5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Jan. 13

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Microsoft, for making a significant change in its Azure cloud licensing policy that's expected to increase cloud sales momentum for the channel.

Also making the list are security technology companies Security Scorecard and Invincea for launching new channel programs, storage company Kaminario for a big venture funding win, Intermedia for staffing up to help the company achieve its aggressive growth goals, and PCM for a pair of key executive hires.

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.

Partners Cheer Microsoft Azure Licensing Shift To The Channel

Partners are applauding a significant change in Microsoft's Azure licensing policy that is expected to benefit the software giant's channel partners.

Beginning Feb. 1 Microsoft is scrapping its pay-as-you-go Azure direct sales policy. Under the new Microsoft Products & Services Agreement (MPSA) customers purchasing the company's Azure cloud services will be guided to Cloud Solution Providers instead. Partners said the move is evidence that Microsoft is putting more emphasis on the CSP model.

Microsoft also wins plaudits for a sweeping reorganization that as of Feb. 1 will consolidate a number of Microsoft's partner and service teams into a "One Commercial Partner" business that should make it easier for partners to transact business with the vendor. The company is also creating a new unit, Microsoft Digital, to better incent partners to sell Microsoft's cloud services.

SecurityScorecard And Invincea Launch Inaugural Partner Programs

Kudos go to several security technology vendors that unveiled channel programs this week – some as they switch from a reliance on direct sales to fully investing in the channel.

Antivirus software developer Invincea, which previously sold both direct and through partners, has shifted to a 100-percent channel model and has launched the new Next-Gen Partner Program as it looks to take on stiff competition in the next-generation endpoint security market. The company also has grown its channel team fivefold.

SecurityScorecard launched its inaugural partner program as it also shifts from a direct sales model to the channel. The company, whose SaaS platform gathers data to determine security risk factors, has been shifting to channel sales since mid-2016 and is now fully focused on moving business through partners. The program launch comes shortly after the company hired former Tanium channel executive Michael Rogers as its VP of strategic alliances and channel sales.

High fives also go to Menlo Security, which launched new partner program as it shifts to an all-channel sales model, and ObserveIT, which is revamping its partner program as it makes a channel sales push in North America.

All-Flash Array Vendor Kaminario In Huge $75M Funding Round

Kaminario, a developer of all-flash storage array systems, was a big winner in the venture capital sweepstakes this week when it collected an impressive $75 million in new financing. The Series F round brings the Needham, Mass.-based company's total funding to $218 million.

Global marketing VP Josh Epstein told CRN that the new funding means big opportunities for the company and its channel partners, including expanding into new geographies and accelerating the company's product development efforts.

Intermedia Lands Three Microsoft Execs, Revamps Sales Structure With Plans To Double Company Revenue

Cloud business applications provider Intermedia this week hired three former Microsoft executives and overhauled its field sales and sales engineering operations with an eye on doubling its revenue to between $400 million and $500 million over the next four years.

Intermedia, No. 189 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, is growing its sales organization from its current 91 people to 150 and launching a sales enablement and engineering practice to expand its partner focus beyond inside account management to field engagement and co-selling.

On the personnel front, Intermedia hired Corey Nagel, who spent seven years in Microsoft's sales organization, to be its new director of partner development. Eric Roach, who managed Microsoft's relationship with distributor Ingram Micro, is Intermedia's new global vice president of field channel sales and distribution. And Bob Neal, Intermedia's new director of distribution and strategic communities, spent nearly five years driving Microsoft's SMB distribution cloud sales strategy and leading the vendor's reseller-focused Surface sales efforts.

PCM Boosts Management Ranks With New Sales, Service Executive Superstars

On the topic of savvy hires, PCM, No. 28 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, added to its management ranks this week when it recruited new execs from CompuCom and SHI to supercharge the fast-growing solution provider's lifecycle services and commercial inside sales operations.

PCM hired David Hall, CompuCom executive vice president of professional services, to manage PCM's lifecycle services business. He is specifically tasked with overseeing the services organization around the company's mobility-centric solutions, data center networking and Wi-Fi practices.

Keith Joseph, a senior vice president at SHI, served nine years at that company as a sales general manager and senior director. He previously worked as a regional sales manager at CDW. At PCM he will help manage the inside sales business within the company's commercial sales organization.