5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Aug. 18, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Avalara, Innovative Solutions, Thales, Exclusive Networks, Velaspan and Dialpad.


The Week Ending Aug. 18

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is tax compliance application developer Avalara for continuing to step up its channel efforts with a new partner relationship management system and plans to rely more on partners to provide clients with implementation and other services.

Also making the list are Innovative Solutions for developing its own generative AI offering, MSP Velaspan for launching its private cellular service, Thales and Exclusive Networks for their global distribution pact, and Dialpad for developing and debuting its own chatGPT for enterprise businesses.

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Avalara Promises Partners More Service Work Amid Partner Program Investment

Tax compliance software developer Avalara is stepping up investment in its partner program, including installing a new partner relationship management (PRM) system and pushing more implementation projects and service work to the channel.

At least 80 percent of Avalara customers already use a partner in some way, according to Megan Higgins, who was promoted in July to senior vice president of global partners. And the company has been strengthening its partner-first strategy by adding partner-related metrics to key performance indicators for employees – even for those outside of the partner organization, she said in an interview with CRN.

Avalara will roll out the new PRM in January with self-service, on-boarding and other features. Once the PRM is operating the software company plans to continue to improve on its partner program through 2024.

Higgins told CRN that Avalara continues to expand its CIP (certified implementation partner) program and increase the number of service projects the company hands over to partners.

Avalara is also planning its Avalara Fuse partner event in November in Boca Raton, Fla., with panels and presentations around partner co-marketing, scaling an Avalara business and surviving a potential recession.

Innovative Solutions Debuts AWS-Backed Tailwinds, A Generative AI Game-Changer

Innovative Solutions, an AWS regional Premier Tier Services Partner, made waves this week when it debuted its Tailwinds generative AI solution that makes it possible to enable any application to be AI-powered.

Innovative Solutions, based in Rochester, N.Y., developed Tailwinds based on AWS Bedrock, the cloud platform company’s service for building and scaling generative AI applications, and Claude, an AI-assisted chatbot developed by AI tech provider Anthropic.

Tailwinds enables business leaders and software engineers to apply generative AI within their applications without the complexity, high cost and time associated with traditional software development. Innovative Solutions said it takes about three weeks to implement Tailwinds, compared to the six months it usually takes to develop an AI system from scratch, providing a quick return on investment.

Tailwinds includes three components to accelerate product development using AI: a plug-and-play reference architecture based on Infrastructure as Code; an API library for utilizing Anthropic and AWS’ AI technologies; and a serverless environment for testing and sharing use case examples during the development process.

MSP Velaspan Launches Innovative Private Cellular As Wi-Fi Complement

Staying on the topic of channel innovation, Velaspan, a solution provider that specializes in wireless network design and consulting services, has introduced one of the first managed private wireless services for the enterprise on the market.

Velaspan, based in Allentown, Pa., is part of a very small club of wireless and cellular expert solution providers in the market right now. That’s because early on, the firm saw the opportunity with private cellular in the enterprise as a complement to Wi-Fi.

Now Velaspan has teamed up with private 5G startup Celona to bring private wireless services to its enterprise customers, as well as fellow channel partners. This week Velaspan unveiled its subscription-based private wireless service for the enterprise based on Celona’s technology.

Dave Bond, network systems consultant and partner for Velaspan, says the company will be focusing on specific large customer subsets with its new managed service in which Wi-Fi has been challenging to deploy, or within spaces that need expanded coverage, including government, pharmaceutical, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics and education customers.

Thales Expands Global Partnership With Exclusive Networks

Technology vendor Thales has expanded its partnership with cybersecurity distributor Exclusive Networks to reach broader markets across North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, the companies said this week.

The two companies will further invest in Thales’ data security and identity and access management channel business for new and existing partners.

Paris-based Thales has been in the news recently for its deal in July to acquire cybersecurity vendor Imperva for $3.6 billion.

John Polly, vice president of global channel and alliances at Thales, said the company’s go-to-market strategy is through partners and Exclusive Networks is “a distributor that’s only focused on security.”

The distributor was the “perfect fit” to take on more of Thales’ distribution due to its global reach, executive relationships, field relationships, ecosystem and governance model, Polly said. And the team at Exclusive Networks made a difference in Thales’ mindset about how to further capture market share.

Dialpad Unveils DialpadGPT, Its Own ChatGPT For The Enterprise

Cloud Communications provider Dialpad has harnessed its strengths in AI-powered customer intelligence with the creation of DialpadGPT, the company revealed this week.

DialpadGPT is a large language model (LLM) that the vendor built on more than five years and five billion minutes of proprietary conversational data. Unlike existing LLM models such as ChatGPT, Dialpad’s generative AI offering caters specifically to business language by pulling in conversational and messaging data across customer service, sales, recruiting, and employee collaboration, according to the company.

A self-proclaimed AI-based communications leader, Dialpad has been leveraging AI with real-time transcription via its own platform, which has made it much easier to develop DialpadGPT from its own customer data.

Once available, DialpadGPT will help enterprises automate tasks, including summarizing sales, customer service, and team engagements and follow-up actions, according to the San Francisco-based company.