5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Sept. 18

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Accenture's bid to acquire solution provider Cloud Sherpas, a move that will strengthen the systems integrator's hand with Google and Salesforce.com cloud applications.

Also making the list this week is Plexxi's vow to devote the proceeds from its latest funding round to its channel program; Dell's plans to expand its channel incentives and support; EMC's strategic alliance with Dimension Data targeting the hybrid cloud market; and Microsoft's generous plan to support high school computer science education.

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.

Accenture Buys Cloud Sherpas In Bid For Cloud Growth

Systems integrator Accenture considerably stepped up its cloud game this week when it struck a deal to acquire Cloud Sherpas, one of the fastest-growing and most respected solution providers in the cloud computing arena.

The move brings to Accenture, No. 2 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500, one of the largest Salesforce.com and Google cloud application provider businesses in the world. Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas was No. 3 on this year's CRN Fast Growth 150 list. Accenture said a planned push with Google apps was a major driver behind the move.

The blockbuster acquisition strengthens Accenture's position in the cloud services market and expands its already considerable position in providing Salesforce.com applications. Cloud Sherpas' 1,100-plus employees will join Accenture's Cloud First Applications team that delivers services for Salesforce, NetSuite, ServiceNow, Workday and Google cloud applications.

Plexxi To Apply $35 Million To Channel Growth

Network technology startup Plexxi this week raised $35 million in venture financing -- a fact that alone would be worthy of making the "Came to Win" list. But the fast-growing company gets double kudos for its plans to apply all of that money to expanding its channel program and go-to-market strategy around the software-defined data center market.

Plexxi, based in Nashua, N.H., is 100 percent channel. The company plans to grow its partner ranks from a handful of partners to upward of 50 in the next 18 months. To boost its channel partner numbers, Plexxi announced in July a plan to reach partners exclusively through distributor Arrow.

Dell Boosts Channel Efforts With New Incentives, More Partner Support

Dell stepped up its channel game this week, rolling out new rebates and incentives aimed at making partners profitable and growing the Dell brand.

The vendor also is hiring some 100 new employees to work with channel partners to help sell enterprise server, storage and networking solutions. The new positions will be dedicated specifically to helping partners with product demonstrations, providing training, and generally strengthening the sales process.

Such moves may be basic channel-blocking and tackling. But they are necessary to keep vendors and their partners competitive, and Dell wins applause for keeping its channel program sharp.

EMC And Dimension Data Form Hybrid Cloud Alliance

Storage system developer EMC and solution provider Dimension Data this week unveiled what they call the "Catalyst Alliance," a four-year initiative through which the two companies will jointly develop and sell comprehensive hybrid cloud solutions for midsize companies.

EMC is under pressure to compete with Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and other vendors that are moving into cloud computing without EMC's expensive, hardware-centric legacy business model. Analysts said the Dimension Data alliance is an important move by EMC to retain its customer base.

EMC and Dimension Data will provide hybrid cloud solutions, including storage and managed services, using a pay-for-consumption model.

Microsoft To Donate $75 Million For Computer Education

Microsoft wins kudos this week for its plan to give $75 million to nonprofits to expand computer science education. The money, part of the company's YouthSpark initiative launched in 2012 to promote computer science education, will be divvied up over the next three years, according to a Fortune story.

CEO Satya Nadella announced the donation in a speech this week at the Saleforce.com Dreamforce conference. The money will be channeled through several programs, including the company's Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program, which matches up technology workers with high schools to teach computer science.

There's been a lot of hand-wringing in recent years about the poor state of science, technology, engineering and math education. Microsoft's plan is a worthy effort to make computer science a core school subject like math or English.