News review of the year Q1

What will people say when they look back over 2011? It's been a tough year economically as the world continues to try to recover from the global crisis of 2008 triggered by the banks.

What will people say when they look back over 2011? It's been a tough year economically as the world continues to try to recover from the global crisis of 2008 triggered by the banks. On the technology front its been a moment when consumerisation went from being talked about to actually delivered and that word' cloud' was everywhere again. But on the news front it was a time that included consolidation, strategic moves by some of the major players and a little bit of CEO shuffling over at Hewlett-Packard.


The year started in a way it was set to continue with the consolidation box being ticked by Dell, which acquired SecureWorks buy and on the cloud front a survey of resellers found many expecting that technology to dominate.

The resellers also called it right when they revealed fears that the tough trading conditions would continue and as a result cloud was going to be one of the ways they did their best to drive the business forward.

In the spirit of setting out consolidation ambitions Computacenter's CEO Mike Norris said it would look to acquire in 2011. He revealed its priority was to upgrade and unify an internal ERP and front-end systems across the UK and Germany by the summer and then turn attentions to potential targets, said Norris.

"We will certainly look to acquire but that doesn't mean we will; if the right businesses are not available at the right prices we might return some cash to shareholders," he said.

In distribution Avnet was getting things finalised shuffling some jobs as its integration of Bell neared its end.

With the public sector threatened by cuts Logicalis took the unprecedented step of releasing a framework document that reveals its secrets of being a successful supplier to the public sector and sharing that with other resellers in an effort to encourage a different approach from the channel.

As the public sector cuts started to bite the mantra was to try and offset those losses with private sector vacancies and Microsoft revealed it was doing its bit to create 4,000 new jobs in the UK this year through its Britain Works recruitment programme.

In a welcome sign that a life spent doing good deeds brings its own rewards industry veteran Joe McNally was awarded the Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO) in recognition of two decade's service helping youngsters develop through the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

McNally entered the IT sector as a programmer with ICL, then moved to Honeywell as a salesman before becoming the first UK employee for Compaq in 1984. He was VP and managing director at the PC firm when he left in 2001.


Having wrapped up the integration of Bell the message from Avnet's CEO was that it still had an appetite to acquire later in the year.

In a story that would oddly resurface again in the mainstream media much later in the year Atos Origin called time on email. The CEO at the firm said it had plans to eradicate the technology inside the firm over the next three years. Strangely when this story got its second wind this autumn that timetable had extended to four years.

Everyone had feared it would happen but the signs of economic distress in the channel emerged with figures showing a spike in insolvencies during the fourth quarter of 2010 and a warning that  the channel could face a rough ride in 2011.

Back on the cloud front Ingram Micro revealed it was "actively" assembling a portfolio in EMEA to stake its claim early in the development of the market.

The Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) company returned to drawing board to design a reseller friendly go-to-market strategy that also involves distributors. The coalition had been formed by Cisco, EMC and VMware in the summer of 2009 to punt private cloud building blocks dubbed Vblock and was later joined by Acadia, the venture between EMC and Cisco.


Apple launched its iPad 2 with Steve Jobs, who was signed off on sick leave, raising a few eyebrows bu turning up in person to launch the product. A faster processor and camera were the main focus of the excitement.

In a packed opener to its annual Partner Summit, Cisco's bosses told its partners that it will not compete with them in the cloud as it launched a new cloud partner programme.

Xerox showed its determination to ensure it had a friendly channel selling its kit after putting its hand in its pocket to fund an acquisition of Scottish-headquartered Concept Group to widen its route to SMEs. The deal meant that Xerox would be selling its range of office products and supplies through the Concept Group, which also claimed to be Canon's largest dealer making the acquisition even more interesting.

On the 11 March an earthquake struck the north-east coast of Japan, and analysts were quick to warn of potentially major disruption to the IT component supply chain.The 8.9-magnitude quake, which hit roughly 250 miles from the capital Tokyo, unleashed a tsunami as high as 10 metres across the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and shut down factories across the country.

Logicalis forked out £8.65m to acquire the UK's largest IBM Cognos reseller Inca Software as it makes a play for the business analytics market.

Dimension Data UK boss Ton van Horssen announced he would step down at the end of the month amid some suggestions that sales are below expectations.

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