5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending May 12, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel, including IBM, AWS, Google Cloud, Accenture, Riverbed and Informatica.


The Week Ending May 12

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is IBM, which this week disclosed that it is shooting for 80 percent of its revenue to flow through the company’s partner ecosystem within a few years.

Also making this week’s list are cloud giants Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for unleashing a wave of new products and services around generative AI as they jockey for competitive advantage in the fast-growing space.

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Systems integrator Accenture makes the list for an investment in a startup that could play an enablement role in the generative AI arena. Riverbed is here for a new channel program for MSPs that serve mid-market customers, as is Informatica for its own new channel program geared toward recruiting and serving ISV partners.

IBM CEO Krishna Wants To Double Partner-Associated Revenue To 80 Percent

IBM has increased the percentage of revenue that flows through the company’s partner ecosystem from about 15 percent to about 40 percent—and CEO Arvind Krishna (pictured) wants to see that number double to 80 percent over the next two to five years.

Krishna, speaking at IBM’s Think 2023 conference in Orlando, Fla., said the percentage of the company’s “revenue associated with the ecosystem” had reached 40 percent, growth that he attributed to recent investments IBM has made in the channel and the company’s partner program.

Krishna, responding to a question from CRN, said he wants that overall channel sales number to grow to 80 percent. Some partner sales are done in cooperation with IBM, but Krishna said he would like to eventually see “fully autonomous” sales— where a partner handles a customer deal without any help from IBM—account for 50 percent of the company’s revenue.

Earlier this year IBM launched a significant overhaul of its partner program, renamed Partner Plus.

AWS, Google Cloud Both Go Big In Generative AI

Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud unveiled a wave of new artificial intelligence offerings this week as each looks to gain a competitive edge in the fast-moving generative AI arena.

At its Google I/O 2023 event, Google rolled out a slew of new AI capabilities and software, injecting AI into its entire portfolio of cloud computing, collaboration and consumer offerings including Google Workspace and Google Cloud. The company is also providing developers with new tools and capabilities to help them innovate around AI.

Duet AI for Google Workspace, Duet AI for Google Cloud, a new version of Google’s PaLM 2 large language model, and updates for the Google Bard AI chat service were among the announcements.

AWS, meanwhile, detailed to CRN its own plans to “democratize access” to generative AI for customers—even as worldwide channel chief Ruba Borno emphasized that the cloud giant has been developing AI and machine learning technology for years.

Topping the list of AWS announcements was Amazon Bedrock, a new service for building and scaling generative AI applications. The recently available Amazon EC2 inf2 instances, powered by AWS’ own Inferentia2 chips, aim to lower the cost of running generative AI workloads. And AWS is offering individual developers free access to Amazon Code Whisperer, an AI coding companion that generates whole line and full-function code suggestions.

Accenture Acquires Stake In Generative AI ‘Enabler’ Stardog

Sticking on the topic of artificial intelligence, generative AI has been generating a lot of buzz in recent months. But just what role it’s going to play within businesses and organizations remains a question mark for many.

So global solution provider Accenture wins applause this week for its savvy move to make a strategic minority investment in Stardog, whose Stardog Enterprise Knowledge Graphs technology combines data from multiple sources and makes it machine-understandable without changing the underlying data.

The aim is to allow such data to be easily searched, and the technology is being touted as a way to improve searches using generative AI.

Teresa Tung, chief technologist at Accenture Cloud First, said the idea behind the investment is that Accenture can see more of Stardog’s technology and influence the startup’s development road map. But it does not provide Accenture with first rights to the technology.

Riverbed Launches MSP Program As Company Revamps Overall Channel Approach

Riverbed wins kudos this week for launching a new channel program geared toward MSPs targeting the midmarket, a new demographic for the longtime enterprise-focused company.

The Riverbed Alluvio Commercial Exclusive, or ACE program, targets MSP partners serving SMBs and customers new to the company’s Alluvio Aternity Digital Experience Management platform as the company looks to scale its unified observability and digital experience business.

Alex Thurber (pictured), senior vice president, global partners and alliances, told CRN that the new ACE program is just the start of a broader renovation of the overall Riverbed Rise partner program.

Informatica Debuts Partner Program For ISVs Developing Software For The Company’s Big Data Platform

Informatica is offering partners early access to ISV Innovate, the big data company’s new channel program for ISV partners, in a bid to grow the roster of software vendors that develop products that run on—and connect with—Informatica’s flagship Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) platform.

The company already has recruited a number of ISVs to the program, including database and data source software companies, data protection and security ISVs, developers of data-driven applications, and providers of data enrichment software.

“A lot of ISVs, the smaller ISVs, want to build on top of the IDMC platform,” Informatica CEO Amit Walia (pictured) said in an interview with CRN, following his keynote speech at the Informatica World 2023 conference. “These ISVs are the most value-added software providers for the use cases we serve.”

The ISV Innovate program provides ISV partners with self-service extension publishing and management and streamlined integration capabilities via the company’s INFAConnect technology. Informatica said those capabilities help reduce “customer friction” for third-party ISV extensions to IDMC or applications developed to run on the platform.

On the business side, ISV Innovate provides ISV partners with monetization opportunities based on consumption. Walia said that in addition to helping recruit new ISV partners the program will provide standard programs and processes where before ISV relationships were managed on a more “ad hoc” basis.