5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 25

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Sirius Computer Solutions – No. 28 on CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500 list – which said it will buy $260 million U.S. government solution provider Force 3.

Also making this week's list are NetEnrich, which delivered a package of tools, operational services and support resources to help Microsoft partners expand their cloud practices into Azure; Apple, which unveiled its new iPad Pro; telecommunications provider Windstream, which revamped its channel program; and F5 Networks, which hired two top industry veterans to boost security sales.

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.

Sirius Acquires Federal Network Security Powerhouse Force 3

Armed with new private equity backing, Sirius Computer Solutions will purchase 170-employee U.S. government solution provider Force 3, which is dedicated to next-generation network security technology.

San Antonio-based Sirius – No. 28 on CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500 list – said its acquisition of $260 million Force 3, Crofton, Md., will enable Sirius to better serve customers in the Mid-Atlantic region and tap into additional contract vehicles for public sector clients.

Terms of the deal, which is scheduled to close March 31, were not disclosed. Force 3, No. 79 on the CRN SP 500, will continue to operate as a separate legal entity and maintain its name. CEO Mike Greaney will stay on.

Sirius had been looking to expand into the federal space for the past two years, but found many players in the space were focused more on pure product fulfillment rather than a technically driven sales model, CEO Joe Mertens told CRN.

NetEnrich Delivers For Microsoft Partners Looking To Expand Into Azure

NetEnrich, San Jose, Calif., unveiled a package of tools, services and support resources that Microsoft partners can leverage to expand their cloud practices into Azure, NetEnrich's CEO, Raju Chekuri, told CRN. The announcement came just four months after Microsoft approached NetEnrich about taking on that project.

"Microsoft was trying to figure out how to enable [partners] and bring greater time to value," Chekuri said. "We created SKUs and packaging, where there's the right value for the partner and for the market we're trying to target."

NetEnrich supports a few hundred solution providers that resell networking, servers and databases, as well as cloud services from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace.

Apple Takes Aim At Microsoft With New iPad Pro

Apple Monday unveiled its new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, taking direct aim at Microsoft Surface Pro, Windows 10 and the 600 million PCs in use today that are more than five years old.

Apple's partners see the new product as the latest salvo in the battle to get more users to choose Apple's iOS devices in corporate America rather than Windows 10. They said the new tablet represents Apple's most ambitious bid yet to take a bite out of the growing Windows 10-based 2-in-1 enterprise market with an iPad Pro.

Apple said it was to begin taking orders for the new iPad Pro this week and start shipping the product March 31.

Windstream Channel Revamp Gives Partners More Resources

Telecommunications provider Windstream said changes in its channel program will give partners serving enterprise business customers access to more resources and dedicated support.

Windstream's long-term strategy in the channel is to take on enterprise accounts, a focus the provider put in place in summer 2015. Windstream, based in Little Rock, Ark., alerted the channel to this shift in December, and sub-$1,500 SMB accounts now have to be approved by channel managers. The carrier's indirect sales unit has since been strengthening its channel focus, while making the program more accessible to partners.

The moves by Windstream, a key partner for many master agents, underscore its commitment to the channel, according to Rick Ribas, a senior vice president for master agent Intelisys, Petaluma, Calif.

F5 Networks Adds Muscle To Security Practice

Seattle-based application delivery networking vendor F5 Networks hired two top industry veterans to help lead its charge into security.

David Helfer, who was vice president of worldwide channels at security vendor Lookout and had previously served in executive roles at Juniper Networks, will take on the same role at F5, leading its global channel strategy. Meanwhile, Peter Brant was hired as senior vice president of North America sales and will spearhead development and execution of F5's go-to-market strategies, as well as day-to-day operations for all North American sales. Brant had been senior vice president of Americas enterprise sales at security vendor Fortinet.