5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending June 16, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Accenture, Pax8, AMD, Pegasystems and Zscaler.


The Week Ending June 16

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is global IT solutions provider Accenture for doubling down on AI with plans for major investments over the next three years and through ongoing acquisitions.

Also making this week’s list are Pax8 for its focus on serving MSPs through its expanded cloud marketplace, AMD for debuting new Instinct and EPYC processors, Pegasystems for its revamped partner program that puts more emphasis on partner skills and service delivery while eliminating sales reporting requirements, and cybersecurity tech developer Zscaler for setting its sights on $5 billion in annual recurring revenue – and taking steps to help partners achieve that goal.

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Accenture Places $3-Billion AI Bet Following Multiple Acquisitions

Accenture plans to invest $3 billion over three years in its data and AI practice as a way to help its clients more quickly leverage AI in their own businesses, the global IT solutions provider said this week.

The new $3-billion investment comes after a spate of acquisitions of AI-focused solution providers the company has made in the past year including Nextira and Flutura.

The $3 billion will be invested in several areas aimed at helping Accenture work with clients to develop their AI strategies, AI operating models, AI business cases, and the digital core architecture they need to take advantage of the technology, the company said.

Those include investments in developing the assets and industry solutions needed to increase Accenture’s AI capabilities, as well as doubling the number of employees focused on AI to 80,000 people via a mix of hiring, training and additional acquisitions, the company said.

Pax8 Marketplace Evolves Into A ‘Customer Acquisition Engine” for MSPs

Pax8 executives made a bold declaration this week saying the company is no longer a distributor but is now a cloud marketplace.

Pax8, holding its inaugural Beyond event this week, unveiled an enhanced cloud marketplace that the company said uses the power of data and AI to serve as a “customer acquisition engine” for MSP partners, Pax8 CTO Scott Chasin told the more than 1,000 MSPs in attendance.

Pax8 said the revamped marketplace will help MSPs get matched up with end customers who are looking to buy direct through Pax8’s vendor partners. Through a “buy now’ button that most Pax8 vendor partners will have on their websites, end customers will be rerouted to Pax8’s marketplace and prompted to answer questions that will match them with an MSP if they don’t have one already.

Ryan Walsh, Pax8 channel chief and chief strategy officer, and Nick Heddy, Pax8 chief commerce officer, told CRN that the revamped cloud marketplace creates significant opportunities for MSPs who are “ready to move today” by opting into the “buy now” feature and provide Pax8 with information about the types of customers they are looking for.

AMD Eyes AI, Cloud Expansion With Instinct MI300X, EPYC 97X4 Chips

AMD is swinging big for the AI, cloud and technical computing markets with fresh lineups of Instinct chips and EPYC CPUs that will help it compete against the likes of Nvidia, Intel and others.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip designer debuted the new processors this week at the company’s Data Center and AI Technology Premiere event in San Francisco.

AMD’s introduction of the new chips comes as the company has made significant share gains against rival Intel in the x86 server CPU market over the past several years. That, complemented by gains in the PC market, has fueled significant revenue growth for AMD in recent years.

AMD called the new Instinct 300X the “world’s most advanced accelerator for generative AI.” The chip comes with up to 192GB of high-bandwidth HBM3 memory and uses AMD’s next-generation CDNA 3 architectures, allowing it to “provide the compute and memory efficiency needed for large language model inference and generative AI workloads.”

In the cloud market, AMD said its fourth-generation EPYC 97X4 processors, previously code-named Bergamo, will provide better virtual CPU density than Intel or Ampere Computing, a cloud chip startup, thanks to the top CPU’s dual-threaded 128 Zen 4c cores enabling 512 virtual CPUs in a dual-socket server. It will also have “industry leading performance” and “leadership energy efficiency.”

For technical computing, the company said its new EPYC processors with AMD 3D V-Cache technology have the “world’s highest performance” for the workload category. That’s because of the CPU’s maximum of 96 Zen 4 cores combined with a massive L3 cache of more than 1GB made possible by AMD’s 3D chip packaging technology.

Upgraded Pegasystems Channel Program Emphasizes Partner Skills, Drops Sales Requirements

Pegasystems wins kudos this week for launching a major update of its channel program, putting more emphasis on partner skills and success, offering more vertical industry specializations, and eliminating sales entirely as a metric for assessing partner tier levels and benefits.

Pegasystems, which offers a low-code platform for workflow automation and business process automation, is also expanding its Pega Marketplace where partners exhibit connectors and accelerator solutions built on the Pegasystems platform.

The enhanced Pega Partners program, unveiled at the PegaWorld iNspire tech event in Las Vegas, is designed to support and reward partners for developing their skills and capabilities that, in turn, improve customer outcomes. The program revisions build on the Pega Partners program the company debuted in May 2021.

While partner skills were part of the 2021 partner program, the latest changes elevate partner skills, specializations and competencies as part of partner assessments and put more emphasis on such metrics as service delivery and customer references.

Today the Pega Partners program offers specializations in manufacturing, transportation and government. Under the new program that is being expanded to included specializations in the financial services, insurance, communications and media industries, along with a newly combined healthcare and life sciences specialization. The program will also include a new specialization in process mining – capturing event and transaction data and using it to analyze business processes.

Zscaler Aims For Bigger Reliance On Partners In Push For $5B ARR

Zscaler is rolling out numerous changes to enable the cybersecurity vendor to rely more heavily on channel partners as it seeks to accelerate its growth and reach $5 billion in annual recurring revenue, executives said this week.

In interviews with CRN—and during a partner summit Thursday at the company’s Zenith Live conference in Las Vegas—Zscaler executives outlined a number of new investments along with an overhaul to its sales process, all of which aim to bring much more of a channel-focused strategy for driving the company’s next phase of growth.

The company also touted the massive opportunities available for partners in helping customers to shift from traditional network security technologies, such as firewalls and VPNs, to Zscaler tools that can help enable a zero trust security posture.

Zscaler is also planning to make “dozens” of new hires for its channel team over the next year, including in support roles for sales, technical, marketing and customer success, said Karl Soderlund, senior vice president for worldwide partners and alliances at Zscaler.

Zscaler is currently generating more than $1.5 billion in annual recurring revenue, although it has not publicly shared a target date for reaching $5 billion in ARR. The company’s growth has been bolstered in recent years by rising customer demand for security technologies that can protect remote and distributed workforces, such as zero trust network access (ZTNA), which aims to offer improved security compared with VPNs for connections to corporate applications and data.