5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Nov. 10, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Cisco Systems, Palo Alto Networks, Commvault, NTT Data and ConnectWise.


The Week Ending Nov. 10

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Cisco Systems, which used this week’s Partner Summit to boost support for MSPs and expand the functionality of its Partner Experience Platform.

Also making the list are cybersecurity pacesetter Palo Alto Networks and IT service provider NTT Data both make this week’s list for making savvy strategic acquisitions. Commvault debuts a new cloud-based technology that expands the company’s offerings beyond traditional disaster recovery into “cyber resiliency.” And ConnectWise wins applause for launching a number of new RPA and AI tools to assist its MSP customers.

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Cisco Steps Up Support For MSPs, Expands Partner Experience Platform

Cisco Systems made some big channel moves at its Partner Summit 2023 this week including introducing its first-ever support offer for managed service providers and adding new features to the Partner Experience Platform (PXP) that partners use to manage their relationship with the vendor.

The announcements reflect the larger role that partners will play in delivering managed and support services to customers.

The new Partner Advanced Support for Providers gives MSPs more choice and higher levels of support through the Cisco Technical Assistance Center so they can proactively prevent disruptions and speed time to resolution of customer issues.

The initiative includes wider access for MSPs to the CX Partner Network (previously Partner Lifecycle Services), including a digital interface between partners own ticketing and IT service management systems and Cisco’s IT service management systems. That will allow Cisco to share automation and information with MSP partners to help resolve customer problems more quickly.

The new PXP functionality is designed to provide partners with API connections to PXP tools such as Growth Finder and predictive modeling capabilities that help partners boost recurring revenue by providing insights into whitespace, cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Cisco also used the partner event as the launch pad for three new Success Tracks: Collaboration Devices, Wide Area Network (including SD-WAN) and Cloud Networking. The company also unveiled new Managed XDR and Managed Firewall partner managed-ready offers. And Cisco detailed plans to continue building out its Solution Specializations portfolio for partners.

Palo Alto Networks To Acquire Secure Web Browser Startup Talon

Making its second strategic acquisition in just one week, Palo Alto Networks this week struck a deal to buy secure web browser developer Talon Cyber Security for an undisclosed sum.

Talon offers a secure Chro­mium-based web browser, aimed at helping to protect organizations with hybrid environments. Palo Alto Networks will incorporate Talon’s technology into its fast-growing secure access service edge platform, Prisma SASE.

Just last week Palo Alto Networks disclosed a deal to acquire Dig Security, a developer of data security posture management technology.

While Palo Alto Networks did not disclose the price tag of either acquisition, published reports said the deals combined are worth more than $1 billion.

Before these most recent acquisitions Palo Alto Networks had gone nearly a year without any M&A activity.

NTT Data To Buy SAP, ServiceNow Standout Sapphire

Speaking of strategic acquisitions, NTT Data makes this week’s Came to Win list for its plan to buy Sapphire, a London-based solution provider with deep expertise around SAP and ServiceNow technology for small and mid-market customers.

With the acquisition NTT Data is looking to expand its global sales reach and customer base among SAP and ServiceNow clients and become a premier provider of SAP systems integration services.

Sapphire is especially strong in the SAP arena with its development and consulting services, especially around finance and logistics. The acquisition is also expected to expedite NTT Data’s move into SAP S/4HANA cloud applications.

Sapphire also partners with Amazon Web Services, Infor and Hexagon. The company boasts operations in the U.S. and U.K. with support teams in India, South Africa, Argentina, Lebanon and the Philippines. NTT Data plans to leverage Sapphire to expand its reach among mid-market customers in the U.S. and U.K.

New Commvault Cloud Targets Cyber Resilience With AI, Metallic SaaS Tech

Data protection and management technology developer Commvault took a big step in the cyber resiliency area this week with new cloud-based technology aimed at protecting data against ransomware and other security attacks, regardless of where data is located.

The company said the new offering, Commvault Cloud, Powered By Metallic AI, is the only cyber resilience platform built for the hybrid world.

“And when I say hybrid world, I mean we don’t care if that’s running in the cloud,” said Tim Zonca, Commvault vice president of portfolio marketing. “We don’t care if it’s running on prem. We assume it’s all over the place. And this is important because customers, as they have data distributed across more and more places—clouds, regions, applications, on-prem data centers—it’s just daunting and hard to manage it and protect it all. And in the gaps across all of that distributed data is where ransomware thrives.”

Commvault partners applauded the vendor’s move to expand its strategy beyond traditional disaster recovery to include ransomware preparedness, cybersecurity and cyber-defense.

ConnectWise Boosts Support For MSPs With New RPA Tool And AI-Powered Products

ConnectWise is expanding the capabilities of its Asio system, the vendor’s platform-as-a-service system for MSPs, with new robotic process automation (RPA) technology that uses hyperautomation to simplify the creation, deployment and management of software robots that mirror human actions when interacting with digital environments.

ConnectWise, which unveiled the new capabilities at its IT Nation event this week, said the RPA tool will help MSPs curb costs while also providing a solution for talent shortages by enabling teams to automate repetitive, time-consuming processes.

The Tampa, Fla.-based vendor also unveiled a visual workflow orchestration feature on the Asio platform that MSPs can use to automate across multiple ConnectWise products and third-party solutions.

The company also debuted ConnectWise Sidekick, an AI companion designed for faster problem resolution, automation of complex tasks and increased efficiency. Sidekick leverages ConnectWise’s generative AI models and large language models to automates tasks such as generating PowerShell scripts, ticket categorization, summarization, and providing resolutions and automated responses to end users.