5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Jan. 31, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their 'A' game to the channel.


The Week Ending Jan. 31

Topping this week’s list of companies that came to win is Google Cloud for its new top-level technical certification for its Anthos cloud platform.

Also making the "Came to Win" list are Amazon Web Services for closing in on a $40 billion annual sales run rate, Cisco for going live with its new Perform Plus Program that offers partners new incentives to sell to SMB customers, ServiceNow for a savvy acquisition in the artificial intelligence space, and Xerox for an acquisition that will help it expand in Europe.

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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.

Google Cloud Launches Elite 'Fellow' Certification For Anthos

Google Cloud, which recently began allowing partners to work with the company’s Anthos hybrid and multi-cloud application development and management platform, is now offering a new elite technical certification for partners who can help customers transform their business using the Anthos system.

The invitation-only “Certified Fellow” program is intended for senior technical leaders adept at designing innovative enterprise solutions based on Anthos and in leading customer organizations through adoption of the Anthos platform.

It’s the first of its kind for Google Cloud and the first Anthos-related certification—open to partners and customers. It’s a step above Google Cloud’s current two-level certification program that includes Associate Cloud Engineers and Professional Certifications. In addition to having mastered Anthos from a technology standpoint, Certified Fellow applicants must have leadership skills to drive the transformation that organizations are looking for.

Google Cloud also launched a new Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification to validate IT workers with the requisite DevOps skills amid an industry shortage.

AWS Closes In On $40 Billion Run Rate

Internet giant Amazon reported its 2019 fourth-quarter and year-end financial results this week and they were impressive.

The company’s Amazon Web Services cloud division recorded fourth-quarter sales of $9.95 billion—up 34 percent from one year before—setting up the AWS division to exceed a $40 billion run rate this year. The results for the industry-leading Infrastructure-as-a-Service vendor blew past analyst projections of $9.81 billion.

The results for Amazon as a whole, including a 21 percent year-over-year sales increase, fueled an increase in the company’s stock price and pushed its market capitalization back over the $1 trillion threshold.

Cisco’s Perform Plus Program Goes Live, Offers Partners SMB Selling Incentives

About 4,000 Cisco Systems partners have new incentives to sell solutions to small and midsize customers with this week’s announcement that Cisco’s new Perform Plus Program is now live.

Perform Plus, focused on growing Cisco’s SMB customer base, is designed to reward partners for growing their total business across hardware and perpetual software, regardless of whether partners sell to public, private or service provider customers. The company is also offering bonuses for growth in SMB sales and for expanding sales of solutions that combine Cisco enterprise networking and security products.

Cisco also pledged to help partners close deals more quickly by approving submissions in the company’s Deal Registration Opportunity Incentive Program within 24 hours for U.S.-based partners. Quick approvals can be a key factor in winning SMB deals, Cisco partners told CRN.

Cisco also wins kudos this week for its introduction of a new security architecture for industrial IoT networks.

ServiceNow Buys Passage AI To Boost Bot Language Skills

ServiceNow struck a deal this week to acquire Passage AI, a developer of a conversational AI platform that is built on deep learning models that can be trained to understand text in all major languages.

Incorporating the Passage AI technology into ServiceNow’s product offerings, including the Now platform, will expand the company’s non-English support for chatbots. That will allow ServiceNow and its customers to reach an ever-growing global audience, reaching outside North America and especially areas where multiple languages and dialects are spoken.

The acquisition builds on ServiceNow’s previous acquisitions in the AI space including Parlo, FriendlyData, Qlue and DxContinuum.

Xerox Buys British Firm To Boost European SMB Business

Xerox made a move to expand its presence among SMB businesses in Europe when it acquired Arena Group, an SMB-focused solution provider based in Uxbridge, U.K.

Through the deal Xerox hopes to move deeper into European markets and capture a greater share of SMB spending there for workplace solutions and managed print services, just as Xerox has done in the U.S.