MicroScope's top stories, week ending 14 March 2014

SaaS most beloved cloud option, says report, Microsoft channel boss speaks out on reseller transition, and Azzurri cements recovery with cloud UC. Catch up on the biggest channel stories from last week

SaaS the most popular public cloud option

When it comes to public cloud the most popular option being  delivered to customers is Software as a Service with the majority of UK hosted specialists delivering it ahead of infrastructure or platform as a service.

An insight into the market from analyst firm METISfiles has surveyed the UK cloud provider market finding 191 providers with 71% offering SaaS, 25% IaaS and 4% providing PaaS.

In the SaaS segment the most popular is communications, followed by CRM, online workspace, finance/ERP, HRM and collaboration. There were also services including document management and risk management that were being delivered by some in the channel.

Just shy of half of those delivering infrastructure as a service also offered workspace or communications solutions and those categories were identified by the analyst house as an area for further development.

"We expect IaaS, online workspace and communication offerings to merge into a broader infrastructure category in the future” said METISfiles analyst Pim Bilderbeek.

Microsoft channel chief urges cloud adoption

Microsoft's channel head has warned those partners that don't take on the cloud will see their revenue opportunities narrow and investment from the vendor will be going into the growth areas in the market.

Phil Sorgen Q&A

Read our full, in-depth interview with Microsoft's Phil Sorgen here.

Despite the growing evidence of the cloud taking off there continue to be some resellers that are yet to get involved with the technology and although Microsoft's corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group, Phil Sorgen assured them they would still be supported he urged that minority not to miss out on growth opportunities.

He said that those resellers that had started selling cloud were acquiring customers faster and bringing on new clients, were able to add additional business on top of the initial sale and were able to establish repeatable business processes that meant they could expand more easily.

"We think there is a key opportunity and growth is happening in this category and our sales are telling us that," he added that it had to make investments around those technologies that would bring in the most revenue.

Northamber boss upbeat over future as losses widen

Northamber has seen its first half pre-tax losses widen slightly, but the distributor is making more optimistic noises about the future as it looks to focus its business on higher growth areas.

First half losses increased to £0.7m from £0.3m a year before and revenue was also down at £30.2m, compared with £41.6m in the same period a year earlier with a decline in some of the traditional product areas being blamed.

"Our necessarily accelerated actions to re-focus our business model into new and growth areas are progressing well," said Northamber chairman David Philips, who also highlighted some of its other efforts to realign the firm.

Sage customer community to offer channel enhanced services wrap

Sage has unveiled a new SME online services scheme, Sage 200 Services, designed to support customers and foster increased interaction around the channel.

The two-tier package will provide business advice around areas such including human resources and health and safety, support, insight and an online community to foster more interaction and networking opportunities.

UK and Germany deliver growth for Computacenter

A strong performance in the UK and improving conditions in Germany helped Computacenter break through the £3bn revenue barrier with the demand for services continuing to rise.

The channel player delivered a 5.4% increase in revenues for the last financial year with £3.072bn up from £2.914bn in 2012 and pre-tax profits improved by 3% to £18.7m, compared to £79.3m a year earlier.

IBM workers strike over Lenovo transfer

Over 1,000 Chinese workers at an IBM factory in tech hub Shenzen have walked out in protest at the terms of their transfer to Lenovo, which bought IBM’s commodity x86 server business for $2.3bn at the start of the year.

Azzurri ICON cloud launch cements business turnaround

Azzurri has launched a new unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platform – the first in a series of service launches planned this year under its new ICON cloud and managed services banner – saying that it is now getting back to business as usual following its recent restructuring.

Violin's Rose to play for Pure in EMEA expansion

Flash array vendor Pure Storage has poached rival Violin Memory’s Steven Rose to fill the post of EMEA VP as part of a major expansion of its executive leadership team in the region.

Griffin launches hybrid cloud service for partners

Griffin, the networking services and business internet specialist acquired in 2012 by network integrator MDNX, has launched its first hybrid cloud proposition to the channel.

IBM boss admits last year missed expectations

The head of IBM has used the firm's annual report to acknowledge to shareholders that the firm did not deliver the best performance last year and that there was more work to be done on the hardware side of the portfolio.

Read more on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Applications