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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Oct. 15, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.

The Week Ending Oct. 15

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is IBM for a commitment by CEO Arvind Krishna to double-down on the channel and double the amount of business it does through partners.

Also making the list this week are Google for stepping up its channel game with new partner resources and incentives, Forcepoint for a strategic acquisition in the cloud security space, security startup Wiz for yet another impressive financing round, and Dell Technologies for launching a wave of new products around edge computing.


IBM ‘Dead Serious’ About Partner Push, Channel Sales Growth

IBM’s efforts to generate growth in hybrid cloud and security is so ambitious that it’s “got to be” through the channel since the IT giant has largely shifted from taking deals direct as part of its “dead serious” push to work more with partners, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said this week.

Addressing solution providers at the 2021 Best of Breed (BoB) Conference in Atlanta, Krishna outlined pivotal areas of opportunity for solution providers to work with IBM as the company doubles down on its investment in the channel, with the CEO re-committing to double the business IBM does with the channel over the next four years.

“To reach the vast majority of the market, it’s got to be through you,” Krishna said, addressing solution providers at the BoB Conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

“I think we needed to step forward and we needed to hold our hand out and say, ‘This is what we can do,’” Krishna said. “We’re willing to invest. We’re willing to put in education. We’ve put in incentives, we’ve put in marketing funds, we’re doing lead passing. We’ll invest with you to build solutions. Now, let’s go grow the business together.”

IBM and Kyndryl, the managed infrastructure services business IBM is spinning off into an independent publicly traded company, also took a big step this week when IBM’s board of directors approved the plan. Distribution of Kyndryl shares to IBM stockholders is set for after the market closes Nov. 3.


Google Cloud Unveils Partner Incentives, ‘Net Promoter’ Scores

Speaking of reaching out to the channel, Google Cloud is introducing new incentives and rebates for partners — along with “net promoter” scores that assess their work with customers — to help improve partners’ profitability and go-to-market postures with the No. 3 cloud provider.

Nearly a dozen new Google Cloud Specializations and Expertise designations also will be launched over the next year to help partners further differentiate their skills, according to Google Cloud channel chief Carolee Gearhart (pictured), vice president of worldwide channel sales and global SMB sales.

Google Cloud has been tweaking its Partner Advantage program, making changes that have made it “a ton simpler” for partners to work with the cloud provider, Gearhart told CRN ahead of the Google Cloud Next ’21 conference held virtually this week. They include “dramatically” streamlining the partner payments process through the Google payments center.

“That means that partners are getting payments faster than ever before and at a higher volume than ever before,” Gearhart said.

Google Cloud also has enhanced the user experience for Partner Marketing Studio, its co-marketing automation platform, which partners use to customize and launch marketing campaigns.


Forcepoint To Acquire Cloud Security Startup Bitglass

Security platform vendor Forcepoint struck a deal this week to acquire cloud security startup Bitglass in a strategic move to accelerate Forcepoint’s efforts to offer advanced data security and threat protection that’s easier to deploy and use.

Saying that Bitglass delivers “the industry’s only truly integrated, cloud-native Security Service Edge platform,” Forcepoint outlined plans to combine the Bitglass technology with its own Secure Access Service Edge platform once the acquisition is complete.

The addition of Bitglass to its technology portfolio will allow Forcepoint to secure customers’ data in increasingly hybrid environments where employees work in an office, at home or while traveling.

The Bitglass deal is Forcepoint’s third acquisition deal this year. The company bought Cyberinc in May and announced an agreement to buy Deep Secure in June.


Wiz Raises $250M On $6B Valuation To Support More Clouds

Cloud security startup Wiz continues to impress with the amount of venture funding it is attracting. This week the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company said it raised $250 million in a Series C round of funding that pushes the company’s pre-money valuation to $6 billion, making it the fourth-most-valuable venture-backed cybersecurity company in the world.

Wiz plans to use the new capital to extend its support beyond the big three cloud service providers: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, providing multinational and international customers with security for more localized cloud options.

The expanded war chest will also allow Wiz to pursue mergers and acquisitions, should a good opportunity arise.

Wiz, founded in January 2020, emerged from stealth in December with an impressive $100 million Series A round of funding, followed by a $250 million Series B round in June of this year. The company’s pre-money valuation has more than tripled since March.


Dell Launches New Edge Computing Product Blitz

Dell Technologies made a big push to the edge this week, launching a slew of new edge computing hardware and software products.

Dell unveiled new VxRail satellite nodes that can bring the VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure operational model and efficiencies to edge computing sites with a reduced infrastructure footprint. The nodes automate day-to-day operations, system health monitoring and lifecycle management from a central location without the need for local technical resources.

Dell debuted two new ruggedized Latitude laptops, the Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme and Latitude 5430 Rugged, that run Windows 11 and target 5G applications and harsh edge computing environments.

The new product wave also included a new 5G-enabled Dell EMC Edge Gateway that businesses and organizations use to securely connect multiple edge devices across IT and operational technology environments.

Dell also unveiled the new Bare Metal Orchestrator telecommunications software for automating the deployment and management of thousands of dispersed servers to support 5G and Open RAN (Radio Access Network) wireless systems.


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