5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending March 31, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including HP Inc., Cisco Systems, Graphiant, Okta and Fastly.


The Week Ending March 31

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is HP Inc. for its move to unify dozens of services into a single toolbox that partners can use to generate more services revenue.

Also making this week’s list are Cisco Systems for a strategic acquisition in the cloud security space and edge networking startup Graphiant for an impressive win in securing venture capital.

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And identity security provider Okta and edge cloud platform provider Fastly both make this week’s list for launching significant revamps of their partner programs.

HP To Unify Services Into ‘Workforce Central’ Creating New Way For Partners To Upsell

HP Inc. plans to consolidate more than 64 services for PCs, printers and other devices into a new toolbox called Workforce Central as part of its push to drive more services revenue for itself and its channel partners.

HP unveiled the plan this week at its 2023 Amplify Partner Conference, saying it will turn channel partners into “virtual CIOs” for their customers and create new growth opportunities.

Workforce Central, set to debut this summer, will create a single cloud-based dashboard from which partners and customers can manage HP services around PCs, printers and collaboration devices – anything to do with the employee experience. Workforce Central will also provide partners with the ability to integrate those services into their own systems.

Providing new growth opportunities for channel partners is also behind the plan to expand the Amplify partner program this fall to include the acquisitions of video conferencing giant Poly, remote computing software provider Teradici and gaming accessory designer HyperX.

HP also ushered in what it called the “next era of hybrid work” with a wave of new commercial laptops, peripherals and software – including refreshes of the EliteBook, ProBook and ZBook laptop lines – and new Color LaserJet printers and copiers for both enterprise and small businesses.

Cisco To Acquire Lightspin In Second Cloud Security Purchase This Year

Cisco Systems this week unveiled a deal to buy cloud security posture management specialist Lightspin, Cisco’s second cloud security-related acquisition this year as the networking giant steps up its efforts to unify its security technology portfolio.

Lightspin specializes in end-to-end cloud security posture management across cloud-native resources. Cisco and Lightspin together will be able to meet their shared goal of helping customers modernize their cloud environments with end-to-end security and observability, from build to runtime, Cisco executives said.

In February Cisco struck a deal to buy Valtix, a cloud network security startup that specializes in multi-cloud network security for AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle.

Cisco also won channel applause this week for announcing that the highly anticipated Partner Experience (PX) Cloud, a partner version of Cisco’s popular CX Cloud platform, is now generally available worldwide. The PX Cloud portal connects partners with Cisco and their customers and provides analytics, deal offers, training and more. It allows partners to identify opportunities to extend their service offerings by accessing a customer’s CX Cloud information.

Graphiant Scores $62M Funding Round To Propel Channel, Go-To-Market Efforts

At a time when venture capital funding is hard to come by, Graphiant was a big winner this week when the edge networking startup said it had secured a $62 million Series B funding round.

The company said the financing will be used to scale its go-to-market team and build out its channel resources. All this comes on the heels of the launch earlier this month of the company’s G-Force channel program targeting VARs, agents and telecom service provider partners.

The Series B funding brings the company’s total financing to $96 million.

Bill Hustad

Bill Hustad

Okta Unveils Redesigned Channel Program To Better Reward Services Partners, Integrators

Okta wins kudos this week for overhauling its channel program to recognize and incentivize partners for contributing value in numerous ways beyond just transactional revenue. The move comes as the identity powerhouse looks to modernize its program with a broader set of potential channel influencers in mind.

The redesigned Okta Elevate program aims to expand Okta’s channel efforts by accounting for partners such as managed service providers, service delivery partners and integration partners in a bigger way than in the past, channel chief Bill Hustad told CRN.

Partners can move up the new program’s four tiers — starting with the entry-level Activate tier and continuing upward to Amplify, Ascend and Apex — in many different ways based on the value the partner is creating for the customer.

Along with redesigned tiers and incentives, Okta also announced three new specializations that partners can achieve in Workforce Identity Cloud, Customer Identity Cloud and Workflows to demonstrate their expertise in those areas.

Emily Friedberg

Emily Friedberg

Fastly Revamps Partner Program To Harness ‘Huge Untapped Potential” In the Channel

Staying on the topic of partner program upgrades, Fastly unveiled a revamped partner program this week that aims to boost the availability and appeal of its edge cloud platform to the channel, including by opening up its full portfolio of products to partners and debuting new flexible consumption models.

The move represents a major push by the content delivery and web application security vendor to work with partners in a much bigger way than ever before, CEO Todd Nightingale and channel chief Emily Friedberg told CRN.

While the initiative partly involves updating the Fastly offering to make it more palatable to the channel, the company believes there’s also an opportunity to break new ground by incentivizing partners to bring its content delivery technology to customers.

One outcome, the Fastly executives told CRN, should be a substantial increase in the percentage of the company’s revenue that flows through partners such as VARs, system integrators, MSPs/MSSPs and consultants.