5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Nov. 4, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.


The Week Ending Nov. 4

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Cisco Systems for expanding the range of solution specializations available to its channel partners.

Also making this week’s list is digital transformation services provider DMI for making a key acquisition that expands the company’s roster of U.S. federal government clients.

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Hybrid data platform company Cloudera and telecom networking equipment maker Ciena both make the list for launching major revamps of their partner programs that reflect changes in the types of partners they go to market with.

And cybersecurity startup Apiiro and big data software developer Alation are on this week’s list for reporting impressive funding rounds at a time when venture capital is increasingly hard to raise.

Cisco Unveils ‘New Era’ Of Specializations Focused On Solution Delivery

Cisco Systems wins applause this week for introducing a new pack of lighter-weight specializations for solution providers that the company says better match customers’ changing buying behaviors with partners’ ability to deliver comprehensive solutions at lower cost.

Cisco, which held its Cisco Partner Summit 2022 this week, said the new Solution specializations will showcase partners that excel in delivering value with Cisco solutions, including cross-architectural solutions that are in high demand.

The three new Solution specializations unveiled this week include Hybrid Cloud Computing, which showcases partners who provide secure hybrid cloud computing experiences at home, in the office or anywhere. The new Hybrid Cloud Networking specialization recognizes partners who connect, secure and manage customers’ data, workloads and applications across data centers, edge systems and multiple clouds. And the Hybrid Cloud Software specialization highlights partner expertise in unifying IT operations with secure, hybrid cloud management software.

The new specializations join other Solution specializations launched in September including Full-Stack Observability, Hybrid Work from Office, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE).

Partners can apply the new Solution specializations toward their progress to the Gold level, which previously required three Architecture specializations plus the Cisco Customer Experience specialization. Cisco says the new Solutions specializations are “light weight” because they allow partners to leverage the multiyear investments they have already made in architectures.

Cisco also wins applause for helping out partners with a new “API-first” strategy that provides backward compatibility on a number of Cisco products so that APIs work on every subsequent version release.

DMI Expands Client Roster With Ambit Acquisition

Digital transformation professional services provider DMI is acquiring Ambit Group, a fellow managed services provider that specializes in data analytics, cybersecurity and mission support services to the U.S. government.

The acquisition, disclosed this week, expands DMI’s presence within a number of high-visibility clients that Amit served including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

While DMI and Ambit offer many of the same services to their customers, with Ambit DMI is gaining a high-powered cloud development team, high-end managed services and direct IT services, and integrations with SAP, Oracle and other leading IT companies.

Ambit is DMI’s second acquisition this year after buying Aurotech, another government IT services provider whose biggest customer was the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Cloudera Looks To Leverage Increasingly Diverse Partner Ecosystem With Revamped Channel Program

Hybrid data platform developer Cloudera wins kudos this week for undertaking a significant revamp of its partner program in a move to recognize and reward a broader range of channel partners and the way they contribute to the company’s go-to-market efforts.

The new Cloudera Partner Network, unveiled Wednesday, incorporates a new competency-based, points-driven approach and offers an expanded portfolio of tools and resources around sales and marketing, training and enablement, and rebates and rewards.

The new program, which replaces the Cloudera Connect partner program, is also designed to better support partner delivery of the company’s software-as-a-service offerings including the Cloudera Data Platform One (CDP One) data lakehouse that launched in August.

The new competency-based, points-driven program is designed to reward partners for how they go to market, according to the channel executive, in contrast to the older program that was more driven by sales volume.

Ciena Refreshes Partner Network With An ‘Ecosystem’ Focus

Cloudera wasn’t the only IT vendor upgrading its partner program this week to reflect ongoing changes in the channel. Telecommunications networking equipment and software services specialist Ciena relaunched its Ciena Partner Network that’s now leading with an “ecosystem” model.

Ciena undertook the partner program refresh with the goal of building a program that embraces all partner types and more closely resembles the company’s sales motion, Matt Cook, vice president of global partners, told CRN.

One new component of the updated program is the offer of business development funds – resources that allow partners to invest in the operational needs of the business to drive customer success.

Apiiro, Alation Score Significant Funding Rounds Despite Venture Capital Drought

Venture capital has become harder to secure amid the uncertain economy. But this week two companies, application security startup Apirro and data intelligence tech developer Alation, reported nine-figure funding rounds that prove that for some companies the money is still out there.

Data Intelligence software developer Alation raised $123 million in a Series E funding round, financing the company will use to accelerate its global expansion, continue its strategic product development efforts, and possibly use for acquisitions to expand the company’s data catalog and data governance technology portfolio.

The late-stage funding round brings the Redwood City, Calif.-based company’s total financing to $340 million and boosts its valuation to more than $1.7 billion.

New York-based Apiiro raised $100 million in a Series B round of funding that the company said it plans to primarily spend on its sales and marketing operations – including expanding channel sales – as well as on product engineering.

The new funding round bring’s Apiiro’s total financing since its 2019 founding to $135 million. The funding comes two weeks after months-long acquisition talks between Apiiro and cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks reportedly ended without an agreement.