5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending May 1

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include significant channel program expansions from Cisco and Qlik, a big funding win by a hot startup in the data storage arena, an innovation award for a security technology company, and steps by Microsoft to recruit third-party Android and Apple developers to Windows 10.

Cisco Says Software Is Its Future, Offers Partners Incentives To Join In

The overriding theme at this week's 2015 Cisco Partner Summit was the networking company's pivot toward software -- everything from software-defined networking technology and data virtualization tools, to public/private cloud management apps and Internet of Everything software.

And Cisco is stepping up its incentives for partners to transform themselves along with the vendor. At the conference in Montreal the company outlined plans for a new Software Partner Program with rewards and benefits tied to partners' software investments. Launching in early 2016, the new initiative will provide market development funds and incentives through Cisco's Value Incentive Program.

Details are still being developed. But Cisco is making it clear it wants its partners to adopt new software product lines and recurring revenue streams -- if they haven't already.

Qlik Sweetens Reseller Margins, Plans North American Partner Recruitment

Cisco wasn't the only company stepping up its channel partner incentives this week. Business analytics software vendor Qlik, which held its Qonnect 2015 partner conference in Dallas, provided detailed plans for upgrading the Qlik Partner Network program.

The most significant news was Qlik's plans to boost the margins earned by partners in the "solution provider" and "elite solution provider" categories by 10 points. The company is also paying 20 percent margins on annual service subscriptions -- including renewals -- and bonuses for deals worth more than $25,000.

Qlik is also taking steps to eliminate channel conflict by implementing a compensation-neutral policy for its direct sales force and designating commercial accounts (with 5,000 or fewer employees) for the channel. While Qlik has some 1,700 partners worldwide, there are only about 80 in North America and the vendor plans on recruiting more.

Storage Tech Startup Infinidat Snares $150M Funding

Venture financing wins in the tens of millions of dollars seem almost routine these days. But people certainly took notice this week when data storage startup Infinidat raised $150 million in a new round of venture financing, bringing its total funding to $230 million and giving the Needham, Mass.-based startup a market valuation of $1.2 billion.

Infinidat, whose management team developed EMC's Symmetrix and IBM's XIV enterprise storage systems, also officially introduced the company's InfiniBox storage system this week with its architecture that combines unified block, file, object and mainframe storage. The company says its high-density, high-performance, low-power consumption product costs less on a per-gigabyte basis than other enterprise-class storage systems.

Security Vendor Waratek Crowned 'Most Innovative' Company At RSA

Waratek, developer of the AppSecurity for Java runtime application protection software, is basking in the glow of being crowned the "most innovative company" in the Innovation Sandbox competition from last week's RSA Conference.

Waratek, based in Dublin, Ireland, competed against nine other companies that made it to the final round out of more than 150 candidates. The company's security technology provides businesses with runtime application protection using secure container technology in on-premise or cloud environments. It can protect new and legacy apps against known and unknown flaws in software applications -- even without remediating live application vulnerabilities.

Microsoft Sets Audacious Windows 10 Goals, Targets Android And Apple Developers

Microsoft has set a goal of having its upcoming Windows 10 running on 1 billion devices in the next two to three years. This week the company took steps to attract Apple and Android application developers to get in on the action.

At this week's Build conference Microsoft unveiled a number of ways third-party developers can use the code they've developed for other platforms to create Windows 10 apps. Android developers, for example, will be able to use nearly all of the Java and C++ code they use to build Android apps and use it to create apps that run on Windows 10.

Microsoft also took aim at rival Amazon Web Services by expanding the range of services it offers through its Azure cloud platform, including the new Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Azure Data Lake services.