Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Feb. 23, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Intel, Palo Alto Networks, Sophos, Clumio and Prosimo.

The Week Ending Feb. 23

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Intel for the official launch of its contract chip manufacturing business, a key piece of the company’s overall plan to regain its leading position within the semiconductor industry.

Also making this week’s list is Palo Alto Networks for its bold plan to provide customers with incentives that will hit the company’s short-term bottom line, but ultimately spur market share growth. Sophos makes the list for launching a Partner Care Support Team, as does data protection service provider Clumio for a successful funding round that will accelerate growth.

And startup Prosimo makes the list for debuting its AI Suite for Multi-Cloud Networking to assist businesses wrestling with real-world AI challenges.

Intel Launches ‘World’s First Systems Foundry’ With Expanded Road Map To Take On TSMC, Samsung

Intel this week marked the official launch of its contract chip manufacturing business to compete against Asian foundry giants TSMC and Samsung, calling it the “world’s first systems foundry” for the AI era.

The foundry launch marks a major step in CEO Pat Gelsinger’s ambition (outlined in 2021) to build a significant business from manufacturing chips designed by other companies, in addition to manufacturing its own products.

Intel Foundry is also a key part of Gelsinger’s comeback plan for Intel and IDM (integrated device manufacturing model) 2.0 strategy, which calls for increased investments in manufacturing, revitalizing the company’s contract chip manufacturing services and expanding the use of external foundries in instances where it benefits Intel products.

Gelsinger’s goals include displacing Samsung as the world’s second-largest foundry by 2030 and introducing five advanced manufacturing nodes in four years to regain “process performance leadership.”

The company also unveiled its next-generation Intel 14A process node that will arrive in 2026 and announced that Microsoft will be a customer for a chip design it plans to manufacture on the Intel 18A process.

Palo Alto Networks CEO: ‘We Firmly Believe’ Dramatic Shift In Growth Strategy Will Pay Off

Palo Alto Networks disclosed a major shift in strategy this week aimed at enabling accelerated consolidation onto its unified security platform, which executives said will hamper growth rates for at least a year but should yield a significant payoff over the longer term.

The short-term hit to growth will come from providing increased incentives to customers such as free product offers, which Palo Alto Networks executives believe are necessary for customers to adopt more tools on its platform at a faster pace, executives said during the vendor’s quarterly call with analysts.

“One of the hardest things to do is to change a strategy that is working,” Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora said during the call. However, “we firmly believe as a management team that the changes we're making today are going to give us better prospects in the mid-to-long term and allow us to drive this consolidation much faster.”

The disclosure came in connection with the cybersecurity giant’s latest quarterly financial results, which revealed lower guidance for billings and revenue as a result of the revamped investment and growth strategy. The company expects it will need 12 to 18 months before its growth rate recovers, Arora said.

In part, the shift in strategy is a response to the realities that customers face while trying to move to a consolidated platform from dependence on numerous individual tools — a situation that often involves dealing with an assortment of vendors and contractual end dates, Arora said.

To circumvent these challenges, Palo Alto Networks plans to allow customers to use its products free of charge for a period of time until the customer’s contracts with its other security vendors run out.

However, once these initial free periods expire, Palo Alto Networks should end up with a significantly larger base of customers using a far greater number of the vendor’s tools, leading to a much bigger overall business, executives said.

Sophos Launches Partner Care Team To Help MSPs With Operational Needs

Sophos wins applause this week for launching a Partner Care Support Team through its global partner program to aid in non-sales administrative and operational tasks, providing faster response times and increased efficiency for its partners.

The new offering features a dedicated 24x7 team of Sophos experts who handle and assist with MSP tasks, freeing up partners to focus on selling and securing more customers.

“We're constantly looking to enhance our channel-best strategy,” Kendra Krause, Sophos senior vice president of global channels and small-business sales, told CRN. “One of those elements is having that specialized team dedicated to partners. A lot of other competitors have teams dedicated for post-sales customers but having [this Partner Care Team] just really reinforces our strategy as a channel-best company and continuing to enhance those offerings for our partners.”

The team of specialists help complete operational or non-sales tasks from partners, such as licensing support, inquiries, portal support and quoting.

The Sophos Partner Care Team offers a single point of contact with a high level of service for partners working with small and midmarket businesses, according to the company.

Clumio Will Use New $75M Funding To Spur Growth Across Public Clouds

Data protection software developer Clumio makes this week’s Came to Win list for closing a $75 million funding round that brings the total investment in the company to $261 million.

Clumio is focused on growing its business providing data protection for workloads deployed on public clouds. Currently the company provides its services for the Amazon Web Services platform with expansions to Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure applications in the works.

CEO Poojan Kumar told CRN that the additional funding will be used to accelerate Clumio’s R&D and innovation operations and boost its go-to-market efforts.

Prosimo Launches AI Suite As ‘Buzzword’ Period For Artificial Intelligence Ends

Startup Prosimo this week debuted its AI Suite for Multi-Cloud Networking, a new set of capabilities that will help enterprises surmount challenges to adopting, managing and troubleshooting AI applications and workloads.

Prosimo’s new offering is especially timely in that co-founder and CEO Ramesh Prabagaran believes that the AI buzzword honeymoon period has officially come to a close. “Why I say that is large enterprises now have started to adopt [AI] for solving real business problems that they have. We are starting to see quite a few customers adopt AI to solve very specific problems,” he told CRN.

With that in mind Prosimo’s new AI capabilities are built on the company’s existing multi-cloud networking stack. To start with, this will let channel partners and their end customers provision connectivity for AI workloads and data services in minutes while avoiding legacy connectivity methods, Prabagaran said.

Prosimo has identified two major challenges to adopting AI, so the new suite includes two major capabilities. The first is Multi-Cloud Networking for AI, which offers core connectivity, security and infrastructure building blocks for AI workloads, including high bandwidth, low latency, multi-cloud connectivity, and built-in compliance and guardrails around data sets for large language models, the company said.

The second capability is Nebula: AIOps for Multi-Cloud Networking. This offering provides quick observability, monitoring, troubleshooting and cost optimization for cloud networking infrastructure, Prosimo said. The company’s Nebula assistant uses natural language to provide predictive recommendations and accelerated root cause analysis.