5 Companies That Came To Win This Week
For the week ending May 26, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Deloitte, Accenture Federal Services, ForgeRock, Palo Alto Networks and Red Hat.
The Week Ending May 26
Topping this week’s Came to Win list is global solution provider Deloitte for a key acquisition that boosts the company’s product engineering and design expertise.
Also making this week’s list are Accenture Federal Services for a move toward capturing a majoring federal government contract, cybersecurity tech developer ForgeRock for a major revamp of its channel program, security powerhouse Palo Alto Networks for its bold generative AI strategy, and Red Hat for unveiling its own generative AI technology and preparing to launch a new developer hub.
Deloitte Expands Software, Product Engineering Chops With Optimal Design Acquisition
Global IT solution provider and consultancy Deloitte this week said it acquired Optimal Design, a product engineering services firm that’s focused on developing smart IoT and connected devices, including mobile and wearable products.
Deloitte already develops a wide range of digital products given its deep expertise in platform software and cloud-native software. The acquisition brings new design capabilities to Deloitte, particularly around the physical components of a product.
Optimal Design, based in Arlington Heights, Ill., has a broad range of skills around industrial design, mechanical, electrical, embedded software, connectivity and prototyping, that can take new products from idea to reality, Kevin Prendeville, Deloitte Consulting principal and product engineering services leader, told CRN.
Accenture Federal Services To Compete For Seven-Year, $2.6 Billion IRS Contract Vehicle
Accenture Federal Services, a subsidiary of systems integrator giant Accenture, said this week that it had won the opportunity to compete for a seven-year Internal Revenue Service modernization blanket purchase contract that carries a $2.6 billion ceiling value.
Maximus, a provider of IT modernization and technical services for government agencies, said last week that it also is competing for the $2.6 billion IRS contract vehicle.
The IRS Enterprise Development, Operations Services (EDOS) blanket purchase agreement contract vehicle brings all 400-plus systems in the IRS’sapplications development portfolio under one contract vehicle to modernize existing systems, build out analytics and improve cybersecurity, Accenture Federal Services said.
Under the terms of the EDOS contract vehicles, Accenture Federal Services said it will compete for “future task orders to support the IRS applications development office with creating new ways for taxpayers and tax professionals to interact with the agency.”
ForgeRock To Bring Increased Focus On Partners With New Channel Program
ForgeRock wins kudos this week for unveiling a revamped channel program with which the digital identity tech developer looks to expand its work with systems integrators and other channel partners amid surging demand for identity management and cybersecurity solutions.
ForgeRock CEO Fran Rosch (pictured) told CRN that the new program represents an increased focus on partners. It follows the November hire of channel veteran Chris Westfall as vice president of global partner strategy, programs and operations. The company also held its first partner summit this week.
The new ForgeRock Partner Program brings a more formal structure through the introduction of a three-tier system in place of the company’s previous tier-less approach. The addition of tiers is part of a recognition by the company that large global partners and regional players require different levels of support, according to Rosch.
Other major enhancements include more- requent road map reviews with partners, a higher level of investment into partner sales enablement and an easier way for partners to access demo environments, he said.
The new program will also include increased incentives in areas such as market development funds, training, professional services and access to technical consultants.
Palo Alto Networks To Launch Its Own Generative AI LLM In The Coming Year
IT vendors of all types have been racing to add generative AI capabilities to their product offerings. But cybersecurity tech developer Palo Alto Networks is taking the bold step of developing a proprietary large language model (LLM) as part of its ambitious plans to bring generative AI to its offerings.
CEO Nikesh Arora (pictured) this week said Palo Alto Networks sees significant opportunities to embed generative AI into its products and workflows. The company’s plans include developing and launching its own LLM “in the coming year,” Arora said.
Generative AI would provide what Arora called a “more intuitive and natural language-driven experience” with Palo Alto Networks’ products and improve the security technology’s detection and prevention efficacy. The company also plans to utilize generative AI to drive “significant efficiency” in its own processes and operations, the CEO said.
Arora’s comments, which came during the company’s earnings call, echo recent statements by Palo Alto Networks CPO Lee Klarich that the company’s use of generative AI will go far beyond the generally superficial use of AI technology among cybersecurity companies.
Red Hat Launches Generative AI For Ansible, New Developer Hub
Generative AI was a hot topic this week. Red Hat, which held its Red Hat Summit 2023, unveiled Ansible Lightspeed with IBM Watson Code Assistant, a generative AI service for Red Hat’s Ansible automation offering.
Lightspeed promises more consistent, more accurate and faster automation adoption across organizations, according to Red Hat. It uses natural language processing and integrates with Watson Code Assistant to access IBM Foundation Models built on Red Hat OpenShift.
An open beta for Ansible Lightspeed with IBM Watson Code Assistant will be available in June. Lightspeed represents a new phase in Red Hat’s Project Wisdom, a collaboration with parent company IBM to give Ansible new capabilities through a trained AI model.
Red Hat Developer Hub is a new enterprise-grade, unified, open portal that aims to streamline development with a supported and opinionated framework, according to the company. Developer Hub provides curated tools, languages and resources with the promise of better applications and reduced friction across environments such as Kubernetes and Red Hat’s OpenShift.
Red Hat is also preparing to roll out Event-Driven Ansible as part of Ansible Automation Platform 2.4, promising to expand how users activate automation across hybrid cloud systems.