5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Oct. 28, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.


The Week Ending Oct. 2

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is ServiceNow which has set a goal of training 1 million people on its workflow platform as part of its RiseUp with ServiceNow initiative

Also making this week’s list are SASE vendor Versa Networks for a successful pre-IPO funding round, IBM for providing partners and developers with an expanded range of AI technology libraries, and Cisco Systems for expanding the capabilities of its WebEx Contact Center service. And solution provider Perficient makes the list for its ongoing ambitious plans to expand internationally.

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New ServiceNow Program Aims To Train 1 Million By 2024

ServiceNow is addressing the shortage of skilled and certified personnel who can work with its workflow platform with an initiative to train and certify one million people by 2024. And the company will draw on support from its partners to make it happen.

The effort, called RiseUp with ServiceNow, is a global program that aims to provide the company, its customers and its channel partners with the talent needed to expand use of the ServiceNow platform. The initiative will address the shortage of people with digital transformation IT skills, according to ServiceNow executives.

RiseUp with ServiceNow is aimed at individuals who want to build careers within ServiceNow customers and with partners looking to expand their ServiceNow practices.

Through the program ServiceNow will expand partnerships with long-time authorized training partners and other organizations that can help with training. One such training partner is Volteo Digital, a Chandler, Ariz.-based Elite-level ServiceNow partner that has been training people on the ServiceNow platform since 2013.

The Rise Up initiative is a key element of the bold expansion plans ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott outlined to CRN this week.

Versa Networks Raises $120M In Pre-IPO Funding

Venture funding for startups has been increasingly hard to come by this year. But SD-WAN-turned-SASE specialist Versa Networks bucked that trend this week when it raised $120 million in a pre-IPO funding round.

Versa Networks, which sells only through the channel, plans to use the additional financing to further its go-to-market strategies and accelerate the product development roadmap for its Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) technology.

The funding round, led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, brings Versa Networks’ total financing to $316 million.

IBM Gives Partners Access To Three New AI Libraries

Demand is high for new AI automation capabilities, including machine learning and natural language processing. So IBM wins kudos this week for releasing new artificial intelligence libraries that aim to help IBM partners, customers and developers build AI-powered services and bring them to market.

The three new AI libraries, now generally available, combine innovation from IBM Research and open-source technology to bring natural language processing, speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities for partners to add to applications for any hybrid, multi-cloud environment, according to IBM.

Developers and IT teams can embed the new libraries into their applications and custom products without the need for data science expertise, according to IBM. In addition to helping ISV and technology partners build AI-driven software, the libraries are expected to help MSPs, MSSPs and other partners accelerate customer adoption of AI-based systems.

The libraries are the same AI technology that power IBM Watson products. The IBM Watson Natural Language Processing Library, for example, is used for processing human language and figuring out meaning, content, intention and sentiment.

Cisco Steps Up Contact Center Offering With UCaaS Functionality

Cisco Systems this week added a number of new capabilities to its Webex Contact Center platform, now providing within the contact center-as-a-service offering more of the same functionality customers find in the Webex collaboration system.

Cisco said Webex Contact Center now has the same audio intelligence and AI capabilities found in other Webex services. The move comes as Cisco seeks to bring all features and functionality into the full Webex suite. Webex Contact Center is also now integrated with Microsoft Teams, providing call center agents with more seamless access to inbound Teams calls.

Cisco’s Webex Connect cloud platform is also now integrated with leading CRM, contact center, commerce, database/storage and helpdesk systems from other vendors including Salesforce, AWS and Microsoft Azure, among others.

Perficient Accelerating Global Expansion

Solution provider and digital consultancy Perficient got noticed this week when, as part of its impressive Q3 financial results report, the company doubled down on the company’s ambitious plans to continue and even accelerate its global expansion.

Organic offshore revenue grew 32 percent in the quarter while international sales overall increased 72 percent – the latter largely due to Perficient’s acquisitions of Inflection Point Systems in Mexico and Ameex Technologies in India. Those acquisitions increased Perficient’s international employee headcount by more than 600.

These international investments are expected to provide an important source of future growth for Perficient.

For the quarter Perficient reported revenue of $227.6 million, up about 18 percent from one year earlier. While that was about $3 million shy of analyst expectations, the results were nonetheless impressive given the macroeconomic headwinds that IT vendors and solution providers currently face.