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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Sept. 25, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.

The Week Ending Sept. 25

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is AHEAD for a pair of blockbuster acquisitions that will make the company a nationwide solution provider with more than $2.1 billion in revenue.

Also making the list are Hewlett Packard Enterprise for completing its acquisition of SD-WAN leader Silver Peak, Intel for strengthening its lineup of CPUs for IoT applications, AMD for debuting powerful new CPUs for use in Chromebooks, and Cisco Systems for taking the first steps to fulfill its promise of promoting diversity and assisting social justice causes.

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AHEAD To Acquire RoundTower, Kovarus, Creating $2.1 Billion Channel Behemoth 

Solution provider AHEAD, already No. 36 on the Solution Provider 500, is about to get even bigger.

This week AHEAD said it had struck deals to acquire solution providers RoundTower Technologies and Kovarus in a move that will create a nationwide solution provider with over 1,000 employees and more than $2.1 billion in revenue.

AHEAD is one of Dell Technologies’ biggest channel partners and is focused on providing digital transformation services. Acquiring RoundTower (No. 79 on the CRN Solution Provider 500) and Kovarus (No. 93 on the CRN Solution Provider 500) will make Chicago-based AHEAD an IT services and sales powerhouse.

AHEAD is a ServiceNow partner and the acquisitions will expand AHEAD’s cloud and ServiceNow practices: The combined companies will have a $60 million cloud services practice.

The acquisitions will also extend AHEAD’s national reach. Until now the company had no real presence west of Texas. Kovarus, headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., will create a West Coast presence for AHEAD while Cincinnati-based RoundTower has offices in Florida, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts and New York.

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HPE Finalizes Silver Peak Acquisition, Steps Up Competition With Cisco 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise completed its $925 million acquisition of SD-WAN provider Silver Peak, setting up a fierce battle against rival Cisco Systems in the enterprise networking arena.

The acquisition provides HPE and its Aruba networking business with a new arsenal of SD-WAN capabilities and brings more muscle to HPE Aruba’s networking-as-a-service offerings, specifically expanding the capabilities of the Aruba Edge Service Platform.

HPE expects the deal to generate significant revenue opportunities, especially in the company’s Intelligent Edge business segment.

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Intel Offers Big IoT Boost With New Tiger Lake, Elkhart Lake CPUs 

Intel demonstrated its technology prowess in the Internet of Things space this week when the chipmaker debuted a number of new processors tailored specifically for IoT applications, including an IoT variant of the company’s Tiger Lake CPUs recently launched for ultra-thin laptops.

Launched at the virtual Intel Industrial Summit, the new IoT semiconductor lineup includes 11th-generation Intel Core processors also known as Tiger Lake, the Intel Atom x6000E Series, and the Intel Premium and Celeron N and J Series (previously code-named Elkhart Lake).

Intel executives said the new processors are the company’s most significant step forward to-date in enhancements for IoT, including addressing current needs and building a foundation for AI and 5G applications.

The new 11th-generation Intel Core chips for IoT, for example, combines the capabilities of the Tiger Lake processors with additional features such hardware-assisted virtualization, in-band error correction and Intel Time Coordinated Computing technology to enable real-time, deterministic computing that is often required for IoT.

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AMD Debuts Ryzen, Athlon 3000 CPUs For Faster Chromebooks 

Sticking with the microprocessor industry, AMD was making some waves of its own this week when it unveiled new Ryzen and Athlon 3000C-Series CPUs that will allow manufacturers like HP Inc. and Lenovo to make higher performing mid-range and premium Chromebooks for the consumer, education and enterprise markets.

With the pandemic forcing many to work from home and schools to virtually teach children, demand for Chromebooks is off the charts. The new 15-watt chips will allow AMD to expand beyond its previous A-Series offerings for entry-level Chromebooks.

HP Inc., Lenovo and Asus plan to use the new CPUs in six new Chromebooks this year. That brings AMD’s total Chromebook design wins to 14 in 2020.

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Cisco Diversity Plans Revealed As Tech Giant Pledges $100M To Further Social Justice Causes 

Cisco Systems wins applause this week for fulfilling its pledge earlier this year to be a leader in social justice efforts. This week the company announced a series of pledges and action items to promote equal rights, diversity and pay parity – both within the company’s employee base and beyond.

The company is expanding its pay parity program and pledges to increase the representation of Black employees at all levels of the company by 25 percent by 2023. The company will also increase representation of Black employees at the director to vice president level by 75 percent by 2023.

Starting in 2021, Cisco will require preferred suppliers to annually report workforce diversity statistics to Cisco.

Cisco is also putting up $100 million in financial support and technology to assist historically black colleges and universities to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and help them identify long-term opportunities for innovation and investments in Black-owned startups. Cisco is also launching a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in venture funds and startups with diverse founders and leadership. 

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