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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Jan. 22, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.

The Week Ending Jan. 22

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Citrix for its $2.25 billion deal to acquire Wrike.

Also making the list is IBM for its plan to invest $1 billion in the channel and recruit more resellers, systems integrators and ISVs to boost the company’s hybrid cloud efforts. IGEL makes the list for a major revamp of its Velocity partner program while HP boosted its executive ranks by hiring away a key manager from a rival. And NAS technology company OpenDrives raised $20 million in financing – and used some of that to make its own strategic investment in a startup.

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Citrix Moves To Acquire Wrike For $2.25 Billion, Expand “Workspace” App Lineup

Citrix Systems made a bold move on the acquisition front this week, agreeing to buy Wrike, a developer of SaaS-based project management and collaborative workspace software, for $2.25 billion.

Wrike’s software helps employees improve collaboration efforts and streamline their digital workflows. Citrix said the acquisition will expand its portfolio of unified digital workspace technology, which already includes application and desktop virtualization tools, content collaboration software and other products.

The addition of Wrike’s cloud-native capabilities also will accelerate Citrix’s efforts to shift its business model to the cloud, the company said, and build on its strategy to offer a complete SaaS-based work platform that addresses the needs of various functional groups across the enterprise.

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IBM To Invest $1B In Cloud Channel Ecosystem And Elevate The Role Of Partners

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said IBM is investing $1 billion in “rapidly expanding” its partner ecosystem as the company sharpens its focus on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence.

During this week’s earnings call for IBM’s fourth quarter and 2020 financial results, Krishna said that to accelerate adoption of IBM’s hybrid cloud platform, the company is rapidly expanding its ecosystem by recruiting hundreds of new systems integrators, resellers, ISVs and third-party software partners, as well as “elevating the role of partners” in IBM’s hybrid cloud go-to-market efforts.

The increased focus on partners is part of a broader restructuring of IBM’s sales and go-to-market operations that Krishna discussed on the call.

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IGEL Gets Serious With Revamped Velocity Partner Program

Cloud workspaces technology developer IGEL launched a completely overhauled channel program, revamping what company executives acknowledged had been an inconsistent and low-visibility program.

The new IGEL Velocity partner program shifts the company’s previous approach to the channel from a focus on transactional relationships to emphasizing alignment with partners on joint go-to-market initiatives. The new program, for example, goes beyond just providing front-end discounts to include back-end rebates for solution providers and distributors.

IGEL is also now offering assistance to help partners build quarterly business plans for 2021 that focus not just on revenue, but on partner enablement and how to provide partners with the skills and training they need. And that training, for the first time, is being offered for free.

The new program also provides market development funds, a new partner portal and deal registration discounts. It distinguishes among different partner types, including traditional resellers, MSPs, systems integrators, and provides a consistent program no matter their location.

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HP Hires Former Xerox Exec As Its New CTO

One year ago, HP Inc. was fighting off an unsolicited takeover bid from rival Xerox. This week, HP turned the tables – just a little bit – by hiring Xerox executive Tolga Kurtoglu to be the PC and printer manufacturer’s new CTO.

Kurtoglu will also hold the position of global head of HP Labs. He will focus on driving new research and innovation efforts within HP Labs while also leading the company’s technology strategy overall.

He joins HP after a decade in several executive roles at Xerox’s storied Palo Alto Research Center, including CEO of Xerox Parc between January 2017 and last November. He also held the title of senior vice president and head of global research at Xerox between January and November 2020.

Shane Wall, HP’s CTO of five years, retired early last year and the post had been filled on an interim basis.

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NAS Developer OpenDrives Raises $20 Million, Invests In Ctrl IQ

OpenDrives, the developer of enterprise-grade network attached storage systems, raised $20 million in Series B funding this week, bringing the company’s total venture financing to $30 million.

OpenDrives is using some of that funding to make its own strategic investment in Ctrl IQ, a startup developer of high-performance computing technology for scalable, secure, hybrid workflow orchestration.

OpenDrive and Ctrl IQ will work together to combine compute and storage systems with secure applications to support workflows from the data center to the cloud and the edge.   

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