5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Aug. 21

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Verizon's blockbuster move to allow its channel partners to handle customer billing, a step that lets service providers more closely manage the customer relationship.

Also making the list is Samsung's hiring of a key channel veteran to manage its B2B efforts; Lenovo's hyper-converged technology alliance with SimpliVity; a fast-rising security startup's launch of a comprehensive channel program; and a big venture funding win by another young security technology company.

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 Five Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Verizon Billing Shift Paves Way For Solution Providers To Drive Cloud Service Sales

The issue of who controls customer billing -- owning "the paper" of a customer relationship -- has long been a source of contention between carriers and solution providers. Verizon has taken a bold step to change those dynamics.

Under a significant program shift, Verizon's 1,000-plus partners are now authorized to bill and collect sales revenue for critical cloud and telecommunications service deals as part of a complete managed services offering, rather than just referring sales to Verizon and collecting an agent fee.

The new policy, the latest move by Adam Famularo (pictured), global channel vice president for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, means Verizon can better leverage the sales muscle of its solution provider and systems integrator partners. Partners win because they can go to market with Verizon's broad product portfolio as if they were their own products.

Samsung Hires Channel Stalwart Gilroy To Lead B2B Barrage

In a savvy personnel move, Samsung Electronics America has hired channel veteran Kevin Gilroy, who helped drive channel resurgences at Hewlett-Packard and SAP, as an executive vice president to manage the South Korean giant's business-to-business division, sources told CRN this week.

Samsung is looking to grow its B2B sales from 15 percent of the company's global revenue to 40 percent. But the company has had difficulty getting partners to bring its full product set to customers, one solution provider executive told CRN.

Gilroy understands what motivates the channel and what training, collateral and incentives are needed to build a successful program and field engagement model, the partner observed. Gilroy will report to Samsung Electronics North America president and CEO Gregory Lee.

Lenovo Adds Hyper-Converged Capabilities To Its Lineup Through SimpliVity Alliance

Lenovo, which has been making aggressive moves to expand in the competitive server arena, has forged an alliance with SimpliVity through which the Chinese hardware company will offer hyper-converged capabilities on its System x servers, it was learned this week.

The arrangement brings SimpliVity's OmniStack data virtualization platform to Lenovo's System x servers through distributor Arrow Electronics. Lenovo also recently entered into hyper-converged partnerships with Pivot3 and StorMagic.

Rather than trying to develop its own hyper-converged technology, Lenovo is wisely pursuing a strategy of expanding into the hyper-converged infrastructure market through partnerships with hot software companies like SimpliVity.

Breach Detection Startup LightCyber Launches Channel Partner Program

LightCyber, an up-and-coming security startup that develops the Active Breach Detection system, is establishing a channel program to provide the infrastructure and support the company's partners will need to grow.

While LightCyber already sells almost exclusively through the channel and has been working with solution providers since its start two years ago, company executives recognized the need for the new two-tiered Channel Alliance Program. The initiative offers online training, an online partner portal with event and marketing content, and a deal-registration process.

Jason Matlof, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, an industry veteran who has worked at such companies as Cisco and A10 Networks, as well as other startups, said no other company he's worked at had this type of channel program infrastructure in place so early in its development.

Security Developer AlienVault Raises $52 Million To Accelerate Growth

AlienVault, developer of a unified threat management platform, said this week that it had raised an impressive $52 million in late-stage venture funding.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, founded in 2007, will use the new financing to fuel its growth, specifically expanding sales and marketing efforts, as well as recruiting and supporting channel partners and managed security service providers. The company also will accelerate development of its threat-intelligence and security technologies, possibly making acquisitions around security controls and other capabilities that complement AlienVault's Unified Security management system.