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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending May 17, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their 'A' game to the channel.

The Week Ending May 17

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Lenovo for unveiling a wave of channel initiatives at its Accelerate conference.

Also making the list this week were CrowdStrike for its $100 million IPO plans, Hewlett Packard Enterprise for its deal to acquired storied supercomputer maker Cray, Intermedia for offering partners a new co-branded selling option, and Apptio for its deal to acquire Cloudability and create a new FinOps industry heavyweight.

Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

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Lenovo Steps Up Channel Investment Efforts, Showcases Its Product Innovation

Solution providers attended Lenovo's Accelerate 2019 partner conference with high expectations this week and they were not disappointed. Throughout the week Lenovo executives promised a "partner transformation" over the coming year that will kick into an even higher gear the company's channel-first strategy across its PC and data center businesses.

The data center business, for example, is rolling out a 90-day "license to hunt" initiative through which Lenovo and its partners will jointly go after 10,000 named accounts in North America. The Intelligent Devices Group, meanwhile, introduced new channel incentives, including automatic discounts and improved back-end rebates, geared toward selling high-priority PC products and services.

Lenovo is also investing millions in new projects designed around the partner experience including a revamped partner portal, enhanced partner on-boarding, and improved access to sales data and analytics.

Along with new channel program offerings, Lenovo showed off its product innovation capabilities with the introduction of the new ThinkBook notebook, upcoming security enhancements to its PC lineup, an Internet of Things-oriented version of its ThinkCentre Nano device and even an upcoming augmented reality headset.

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CrowdStrike Seeks To Raise $100M In IPO, Reveals Strength Of Its Channel

Endpoint security technology developer CrowdStrike is looking to raise as much as $100 million through an initial public offering. And the company is counting heavily on the channel for its future success, according to the company’s S-1 filing this week.

The $100 million IPO is a bold goal. In the S-1 CrowdStrike disclosed that a “vast majority” of its Falcon platform sales flow through the channel and the company’s top channel partner accounted for 15 percent of its sales and 9 percent of net accounts receivable in its fiscal year.

"Our ability to achieve revenue growth in the future will depend in part on our success in maintaining successful relationships with our channel partners and in training our channel partners to independently sell and deploy our Falcon platform," CrowdStrike said in its 194-page S-1 regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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HPE Buying Cray In Move To Drive Supercomputing And AI

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is acquiring storied supercomputer company Cray for $1.3 billion in a move to boost the company's high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence capabilities.

The acquisition also will bring a wealth of supercomputer talent to HPE.

HPE plans to combine the two companies' technologies to create an HPC-as-a-Service offering, as well as advanced AI and machine learning analytics offerings.

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Intermedia Offers New Co-Branded Selling Option For Partners

Cloud communications provider Intermedia this week debuted a third selling option for its partners, a co-branded model that the company said will be especially attractive to MSP partners.

The new model lets solution providers use the Intermedia brand name while selling the company's services. Partners set their own margins and handle the billing and support. While the option has the same features as Intermedia's private-label selling plan, the company said it gives partners more choice.

The new reseller model lets partners earn up to five times more revenue than through Intermedia's agent selling model, according to the company.

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Apptio To Acquire Cloudability, Creating FinOps Powerhouse

Apptio, a provider of IT cost-optimization software, struck a deal this week to buy Cloudability in a move that will create an industry FinOps powerhouse.

FinOps, also called "business optimization," is a key technology used by businesses to get a handle on their IT spending. While both companies offer software for IT cost assessment and optimization, Cloudability has specialized in managing spending for public cloud services while Apptio's strengths are in data center spending.

By combining the two vendors' capabilities, Apptio will be able to offer a comprehensive data center-to-public cloud cost-optimization portfolio.

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