5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Oct. 13, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel, including Lenovo, IBM, Atlassian, AMD and SuperOps.ai.


The Week Ending Oct. 13

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Lenovo for its bold plan to invest $1.2 billion into its artificial intelligence R&D efforts with an emphasis on bringing AI capabilities to the edge.

Also making the list is IBM for CEO Arvind Krishna’s vow to grow channel sales to account for 50 percent of the IT giant’s revenue. Project management application developer Atlassian is here for its savvy acquisition in the video messaging space, as is chip designer AMD for a strategic AI software acquisition. And MSP tool startup SuperOps.ai wins applause for a successful funding round that will boost its R&D and go-to-market efforts.

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And a special round of applause for the 42 solution providers that made the 2023 edition of the CRN Triple Crown Award.

Lenovo Investing $1.2 Billion In AI As It Eyes Edge Growth Via Partners

Lenovo is investing $1.2 billion into artificial intelligence R&D to help bring AI to the edge for customers and to drive partner sales.

Speaking at the 2023 XChange Best of Breed Conference in Atlanta this week, Stacey Goodman (pictured), Lenovo senior director of U.S. VAR Partner Sales, said the investments will help the company and its partners tap into the opportunities created by the fast-growing AI server and storage system market that is expected to reach $29 billion in 2024.

While there has been a great deal of focus on the impact AI development and deployment will have on data centers, Charles Ferland, Lenovo vice president and general manager for Edge Computing & Communication Service Providers, said at the conference that Lenovo believes that more than 80 percent of AI revenue will be generated by AI deployments at the edge.

Lenovo has partnered with multiple AI superstars such as Nvidia to boost its ThinkEdge technology portfolio to help customers and partners as they implement AI.

IBM CEO Krishna Aims To Grow Revenue From Partners To 50 Percent

IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna this week renewed what he called “a hard commitment” to grow the amount of IBM revenue that comes through the channel to 50 percent of the IT giant’s total revenue.

During an on-stage Q&A before an audience of solution providers at the 2023 XChange Best of Breed Conference in Atlanta this week, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company, Krishna pledged to create more opportunities for partners to work with IBM, especially in artificial intelligence where Krishna said the opportunity is in the “hundreds of billions” of dollars.

Currently about 30 percent of IBM’s revenue comes through the channel.

Krishna said that IBM has been investing in its channel partner program, including adding more than 4,000 new partners in the last 12 months, and has increased partner incentives. The company now has 55,000 partners worldwide, 12,000 of them in North America.

Atlassian To Buy Video Messaging Specialist Loom For $975M

Project management application provider Atlassian is getting serious about video collaboration. The company makes this week’s list for its deal to acquire video messaging platform developer Loom for nearly $1 billion.

The acquisition will help Atlassian, the vendor behind such tools as Jira, Confluence and Trello, boost its collaboration capabilities within its project management software and let users easily work video into their existing workflows, the companies said.

Atlassian said that Loom will remain available as a stand-alone product. Once the acquisition is complete, the company plans on integrating Loom across its full suite of project management tools.

The deal, with a $975 million price tag, is expected to close during Atlassian’s fiscal third quarter ending in March 2024.

AMD Makes Second AI Software Acquisition In Less Than Two Months

Staying on the topic of strategic acquisitions, AMD this week said it had acquired Nod.ai, the chip maker’s second AI software startup acquisition in less than two months.

Nod.ai develops compiler-based automation software to optimize AI applications for hyperscalers, enterprise businesses and startups. With the acquisition AMD is looking to boost its open software capabilities to better compete with rival Nvidia.

In August AMD bought French startup Mipsology in a bid to strengthen its AI inference software capabilities.

The rapid-fire software investments are part of AMD CEO Lisa Su’s plan to mount its largest challenge yet to Nvidia’s AI computing prowess, a plan that includes the upcoming launch of its Instinct MI300 chips this quarter and the development of a unified AI software stack.

MSP-Focused Upstart SuperOps.ai Raises $12M For Go-To-Market, R&D

MSP technology provider SuperOps.ai this week raised $12.4 million in a Series B funding round, financing the startup plans to apply to expanding its go-to-market efforts and research and development operations.

The new funding comes on the heels of the company’s 300 percent growth over the last 12 months. And just last week the company hired channel veteran Juan Fernandez to lead its U.S. channel operations.

The Claymont, Del.-based startup has raised a total of $30 million in funding since it was founded in 2019.

Since launching three years ago SuperOps.ai has debuted PSA, RMM, project management and IT documentation applications. This week it added advanced network monitoring capabilities to its platform.