MicroScope's top stories, week ending 17 May 2013

Our regular look back at the most important IT channel news stories from the past seven days, as selected by MicroScope readers

Northamber warns turnaround will take time

The turnaround in the market is going to take time according to Northamber, which has issued a fairly bleak trading update indicating that turnover in the nine months to the end of March dropped by 20%.

The distributor is always straight talking in its trading updates and this latest one is no different with the channel player talking about it taking time to transition the business from a high volume and low margin position to the opposite situation.

Northamber stated that it was taking steps to accelerate the speed of that transition but it would, "take some time for the impact to be fully realised" and in the meantime it was continuing to try to find products that would hit the customer demand sweet spot and provide higher margins.

"For our three quarters ended 31st March 2013, turnover was some 20% lower than for the comparative period last year. This was, however, a slightly better result than achieved for the half year to December 2012 where turnover was 22% lower than the previous comparative period," the company stated.

"Whilst the update on our trading position is not comforting ... the outlook is not all gloom. There are opportunities available which we shall endeavour to maximise over the shortest time feasible," the firm added.

Customers investing in IT for growth, not to cut costs

Customers are ploughing more investment into IT in order to support growth with managed services being seen as a way for customers to take advantage of technology to enable expansion.

Managed services are increasingly seen as a way for customers to enable expansion

The positive findings over the state of tech investment come in the latest Pearlfinders Q1 IT Index, which indicated that as well as money being spent on outsourcing and managed services there was also cash being dedicated to improving the internal infrastructure.

Along with supporting growth the other main driver for investment was customers looking to improve their security and providing the infrastructure that could cope with a BYOD environment.

At the bottom of the list was cost cutting indicating that the priorities of 2011, where it was much more of an issue, have been reversed and the reseller pitch needs to be adapted accordingly.

Demise of competitors bolsters Dixons

The demise of Comet helped Dixons deliver some of the strongest numbers it has been able to produce for years as the electrical retailer enjoyed a decent performance at its core business in the UK.

The retailer continues to be hampered by problems at its Pixmania operation, with the last year seeing major restructuring and moves to exit half of the countries the e-commerce operation had been running in.

But in the core business, which includes selling through its numerous retail outlets in the UK, Ireland and Southern Europe like-for-like sales increased by 7% for the financial year ended 30 April. Pre-tax profits are expected to come in at the top end of expectations at around £75m to £85m.

Two vendor signings expand Hammer portfolio

Storage distributor Hammer has added two new vendors to its bench in the shape of datacentre kit ODM Quanta, and high-performance storage specialist Promise Technology.

Both deals encompass pan-European rights, with Quanta lending more bespoke options to Hammer customers, and Promise’s technology adding more vertically-focused possibilities.

Netsuite enhances SDN app dev programme, targets more partner collaboration

NetSuite has announced it is enhancing its SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN) programme and unveiled new channel and tech partnerships on the opening day of its SuiteWorld 2013 conference in San Jose, California.

Speaking at the event keynote on 14 May, CEO Zach Nelson revealed a new app certification programme called Built For NetSuite, targeted at the vendor’s growing ISV community.

Microsoft confirms Windows 8 upgrade preview in June

Microsoft is going to give users a chance to get a chance to preview the Windows 8 update next month as it looks to calm some of the criticism of the operating system interface.

Colt launches cloud storage service

Colt has taken the wraps off a cloud-based storage solution that it hopes resellers will start offering to customers that are looking for capacity with out the need for up-front investment.

Security is too complex

The best IT engineers have a knack for making things so simple that the customer feels like a genius. Nick Booth finds out if Sophos has the magic touch.

Forrester finds channel lukewarm over managed services

Resellers might not be flocking to adopt the managed services model in quite the numbers some in the industry were hoping with the vast majority not showing much interest in changing their approach to the market.

Dell launches online solutions calculator, adds discount fund

Dell has taken the wraps off a new partner tool designed to help resellers build Enterprise Solutions as part of its ongoing investment in the PartnerDirect scheme.

Veeam aims to rekindle channel spark

Veeam is planning to 'rekindle' its channel as it looks to encourage more of them to help take customers into the cloud and develop their own skills in delivering hosted solutions.

Read more on Finance and Credit