5 things

5 Channel Partner Updates: 18 March 2016

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Good morning, channel partners. Here are five technology news updates, insights, chatter, and plenty more to sip on for Friday, March 18, 2016.

Actually, there are 21 entries (yowzers) for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) to sip on.

21. Ingram Micro M&A: Is Ingram Micro a buyer or seller in the M&A market? The answer remains both. The distributor has acquired NETXUSA, a VAD focused on unified communications and collaboration solutions. The deal comes only a few weeks after a Chinese logistics giant agreed to acquire Ingram Micro for $6 billion. More thoughts soon.

20. Avoiding a BlackBerry Moment: Emails from within EMC show the company feared the shifting storage landscape could have pushed the company off the cliff, much in the way that the shift from cell phones to smartphones nearly destroyed BlackBerry. However, EMC avoided dire straights by pushing hard into the flash storage market.

19. IBM Falls for Microsoft Dynamics: IBM has acquired Optevia, a Microsoft Dynamics systems integrator in Europe. The company will be folded into IBM Global Business Services. M&A activity around the Microsoft Dynamics platform has been hot and heavy in recent months. We'll explain why later today...

18. Seriously?: The FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a bulletin Thursday warning that motor vehicles are "increasingly vulnerable" to hacking. The FBI is calling on consumers to take appropriate steps to "minimize risk," Reuters said. Um... consumers failed at safeguarding their PCs. And they failed at safeguarding their smartphones. Now, we're calling on them to safeguard cars? Instead, it's time for a little pushback -- toward the car manufacturers and software developers.

Jeanne Hopkins
Jeanne Hopkins

17. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing: Of course, channel-centric conferences are important. But if you're serious about marketing and sales, why not attend conferences focused specifically on those issues. A key example: the MassTLC Sales and Marketing Conference, where Continuum CMO Jeanne Hopkins will surface with some expertise for B2B marketers...

16. Software KPIs: OK, you're an IT service provider that's starting to dabble in software or app development. What KPIs (key performance indicators) should you embrace? Start with these four, according to Zephyr.

15. Avaya Momentum?: more than 500 digital enterprises and organizations around the world have deployed Avaya Fabric Networking technology, the company said. However, ChannelE2E doesn't know if those are net new customers -- or existing Avaya networks that have been upgraded.

14. Partner Programs:

  • DataXoom Corp., a value-added wholesale provider of mobile data services for businesses, has expanded its partner program.
  • Liquid Web, a global provider of Web-hosting and managed cloud services, has unveiled a channel partner program.
  • MegaPath, a provider of voice, data, security and cloud services in North America, has enhanced its Channel Partner Program with new incentives.
  • Thunderhead, a provider of customer engagement solutions, has launched its North American Partner Program.
  • More partner programs: Search through more than 120 partner programs in the ChannelE2E Partner Programs Database. Or, submit your company to be listed in the database. The submission process is fast and free.

13. HIPAA Fine: A Minnesota hospital system will pay a $1.5 million fine to resolve allegations it violated HIPAA compliance regulations. The alleged violation occurred in 2011 and involved 290,000 patient records. The Office of Civil Rights, meanwhile, appears to be stepping up HIPAA audits this year -- providing ample opportunity for IT service providers to double down on healthcare compliance.

12. As Expected: Backstone is close to buying HP Enterprise's stake in Mphasis, an IT consulting firm in India. The pending deal, valued at an estimated $940 million, has been expected for several months.

11. Toshiba's Downward Spiral: The Satellite notebook maker continues to lose altitude. As part of a widening accounting scandal, U.S. authorities are investigating accounting related to Toshiba's Westinghouse nuclear unit.

10. Russian Hackers Target Banks: A Russian-language hacker group has targeted 13 banks since August. The twist? The hacks didn't target European or U.S. banks. Instead, they took aim at Russian banks. The hacks involved malware that attempted to kick open gateways all the way to the central bank. One of the heists involved $8.65 million. Sort of ironic: Russian security software maker Kaspersky Lab has been predicting this type of activity for several years, and the company has quietly been developing a secure OS platform for mission-critical verticals like financial services, energy, communications and transportation. So where's the OS? We're checking.

9. Wearables and Apple Watch sales: Worldwide wearable device shipments will jump about 38.2 percent to 110 million units in 2016 vs 2015, IDC forecast. About 28 million of the wearable devices involve smart watches, with Apple Watch selling about 14 million units -- proving once again that even Apple's 'failures' perform pretty darn well.

8. Anti-Social: LivingSocial, the Groupon foe, is laying off about 50 to 60 percent of its staff -- or about 280 employees. It's a bitter pill for the company and its investors: LivingSocial has raised more than $900 million to date, according to re/code...

7. StorageCraft Hits the Road: Major funding. A new CEO and expanded executive team. A major channel push. So what's next for StorageCraft? How about a major road trip.

6. Telcos, Cable Companies Bow to Amazon: Comcast Business has launched a direct-to-AWS Ethernet connectivity service. The service supports up to 10 Gbps of dedicated Ethernet connectivity to Amazon's cloud. Hmmm... More proof that cable companies will offer high-speed highway connections to public clouds, rather than building dominant clouds on their own. (Ironic: The video in Comcast's launch announcement takes forever to launch.)

5. Amazon and Office Depot: What if Amazon invested in Office Depot, and used the retailer to deliver business solutions and related IT services? Hmmm...

4. Equal Pay at Amazon: When it comes to salary and overall compensation for men and women, what's Amazon's track record on equal pay across the board? Amazon's shareholders may push the company to disclose such information, according to an SEC recommendation...

3. Attention Growing MSPs: If you'd like to brag a bit about your success -- and earn some free recognition -- then fill out our ChannelE2E Top Vertical Market MSP survey. Even if you're just getting started in a key vertical, we'd love to hear about your milestones and momentum -- and potentially put the spotlight on your business. Survey results and honorees will be unveiled in June.

2. Data Center Salaries: Uses StratoScale's data center salary survey tool to check your industry, role and expected salary...

1. Coming Next Week: ChannelE2E will be attending CompTIA Annual Member Meeting in Chicago. If you'd like to potentially meet just give me a shout ([email protected]).

More: Read all of our daily 5 Channel Partner UpdatesPlus: Subscribe to our daily enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.