INDUSTRY ISSUES The distributor’s role in mobility PAGE 12
FOCUS ON MOBILITY
Tablets gain credibility in the enterprise PAGE 25
OCTOBER 2011 www.channelinsider.ca
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WHERE WE’RE GOING
D&H Canada Technology Show Feds move to shared IT services Channel News: Herjavec scoops Zentra, IBM’s $1 billion SMB fund, Oracle aims high in servers
SCAN TO A LARGER UNIVERSE WITH JUST ONE TOUCH. With a large 8.4Ë? stylish touch-screen, faster processor and high quality scanning up to 30 pages-per-minute*, the imageFORMULA ScanFront 300/300P network scanners are full-featured, easy to use devices for capturing, converting, and sharing documents. Users can choose from a host of destinations and simplify the distribution of business information across a network. The ScanFront 300P offers added security with the fingerprint reader to verify registered users. The imageFORMULA ScanFront 300/300P was designed to meet ENERGY STAR qualifications for energy efficiency and comply with the RoHS and WEEE directives for reduction of hazardous substances and waste products. Contact your Authorized Canon Distributor to see it today or visit www.canon.ca/contactus/ for more information. *(Letter, Black & White, 200 dpi) Canon is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. imageFORMULA is a trademark of Canon Inc. ÂŠ 2011 Canon Canada Inc.
FEATURED THIS ISSUE
MOBILITY 2012: WHERE WE’RE GOING (AND WHAT WE’RE DOING ALONG THE WAY)
6 CHANNEL NEWS
Mobility is on the minds of users everywhere – and the proof is found in the devices that they hold, which appear with or without IT approval. What’s the best way to build influence over your organization’s direction?
CHANNEL PERSPECTIVES The federal government is moving to a shared-services paradigm for IT. According to one government spokesperson, smaller resellers will still get the chance to bid.
IN THE MIDDLE Companies are scrambling to implement mobility policies. We ask solution providers about the challenges and best practices around deploying – and supporting – wireless technologies.
TRACKER NETWORKS Welcome aboard the special bid volumes roller coaster. The six-month trend line was still pointing down for August. Will September quarter ends reverse the trend?
TEST BED Motorola’s XT860 4G smartphone features quick connectivity, thanks to its use of fourth-generation wireless networks. But there’s more to this handheld computer than speed.
4 CCO VIEW
8 ON LOCATION
Local IT resellers often lack a voice in the industry, and with that in mind D&H Canada hosts its yearly Technology Show to a packed house. This year was no exception.
12 INDUSTRY ISSUES
Ingram Micro is known for providing solid support across a range of technologies. The distributor is taking no less careful an approach to the mobile arena.
21 CASE FILE
A native art gallery and boutique streamlines customer service with enterprise-level solutions for a small-business setting.
22 FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESS
Despite the growth of software-as-a-service in the security space, partners need not fear the cloud. Symantec Canada’s channel chief talks opportunity around SMB and the company’s .Cloud platform.
25 FOCUS ON MOBILITY
DISTRACTIONS Featuring news you can’t use – but should know. This edition: Infinite Monkey Theorem tested in the cloud.
Tablets are taking the technology industry by storm. Executives want them, sales staff covet them – and manufacturers would love to sell millions of these devices. But do tablets actually improve productivity?
october 2011 | 3 | channel insider canada
CCO VIEW REQUIREMENT AND OPPORTUNITY MOBILITY IS BY DEFINITION UBIQUITOUS, AND IN PRACTICE, IT’S APPROACHING THAT LEVEL OF DEMAND. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE CHANNEL?
by MICHAEL O’NEIL, CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, IT IN CANADA Canada’s recent CIO Insight Exchange Symposium, held at Toronto’s Royal “The term ‘mobility’ can be applied York Hotel on Sept. 20, a CIO from an to: a way of working, remote from a investment firm observed that IT is being central office location; the technology told that they “have to” support mobility products used to allow workers – that IT “isn’t a partner” if it doesn’t find to connect with customers and a way to accommodate management and colleagues from remote locations; and user demands for any time, any place, any the solutions that connect mobile device empowerment on the corporate devices to corporate resources to network. make remote workers productive.” It’s often said that younger employees expect to have mobile, anytime/anyplace his quote, access to information, but this is only taken from our partially true; increasingly, all employees, mobility issue from the executive suite to the shipping research feature, dock (and of course, out into the field) sets out the different see mobility as a core requirement. Our ways that “mobility” research shows that this broad desire applies in the Canadian for mobile enablement is supported by business environment – and at the same sound business logic: business managers time, provides insight into why mobility see mobility as a means of achieving is such a compelling opportunity for the higher levels of productivity and customer Canadian channel. Mobility combines the intimacy. Add these elements together elements that enable VARs to add value – user demand, business advantage, and establish “trusted advisor” status complex technology, and a need for – the need to stay abreast of rapidlyadvisory services to obtain benefit from changing technology, to integrate systems the technology – and we find an ideal and business processes, and to position opportunity for the channel. IT as a means of helping management True to our tagline, Channel Insider and users to obtain new capabilities and Canada is using this issue to provide competitive advantage. you with the information and education For all of that, mobility is not without needed to capitalize on the opportunity real challenges that create real peril for inherent in the CIO’s comment about organizations that adopt the technology, rolling out mobility solutions. In our and for the VARs who supply it. Chief research feature, we provide results from amongst these is security. IT professionals nearly 700 surveys, conducted with a (rightly) cringe at the notion of a system mix of IT and business leaders, exploring that allows users to navigate sensitive mobility issues. In our In the Middle data from coffee shops, using devices that feature, we’ve polled leading VARs about can be left in a taxi or stolen in the time how they work with customers to deliver it takes to sweeten a latte. They point to mobile solutions. And elsewhere in the regulations around privacy that apply to magazine and on our website (www. firms in many sectors, and wonder how channelinsider.ca), we have product tests, executives can store corporate battle plans case studies, and other resources that will on the same phones and tablets that are help you to “connect the dots” for your used to download un-vetted apps from customers and prospects. websites of dubious provenance. In our research summary, we’ve noted Still, IT – and the channel that acts as that the mobility ship “is leaving the IT for many Canadian SMBs, and as an harbour.” It’s our hope that in this issue of advisor to larger organizations – can’t Channel Insider Canada, we’ve provided simply wait for the technology and you with the information you need to regulations to come of age. At IT in climb aboard!
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Volume 1, Issue 2 EDITORIAL Michael O’Neil | Chief Content Officer firstname.lastname@example.org Stefan Dubowski | Editor email@example.com Christopher Rogers | Senior Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Jason Doel Robert Janelle ART & PRODUCTION Elena Pankova | Senior Art Director email@example.com David Potocki | Art Director firstname.lastname@example.org CHANNEL INSIDER CANADA SALES Patricia Bush | National Account Manager email@example.com ONLINE Michael Howe | CTO firstname.lastname@example.org EVENTS Sandra Service | Events Manager email@example.com CIRCULATION James Zammit | Circulation Director firstname.lastname@example.org CORPORATE INQUIRIES John R. Jones | Publisher email@example.com HOW TO CONTACT CHANNEL INSIDER CANADA Telephone: 905-727-4091 Editorial issues: Michael O’Neil, Chief Content Officer, IT in Canada network firstname.lastname@example.org Business issues: John Jones, Chief Operating Officer, IT in Canada network email@example.com SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES For help with subscriptions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org To subscribe to Channel Insider Canada in print, as a digital magazine – or to receive our daily e-newsletter – please visit us at www.itincanada. ca/registration Channel Insider Canada is published 10 times per year and is found on the web at www.channelinsider.ca One year subscription rates: One year subscription rates: Canada, $50, US $60 (US) and foreign $90 (US). Single copies $5.00. Please add HST where applicable. Complimentary subscriptions available to qualified Canadian readers. When notifying of an address change, please include address label to ensure continuity of service. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in part or in whole without the permission of copyright owner. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. REPRINT INFORMATION High quality reprints of articles or additional copies of the magazine are available through IT in Canada. Please contact us by phone at 905-727-3875 x336 Canadian Publication Mail Agreement # 41382532 All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written consent; inquiries should be addressed to email@example.com
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• Manage Eaton UPS lifecycles to ensure proper battery management and optimal performance • Respond to Eaton UPS notifications and alerts to proactively address power anomalies, potential overloads, and temperature and humidity issues • Deploy the latest firmware upgrades for Eaton communication cards in each UPS • Integrate our software and UPSs to trigger functions within other management platforms, (such as vCenter, HP OpenView and ConnectWise) for increased capabilities like application transfer, job ticket creation and graceful shutdown Let your customers know that the addition of Eaton UPSs to their managed services portfolio will give them the visibility and control that they need to ensure the safety and reliability of their network. Learn more about our UPSs at www.eaton.com/powerquality. Eaton is the only Power Certified Partner for Level Platforms; for more information on our MSP partnerships, contact Eaton’s Technical Sales Support at TechnicalSalesSupportPQSOCanada@eaton.com or 1.800.461.8166 x 3324.
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CHANNEL NEWS 1 The Herjavec Group acquires Zentra IT integrator The Herjavec Group (THG) is acquiring Calgarybased data storage and virtualization integrator Zentra. At press time, the all-cash deal was expected to close by the end of October, according to a press release. Zentra, a privately held company founded in 1991, has a strong presence with government and enterprise as a specialist in data storage concepts and architecture, server and storage virtualization and high-performance computing. The company has 65 employees in its five offices. In 2010 Zentra acquired Calgary-based Accuetrust, a security specialist, to enable the offering of a broader spectrum of services. Both Zentra and Accuetrust will be wholly integrated within THG to create a single brand. Once the acquisition is complete, THG will have offices in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and New York. Founder and CEO of Zentra, Scott Wagner, will continue to work throughout the transition but will then leave to pursue other passions. In a statement, Wagner called the acquisition a tremendous integration opportunity. Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO of THG, said in a statement that Wagner had “built a solid, professional company” and that THG is “excited to integrate its capabilities with ours. On a combined basis we are now a $125 million powerhouse integrator with over 175 employees. This acquisition will provide tremendous value and service to our customers in an area that requires solid solutions for a complex and ever changing world. THG’s world-class integration and managed services ability will be a great addition to our clients’ storage and virtualization needs.”
Microsoft previews new Visual Studio, Win2 dows Server and cloud Team Foundation
Microsoft announced a series of moves meant to advance developer opportunities and productivity, including a preview of Visual Studio 2011, Windows Server 8 and the company’s Team Foundation Server (TFS) delivered as a service on the Windows Azure cloud. In a keynote at the Microsoft BUILD conference in September, Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft s Server and Tools Business (STB), discussed how new application patterns across connected devices and continuous services boost opportunities for developers to build the next generation of continuous services that are dynamic, scalable and optimized to connect with the multi-device world. Microsoft officials said Windows Server 8 applies the company’s background in building and operating the Windows Azure public cloud to provide a cloud-optimized operating system focused on delivery of applications, interoperability within diverse IT environments, high-performance virtualization and strong links to public clouds. Moreover, Windows Server 8 provides multitenant infrastructure for cloud services with significant enhancements to help reduce the costs of high availability and to automate october 2011 | 6 |
3 IBM investing in SMB through $1 billion fund
IBM is investing US$1 billion to help SMBs take advantage of analytics and the cloud. With the investment, which will be made over the next 18 months, the company hopes to make credit more easily accessible by giving approvals in less than 60 seconds through IBM Global Financing. According to Andy Monshaw, GM of IBM’s mid-market business, the company aims to address SMB challenges via two steps: the first tackles issues having to do with access to credit and capital; secondly, “we have made available the most channel insider canada
important areas for small and medium businesses to leverage when it comes to IT,” Monshaw said, adding that IBM will focus on areas such as security, business analytics and cloud computing, “priced to be easily consumed by small and medium businesses.” IBM said in a statement that it will offer “simple, flexible lease and loan packages, some starting as low as 0% for 12 months with no money down.”
Oracle to focus on high4 end server business
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said his company will continue to phase out its x86 server business in favour of high-end SPARC systems optimized to run Oracle applications. When Oracle executives were positioning the company to buy Sun Microsystems in late 2009, they stressed that the plan was to abandon the low-end commodity server business, instead focusing on high-end systems bundled with Oracle’s own enterprise software. During a conference call Sept. 20 with analysts and journalists to announce fiscal first-quarter 2012 results, Oracle executives reiterated that point, noting that while the company’s Exadata, Exalogic and high-end SPARC businesses saw double-digit growth during the period, x86 server revenue continued to tumble. And according to Ellison, that’s fine with him. “I don’t care if our commodity x86 business goes to zero,” Ellison said. “We have no interest in selling other people’s IP. X86 includes Intel IP and Microsoft IP. We don’t make money selling that.” Oracle’s high-end hardware business will reach profitability, and the margins will continue to grow and eventually will enable the software giant of reach its goal of getting back to its pre-Sun acquisition profit margins, Ellison said. In a quarter in which Oracle saw revenue jump 12% to $8.4 billion, and net income rise 36% to $1.8 billion, that hardware business – based on the systems inherited in the $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun – was a lone drag. Co-president Mark Hurd said gross margins in hardware rose from 48% to 54%, thanks in part to success in the high-end server arena. “We’re not as focused on the hardware growth as we are in growing the right things in the product line,” Hurd said. In a Sept. 20 note, Elizabeth Hedstrom Henlin, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said Oracle’s hardware business “is at a point of inflection.”
Avnet and Brocade announced their partnership at VMworld 2011. “Continued inconsistency in growth and performance may indicate that the Oracle hardware business is evolving into the stalking horse for growing software sales,” Henlin wrote. “Though Oracle executives have clearly stated that the path to corporate profitability lies in ‘selling systems that include Oracle’s IP,’ software remains by far the stronger business and the core of Oracle’s growth.”
Avnet and Brocade partner on virtualization 5 marketing, enablement Announced at VMworld 2011, Avnet and Brocade are jointly developing marketing and enablement support for a new set of multi-vendor, pre-tested and configured virtualization solutions to help reseller partners in Canada (and the U.S.). The effort is focused on building virtual compute blocks, which are integrated, tested and validated bundles of server, virtualization, networking and storage resources. The compute blocks are also an integral element of the Brocade CloudPlex architecture. Brocade introduced the first of these efforts at VMworld, beginning with a reference architecture and validated solution designed to scale virtual desktop infrastructure environments to support thousands of clients per solution bundle. The new virtualization solutions will incorporate Brocade and VMware networking and hypervisor technologies. The Brocade-VMware VDI solution will be available in the fall to U.S. and Canadian resellers through Avnet. Additional solutions will become available in Q4 2011.
october 2011 | 7 | channel insider canada
GIVING LOCAL RESELLERS A VOICE IN THE INDUSTRY
LARGER THAN EVER, IT WAS STILL STANDING ROOM ONLY AT THE D&H CANADA TECHNOLOGY SHOW. by CHRISTOPHER ROGERS
n Canada, the IT channel is dominated by small and medium size businesses. Sometimes it can be difficult for them to attract the same notice as the larger players. Local IT resellers often lack a voice in the industry, and with that in mind D&H Canada hosts its yearly Technology Show to a packed house. This year was no exception as VARs flocked to the free show for training and a technology expo that showcased a number of vendors, giving partners a chance to network with peers and vendors alike. Turnout in years past caused D&H Canada to increase the size of its show for this year, choosing to hold the event at the Mississauga Convention Centre. It was standing room only for the afternoon education seminars. Speaking with Dan Schwab, co-president of D&H Distributing, he said D&H customers never stop craving information. “No vendor has the resources to go knock on the door of the thousands of Canadian VARs,” he said. “D&H views it as our job to be the mouthpiece of the vendors to try to drive new technologies and new solutions. It’s very relationship driven.” Schwab said that most distributors are seen as fulfillment organizations, but he sees D&H as following more of a demand generation model. Speaking about the event, he said, “You have all the executives of [D&H] here. You have eight hours of free training for the customers on the most important topics on their mind. And then they have the opportunity to sit with dozens of manufacturers to learn about new technologies to integrate their solutions.” Seminar sessions covered the grounds from new Cisco programs for D&H partners, cloud computing discussions with SMB Nation, Epson printing on its program, and even HP’s PC solutions for home and office. Sitting in on the cloud and HP discussions, resellers treated the seminars as a chance to ask questions and truly understand what the vendors had to offer. Needless to say, the HP session
generated the most questions (the company announced in August that it would sell or spin off its PC business), but the team handled each question well, and resellers seemed happy with the answers they were given. It seemed most came out of the session with more confidence in the vendor than when they entered. The cloud session run by SMB Nation seemed to be of particular interest for many of the VARs in attendance. Tom Poole of SMB Nation said that cloud is not the great equalizer but the great unequalizer, referring to the idea that today a company with two to three individuals can embrace some of the same technologies that used to be only reserved for a large enterprise because of the cloud. For local VARs that don’t think they have a place in the technology, Poole said that the majority of companies adopting a cloud solution want local companies installing and supporting that solution. Schwab added he thinks there has been so much hype around the cloud that most are waiting for the dust to settle before figuring out where they fit in, “and, more importantly, what’s their value proposition? Because I think that’s the real question that I think our resellers are asking themselves. Where do I fit in the model, and where can I add value? Because if I can’t add value it’s not worth diluting my current resources,” he said. Regarding the current economic climate Schwab admitted that he thinks the next few years could be tumultuous but that Canadians have done a good job relative to other countries in managing the downturn. Schwab described a silver lining in the clouds. He said that as a result of the economic climate, fewer large companies are hiring, but that can mean more small businesses are formed and he welcomes that opportunity because SMBs come to D&H for consultation. With that in mind, Schwab said SMBs are currently taking advantage of D&H’s training and education as well as additional
THE MAJORITY OF COMPANIES ADOPTING A CLOUD SOLUTION WANT LOCAL COMPANIES INSTALLING AND SUPPORTING THAT SOLUTION.
october 2011 | 8 |
channel insider canada
Sessions covered cloud computing, printing opportunities, and the changing PC business. credit facilities. He also said there are many smaller vendors that offer their products through D&H. Schwab sees a few areas of opportunity for small business in both the U.S. and Canada, including VoIP and tablets. He said tablets are mainly consumer driven this year, but with Windows 8 and more business-specific apps expected next year, he feels it will continue to be a hot category. “The D&H sales conversation with a customer is very solution oriented, so [whether] we’re trying to help incorporate voice
over IP into their small business solution or digital signage – really trying to help round out the offering, and trying to create new opportunities for our resellers,” Schwab said. D&H partners were offered a number of show-specific deals during the event, and the entire partner base received double points on the D&H loyalty program for any purchases made during the month of September.
october 2011 | 9 | channel insider canada
FEDS SAY TECH CONSOLIDATION PLAN HAS ROOM FOR RESELLERS
WITH 44 GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS GETTING READY TO SHARE TECHNOLOGY, FEDERAL SPOKESPEOPLE AIM TO ALLAY CHANNEL’S CONCERN. by STEFAN DUBOWSKI
Amid worries that the government’s move to a single, shared-IT system would make it more difficult for smaller resellers to win business with the feds, a government spokesman says Ottawa plans to make room for the channel. “It is expected that there may be even more opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises, as Shared Services Canada works to plan and implement different service delivery models for various services,” said Sebastien Bois, representing Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), in an email to Channel Insider Canada. In August, the federal government announced plans to shift technology services from individual federal departments to a single organization called Shared Services Canada (SSC), in order to save money. The new entity will replace the more-than 100 email systems, 300 data centres and 3,000 network services across the government with a single email system, just 20 data centres, and streamlined networks. In a press release, the government said the move aligns with plans to reduce the federal deficit. It would begin by transferring services delivered within 44 of the more IT-intensive departments and agencies to SSC, which operates under PWGSC, the department in charge of providing government accounting, real estate, IT and other services. Departments moving over to SSC initially include National Defence, the Canada Revenue Agency, and PWGSC. Technology providers in Ottawa were worried that the move might hurt their chances of winning government business, in part because the feds could decide that it makes more sense to work with large service providers and vendors directly to support the new organization. But Bois said resellers may well witness even more chances to work with the government. “Consultations with industry will take into consideration the role and importance of SMEs. We will ensure that sourcing arrangements are structured to allow for small and medium sized enterprise participation.” Chris Bishop is the president of Public Sector Research, which publishes an annual Federal Government Information Technology Market Report; the upcoming edition includes details on shared services. He pointed out that the government has named former senior associate deputy minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and COO for Service Canada Liseanne Forand as president of SSC. The new organization’s senior assistant deputy minister, transformation is Benoit Long, who was formerly the head of internal functions at the Privy Council Office, and VP and CIO of Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ont. The government also hired Grant Westcott, a former civil servant, but more october 2011 | 10 |
recently a management consultant, to help run SSC. Westcott’s appointment has people talking. Why did the government feel it necessary to hire an outsider rather than an existing public service employee? Bishop pointed out that Westcott was involved in CIBC’s move to shared IT services. Herman Yeh, president, Herman Yeh, president, Northern Northern Micro Micro, which partners with a range of equipment providers such as AMD, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, noted that SSC seems to be putting the pedal to the metal to fill the leadership positions. “It implies they don’t have much talent at the top of the organization right now,” he said. Hunter Li, co-founder, president and director of sales, TeraMach Technologies (partnered with numerous vendors including Cisco, Microsoft and Symantec), said that with so few details about the way SSC will operate at this point, it’s difficult for resellers to know where to invest to align the business with the government’s requirements. Nagwa Koressa, president of Integra Networks (specializing in virtualization), said her company is investing even more in virtualization, anticipating the government’s need for virtualization expertise – an important building block of modern, efficient data centres. “It’s a logical thing for the government to do,” she said of SSC, echoing comments from other resellers, who generally see IT efficiency as a positive step forward. Bishop from Public Sector Research said shared services are likely to boost the government’s interest in buying IT. “It’s going to take a while. The effort is all going to be in building the large data centres... This will be the boom time” for technology providers. He added that when the Ontario government built its Guelphbased data centre (which opened in March), the province bought all-new equipment. The federal government would likely do the same. According to a backgrounder on the new system, the governments of B.C. and Ontario witnessed savings of 20% to 50% when they moved to shared IT services. The government of Australia is undertaking data centre consolidation as well, and expects to save $1 billion in future costs. Bois said that like other federal government departments and agencies, SSC is developing a deficit reduction action plan to identify between 5% and 10% savings. channel insider canada
THE DISTRIBUTOR’S ROLE IN MOBILITY TREATING MOBILITY WITH THE SAME CARE AND ATTENTION APPLIED TO OTHER TRADITIONAL SPACES, IT MIGHT BE MUCH THE SAME OLD STORY FOR INGRAM MICRO, BUT AS MARK SNIDER EXPLAINS THAT’S FAR FROM A BAD THING. by CHRISTOPHER ROGERS
n 2008, seeing the rapidly evolving pace of the mobility space, Ingram Micro established a Mobility Business Unit. It started by hiring a business manager on the vendor side and began to establish the practice in order to support its business partners. Since then mobility has become one of the IT industry’s hottest trends and Ingram Micro has taken advantage of its early start by signing several tablet exclusives in the Canadian mobility space including Research in Motion’s PlayBook, Samsung’s Galaxy, Motorola’s Xoom and HTC’s Flyer. With most of these products launching in the last six to 12 months, the line card is constantly evolving. Ingram Micro has its bases covered on the hardware side, but its role covers a broad spectrum of services for VARs looking to deploy mobility solutions. The company also has relationships with a number of mobile carriers but specifically, it runs an activation portal on the mobility side. Mark Snider, GM of Ingram Micro Canada, explained that the portal provides a user interface for partners to activate devices on Bell’s, Rogers’ or Telus’ networks. It allows the VARs to select their own preference for a carrier partner by providing them with mobile plan information. From a configuration standpoint, Ingram Micro also runs a configuration centre out of its warehouse. The centre is leveraged for partners with large deployments so that enterprise customers don’t have to acquire all the new products through their IT department, or having to do software configuration. Snider said the configuration centre provides custom inserts or software loads. On the broad spectrum of services it offers to partners looking to deploy mobility solutions, Snider said Ingram Micro is in a unique position because it got into the space quickly and early. It allows the distributor to act as a consultant to its customers with the ability to recommend products or services when customers encounter a business opportunity. Ingram Micro can help VARs navigate the device maze, Snider said. With strategic partnerships with the three major carriers in Canada, Ingram Micro has tackled one of the unique aspects of the Canadian space, but there are others. Snider said that one of those unique characteristics is cost: particularly higher cost. Mobility in Canada is not limited to the big three carriers. There are also a few lower-cost mobility providers and Ingram Micro does have partnerships with some of them. Snider said that the cost associated with having few carriers in Canada has been a barrier to adoption. Canadians are currently less likely to carry multiple connected devices as a result. Also unique to Canada is customer devotion to Waterloo-based Research In Motion. The BlackBerry handset maker has excellent penetration and Snider said patriotism has definitely helped this. october 2011 | 12 |
Mark Snider, GM of Ingram Micro Canada
Looking ahead Notwithstanding Canada’s fondness for RIM, Snider still sees Apple as the dominant player in the space. Where he sees competition is in the business-oriented products, especially with respect to how the devices fuse with popular business applications. “I think, over the long term, one of the keys is going to be how the solution integrates on the corporate side, with Microsoft,” Snider said. “You know they have Windows 8 coming out. Still, one of the difficulties is integrating with Office. Tablets are great for viewing content but not for creating content, so I think that’s one of the bridges that’s going to have to be crossed, and I think that will bring Microsoft back into the play, as creation gets in.” As much as tablets and smartphones have driven the recent push for mobility, they still aren’t considered as supportive of productivity as a standard keyboard-attached device is. Tablets have proven useful in specific applications where text entry is not critical; applications where touch or stylus entry will suffice. But, as Snider pointed out, “One thing we’ve seen with a lot of mobile devices is that their proliferation is not necessarily displacing the notebooks.” Snider said tablets are becoming additional devices, more of a companion rather than a replacement. The abundance of devices will more than likely continue as new and old manufacturers compete and drive the space forward. Consulting with a distributor such as Ingram Micro allows VARs to simplify their mobility deployment by focusing on the devices that will make the solution a success, Snider said. channel insider canada
MOBILITY 2012: WHERE WE’RE GOING (AND WHAT WE’RE DOING ALONG THE WAY) MOBILITY IS ON THE MINDS OF USERS EVERYWHERE – AND THE PROOF IS FOUND IN THE DEVICES THAT THEY HOLD, WHICH APPEAR WITH OR WITHOUT APPROVAL FROM THE TECH DEPARTMENT. WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO BUILD INFLUENCE OVER DIRECTION? by MICHAEL O’NEIL
obility is one Figure 1 of the most THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF MOBILITY compelling subjects in the IT industry today, but it is also one of the most difficult to pin down. As a term, “mobility” can be fairly applied to: • a way of working, remote from a central office location; • the technology products used to allow workers to connect with customers and colleagues from remote locations; • and the solutions that connect mobile devices to corporate resources to make remote workers productive. In our 3Q11 research, IT Market Dynamics – the research arm of IT in Canada – combined surveys of Canadian IT leaders (subscribers to IT in Canada/eWEEK Canada) and nonThe first question that needs to be asked To explore this question, ITMD asked IT businesspeople (drawn from Leger about mobility is, in what ways does two multi-part questions of the Leger Marketing’s business panel) to explore mobile work benefit the organization business panel respondents. The first the devices, the workplace benefits, and that is investing in the tools needed for asked respondents to rate five possible the solutions that are defining mobility in workers to be productive from remote benefits of mobile work on a scale of one Canada in 2011-2012. locations? And what, specifically, are the (“strongly disagree”) to five (“strongly advantages and drawbacks associated agree”); the second asked respondents to First – “the why” with mobility? Understanding these use the same scale to rate five possible Often, IT professionals are consumed drivers can help IT organizations to drawbacks to mobile work. with “the how” – how do we deliver the structure delivery strategies to address When we combine all responses capabilities demanded by our users and/ the areas of greatest management/ regarding mobility benefits and or management? With mobility, though, organizational need. it’s important to start with “the why.” Continued on page 14... october 2011 | 13 | channel insider canada
RESEARCH FEATURE Continued from page 13...
Figure 2 drawbacks in a single figure, as we have done here with Figure 1, we are able to elicit a few important highlevel findings from the survey data. The first is evident from the gap between the blue (benefits) and red (drawbacks) data points; in the opinion of our respondents, with respect to mobility, benefits clearly outstrip drawbacks. Respondent ratings for common mobility benefits are on average roughly 45% higher than for the five drawback categories. The second interesting finding is contained in the relative ranking of the benefits. From a business perspective, the foremost benefit of mobility is productivity – workers who can connect to the workplace from remote locations (and particularly, we would assume, those for whom travel is a core job requirement – sales, field support technicians, emergency and medical staff, route drivers, employees engaged in inspection and monitoring, and other mobile workers) are believed to deliver greater return on compensation if they are supported by mobile technology solutions. Business management also believes that mobility will improve the frequency and quality (in that order) of customer contact, which is – like productivity – a key executive management goal. ITMD believes that an appreciation of this management perspective is important to successful IT strategies for mobility: by emphasizing productivity and customer contact, and building systems that are focused on these objectives, IT can secure ongoing
PREVALENCE AND PURCHASE POINTS FOR MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
management support for its mobility initiatives. The third intriguing observation from this data is found in the relative ranking of the drawbacks. After security – which is a regular objection to any IT-enabled solution – we find that management discomfort with mobile work patterns is the most common objection to mobile enablement of the workforce. In some cases, this objection will have merit: there are job functions that are easier to manage within a location than outside of it, and employees who will deliver better value for compensation if they are closely rather than remotely managed. But it is clear from the benefits findings that there are areas where the converse to these statements is also true. Ultimately, ITMD believes that IT organizations (and their suppliers) can profit from recognizing that there is some innate management discomfort with mobile workers that can temper recognition of mobility’s
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productivity and customer contact advantages. IT approaches that mitigate this concern – for example, by explicit inclusion of monitoring and reporting tools – will likely help alleviate concerns, even if that discomfort is not openly discussed at the boardroom table.
Next – “the what” Having established that mobility as a way of working has broad support within the business community, the next question is, what devices are we using to equip our mobile workforce to connect, and – more importantly, given the uncertain business climate that constrains capital investments – how are we getting them into the hands of the users? ITMD asked several “what” questions of both our business and IT respondents. Findings from two of these questions are presented in Figure 2: what proportion
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IN THE MIDDLE From left to right: Robert Duvall, president, Robert Duvall Consulting; Michael Potwin, business development manager, Softchoice; Mary Ann Yule, general manager, CDW Canada; Carlos Paz-Soldan, president and CEO, Tenet Computer Group; Greg Tobin, general manager, D&H Canada
THE MANY INPUTS TO MOBILITY IMPLEMENTATION
DRIVEN BY THE POPULARITY AND HIGH PENETRATION OF SMARTPHONES, COMPANIES ARE NOW SCRAMBLING TO IMPLEMENT MOBILITY POLICIES FOR THEIR WORKFORCE.
he popularity of smartphones and tablets is pushing mobility to the forefront. Removing the limitations of heavy laptops and standard feature handsets has driven renewed interest in this space. There’s no question we’re more connected today than ever before and there has never been more choice for individuals or organizations that are considering going mobile. IT has a large role to play in this scenario to manage and secure the mobile workforce. This issue’s In the Middle section asks solution providers about the challenges and best practices around implementation of mobility solutions. Q: What business problems are your clients most often trying to address with mobility solutions? Robert Duvall, Robert Duvall Consulting: The first challenge is effective and efficient synchronization of data from the office to mobile devices. All the companies that approach us request mobile management not only of their email but their contacts, tasks and calendars as well. When they add or delete a contact on their mobile device, they want it to be added or deleted from Outlook at the office. Devices using ActiveSync technology, such as the iPhone and Windows Phone, have built-in technology to accomplish this. The second challenge is protecting the integrity of business-critical information. This becomes a concern when employees utilize their own personal mobile devices in a corporate environment without authorization. When an employee leaves, how can the employer control/retain confidential business content that resides on that employee’s personal device? Who owns the data? What rights does the employer (or the individual for that matter) have when company information resides on a personal device? Michael Potwin, Softchoice: I would say security and governance are front and centre with our customers these days when the topic of mobility comes up. Mary Ann Yule, CDW Canada: Company-wide integration of mobility solutions enables businesses to improve employee productivity and efficiency, enhance business processes, reduce october 2011 | 16 |
operating costs and gain competitive advantage. Our customers want to ensure their employees can be productive anywhere, anytime, which requires them to have access to the organization’s data and applications. This includes everyone from field sales reps who are always mobile, to office staff on a business trip or away from the office for another reason. The more connected employees are, the more productive and efficient they will be. Plus, mobility solutions enhance project collaboration and field service management, which is a big contributor to competitive advantage. Carlos Paz-Soldan, Tenet Computer Group: As a starting point, mobile solutions for business are (or could be) used to bring systems closer to the point of need or transaction. This allows businesses to be more efficient and responsive in the performance of traditional processes, and provides operational and tactical advantage to the business. For example, providing an outbound salesperson with immediate access to information while they are in front of a client would allow them to close a deal, initiate an order, or answer a query right then and there. However, mobile solutions can also provide strategic advantage to proactive organizations, by allowing them to create new ways to engage end-customers, enhancing brand perception, empowering staff and partners and enabling access to new markets. Q: People - process - technology. Which do you find requires the most attention when you are working with a mobility client, and how do you address their needs? Michael Potwin: Each of our customers has a unique set of business challenges – oftentimes, technology is the least complex part of the issues they face, and managing organizational and behavioural change is the most. Carlos Paz-Soldan: People require the most attention, particularly when it comes to mobile devices, because of the variability in conditions of use (e.g. in the field under rain) and the hardware limitations (e.g. screen hard to read, no keyboard). Process is next. Computerizing a bad process just makes it easier to do bad work – mobility allows us to do bad work anytime anywhere! Workflow channel insider canada
IN THE MIDDLE
analysis is a great way to start, because it usually shows tasks that can be improved or eliminated (the “we’ve always done it this way” syndrome). Technology is the easiest area to address, or at least a lot more predictable than people and more controllable than processes. Robert Duvall: Process and technology are the two big elements to overcome. All the mobility products offer solid connectivity, so we need to push personal preferences for mobile devices to the side and talk about process. If you ask most people why they choose iPhone over Android or Windows Phone, it would most likely be a personal, rather than a professional decision, but this can get costly. Features that are not built-in or “out of the box” may cost you quite a bit on the back end. Mary Ann Yule: I don’t think you can say definitively that one is more important than the other. Each is important to varying extents and depends on the needs of the organization and the individual, so they all require some level of attention. People use the mobility solutions, so it’s always important to pay attention to their needs. Many people are naturally attracted to what’s latest and greatest in mobility, but the really important issue is what they want and need to get out of a mobility solution, and how it fits with business needs such as collaboration, communication, productivity and cost-effectiveness. Business processes always require attention since a mobility solution can greatly enhance a process, but if not carefully selected or implemented, it can be an impediment. Sometimes a mobility solution works right out of the box, so to speak. But there may be technological limitations or new features that require the business process to be tweaked or even overhauled to work effectively and generate the expected benefits of mobility. Technology offers so much choice these days but to implement any solution effectively requires attention to hardware, applications, network infrastructure and many other considerations. Q: There are many different components of a mobility solution: back-end infrastructure and software, wireless connectivity plans, handheld devices, mobile applications, security and data management. Which of these components do your customers generally have and want to work with, and which do you typically bring to your customers? Mary Ann Yule: All those components must be considered for every customer. However, when it comes to mobility, we can identify
several key elements to any solution we bring to customers: Mobile applications, like security and data management, are defined by the infrastructure. Ideally, it’s best to map out the business challenge and what the solution looks like, and then decide on the infrastructure requirement to implement it. Next, we define the extent of connectivity required (home, out of country, etc.) to ensure the solution is truly mobile. Finally, we consider which devices offer the required form and functionality, and work best under the infrastructure. Robert Duvall: The back-end infrastructure of a mobility solution is usually a Microsoft product running Exchange. A large part of our business is Small Business Server, and that particular product is geared for the mobile user. When we gain a new client who is small and in a workgroup setting, we start by having discussions on the back-end infrastructure. A question we start with is, “What problems do you find slow you down or cause your daily routine to be unproductive?” The answer usually starts off with email issues, then communication or collaboration, followed by remote access to the office. All of these things can be overcome in a short amount of time; the real issue is mobility. The handheld device is only as good at the infrastructure it’s connected to, or what it is capable of being connected to, so our first concern is a solid back end offering.
AN ADDITIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Greg Tobin, general manager, D&H Canada From a management standpoint, VARs need to be prepared to justify the complexity and value of their work in building a mobile platform. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with the end-user’s misconception that a wireless implementation is simply about changing a few default settings in their server, leading the end user to under-value the expertise a reseller can bring to the table. Another hurdle is understanding the unique security aspects of mobility. The “bring your own device” trend adds a new layer of complexity to the workplace environment when employees introduce their personal devices in a corporate setting. Security creates the single biggest opening for error on the part of both the user in the mobile workplace, and for the reseller selling to that market.
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RESEARCH FEATURE Continued from page 14...
Figure 3 of Canadian workers are currently equipped with BEST FIT TECHNOLOGIES – BUSINESS AND IT notebook or other mobile PERSPECTIVES – SCALED TO 100% OF PREFERENCES PCs, tablet computers and smartphones – and what proportion of these devices have, on average, been purchased by employees themselves? The first finding that leaps out of this figure is that smartphones are now established as the primary connection device for mobile workers in Canada. In our survey – reaching more than 500 respondents representing organizations with remote workers, and spanning both IT and non-IT managers – we see that smartphones are used by 55% of employees. Notebooks and other mobile PCs are used by nearly half of employees within these respondents’ organizations, and tablets, which are much less common, have begun to make inroads into corporate “a program or policy to encourage In general, we find that business users environments, especially within the SMB employees to purchase laptops, are less likely than IT respondents to community. smartphones, or tablets for business use. express strong preferences for one brand The other notable finding from “Results indicate that policies in this or operating system over another: when this research is that responsibility for area have not kept pace with purchasing asked to select a “best fit for business acquiring these products often rests patterns. A weighted average of just needs” from amongst Apple, RIM, with employees. Nearly one-third of 13% of respondent organizations report Android, webOS, and Windows, 32% of smartphones deployed in organizations that they have instituted these programs business users did not specify a preferred with remote workers, and almost today. brand of smartphone and 49% did not one-quarter of notebooks in these state a preference for tablets; by contrast, environments have been purchased over 90% of IT respondents have a What kinds of devices are seen as by employees. This trend is especially defined smartphone preference, and “best fit” by business users and IT? pronounced in small businesses, which 75% specified a preference for tablets. It often lack formal capital allocations for Given the diffusion of buying points seems likely that in many cases, business replacing aging client devices; SMB ratios within mobility-equipped organizations, users will be open to accepting platform of employee-purchased devices are 50%ITMD was interested in understanding guidance from IT. 100% higher than in large enterprises. preferences – within both the IT and nonWhen we narrow our focus to users The high levels of employee purchases IT communities – for different brands with a defined preference, as we have shown in Figure 2 beg a follow-up of smartphones and tablets. In Figure 3, done in Figure 3, we see some interesting question: how often are these purchases we have extracted respondents with IT differences between IT and non-IT supported by formal “BYOD” (bring titles from the Leger Marketing panel and perspectives. Business users are more your own device) programs? In our combined them with our IT in Canada/ ardent in their support of the BlackBerry research, ITMD explored this issue, eWEEK Canada subscribers, to obtain as a smartphone and the iPad as a tablet asking respondents reporting employee two perspectives on Canadian brand than are IT respondents, and are also purchases if they had instituted preferences for mobile devices. more likely to welcome Windows as a october 2011 | 18 |
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tablet OS. IT in turn is much more likely to see Android as a “best fit” platform for both smartphones and tablets. WebOS, which was still considered a viable mobile platform alternative at the time that the survey was conducted, attracted little support from either the business user or IT communities.
USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES TO ACCESS CORPORATE RESOURCES
Tying it all together – “the how” The third area of focus for the ITMD survey was “how” – as in, “how much access to various corporate resources does IT deliver to mobile users?” To approach the issue, we structured a question that asked respondents to consider three separate resource pools: customer information, which was defined as “customer contact info, order status, etc.”; corporate information, “such as financial data,” and corporate communications systems, defined as including “your company telephone extension and voice mail, email, and other systems used to communicate internally and externally.” As Figure 4 shows, Canadian organizations have achieved varying levels of support for mobile access. Of the 512 respondents with remote workers, we see that roughly half are delivering seamless support for mobility, with data and communications systems “as easy to access…when you are remote as when you are in the office.” Another 25% to 33% have enabled access to complete data and systems resources, but restrict that access to selected staff members. A third group has gone the other way, providing limited resource access to a wider swath of employees. Only 5% to 10% of respondents who have remote employees deny them access to any data
or systems unless they come physically to an office. It’s certainly true that in some environments, limiting resource access to employees with a “need to know” – remote sales staff in some situations, travelling executives in others – makes good business sense, and may be necessary to meet regulatory requirements. It’s likely also true that in other environments, exposing just a subset of information to staff, or locking down resources from remote access altogether, will be the best approach to ensuring information security and/or process consistency. That said, mobility is here, and IT needs to find ways to support it. Management recognizes the productivity and customer contact benefits that can be gained through a mobile workforce. Employees themselves feel so strongly about the access and flexibility provided by mobility that they will often purchase these kinds of products themselves.
The survey results have identified areas in which IT has an opportunity to address management concerns (for example, providing monitoring tools to assuage management discomfort with remote workers) and opportunities (such as platform selection) for providing needed guidance to the end-user community. But while the tactics leave room for discretion, the direction does not. At IT in Canada’s recent CIO Insight Exchange Symposium, one IT leader from a financial institution observed that IT is being told that they “have to” support mobility – that IT “isn’t a partner” if it doesn’t find a way to accommodate management and user demands for any time, any place, any device empowerment on the corporate network. The ship is leaving the harbour; armed with the information from ITMD’s mobility survey, IT management can make sure that it has a hand on the tiller, and not just a berth in the engine room.
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SPECIAL BID PRICING FOR AUGUST: ONE STEP FORWARD… THE SIX-MONTH TREND LINE IS STILL POINTING DOWN THIS MONTH. WILL SEPTEMBER QUARTER ENDS REVERSE THE TREND?
id volumes VENDOR BID VOLUME BY MONTH increased in August, up 8% from July totals. This modest increase was not enough to make up for the significant drop in July or to reverse the negative six-month trend line. Despite the volume increase, August’s volume was still lower than March and every month in Q2. You have to go back to February to find a month with lower volumes. We are still not able to determine at this time if the relatively low volumes in August are simply due to a normal summer slowdown or if these results indicate a larger slowdown in business and/or special pricing activity. While VOLUME OF SPECIAL PRICING AGREEMENTS IN THE CANADIAN CHANNEL the six-month trend line is still downward, the overall 12-month trend line (calculated but not shown) is still pointing modestly upward. We will continue to watch over the next few months to see if growth in volumes continues and if the six-month trend line turns positive again. It will be especially telling to see September’s volumes given that it is a quarter end (typically continues. Note, however, that the six-month trend line is still higher volume) and the traditional pick up in the business cycle. negative for software vendor bids as it is for hardware bids and bid The other interesting finding in this data is that software bids volume overall. increased by a much larger percentage (45%) than hardware bids (5%). Recall that software vendors had a larger drop in July and part of the increase could be attributed to a return to average monthly This data represents a statistical summary of the volume of special pricing volumes. This does follow the typical quarterly pattern for software agreements tracked by Tracker Networks for IT distributors and resellers in the Canadian channel. Tracker Networks protects the confidentiality of all vendors that see higher bid activity as the quarter progresses. It individual parties and does not sell or license pricing data. will be interesting to see September’s results to see if this october 2011 | 20 |
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CASE FILE MOVING FROM A CALCULATOR TO A FULL-FLEDGED POS SYSTEM A NATIVE ART GALLERY AND BOUTIQUE STREAMLINES CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH ENTERPRISE LEVEL SOLUTIONS FOR A SMALL-BUSINESS SETTING.
by ROBERT JANELLE ince 1989, Indianica has been displaying and selling native art, sculptures and jewelry in historic Old Montreal, along with selling pieces online. The 2,000 square-foot gallery and boutique attracts a lot of business in the summer tourist season, dealing in aboriginal art from both Canada and the United States as well as carrying clothing, crafts and décor. The business operates with three full-time employees, bolstered by an additional three part-time employees during the busy summer months. When Alex Kiorpelidis joined the family business in 2001, the store’s point-of-sale (POS) system was pretty basic: a calculator on the counter. In 2003, staff looked to upgrade to a more advanced system for POS and inventory control and went with a local firm. Unfortunately, the only system available was designed for restaurants, which Indianica staff had to adapt to a retail setting. Kiorpelidis described this as a frustrating experience that never quite worked as intended. “We got kinda fed up,” he said.
A better solution The company needed a solution better suited to a retail environment – technology that would prove to be easy to use, and cost effective; Indianica aimed to avoid the high costs associated with an over-engineered solution, but wanted to ensure that the technology sufficiently supported the business’s operations. Searching for a better POS system, Indianica went to Moneris, a large Toronto-based payment processing firm. The company is a joint venture between the Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal’s BMO Financial Group. While Moneris supplies large enterprise sales solutions to the likes of McDonald’s and Chapters-Indigo, the company also offers a small-business solution called Moneris Online Retail Register and Inventory System (or Morris) designed for single-location retailers. Indianica adopted this solution last year. The physical system consists of Hewlett-Packard hardware including an Intel-Atom powered PC, touch-screen monitor, barcode scanner, cash drawer and receipt printer. Besides the hardware, though, is the software that makes it all work. Delivered over the Internet using the software-as-aservice (SaaS) model, the Morris software provides not only cash register functions and inventory management, but also payment processing in compliance with financial regulations using a secure cloud system managed by Moneris servers. Integrated payment processing (achieved through a PIN pad provided by Moneris) also means transactions don’t need to be entered into the system twice, reducing the possibility of accounting errors. According to Kiorpelidis, setting up the new POS sales system proved easy, with few issues. “Within three to four days, everyone knew how to work it,” he said. “The interface is very clear for both managers and employees. There was no lag time.”
Setting up inventory did take a little more time, he explained, as the higher-end art pieces Indianica specializes in tend to not have barcodes, but Kiorpelidis said it was manageable and inventory is now much easier to handle. He added that with any small issues that did arise, Moneris technicians (who provide 24/7 support) were friendly and helpful.
Faster, easier, peace of mind Kiorpelidis explained that using Morris for POS and payment processing has made operating the boutique faster and easier, as well as providing peace of mind. “Everything is seamless,” he said. “I feel very secure with the system,” he added, noting that when a payment is processed, he knows it’s going straight to the store’s bank account. Kiorpelidis explained that the computer system saves a lot of time on inventory control – particularly important when doing a mix of retail and online sales. The POS system has also helped boost by revenues by providing the ability to serve customers faster, cutting down on any frustration from long lines-ups in a small boutique. “If there’s a dozen people in line, I can process them quickly,” he said. “It saves me clients walking out the door because they don’t want to wait.” Additionally, Kiorpelidis said the Morris system’s ease of use has been especially helpful for a seasonal business that needs to bolster its staff with students over the summer to handle the influx of tourists who make up a large percentage of the customer base. “We have to make money while the sun is shining,” he said. He said the part-time employees had the system figured out by the end of their first shift, providing even more peace of mind.
october 2011 | 21 | channel insider canada
FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESS
SECURE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ TRANSITION TO THE CLOUD WITH…CLOUD? DESPITE THE GROWTH OF SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE IN THE SECURITY SPACE PARTNERS NEED NOT FEAR THE CLOUD. SYMANTEC CANADA’S CHANNEL CHIEF TALKS OPPORTUNITY AROUND SMB AND THE COMPANY’S CLOUD PLATFORM. by CHRISTOPHER ROGERS
he current wave of trends in IT is enabling users to be more productive than ever but there are always caveats to the increased performance. Enabling users to leverage cloud computing or mobility comes with added risk of exposing company data to unauthorized users or violating industry regulations. Fred Patterson, director of channels at Symantec Canada, said customers, specifically in IT, are trying to be agile, efficient and resilient. These new trends are creating the systems and processes that allow them to be those things. “At the same time, those customers are challenged with explosive data growth, increasing complexity in the IT market space, flat – if not reduced – budgets, and an increasing risk due to an evolving threat landscape,” Patterson said. “In addition to that, many customers small and large are also bound to satisfy certain regulatory compliance.” SMB customers are generally agile – quick to jump on trends – but they often find it difficult to afford high-cost solutions. SMBs might also be looking for ways to implement technology in their businesses, but they may be perplexed as to where to start and how to protect their data. Patterson explained the situation in the context of another trend: consumerization of IT. “What we’re finding in upstarts as well as mid-to-large size organizations, employees are wanting to bring their iPhones and iPads to work. They’re wanting to access their corporate and personal information and do that in a seamless manor. And, they want the company to be able to balance security with the need for privacy – not only corporate privacy but their personal privacy.” Without the proper staff (or with SMBs, enough staff) to figure out the right processes, policies and direction, companies could wind up passing on opportunities in IT that could help their businesses in the long run. Fortunately, Patterson sees an opportunity for Symantec partners to take advantage. “This is where partners have, I think, an opportunity [bigger] than they ever have,” Patterson said.
Three key steps Patterson sees three key steps for partners helping determine a company’s best course of action. 1. Help the customer assess its business needs and requirements. 2. Establish the client’s risk tolerance. 3. Help categorize customer data. On the first front, if a business, especially a small business, is going to take advantage of trends like cloud, virtualization and mobility, IT needs to be more strategic. Patterson said IT cannot simply be plugging holes and updating patches. Secondly, establishing risk tolerance is about asking business owners and IT decision makers what happens if data goes down, or if it’s accessed by unauthorized users. Finally, categorizing the data is perfectly suited for a partner because, as Patterson said, “Partners can bring a level of objectivity.” “Often times, customers can’t break away from the business to do an objective assessment,” he said. This third step is of particular importance to SMBs because they may be working as a supplier for a larger business bound by regulations, and the SMB might be indirectly bound to follow specific portions of that law. Patterson said that when looking at the complexities of setting up a go-forward strategy, partners must remember, “It’s all about the data.”Helping the customer understand their own data and what parts are critical allows them to make better decisions about infrastructure, whether physical, virtual or cloud-based. That platform plays a big role in determining a company’s security direction. As more companies begin to include cloudbased solutions as part of their IT direction, there arises a need for different takes on security. This is where Symantec expects its Symantec.Cloud solutions will find a play. To say that Symantec.Cloud is a new service would be incorrect. The service is the rebranded of MessageLabs, which Symantec acquired in 2008. MessageLabs was an industry leader in cloud Continued on page 24...
HELPING THE CUSTOMER UNDERSTAND THEIR OWN DATA AND WHAT PARTS ARE CRITICAL ALLOWS THEM TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE, WHETHER PHYSICAL, VIRTUAL OR CLOUD-BASED.
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IT in Canada’s Reseller Reference File (RREF) is our directory of lead ing Canadian resellers
Receive current, actionable intelligence on the 900 most important and innovative VARs in Canada Type/size Geography Products carried Vendors carried Company description VAR records include company name and address, URL, phone number, and contact executives. Almost all records also contain the names of key contacts within the organization. Regular updates and expansion: Each entry checked annually for “in business” status, and 150 new entries added to the file each quarter The RREF has been built from a variety of sources – lists of top resellers, of Microsoft partners, of advanced partners of 20+ other vendors, of firms selling targeted solutions, and by including firms covered in our research activities, including those who have won BusinessPeople’s Choice© awards. Most recent additions: 100+ leading ERP solution partners.
The RREF is sold as an Access database application The interface allows customers to search on any of the fields in the database: products carried vendors carried, location of headquarters or branch offices, or the scope of the reseller’s operations (national/ international, super-regional, regional, local). Customers can also search by VAR name Available today, to help increase the productivity of your channel sales force! For more information on the RREF
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FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESS Continued from page 22...
Patterson: SMBs are drawn to the cloud. security and Symantec has recognized the need to stay at the front of the trend. Symantec.Cloud services include web security, email security encryption and management, endpoint security and instant messaging solutions. In an SMB environment, these hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are delivered without software or hardware investments, and they remove maintenance concerns. The payment model is also moved from an up-front licensing cost to a pay-per-use/pay-per-month system, a model that could be more appetizing to SMB customers.
Customer concerns Patterson said he understands that customers have concerns about cloud solutions – where their data is being stored and who has access to it at any particular time. But he believes Symantec and the .Cloud service have built a reputation over the years that the company can bank on. “I think oftentimes anything new is met with some trepidation, however, small businesses are being started up by younger individuals and these days those younger people are more used to having their data reside in the cloud,” Patterson said.
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But Patterson sees opportunities for partners to perform investigatory work where clients are making a transition from physical infrastructure. He reminds customers that the reputable security vendors have made a business protecting and managing data. “More than ever, partner expertise is very important in helping customers not only determine what solutions they need to be buying to ensure they have a robust IT risk posture, but that they also help them understand how to consume it and continue to offer that value ongoing.” The majority of sales still come from traditional licensing and maintenance, Patterson admits, but the trends are changing. And while cloud services might not be for every customer the trends indicate that most will be at minimum considering a partial move to the cloud. “Partners can play a key role in either selling Symantec services to our partner community through our referral program, through our reseller program, and through our service provider program, so there are a number of ways that despite the fact that Symantec is offering the service as a .Cloud service, partners still play, and will continue to play a key role in helping procure it and manage it and maintain it over a period of years,” Patterson said. channel insider canada
FOCUS ON MOBILITY
ENABLE THIS DEVICE AS MOST MANUFACTURERS JUMP ON THE TABLET BANDWAGON, THERE’S NO DENYING THE WOW-FACTOR OF THESE DEVICES. BUT AS THEY PENETRATE THE ENTERPRISE, DO TABLETS ACTUALLY INCREASE USER PRODUCTIVITY?
by CHRISTOPHER ROGERS he stage was set for the current tablet trend as smartphones began to take hold in the consumer and enterprise spaces. The popularity of the BlackBerry platform in the enterprise and the innovations Apple brought to mobility with its iPhone and iOS platforms drove transformation in mobile operating systems. As the hardware proliferated, driven in part by Google’s Android platform, the productivity gains from smartphones started to be realized. Users started looking for devices that retained the ease-of-use and portability of the smartphones, but gave them more screen space to enable productivity applications that were not possible or not comfortable to use on small smartphone screens.
First, some history Tablets are not a new product. They have been available in some form for approximately 10 years. Microsoft originally released Windows XP Tablet Edition in November 2002. The early devices were generally attached to keyboards and carried styluses for pen input. What the smartphone revolution brought to the space was the idea of a mobile operating system supporting touch as the primary navigation and input device. No keyboards, no stylus. Ironically, wireless keyboards and styluses are now some of the most popular accessories for tablet users, but the difference between the old and new tablets is in the platforms. Early tablets based on Windows XP were mouse and keyboard driven. Today’s Android, iOS and QNX devices are built for touch first. Those who choose to use a keyboard or stylus are looking for extra productivity from their existing devices. They are an accessory, not a necessity.
Survey says Over the summer CDW released a survey on tablets that showed 49% of respondents planned on purchasing the devices for employee use, and 64% of those purchasing tablets would be adding them to existing PC desktop environments. Perhaps the most interesting statistic was 58% of the respondents said they were planning on purchasing a tablet for personal use within the year. The results show that whether tablets are purchased by the
business or by the user for personal use, the devices are finding an audience. Daniel Reio, director of marketing for CDW Canada, said that there are mainly two groups of people using the devices in business right now: executive staff and field sales workers who are on the road. The uptake from executives, he said, was not surprising because that group tends to gravitate towards devices with a “cool factor” rather than workhorse machines. If other groups are using tablets, they tend to be brought from home, rather than purchased by their employers. Tablets are finding an audience but they are also being used as secondary computing devices. Executives are taking tablets to meetings, and field staff are using them on the road. “We hear a few feedback points from some customers saying that they can do everything on a tablet, but most customers are saying tablets are more of an accessory type device,” Reio said. The responses do, however, indicate the potential for companies to replace existing notebook fleets or use tablets as secondary devices. Reio said organizations could use tablets to help make desktop users a little more mobile.
Enabling mobility There are companies such as Motion Computing that have been producing tablets for niche applications and verticals
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FOCUS ON MOBILITY successfully for years. Motion’s tablets run Windows, usually with a custom software overlay. IT in Canada recently ran a case study highlighting Motion’s applications in the transportation industry. Mississauga, Ont.-based Trailcon Leasing uses Motion’s F5 series tablets combined with its own custom software to enable mobile mechanics and keep inventory updated in real time. In Trailcon’s case, inspectors use the tablets to take notes and pictures of damage to equipment before it leaves the yard, similar to a rental car. Beyond niche verticals and according to the CDW survey, enterprises are procuring tablets to make employees more mobile. Problems arising from that generally come from increased security risks associated with data loss. It is almost the same problem that enterprises faced when smartphones started penetrated offices: How does IT enable email and potentially sensitive information to be accessed by users, while protecting the integrity of the company’s data? As long as the applications are not graphics-intensive affairs, most consumer-level tablets should be more than powerful enough to run the productivity applications users normally run in traditional desktop environments. The problem is the tablets are not subject to the same stringent security policies and antivirus applications that normally run in the background on PCs. Enterprises also need a data-loss-prevention policy and application on tablets because, since they can be taken anywhere, the devices are easily forgotten or left behind. Virtualization providers VMware and Citrix, which help enable users to be productive on their personal laptops, are also enabling users to take advantage of the larger screen sizes of the tablets, and run fully virtualized desktops on the devices. Citrix Receiver is an app available on multiple platforms that brings a full virtualized desktop environment to users. The service uses an encrypted connection to deliver the applications to the user’s platform of choice. Since the applications and data are served to the tablet through a data centre, data never resides on the device. Users can have the full desktop experience including applications such as Microsoft Office, or even custom scheduling and CRM applications. Other virtualization applications such as VMware’s View app are doing similar things. Another benefit of virtualization is the ability to leverage current software investments rather than having to find suitable mobile alternatives, or developing custom mobile apps. For enterprises that require additional levels of security, many security vendors such as Trend Micro, Symantec and Check Point offer different ways of securing mobile endpoints including tablets and enabling access to corporate applications and data. Almost
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all security vendors now offer some type of mobile application for creating secure connections on today’s mobile platforms.
Decisions and channel opportunities The current generation of tablets presents the channel with a unique opportunity. The proliferation of devices and platforms leaves most organizations with big decisions to make. In some cases, a consolidated approach with a single platform could be the answer; in other cases, multiple platforms and a BYOD policy might work best. Solution providers who know and understand client environments are in the best position to make sure enterprises get the most out of their tablets. The fast pace of change in the tablet space means that enabling BYOD policies could be the best way forward. Tablet hardware and software are not all created equal, but most can be secured equally. Finding the best solution could be up to individual preference and use cases. But when decisions are made, there is no guarantee the manufacturer will even be supporting the hardware or platform for the foreseeable future. HP’s decision to end production of the TouchPad after less than two months on the market still leave doubts around support and maintenance. Will other manufacturers follow suit? With Windows 8, Microsoft is promising a touch-friendly user interface similar to its Windows Phone 7. The new OS will also work on ARM processors that run most modern consumer tablets (though legacy x86 applications will not). If the OS lives up to the hype and catches on, it could be worth enterprises waiting and leveraging current vitalization and security practices. Reio said for organizations considering adopting tablets as part of their mobility strategy, “the biggest thing [CDW] always says is take a step back and figure out what you want to use it for.” Enterprises need to consider that tablets are definitely here to stay, but the capacity of current platforms as productivity devices is still unproven. channel insider canada
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Knowing that a cab wouldn’t make it to the airport in time to reunite our guest with his property, Maurice took matters, as well as a frigid steering wheel, into his own hands. Arriving at the airport with mere minutes to spare, Maurice personally handed the item to our surprised, and extremely relieved, traveller. Proof once again that, even after you’ve left our hotel, you’re still a VIP.
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MOTOROLA XT860 4G THERE’S MORE TO THIS DEVICE THAN ITS FAST 4G CONNECTION by CHRISTOPHER ROGERS
Device: Motorola XT860 4G Price: $549 (no term), $99 (3 year contract with a minimum $50/ month plan) Release: August 2011
Machine as tested: CPU: 1 GHz dual-core ARM RAM: 512 MB Storage: 16GB internal, 32 GB SD card compatible Display: 960 x 540 (4 inch) OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) What the manufacturer says: “With incredible dual-core speed and brilliant qHD display, you’re making a big Android smartphone statement. XT860 4G offers more power and greater responsiveness, and the efficient handling of a fiverow keyboard. It’s the thinnest full QWERTY smartphone. Ever.”
Image taken with the XT860’s 8MP camera
he XT860 4G is essentially the same device as the DROID 3 but with two differences: a new name and a 4G receiver. The phone takes full advantage of Bell’s 4G networks where available and the results are good. Actually, when I booted up the phone for the first time and checked my inbox, I wondered how the phone had managed to connect to the office Wi-Fi network. I literally went in and checked the Wi-Fi settings thinking our dated router had reset the password again and allowed the device to connect without one. Feeling a bit silly, I enabled the Wi-Fi connection but the point had already
been made. If there is one thing I can say about the XT860, it’s fast. The speed isn’t just reserved for data transfer. The 1 GHz dual-core processor gets you around Gingerbread quickly and efficiently with hardly any of the slowdown that’s present on some other Android devices. The UI has a few new animations, but they don’t detract from the experience. I actually preferred them left on, but they can be turned off in the settings panel. The XT860 carries what boils down to stock Gingerbread. There’s not a whole lot of flash here. There are some nice widgets for news and social networking and they are painless to set up and get working. The widgets are easily movable around the screen and there is plenty of real estate with the XT860’s four-inch screen. The display’s 960 x 540 native resolution is quite sharp and bright. Browsing and games have lots of space
october 2011 | 28 |
to spread out and there’s plenty of space for reading emails. The display is also covered in Corning Gorilla Glass to help with scratch resistance. The scratch resistance is a great feature especially for people who toss their phones into their pockets, forgetting that their keys and coins are in the same place. Slide the display up and you’ve got the XT860’s most defining feature, the slide-out keyboard. It’s a full QWERTY that pops out in a layout style to the display. Using the hardware keyboard also automatically puts the phone into landscape mode, though I don’t know why you’d want to use it any other way. The keyboard features some dedicated search and audio recording buttons and also has a row of numbers above the regular characters. I would characterize the keyboard as “acceptable.” It’s not great; the buttons don’t give you that nice “clicky” feedback you want in a keyboard, but it doesn’t add much bulk to
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the phone (more on that below), and it’s a much better option than the software keyboard. While Motorola is touting the XT860 as the thinnest smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard, ever, it certainly will never let you forget you’re carrying it. The device weighs in at 184 g and it just seems to be an awkward weight. It’s the price for
the scratch-resistant glass and hardware keyboard and I’d certainly rather have those than a lighter device, but the XT860 sometimes just feels downright heavy. The design of the handset is minimal but really works. The phone has a single rocker for volume, and a lock button at the top. The set of four keys along
the bottom of the front display are functional and don’t detract from the look. The top lock button is a bit difficult to press, whether because of materials or placement. Because of the design and heft of the handset, it feels quite sturdy even with the keyboard out. Another of the XT860’s big features is an 8MP rear-facing camera (it has a front facing camera too) that shoots 1080p video and features an LED flash. While the pictures are sharp, the colour seems washed out and the camera cover is susceptible to smudging, and that gives your pictures an unwanted glow. The camera isn’t perfect, but it’s far from a deal-breaker, and does get the job done. The phone has a number of connectivity options including USB for file transfer, HDMI for display, Bluetooth 2.1 and Wi-Fi b, g, and n capabilities. Battery time for the device was good especially after diving into the data-management settings. Having background data drains the battery much quicker, so for longer battery life, it’s a wise choice to turn it off. There was more than enough usable battery life when compared to similarly equipped devices. Overall, if I were to recommend the device, it would be based on the user. If the user was going to take full advantage of the handset’s 4G capabilities then there is a lot to like in the XT860. The large screen and surprising ruggedness of the device is welcome, but the keyboard and camera are average at best. What the phone does well is speed. Whether moving around the UI or browsing the Internet, the device is built to get you the information quickly. Bell, the phone’s carrier, has billed the XT860 as a superphone, and while it has some super features, it probably won’t be long before the XT860 is eclipsed. For users that need a 4G phone right away and those that choose to adopt the XT860, it will more than do the job as an everyday handset.
october 2011 | 29 | channel insider canada
DISTRACTIONS, OCTOBER 2011: VIRTUAL MONKEYS REPRODUCE SHAKESPEARE FEATURING NEWS YOU CAN’T USE – BUT SHOULD KNOW. THIS EDITION: INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM TESTED IN THE CLOUD by CHANNEL INSIDER STAFF
esse Anderson, a senior software developer in Nevada, claims to be proving that the Infinite Monkey Theorem is true. The theorem holds that a monkey randomly hitting keys on a typewriter or a keyboard for an infinite amount of time will eventually type a given text, such as the works of Shakespeare. On his blog (www.jesseanderson.com), Anderson says he used Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing system to create a million virtual monkeys producing random text. He used the Hadoop information analysis software to compare the monkeys’ output to every work Shakespeare ever produced. The experiment began in August, and by late September, the virtual monkeys had successfully recreated A Lover’s Complaint, The Tempest and As You Like it. “This is the largest work ever randomly reproduced,” Anderson said in a Sept. 23 blog post. “It is one small step for a monkey, one giant leap for virtual primates everywhere.”
to foster, mentor and recognize that talent in order to build a strong and vibrant IT community.” Dell and Intel said IT professionals should consider reaching out to budding IT practitioners on National IT Day with an offer to become a mentor who can provide help and guidance. To add your name to the petition, visit www. nationalitday.ca.
What are you doing for National IT Day? Nov. 2 has been selected by Dell and Intel as the date for Canada’s first National IT Day, which will take place on the first Wednesday of November each year. The computer maker and chip manufacturer (respectively) said that a petition asking for a national day of recognition for IT professionals has collected nearly 7,000 signatures. Seeking government recognition for an official National IT day, the petition campaign hopes to attract at least 10,000 names. “The future success of Canada’s economy is driven by technology and the great professionals that work in the field of IT,” said Elaine Mah, business marketing manager for Intel Canada. “The passion for technology and innovation starts at a young age, so it’s important
Kindle could pave way for free tablets: Following Amazon’s introduction of the low-priced ($200) Kindle Fire tablet, ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer blogger Joel Evans figures it won’t be long before tablets are available for free. In a September post, Evans argued that Amazon would make its money via the $79 it charges for Primelevel memberships, which give users access to movies and TV shows. “It’s easy to see that the $199 for the Fire is the starting point,” Evans wrote. “Soon Amazon will probably offer a discount to Prime members, and then it wouldn’t surprise me if by this time next year, even Wi-Fi enabled non-Amazon tablets are severely subsidized so that users are
october 2011 | 30 |
sucked in and hooked to a cloud-based service.” He added that iPad usage could be affected by this trend as well. “Expect the premium pricing to remain, but Apple will also soon be pushing its cloud services front and centre, especially with the iPhone 5.”
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News and insights from the Canadian IT channel.