5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Nov. 13

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is a vow from Dell's top channel executive to grow the number of channel partners for whom Dell is a top-tier supplier – displacing wherever possible products from competitors sold by solution providers.

Also making the list this week are Hewlett Packard Enterprise's plans to double the number of SMB products it offers for the channel, Avaya's launch of a new midmarket channel program, startup Versa Network's launch, and a security technology company's hiring of an open-source superstar as its new CEO.

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.

Dell Wants To Be At Least 35 Percent Of Partners' Business

Dell isn't satisfied with being a second-tier IT vendor with any channel partner. In an exclusive interview with CRN this week, Frank Vitagliano (pictured), Dell vice president of North American channels, made it clear he wants solution providers that are now doing less than one-third of their business with Dell to increase that percentage.

"I have a ton of partner relationships where I'm a relatively small piece of the business, 10 [percent] to 15 percent," Vitagliano told CRN. "Unless I'm 35 [percent] to 40 percent of the partner's business, I'm an afterthought, a fill-in-the-gaps kind of thing. Our goal is to become more significant with more people."

Vitagliano promised to be more aggressive in working with partners, probing for information on what vendors they do more business with and looking for opportunities to displace competitors.

H ewlett P ackard Enterprise Set To Double Number Of SMB Product Launches

Hewlett Packard Enterprise this week said it plans to more than double the number of new product releases targeting small and midsize businesses over the next year. And those new server, storage and network products will all be focused on the channel, said Flynn Maloy, HPE director of SMB Enterprise Group marketing.

As a down payment on that promise, HPE this week unveiled two new servers priced at less than $700, including the entry-level rack server ProLiant DL20 Gen9 and the ProLiant NL30 Gen9 stand-alone server.

Partners told CRN that the SMB offensive is a sign that HPE, which just came into being Nov. 1 following the split of Hewlett-Packard into two companies, would remain focused on the channel and creating opportunities for partners.

Avaya Launches Midmarket Channel Program With New Product Packages

Another company stepping up its game in the midmarket channel is Avaya, which this week launched its Midmarket Select Partner Program and new product packages that the supplier of network and unified communications technology said will help partners reap higher margins.

Partners who join the program have access to the five new Select Engagement Packages for midsize companies with up to 2,000 employees. The bundles, designed for public, private and hybrid cloud deployment, integrate unified communications, contact center, videoconferencing, networking and mobility products and services.

Partners called the new solutions a home run and just what midmarket customers are asking for. They are priced right for the market, solution providers said, and allow them to capture better margins.

Startup Versa Networks Looks To Disrupt The WAN Market

Versa Networks, a company founded by two brothers who were formerly top Juniper Networks engineers, exited stealth mode this week after three years of development and debuted its software-defined WAN product portfolio.

The company is targeting its next-generation WAN and branch systems, including carrier-grade software that runs on commodity hardware, toward service providers and enterprise businesses. While the startup is still developing its channel strategy for the enterprise, its service provider offerings are being sold 100 percent through the channel.

The company founders, brothers Kumar Mehta (CEO) and Apruva Mehta (CTO), envision their startup transforming the business and operational model for managed services. The company has already raised more than $53 million in two rounds of funding.

HackerOne Hires Open-Source Superstar As New CEO

HackerOne, a security startup that develops security vulnerability tracking software, hired high-profile executive Marten Mickos this week as the company's CEO.

Mickos moves to HackerOne from Hewlett Packard Enterprise where he headed up that company's cloud business. Before that he was CEO of Eucalyptus, an open-source startup with software for building private clouds. And before that he was CEO of MySQL, developer of the popular open-source database by the same name, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008.

HackerOne has already gained attention thanks to its practice of paying bounties to hackers for finding security bugs. With Mickos at the helm, the company is well positioned to go to the next level.