5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Dec. 8, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including World Wide Technology, AMD, Wiz, OneSpan and Strapi.

The Week Ending Dec. 8

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is World Wide Technology for its plans to spend $500 million over three years to help customers develop and test AI solutions.

Also making the list are AMD for debuting a new GPU that challenges Nvidia’s dominant position in the AI computing market, cybersecurity startup Wiz for a strategic acquisition, and OneSpan and Strapi for launching their first formal partner programs this week.

And a round of applause for the winners of the inaugural Women of the Year Awards, presented this week in a ceremony in New York City.

WWT Plans To Spend $500M To Help Customers Adopt AI

Solution provider giant World Wide Technology will spend $500 million over the next three years on generative AI initiatives—including creating an AI lab to help customers test and validate applications that use cutting-edge AI technology.

The bold plan, disclosed by WWT this week, will provide customers with the ability to experiment before spending time, money and development resources on building custom AI applications and services. Clients will have the opportunity to test large language models (LLMs), discover and classify data for AI projects, test threat potential and more.

WWT is specifically looking to build out 12 AI lab environments by the end of the first quarter of 2024 as part of an AI proving ground for validating software, use cases and the components of an AI product or service, Matt Halcomb, principal architect at WWT, told CRN.

WWT will open the new lab as part of the Advanced Technology Center, the company’s 15-year-old physical and virtual data center environment.

In September, WWT CEO Jim Kavanaugh, in an interview with CRN, outlined the company’s plans for a new composable AI lab offering and described how it would help customers figure out the variables in adopting AI such as which vendors’ platforms to use, needed storage, and the potential use of open-source technology.

Bringing together technology from multiple vendors through the AI lab initiative could make WWT a central hub of innovation in the fast-moving AI space.

AMD Launches Instinct MI300 AI Chips To Challenge Nvidia

AMD took a major step this week to challenge Nvidia’s dominance of the AI computing space, saying its new Instinct MI300X data center GPU exceeds Nvidia’s flagship H100 chip in memory capabilities and surpasses it in key AI performance metrics

AMD CEO Lisa Su called the new chip “the highest performance accelerator in the world for generative AI” during a keynote at the Thursday launch event. The company unveiled the Instinct MI300X alongside its CPU-GPU hybrid chip, the Instinct MI300A data center APU.

The company said the new chip provides the same training performance as the H100 for a large language model, but its improved memory capabilities will result in big cost savings compared with its rival.

The MI300X, the third generation in AMD’s Instinct data center GPU family, will be used in servers from several OEMs, including Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo and Supermicro. It will also power upcoming virtual machine instances from Microsoft Azure and bare metal instances from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Other cloud service providers planning to support the MI300X include Aligned, Akron Energy, Cirrascale, Crusoe and Denvr Dataworks. The MI300A will go into servers arriving next year from HPE, Supermicro, Gigabyte and Atos subsidiary Eviden.

Wiz Buys Developer Collaboration Startup In First Acquisition

High-flying cloud security startup Wiz this week made its first acquisition, striking a deal to buy cloud developer collaboration startup Raftt.

Wiz has been expanding beyond its original agentless approach in 2023 as it built out a full CNAPP (cloud-native application protection platform) that includes agentless and agent-based tools.

As part of its CNAPP push, Wiz said the Raftt acquisition will boost its efforts to embed security further into the software development process. Ultimately, Raftt will enable Wiz to add “new capabilities for preventing costly production issues at the source,” Wiz co-founder and CEO Assaf Rappaport said in a statement.

Fast-growing Wiz reached $100 million in annual recurring revenue within 18 months of entering the market and earlier this year achieved a valuation of $10 billion following a $300 million funding round in February.

OneSpan, Strapi Step Up Their Channel Efforts With New Partner Programs

Two companies, cybersecurity provider OneSpan and content management system developer Strapi, both make this week’s Came to Win list for launching their first formal partner programs as they look to expand

OneSpan, a developer of e-signature and identity authentication technologies, this week debuted the OneSpan Partner Network, its first formal channel program, with the aim of bolstering the company’s work with partners through enhanced training, marketing support and incentives. Partners told CRN that the move demonstrated that the company is serious about ramping up its focus on channel-driven expansion.

CMS software developer Strapi, meanwhile, also unveiled its first formal partner program with the goals of providing its solution provider and reseller partners with a more comprehensive program framework and recruiting new channel partners. The new Strapi Partner Program is also intended to elevate the visibility of the Strapi channel, making customers aware of the channel partners the company works with and the potential benefits of engaging with Strapi through the channel.

Women Of The Year Recognized for Their Achievements

Congratulations to the women, allies and IT companies that were recognized at the inaugural Women of the Year Awards this week at a ceremony in New York.

CRN and parent The Channel Company recognized some of the channel’s most remarkable women, with the aim of not only spotlighting their achievements but also inspiring future leaders who will shape and grow the IT channel for years to come.

Over the course of the evening, CRN handed out trophies in 15 categories to women, allies and companies, concluding a months-long process that began in June when the application was opened, included two rounds of judging, and culminated with the 2023 Women of the Year Awards Gala event.

The ceremony also included a Lifetime Achievement Award for Donna Grothjan for her impressive track record as a channel sales leader and partner advocate at Ingram Micro, Juniper Networks, Aruba Networks and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The awards were launched in conjunction with The Channel Company’s Women of the Channel conference series.