5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 4

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Cisco Systems for its moves at Cisco Partner Summit this week, including new technologies and products, strategic acquisitions and significant enhancements to its partner programs.

Also making the list are Dell for its steady-as-she-goes steps toward completing its acquisition of EMC, some strategic moves by solution provider Optiv Security to improve the level of services it provides customers, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise-Fortinet alliance to create an advanced security technology bundle, and Comcast's latest modem technology that delivers Google Fiber performance at lower costs.

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.

Cisco Agenda: Acquisitions, New Technologies And The Next Evolution Of Its Partner Strategy

You'd expect a leading IT vendor to make news the week it holds its annual channel partner conference. But Cisco was on the offensive across multiple fronts at its 2016 Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego this week where the company announced strategic acquisitions, debuted new products and technologies, and unveiled enhancements to its channel strategy.

For partners, global channel chief Wendy Bahr said the networking giant's partner strategy is evolving to focus on simplification, better Cisco-partner alignment and improved value for partners. Specific announcements included simpler product categories and payout levels in the Value Incentive Program, new digital marketing services, and new software roles for partners.

On the technology front Cisco offered more evidence that it's evolving from a hardware vendor to a software-centric company with the launch of its Digital Network Architecture. Partners applauded the new line of Nexus switches while an alliance with Springpath provides an entry into the hyper-converged systems arena. And acquisitions of CliQr (cloud management) and Leaba Semiconductor (networking processors) hold promise for future innovations.

Partners Cheer Dell's Steady Hand In EMC Executive Integration Plans

Dell continues to carefully navigate its way to completing its $67 billion acquisition of EMC. This week the company named the executives who will fulfill key roles once the acquisition is a done deal sometime this year.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week, Dell said EMC Marketing President Jeremy Burton will serve as Dell's chief marketing officer while current Dell CMO Karen Quintos becomes chief customer officer. David Goulden, now CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure, will become president of Dell's Enterprise Systems Group. And Bill Scannell, EMC's global sales executive, will work under Goulden as president of enterprise sales.

Dell's executive group will include VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger; SecureWorks President and CEO Mike Cote; Pivotal CEO Rob Mee; and Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream. Rory Read and Howard Elias, Dell and EMC chief operating officers, respectively, will continue in their roles as co-integration officers after the merger closes.

There have been reports of hiccups as the acquisition proceeds, including possible funding hitches and the problem of VMware's declining stock value. But Dell has been taking steady, deliberate steps to complete the acquisition and lay the groundwork for the tough integration work that lies ahead.

Security Solution Provider Optiv Targets Verticals, Eyes More Integrated Offerings

Optiv Security, the $1.5 billion security solution powerhouse create last year through the merger of Accuvant and FishNet Security, made some savvy moves this week that bring the company beyond just selling and implementing security products.

First off, Optiv joined the Identity Defined Security Alliance, the group of vendors led by Ping Identity that developed a blueprint for implementing identity-defined security systems. Optiv executive Robert Block told CRN that by joining the alliance, Optiv can provide its customers with a more complete, more highly integrated set of IT security solutions and services – in contrast to the disparate, point-product security systems many businesses operate today.

At this week's RSA Conference, meanwhile, Optiv unveiled plans to expand its security practices for specific industry verticals to the health-care arena and to critical infrastructure companies such as power utilities. That builds on the launch of a dedicated financial services practice in September.

HPE, Fortinet Team To Offer Firewall/Log Management Security System

Security is a multifaceted problem: Any IT manager will tell you that no one vendor can provide all the technology they need to guard against today's wide array of cyberthreats.

So Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Fortinet win kudos for this week's announcement that they are teaming up to create a security offering that bundles HPE's log management software with Fortinet's firewalls. The combination makes it possible to collect, store, analyze and report on what's happening in an organization's networks and better address vulnerabilities as soon as they are found.

The bundle is expected to help customers in such vertical industries as retail, health care and financial services to leverage deep-analysis reporting for a more comprehensive view of potential security problems across ever-expanding attack surfaces.

Newest Comcast Modem Takes Aim At Google Fiber, Creates Partner Opportunities

Modems might not be the sexiest technology, but new modem technology debuted by Comcast this week could change the rules of high-speed Internet.

Comcast's Docsis 3.1 modem is capable of supporting 1-Gbps connection speeds and maxes out at 10 Gbps, according to the carrier. That puts it in the same league as Google Fiber's 1-Gbps speed, which is about 80 times faster than the average Internet connection in the U.S. But unlike Google Fiber, which requires a costly fiber infrastructure, Comcast's modem can achieve its speeds using its existing cable network.

Comcast partners are looking forward to getting their hands on the Docsis 3.1, saying it will be a great option for their small-business customers who need the additional bandwidth. The ability for Comcast's partners to offer a high-capacity, moderately priced connectivity solution is a win-win for everyone.