Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending June 7, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Cisco Systems, SAP, Workday, Intel and AMD.

The Week Ending June 7

Topping this week’s Came to Win is Cisco Systems, which launched a $1 billion global AI investment fund to make strategic investments in startup companies that build AI products around Cisco infrastructure and align with Cisco’s strategy.

Also making this week’s list is SAP for its acquisition of digital adoption tool developer WalkMe – a deal valued at $1.5 billion – and its ambitious plans to infuse AI capabilities into a broad range of SAP software. Enterprise application developer Workday, meanwhile, is here for its launch of a new program to provide “innovation partners” who develop applications and extensions on the Workday platform with new ways to expand their sales.

And semiconductor rivals Intel and AMD both make this week’s list. Intel is here for launching its new Xeon 6 E-core CPUs and for scoring a major private equity investment to expand its Fab 34 manufacturing plant in Ireland. AMD, meanwhile, showed off its forthcoming Ryzen AI 300 mobile processors, developed for PCs that are part of Microsoft’s new Windows Copilot+ PC program.

Cisco Unveils $1B AI Startup Investment Fund, New AI Partnership With Nvidia

Cisco Systems this week showed that it’s serious about artificial intelligence, unveiling a new $1 billion global AI investment fund targeting strategic investments in startup companies that build AI products around Cisco infrastructure and align with Cisco’s strategy. The goal is to grow Cisco’s AI ecosystem and expand the development of secure and reliable AI products within the Cisco universe.

Cisco, which unveiled the fund at its Cisco Live event in Las Vegas this week, said it has already tapped into the fund to make a number of strategic investments in AI startups including Cohere, a developer of security-focused, enterprise large language models (LLMs) and retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) capabilities; Mistral AI, which builds GenAI models for businesses; and Scale AI, which develops a data-centric, end-to-end platform for training and validating AI applications.

(Last month Cisco was the largest strategic investor in Scale AI’s $1 billion Series F funding round.)

At the event Cisco also unveiled the Cisco Nexus HyperFabric AI cluster that combines Cisco AI-native networking with Nvidia’s AI and accelerated computing software and storage systems from Vast Data. The company also unveiled new AI-native management capabilities to the Cisco Security Cloud.

SAP To Buy WalkMe For $1.5B To Boost AI Assistant Joule, Signavio

SAP struck a $1.5 billion deal this week to buy WalkMe, developer of a digital adoption platform that works within an organization’s application landscape to improve user proficiency. The technology provides support and automation to guide users through key tasks and offers interpretative and evaluative information as users navigate through applications.

SAP said the WalkMe technology will be used to accelerate user adoption of its applications including LeanIX, Signavio and the Joule generative AI digital assistant.

SAP also makes this week’s Came to Win roundup for its ambitious plans to infuse AI technology and capabilities across a broad swath of the company’s cloud software portfolio, leveraging Joule and SAP AI Core offerings as well as AI technology and expertise from a number of leading IT vendors and strategic service providers. SAP and chip designer Nvidia, for example, have formed a “cross-product partnership” to help embed AI technology into SAP software.

SAP is also accelerating its efforts to build AI capabilities into its software around specific business processes and workflows, including tasks performed by specific “personas” or roles within organizations such as CIOs, CFOs, HR managers and supply chain managers. The company already has more than 50 such AI use cases and the goal is to double that number by the end of 2024.

Workday Channel Initiative Offers 'Innovation' Development Partners New Go-To-Route Market

Cloud software provider Workday this week launched a program to help ISV and software development partners market and sell applications and software add-ons they have built for the Workday platform.

The new Built on Workday initiative is part of the company’s efforts to extend its engagement with the channel beyond the systems integration and service providers Workday has traditionally worked with to include more development and go-to-market partners, Matthew Brandt, Workday senior vice president of global partners, told CRN in an interview.

In addition to system integrator and implementation partners, Workday works with what it calls “innovation partners,” ISVs and service providers with expertise in specific vertical industries or particular domains like payroll management, who develop applications and software extensions that work with Workday’s multi-tenant HR, payroll and financial management applications.

Built on Workday, unveiled at this week’s Workday DevCon 2024 event in Las Vegas, will enable partners to more easily build, centrally manage and market trusted finance and HR management applications that extend the Workday platform.

The initiative offers partners the ability to sell, license and monetize their products through a newly created “storefront” within the online Workday Marketplace the company established last year. That will provide partners with a “build once, distribute to many” sales and distribution approach that the company says will accelerates revenue without scaling costs.

Intel Launches Efficiency-Focused Xeon 6 E-Core CPUs, Wins Funding For Ireland Plant

Intel this week showed off its new Xeon 6 E-core CPUs that feature up to 288 cores and will enable data centers to significantly reduce energy consumption and consolidate racks to save space.

The new processors represent the latest step in CEO Pat Gelsinger’s plans to restore Intel’s former glory and compete with a growing number of chip designers, chip manufacturers and companies like Amazon Web Services that are designing their own processors.

Those plans also got a boost from news that Intel has secured an $11-billion investment from Apollo Global Management to continue the build-out of its Fab 34 advanced chip manufacturing plant in Ireland that opened last year. The plant is focused on high-volume manufacturing for the Intel 3 and Intel 4 process nodes that are critical to Gelsinger’s comeback efforts.

Intel even took the bold step this week of revealing the pricing for its upcoming Gaudi 3 AI chip (list price $125,000), a move that upends the norm of pricing secrecy in the data center accelerator chip space.

AMD Launches Ryzen AI 300 Processors, Previews Instinct Data Center GPU

Not to be outdone by Intel’s news, rival AMD this week showed off its forthcoming Ryzen AI 300 mobile processors, developed for PCs that are part of Microsoft’s new Windows Copilot+ PC program.

AMD said the processors can outperform rival chips from Qualcomm, Apple and Intel in NPU performance, large language model performance, productivity, graphics, multitasking, video editing and 3-D rendering.

The company said that starting in July the Ryzen AI 300 processors will go into more than 100 PCs, including laptops, from Dell Technologies, HP Inc., Lenovo, MSI, Acer and Asus.

AMD also said it plans to release a new Instinct data center GPU later this year that will enable servers to handle larger generative AI models than before. AMD said the new MI325X chip will offer significantly greater high-bandwidth memory than its own MI300X processor or rival Nvidia’s H200.