5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending May 8

This week's roundup of companies that came to win include Cisco's planned CEO succession, SAP's latest steps to shift to a cloud-first product strategy, a security vendor's plans to boost its channel program, a strategic alliance between a security technology developer and a major defense company, and the launch of VCE's VxRack hyper-converged infrastructure system.

Cisco Names Former U.S. Channel Chief To Be Its Next CEO

Chuck Robbins isn't Cisco's CEO yet -- he was just named this week to succeed longtime CEO John Chambers, and he won't actually take over until July 26. So too much applause would be premature.

But kudos to Cisco for tapping a 17-year Cisco veteran and, more important in our view, a former U.S. channel chief at the company. The move should assure the company's legions of channel partners that the man at the top understands the importance of the channel to the networking giant's future success.

Not surprisingly, channel partners greeted the news with bravos, saying Robbins is the right man to guide the company and its partner ecosystem through the transition to providing IT-as-a-Service.

SAP Expands Cloud Offerings, Prepares Channel Program Upgrade

Software giant SAP is in the midst of several significant transformations, including from its heavy focus on direct sales to being more partner-centric, and from selling complex on-premise software to marketing cloud services and applications where simplicity is the new mantra.

This week, at its Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Fla., the company took significant steps toward both goals. On the product side, the company debuted a cloud edition of S/4HANA, the next generation of its flagship ERP application suite. Offering a cloud version of the software suite should erase any doubt about SAP's determination to be a major cloud-computing contender.

On the channel side, SAP execs provided some details about a major revamp that's in the works for the company's PartnerEdge channel program, including plans to designate some SAP products as channel-exclusive.

Fortinet Revamps Partner Program, Adds Network Security Certification

SAP wasn't the only company stepping up its channel game with its partner program overhaul. Security technology developer Fortinet this week unveiled plans for upgrading its channel partner program by reorganizing its tier structure so that more resources can be devoted to higher-tier partners who have invested heavily in Fortinet.

The company also officially launched a network security training and certification program to help partners grow their expertise in that critical area. In addition, Fortinet is creating channel account manager positions to work with partners.

Cybereason Lands $25 Million Funding, Strikes Strategic Alliance With Lockheed Martin

Cybereason, a developer of realtime threat detection technology, this week landed $25 million in Series B funding. That by itself is a significant win. But, perhaps more important, is that some of that money came from defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

The alliance goes beyond money in that Lockheed Martin will integrate Cybereason's endpoint detection and response technology with the rest of its security portfolio -- a competitive plus for Cybereason. It's in the same mold as Raytheon's plans to acquire security software developer Websense for $1.9 billion.

EMC Goes On The Offensive With New Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Systems

EMC went on the competitive offensive Monday when it launched VxRack, a new line of VCE hyper-converged infrastructure systems that the company said will simplify the deployment of cloud and mobile applications.

The debut of VxRack marks VCE's entry into the red-hot market for hyper-converged systems, in which startups Nutanix and SimpliVity have been attracting the most attention. The announcement was made at the EMC World 2015 in Las Vegas this week.