About a hundred resellers rolled up to the Sydney leg of Ingram Micro's SMB roadshow at which Microsoft and Symantec unveiled new products and reseller plans.
The event, the last of leg of the five-city roadshow, brought resellers together at Doltone House, Pymont for presentations from Microsoft and Symantec.
The presentations included the release of Symantec Backup Exec 2014 with advice on how to create long-term, repeatable and profitable business from the first sale, and annually through maintenance renewals.
Microsoft addressed how resellers could enable the modern business from server to Cloud, outlining new plans in Office365 and Azure.
Newly appointed Ingram Micro general manager, enterprise software, Lee Welch, told ARN it was great to have such a good response from the channel for an SMB focused event.
"It's an intimate environment and it's partly about the solutions and technologies we can go to market with, but it's more about the networking and the face-to-face.
Welch said it was no secret that Ingram had a strong year, with software performing well.
"We have 85 people dedicated to our software business," he said. "We have a team concentrating on Cloud and Microsoft is a core component of that. Office 365 has gone through the roof and Azure will very popular once there's a local datacentre."
Microsoft partner channel manager, Brett Fraser, said his role was working with SMB focused partners in NSW who didn't necessarily have a deep relationship with Microsoft.
"That is partners that don't necessarily have a partner account manager but might want one, and I'm looking grow the business around Microsoft technology particularly around Cloud services."
Fraser said it had been a big year for Microsoft Azure in Australia.
Azure is basically a lot of servers sitting somewhere that you can build solutions on.
"We have just launched it [Azure] through an open license program and that means you can go to Ingram Micro and buy tokens of Azure credit and solutions for your customers," he said.
"The other big tick is there is an Australian datacentre that is being worked on as we speak.
"I don't have a firm release date, but I have been told it's before Christmas so you can rest assured that there will be a datacentre on shore that you can go ahead and build solutions on."
Fraser said Office 365 was "absolutely exploding" all around the globe.
"Microsoft and the SMB segment has seen triple digit growth for 14 consecutive quarters on Office 365, so SMBs are just moving to this product in an unprecedented way," he said.
For resellers, it was the perfect opportunity to get new users customers and wrap them around managed services and other solutions.
As of October 1, Microsoft will be introducing new plans and retiring the small business premium plan, while the enterprise plan will stay.
Fraser said there would now be two families: The enterprise plan and the business plan.
Symantec principal systems engineer, Dale Heath, told resellers at the forum there had been major changes made to the latest incarnation of Backup Exec, following the less than successful release in 2012.
"Let's get rid of the elephant in the room. We had a very interesting release of our backup exec in 2012," he said.
"The reason for that is we made a change to the technology. And in adhering to the simplicity and ease of use, what we did was lose focus of some of the features and functionality that people expected from Backup Exec."
He said the 2012 release paved the way for innovation.
"Why is it better? Because we took the feedback from all of our partners, we understood it, we turned it around and we took that and put it into the functionality that our users and our partners wanted," he said.
"We have built enhancements to our de-duplication technology. We have a tremendous amount of data volumes and we need to run to the finish line faster so we have enabled our technologies to back up quicker and to verify faster."
He said the new product was tested on about 3800 beta users.
"I'm very happy to announce Backup Exec 2014 is the better, stronger and faster back up."