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Phoenix Eyes U.S. Presence Through Channel
By John Moore, Ziff Davis Internet


Phoenix Technologies Ltd. will launch an enterprise reseller program in the U.S. in coming weeks to market its endpoint security products.

The company, perhaps best known for its BIOS products, has typically worked with systems builders and OEMs. But Phoenix plans to broaden its channel initiative as it rolls out products such as TrustConnector 2.

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TrustConnector, generally available as of Nov. 1, prevents unauthorized devices from accessing networks by creating an identity key for PCs, handhelds, smartphones and other devices equipped with x86 chips.

"This is a value-added reseller type product," said Robert Wise, vice president of product marketing at Phoenix Technologies. In Japan, where TrustConnector was launched prior to general availability, integrator NTT Data implemented the technology.

Phoenix will draw from its overseas channel experiences as it launches its U.S. program for enterprise partners, Wise said. "In Japan, we've had a formal program for some time," he said. "They have been the trial market for us."

The U.S. reseller program will include large systems integrators with national or global scope and vertical market specialty firms. Wise said he expects the company's endpoint security wares to find a role in such verticals as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, government, and biotechnology.

TrustConnector will be the lead product in the enterprise program, but Wise said Phoenix Technologies' Recover Pro also is appropriate for channel sales. Recover Pro, he said, restores endpoints if damaged by viruses or user accidents.

Tech Data Retools European Operation

Tech Data Corp. is nearing the completion of an SAP implementation in Europe, an action company officials believe will put the company on better footing in that region.

Tech Data has experienced a downturn in the European market, with July quarter sales coming in lower than expected. Steven Raymund, Tech Data's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company faces "less than favorable market conditions" in Europe, noting that the company's European growth crested late last year and subsequently tailed off. Raymund spoke on Monday at the Bear Stearns SMid-Cap Investor Conference in New York.

Other distributors such as Avnet Inc. and Arrow Electronics Inc. also report weak demand in Europe.

Tech Data's SAP deployment is one move calculated to get Europe back on track. Raymund said the software conversion is largely complete, with the balance to be cut over by the end of the company's fiscal year or shortly after. The company's fiscal year ends Jan. 31.

With the SAP implementation, Tech Data will take a shared-services approach that will enable the company's country managers to take focus on sales, marketing and pricing, rather than on back-office matters, Raymund said.

The company also is in the midst of a European restructuring that involves workforce reductions and facility consolidations, among other measures.

Raymund, meanwhile, reported continued robust growth in the Americas region, where Tech Data saw 13.2 percent top-line growth in its July quarter. He attributed the company's Americas growth, in part, to market share gains, but also noted a "relatively healthy environment" for information technology demand.

Raymond said Tech Data's specialized business units in such fields as voice over IP, point-of-sale, and digital imaging were a key source of growth.

ActivePoint Pursues U.S. Channel

ActivePoint, a maker of natural language search and guidance engines, is building a channel in Europe and aims to do the same in the U.S. market.

The company's TX5 system runs on a Web site and lets shoppers type in questions. The product's natural language engine, which incorporates sentence contextual understanding, then directs users to the relevant information or products.

Rhona Morris, director of business development at ActivePoint, said the company's goal is to seek out integrators, consultants and Web site developers who want to provide customer relationship management/search systems for their customers.

ActivePoint, with development facilities in Netanya, Israel, and administrative offices in New York, has inked a channel deal with Superstat Ltd. in the United Kingdom.

Superstat will market ActivePoint's products through ActivePointUK, which it created for that purpose.

ActivePoint now is in the process of negotiating arrangements with additional channel partners in Germany, Switzerland, and France, Morris said. She said the company is ready to build a channel in the U.S., where it already has some customers.

"We are ready to venture into the U.S. market," she said.

Channel partners reselling TX5, in the U.S. and elsewhere can help their customers boost Web sales conversion rates, Morris said. The product will also provide insight into buying patterns. TX5 includes a reporting tool, based on user system logs, that generates information on the products shoppers are looking for.

In addition to TX5, ActivePoint also offers EasyFlip E-Catalog, which creates online shopping guides that mimic the format of a printed catalog.

Unisys Builds On Bank BPO Deal

Unisys Corp. on Monday said it has expanded its BPO (business process outsourcing) relationship with Rabobank, a financial services provider in the Netherlands.

PointerUnisys unwraps services strategy. Click here to read more.

Unisys' original contract, signed last year, covered a five-year period, through 2008, according to a Unisys spokeswoman. The new contract extends the deal through December 2010, she added. The Unisys Payment and Services Solutions subsidiary holds the contract, which covers paper-related payment transactions. The Unisys unit also provides BPO services to ABN Amro, site of a $2.2 billion outsourcing program announced earlier this year.

Unisys Payment and Services Solutions automates giro processing and processing and money transfer forms. Giro refers to paper-based, check-like payments.

The extension of Unisys' Rabobank pact runs counter to the trend of renegotiated outsourcing pacts that result in shortened deals.

TPI Inc., a sourcing advisory firm, recently cited shorter-term IT outsourcing contracts as a factor in the declining total dollar value of contracts.

In some cases, outsourcing deals have disappeared altogether. U.K. food retailer J. Sainsbury, Sears, Roebuck & Co., and JP Morgan Chase have all jettisoned outsourcing deals in recent months

     
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