Top 50 defining moments of the Australian channel in 2016

ARN looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the Australian channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, public splits or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - ARN assesses the key moments that made 2016.

  • 50 - Oracle squares up to cloud rivals with $US9.3 billion NetSuite acquisition Oracle entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NetSuite in July, taking control of the cloud pioneer in a bid to gain critical mid-market mass.

  • 49 - Polycom pulls plug on Mitel merger as higher bidder takes vendor private Polycom dramatically pulled the plug on Mitel’s proposed $US1.9 billion acquisition of the company in July, scrapping the deal to go private instead. Following a tense day of deliberating at the video conferencing vendor, over a years' worth of negotiating was wiped off the table after the company accepted a rival $US2 billion bid from Siris Capital Group LLC, a private equity firm based in New York.

  • 48 - capitalises on Dick Smith demise swooped in mid-March to pick up intellectual property assets of Dick Smith, relaunching the failed business online on June 1.

  • 47 - Can Stephen Elop realise Telstra’s global ambitions? Somewhere amidst the hustle and bustle of daily channel chatter in Australia, Telstra’s appointment of Stephen Elop slipped under the radar in March. Once touted as the next CEO of Microsoft, nine months on from his appointment in the newly created role as Telstra’s group executive of technology, innovation and strategy, one overriding question still remains; Why?

  • 46 - Why Cisco’s change strategy is slowly paying off Cisco continues to realign its business at a global level, focusing on growth areas such as security and collaboration to offset declines in network hardware.

  • 45 - Microsoft OEM reseller pays $250,000 over copyright case Australian Microsoft partner, PC Case Gear, agreed to pay the software giant $250,000 in damages as part of an out of court settlement over copyright infringement in October. The online retailer, which is a Microsoft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) reseller, had sourced up to 4,000 Microsoft Windows 7 Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) - belonging to the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program (MAR) - from an unauthorised third party.

  • 44 - Exclusive Networks launches Aussie data centre business Exclusive Networks launched its first stand alone distribution subsidiary across Australia and the Pacific region in September, honing in on the expanding data centre market. Unveiled as BigTec, the division aims to help local resellers capitalise on new opportunities around virtualised, software-defined and web-scale IT.

  • 43 - NEXTDC invests $75m into second Brisbane data centre, creating 300 new Aussie jobs NEXTDC acquired a site for the construction of B2, its second data centre in Brisbane, in May, representing a $75 million investment in Queensland, with the creation of over 300 new jobs. With a target capacity of approximately 6MW at full fit-out, the Datacentre-as-a-Service provider said B2 will deliver colocation space and connectivity to Brisbane’s business market, with the entire investment going into Queensland’s digital economy over the next 12 months.

  • 42 - Apple attacks the enterprise through Cisco, IBM, SAP and Deloitte Apple signed a corporate IT agreement with Deloitte in September, accelerating its efforts to secure larger enterprise customers. Through partnership with IBM, Cisco, SAP and now Deloitte, Apple is advancing at a rapid rate in enterprise, bolstered by the vendor’s increased credibility within the space.

  • 41 - Margrith Appleby replaces Fred Viet at Lenovo Lenovo named Margrith Appleby as its new A/NZ channel director in March, replacing Fred Viet who departed to take on a role at Microsoft to head up its Surface commercial channel in A/NZ. Viet subsequently left the vendor three months later.

  • 40 - Tintri closes only Australian office Tintri closed its Australian operations in July, moving to handle all regional business out of its offices in Singapore.

  • 39 - Andrew Mamonitis leaves Kaspersky Lab for Hemisphere Technologies Kaspersky Lab A/NZ managing director, Andrew Mamonitis, left the security vendor after seven years in February, to move into a director role at distributor, Hemisphere Technologies.

  • Credit: Dreamstime

    38 - ​Cloud momentum with Microsoft as new wave of Aussie CSP partners come onboard Microsoft appointed five new Indirect Partners to its growing Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program in Australia in June, triggered by ongoing momentum within its Cloud business. Joining Ingram Micro and rhipe, the expanded program now sees Dicker Data and Synnex come on board as Mainstream Indirect Partners, alongside Avnet, Distribution Central and SaaSPlaza as Azure focused Indirect Partners.

  • 37 - FireEye taps Richard Metcalfe to lead A/NZ FireEye named Richard Metcalfe to lead operations in Australia and New Zealand in July, following the promotion of Phil Vasic to a regional channel leadership role.

  • Credit: Verizon

    36 - Verizon builds localised partner program in Australia Following the launch of its Australian partner program in February, telecommunications giant Verizon has been actively seeking input from the channel. Nine months later, the US-based vendor’s local strategy is beginning to take shape.

  • 35 - Ian Poole departs as UXC Connect CEO UXC Connect CEO Ian Poole resigned from the company in April, taking a six-month sabbatical following over 40 years of service to the IT industry. Poole departed after five years in the UXC Connect hot seat, overseeing significant growth at a local level.

  • 34 - ISVs ignite the Microsoft channel in Australia From Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, to South East Cape in Tasmania, over 10,000 partners make up the Microsoft ecosystem in Australia. Amidst the channel chaos however, one subset is innovating from the epicentre - the ISVs are taking centre stage.

  • 33 - Telstra spends $250 million on network recommendations Telstra unveiled plans to spend $250 million on network improvements in June, following a string of high-profiles outages of both mobile and fixed services.

  • 32 - Software business sold as Dell sheds Quest and SonicWall to fund EMC deal Dell confirmed plans to sell its software division, including Quest Software and SonicWall in June, as the tech giant continued to shed assets ahead of its upcoming acquisition of EMC. Technology-focused private equity firm Francisco Partners and Elliott Management Corporation signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Dell Software Group for an undisclosed fee, with Reuters claiming the price to be around $US2 billion at the time.

  • 31 - Brocade acquires Ruckus, and is then acquired by Broadcom Broadcom bought Brocade for $US5.9 billion in November, with plans in place to divest the IP networking part of the business including Ruckus Wireless, a company Brocade recently acquired.

  • 30 - Basil Reilly leaves top role at Logicalis Australia Basil Reilly vacated his role as Logicalis CEO in September, with the company rebranding to Thomas Duryea Logicalis shortly after.

  • 29 - AWS accelerates channel play with over 10,000 new partners Amazon Web Services added over 10,000 partners during the past year, with the channel now accounting for two thirds of the cloud vendor’s network outside of the US. Revealed in November, the tech giant reported a 200 per cent global increase in its partner ecosystem during the past 12 months, as cloud becomes a reality for the channel.

  • 28 - SAP A/NZ suffers double management departure SAP A/NZ was left empty up top when managing director, John Ruthven, and chief operating officer, Jim Fisher, both resigned from their posts in October. A statement from the company said both executives left the software vendor with a view to “pursue opportunities outside the company.”

  • 27 - Samsung kills Galaxy Note 7 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which were recalled after reports of handsets exploding, are set to be officially “bricked” and rendered useless. In a fiery conclusion to the saga, the vendor revealed plans to kill all network services for the phones across Australia in December.

  • 26 - Oracle taps Citrix veteran to lead trans-Tasman business Oracle appointed Rob Willis as its new regional managing director of Australia and New Zealand in November, filling a role left vacant since the departure of Tim Ebbeck in June.

  • 25 - Veritas officially becomes independent Veritas Technologies named Louis Tague as its new A/NZ managing director in April, following the information management vendor’s split from Symantec.

  • 24 - HP hones in on market potential with Samsung printer business acquisition HP acquired Samsung’s printer business for $US1.05 billion in September, as the tech giant hones in on the potentially lucrative copier market. HP said the “landmark day” represents the company’s largest print acquisition in history, as it chases new revenue growth in a challenging market.

  • 23 - VMware appoints new A/NZ leader and channel chief Alister Dias was crowned as the new vice president and managing director for VMware A/NZ in January, with Kerrie-Anne Turner following as channel chief in February.

  • Credit: Google Cloud

    22 - Google claws back ground on AWS and Microsoft with Australian cloud launch Google unveiled plans to claw back ground in the public cloud market in September, with the tech giant set to launch its Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in Australia next year. Eight new Google Cloud Regions will include Sydney, Mumbai, Singapore, Northern Virginia, São Paulo, London, Finland and Frankfurt - and will be publicly available throughout 2017.

  • 21 - Chris Trevitt leaves EMC, joins HPE as channel leader Former EMC A/NZ general manager of channel sales, Chris Trevitt, joined Hewlett Packard Enterprise in March, coming on board as director of the vendor’s channel division. Trevitt took over the role from Kaaren Lewis, who departed in January.

  • Credit: Dreamstime

    20 - Aussie takes charge as Symantec closes in on $4.6 billion Blue Coat buyout Symantec unveiled plans to acquire Blue Coat Systems for $US4.651 billion in June, in a move designed to bolster the tech giant’s cyber security portfolio, and fill its vacant CEO slot. Following board of director approval, Australian-born Greg Clark, CEO of Blue Coat, was appointed CEO of Symantec, joining the new-look board upon closing of the transaction.

  • 19 - Trans-Tasman buyers team up to take over Canberra Data Centres in $800m deal Australian government pension fund provider Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation teamed up with New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company Infratil in May, to take over Canberra Data Centres (CDC), in a combined $784 million acquisition. Terms of the deal saw both parties acquire a 48 percent shareholding in CDC for total cash equity consideration of $392 million, including estimated transaction costs of $11 million.

  • 18 - ​Hewlett Packard Enterprise spins out services business in multi-billion dollar CSC merger Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced a merger of its Enterprise Services business with multinational solutions and services provider CSC in May, creating a $US26 billion solutions provider and the third largest in the global market. Billed as a “pure-play, global IT services powerhouse”, the tech giant claims the spin-off and merger is the “logical next step” in the turnaround of HPE's Enterprise Services segment, allowing the standalone business to “sharpen its leadership” in building end-to-end infrastructure solutions across enterprise. Set to be completed by March 31, 2017, the merger - valued at around $US8.5 billion - brings together over 5,000 customers across 70 countries, with a combined $US26 billion in annual revenue.

  • 17 - Wendy O’Keeffe vacates Westcon-Comstor regional role Wendy O’Keeffe vacated her role as executive vice president of Asia Pacific of Westcon-Comstor in November, departing the distributor after over 15 years.

  • 16 - Alibaba Cloud adds Australia to global data centre footprint Australia was named as one of four countries next in line to play host to Alibaba Cloud’s growing network of data centres in November, with the Chinese internet giant set to open a new data centre in Sydney by the end of the year. Alibaba Cloud – also known as Aliyun, was established in 2009, and is the cloud business unit of Chinese e-commerce leviathan Alibaba.

  • 15 - Alan Hyde departs top job at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Alan Hyde vacated his role as vice president and general manager of Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Australia in November, replaced by the returning Stephen Bovis. Bovis brings over 15 years of in-house experience to the role, having joined the company in August 2002, before heading up the Enterprise Storage and Servers division in Australia.

  • 14 - Samsung eyes split and new public offerings Samsung Electronics confirmed rumours that it’s considering splitting itself into two separate entities and undertaking new public offerings, following a push by activist hedge fund, Elliot Management, for the company to restructure in a bid to unlock investor value. The confirmation in November came as part of a detailed roadmap of actions the company expects to undertake in a bid to enhance long-term, “sustainable value creation” for shareholders.

  • Credit: dreamstime

    13 - Distributors vs. Vendors With DPSA and APC by Schneider Electric ceasing distributor partnerships, alongside Hemisphere Technologies and Kaspersky, 2016 will be remembered as the year when distributors and vendors settled differences in court.

  • 12 - Deloitte delivers eighth Aussie tech acquisition with systems integrator buy Deloitte acquired its eighth Australian technology company in two years in October, taking control of Melbourne-based systems integrator, Plenary Networks. Plenary Networks is just one of a number of technology and related transactions and alliances Deloitte has achieved in recent years, which also include Cloud Solutions Group, Sixtree, Qubit Consulting, Dataweave, Digivizer, The Explainers, and Kid Neon.

  • 11 - Steve Nola returns to Dimension Data CEO role as Rodd Cunico steps down Dimension Data CEO, Rodd Cunico, vacated his role at the end of the company’s financial year on September 30, replaced by Steve Nola. Nola, who was group executive of Dimension Data’s ITaaS business, took over the Australian role for the second time on October 1.

  • 10 - Avnet and Synnex miss out as Hewlett Packard Enterprise makes Aussie distie decision Hewlett Packard Enterprise chose Dicker Data, Distribution Central, Ingram Micro, Lynx Technologies and Sektor as its distribution partners for 2016 and beyond, following an extensive review of its Australian processes in February. Terms of the deal resulted in Avnet and Synnex missing out on distributing the core Hewlett Packard Enterprise portfolio, following the tech giant’s public distribution review in Australia.

  • 9 - ​Microsoft maximises data potential as LinkedIn acquisition closes Microsoft completed its $US26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in December, taking control of the world’s largest professional network in the process. After announcing its intention to buy the social media giant in June, Redmond moved quick to finalise a deal that represents a marriage of business services in a cloud-focused economy.

  • 8 - Matt Sanderson signs off following a three-year Ingram Micro turnaround Ingram Micro Australia managing director, Matt Sanderson, vacated the top job Down Under in July, after being promoted to the role of chief country executive UK and Ireland. After successful turning around the Australian business, Sanderson commenced his new role on July 1, with Felix Wong, Ingram Micro chief country executive A/NZ, now heading all four business units of the distributor across the trans-Tasman, which includes core distribution, cloud, commerce and fulfilment and lifecycle services.

  • 7 - Telstra takes control of Readify and Kloud Telstra bought Australian application development, consulting and managed services provider, Readify, in July, adding to the telco's growing acquisition portfolio. Telstra said its latest buy will provide an additional platform to drive digital transformation for its enterprise customers in domestic and global markets, while also complementing the telco's purchase of Kloud in January.

  • 6 - Census inquiry drags on as Prime Minister points the finger at IBM The government moved to question the close relationship between the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and IBM over the failure of the 2016 Census portal to withstand a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in early August. In a new report released in November, the Parliamentary committee overseeing an inquiry into the 2016 Census debacle pointed to perceived complacency over the project, largely stemming from IBM’s long history of managing pervious Census projects for the ABS. In addition, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, continued to take IBM to task over its role in the failure, insisting “heads will roll”, with two senior Big Blue executives sacked as a result.

  • 5 - Ingram Micro now belongs to China’s HNA Group Global technology distribution giant, Ingram Micro, is now under the control of HNA Group, following the completion of the Chinese conglomerate’s $US6 billion acquisition of the US-based company in December. In completing the transaction, publicly-traded HNA Group subsidiary, Tianjin Tianhai Investment Company, has now taken control of Ingram Micro. The closure of the deal, worth $38.90 per share with an equity value of approximately $US6 billion, was first announced in February, and comes after a review of Ingram Micro’s finances by the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

  • 4 - Dick Smith’s dramatic demise Dick Smith went from a $520 million sensation to the bargain bin following a turbulent start to 2016, which saw stores closed, jobs axed and debt owed as the iconic electronics retailer shut its doors for the last time in May. Burdened by countless varieties of USB devices, a multitude of cameras and an army of remote controls, the bulging shelves of Dick Smith shed an unflattering light on the retailer’s demise. Buckling under the pressure of excess stock, the failed electronics provider held 141 months worth of AA batteries, enough to supply the Australian and New Zealand markets for 12 years. Also, the company would have finally ran out of last longer AAA batteries in 2026, with over 131 months worth of stock, spanning over a decade. In short, Dick Smith was simply selling “too many products”, as admitted by former chairman, Phil Cave, during a Supreme Court grilling in Sydney post the closure.

  • 3 - A new dawn for Distribution Central as Arrow integration completes Arrow Electronics completed the integration of its Australia and New Zealand operations in October, signalling a new dawn for Distribution Central. Fresh from acquiring the value-added distributor in March, the combined Arrow business is now headquartered in St Leonards, New South Wales, with branch offices in Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Auckland and Wellington.

  • 2 - Australia beckons as Tech Data takes over Avnet's solutions business Tech Data entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Technology Solutions business from Avnet in September, in a transaction valued at approximately $US2.6 billion. Representing the distribution giant's first foray into the Australian market, with Technology Solutions, Tech Data will stand tall as one of the world’s leading IT distributors with operations in over 100 countries. In Australia, the deal is set to send shockwaves across the channel, with the move significantly extending the local reach of the world’s second largest distributor, continuing its long-time global rivalry with Ingram Micro in the process.

  • 1 - ​Dell delivers on industry-defining EMC merger Dell officially completed the acquisition of EMC in September, creating the world’s largest privately-controlled tech company. Under the moniker of Dell Technologies, the combined company comprises of Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware, operating as a $US74 billion market leader. Spanning hybrid cloud, software-defined data centre, converged infrastructure, platform-as-a-service, data analytics, mobility and cybersecurity, Dell Technologies now serves 98 per cent of the Fortune 500 across the world. Locally, the deal sees Dell A/NZ managing director, Angela Fox, continue to lead the trans-Tasman commercial team, with EMC A/NZ channel lead, Mark Fioretto, tasked with taking charge of the enterprise sales team in roles of equal importance.

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