API, the de facto standard in S3 object storage used by thousands of applications from the likes of Adobe, Commvault, Microsoft SQL, Rubrik, Snowflake, Splunk, Teradata, Veeam, Veritas and many others. “At the scale data is being created you really need a modern API that’s designed for scale of exabytes of data and this is why we focus as a company on the Amazon S3 API. It really is the most well-defined set of APIs or protocols to handle very large data sets,” explains Cloudian CEO and co-founder Michael Tso. “We have taken whatever Amazon offers with the S3 API and built it for a fully distributed world, for on-prem and for hybrid, and kept it compatible at every single level so that we can promise that if you have something that runs in the cloud, it can run on our data storage without any modifications to your application.” Ahead of its time Tso adds that when Cloudian started in 2011 it was probably ahead of its time, with its vision of a distributed rather than centralised future. “For a number of years, we were against the grain, because everybody was saying everything’s going to be centralised in the cloud and all IT outside the cloud is going to disappear. What we’re seeing now is that not only has IT outside of cloud not shrunk, but it’s growing faster again, because of the AI push. “AI is going to be done near where you have the data and, because people are very concerned about the security of the data and what AI is being trained on, we’re seeing that even the hyperscalers, the public cloud guys, are now pushing a hybrid edge strategy.” At the same time, many businesses are looking to de-cloud to some extent to tackle public cloud’s perceived shortcomings in cost, transparency, performance and data sovereignty, especially in countries with laws to counter the Patriot Act, which enables the US government to look at the data an organisation might have on a US-owned and managed platform. “For CIOs to say they are ‘cloud-first’ now sounds very old hat. Today it’s about right-clouding – what’s right to put in the cloud. We did a call blitz with one of our major strategic partners recently and they generated over 30 opportunities in just a couple of days. And 100% of those deals were cloud repatriation deals,” explains Tso. He adds that this is generating significant interest for Cloudian on the HPE Greenlake platform from customers that still want a very cloud-like experience, Climb Channel Solutions is a fastgrowing US distributor with big ambitions for the UK and EMEA, following its acquisitions of Sigma Software Distribution in 2020, Spinnakar in 2022 and DataSolutions last October. Specialising in emerging tech, primarily in the datacentre, infrastructure and cybersecurity sectors, Climb’s global revenues hit $1.26 billion in 2023, up from about $300 million four years ago. According to Chief Revenue Officer Gerard Brophy, this makes Climb big enough to give vendors the scale they need, but small enough to make decisions very quickly. “We are very much a people business and our resellers and vendors like dealing with us because we just get stuff done. Ultimately, what we’re about is speed to market. Our vendors want to be in front of the customers as soon as possible, so that’s the service we offer. From quoting and invoicing to delivery, speed is everything. I see us as more of a sales and marketing business than a distribution business.” He adds that channel gives emerging vendors scale and an extended salesforce, plus the support infrastructure, professional services and training that a distributor like Climb provides to help them establish a market presence and grow more quickly. “We like to take vendors early and act as a proxy, taking their technology to market and creating their footprint. Compared to the broadline model, where it seems to me that everyone’s fighting over the same deals, we’re always looking ahead. We’re always evangelising. What’s the next best thing that’s going to come out of Silicon Valley? That’s why resellers want to work with us.” Reciprocal value One Climb vendor that Brophy holds up as an example of a company that understands the reciprocal value of channel relationships is Cloudian, a specialist in S3-compatible object storage systems founded in 2011 to help enterprises address the cost and complexity of data storage at a time of Scale and reach Gerard Brophy We are very much a people business and our resellers and vendors like dealing with us because we just get stuff done. Ultimately, what we’re about is speed to market

15 BUSINESS BRIEFING including MSPs that use the multi-tenancy Cloudian platform to provide storage-as-aservice to their customers. “People want something that looks and smells like cloud, with a consumption payment model, so they’re not buying CapEx; they’re looking for something that’s elastic, meaning that if their workload is growing the hardware is put in before they even need it, and without having to place a separate order. And then having the option to have everything managed so that it feels like a true cloud experience, except that it’s got that data sovereignty.” Complementary solution Cloudian also has a key strategic partnership with Amazon, offering a complementary solution for customers that require a hybrid solution, for example where there is a data sovereignty issue or where connectivity to the cloud might be unreliable, weak, or with high latency. “The further you are from the core, the more shakey and the more expensive that link becomes. A supermarket chain might have a couple of Cloudian storage nodes in every store for local data processing. They cannot count on storage in the cloud because it’s too far away, the latency is too high. We have clients that like the Amazon ecosystem, or they have applications that work in the Amazon ecosystem, but they need the storage to be some place they can control. In the UK, for example, Public Health England stores all health records on Cloudian. In the US, the National Institute of Health does the same kind of thing. We also have a bunch of defence/ military clients and a lot of banks. Credit card companies are doing real time transaction authorisation with massive systems that are running on our data. It’s not easy to do these things in a shared cloud and give the same assurances of latency and privacy. “Wherever people are looking for anything hybrid or to take data out of the cloud, it is better for their data to move to Cloudian because we are fully complementary to the cloud and can easily move that data back into the cloud in the future. Amazon has edge solutions like Amazon Outposts that connect to Cloudian storage. In fact, we’re listed on the Amazon Marketplace so the Amazon salesperson will get comped whether they’re selling data in AWS S3 or on Cloudian.” As examples of how Cloudian is supporting Amazon’s own AI and hybrid edge initiatives and integrating with AI workflows, Tso cites a trio of recent launches, including: n Cloudian S3 Bucket Migrator, which enables businesses to migrate data from Cloudian S3 storage into and out of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new rapid access service for frequently accessed and latency-sensitive applications; n Open source contributions to the S3 connector for the PyTorch suite of tools favoured by AI engineers, which enable deep learning and machine learning libraries to pull data directly out of a Cloudian S3 object store instead of having to move large volumes of data to a parallel file system; and n Integration with Mountpoint for Amazon S3, an open source file client created by Amazon that enables customers to mount a Cloudian S3 bucket on their compute instance and access it as a local file system. Huge opportunity In light of these developments, it’s not surprising that Gerard Brophy describes the opportunity ahead with Cloudian in the UK and EMEA as ‘huge’. For the last three years, Climb (and Spinnakar) have been leading with Cloudian’s capabilities in ransomware protection, backup, disaster recovery and immutability, drawing on its alliances with companies like Veeam, Veritas and Rubrik to offer customers end-to-end solutions. This is still a successful approach, and a good opportunity for resellers/MSPs to ‘land and expand’ with Cloudian. However, in the future Brophy sees great value in leading with discussions around a customer’s data strategy and AI strategy, which he believes plays to the strengths of Cloudian’s hybrid cloud offering and Climb’s broad ecosystem of products. “Gone are the days when you would walk into a reseller and try to sell them another product. Today, we are more interested in finding out about a reseller’s data approach and AI strategy. From that, we can build up a story and then push the products in our ecosystem that align with that story. That’s the way we’re going to sell – it’s solutions-led and it’s a consultative approach, not do you want to buy that product?”He says that Climb can also help resellers move to the managed services model that the market is crying out for. “From a channel point of view, that’s certainly where we see the growth. To see where the opportunity for the channel is, you just have to look at the lack of skills out there. It’s no surprise that everyone is turning into MSPs. Apart from anything else, you’re going to get a much higher valuation of your business selling an ARR subscription model.” Climb can help partners manage this transition through education, through the provision of its own marketplace (Expedition) and by working with the right partners, including vendors like Cloudian, which, as Tso points out, has a large number of MSP partners. “We have over 800 customers worldwide, and that includes over 250 managed service providers, ranging from big ones like NTT, serving thousands or hundreds of thousands of enterprises, to smaller ones with just a few people. That is how we capture the long tail of companies that don’t have the knowhow to go into cloud on their own or to buy something and manage it on their own.” He adds that unlike some storage products Cloudian is inherently ‘service provider-friendly’. “Because we built our ‘as a service’ offering initially for NTT, which provides services to the whole world, we have all these security features for billing and privacy control. Everything is turnkey, all the features are already there, so it’s a very easy sell for us and very good fit for MSPs.” To find out more about Climb and Cloudian, please visit uk/vendors/cloudian or call 01364 655 200. Mike Tso For CIOs to say they are ‘cloud-first’ now sounds very old hat. Today it’s about right-clouding – what’s right to put in the cloud