5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Jan. 19

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Dell EMC, which this week launched a sales offensive in the data storage system market that relies heavily on partners to gain market share.

Also making the list this week are IBM for reporting its first quarterly revenue growth in more than five years, SAP for its expanded Cloud Accelerator program that helps partners develop marketing strategies around cloud computing, Riverbed for its overhauled channel program designed to help partners sell more SD-WAN offerings, and storage technology developer Kaminario for its bold move to leave the hardware part of its business to distributor Tech Data and focus on software.

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 EMC Launches Storage Offensive, Looks To Gain Market Share With The Help Of Partners

Dell EMC this week announced an all-out assault on the storage market, investing $2 billion in the effort and hiring 1,200 new storage sales specialists.

The new sales staffers will include data center partner managers and channel specialty sales executives focused on partner-led selling around storage, converged infrastructure and data protection. And for the first time the company is initiating a storage-only sales quota for partners.

Channel partners account for about 70 percent of Dell's midrange storage business and the company is counting on partners to drive market-share gains.

IBM Reports First Quarterly Revenue Growth In More Than Five Years

IBM broke a long streak (22 quarters!) of declining revenue this week when it reported that sales in its fiscal 2017 fourth quarter increased about 4 percent year over year to $22.5 billion.

Sales growth was driven by increased demand for its cloud products and services, up 24 percent, and increased sales of its z14 mainframe and servers running the new Power9 microprocessors.

IBM still has work to do as it focuses on new product categories such as cloud, analytics, security and mobile products. Sales of the company's analytics products in the fourth quarter, for example, failed to meet expectations.

SAP Takes Cloud Accelerator Program Global, Offers Partners Guidance In Transitioning Marketing Strategies

SAP wins kudos this week for going global with its initiative to provide marketing and business development assistance to new and current channel partners that are committed to rapidly expanding their cloud services to small and midsize customers.

Under the Cloud Accelerator effort, which has been operating on a limited trial basis for several years, SAP will provide the aid to partners who commit to annually grow their SMB cloud business by at least 50 percent.

SAP plans to triple its investment in the Cloud Accelerator program this year and enlist three times as many solution providers. While some of those will be solution providers newly recruited to SAP, the majority are expected to be current SAP partners who want to expand their cloud business.

Riverbed Launches New Channel Program To Help Partners Win New Business

Riverbed wins applause this week for its plans to overhaul its Riverbed Rise channel program, putting more emphasis on partner flexibility and autonomy – and less on partner tier status.

Riverbed is expanding beyond its foundation in WAN optimization to selling SD-WAN products and other technologies delivered as-a-service on a recurring revenue basis. The company is counting on its partners to bring its products deeper into their customers where the vendor doesn't have a presence.

The enhanced channel program focuses on rewarding partners for their capabilities and their performance in new customer acquisition, selling across the portfolio, and selling in an as-a-service model.

Kaminario Goes Software-Defined And Moves Hardware Integration, Logistics To Tech Data

All-flash storage technology vendor Kaminario made a bold move this week, getting out of the hardware business in a deal with Tech Data under which the distributor will handle all of Kaminario's hardware logistics.

Kaminario, which got its start as a storage appliance company, will become a software-defined data storage business in a move that will free up resources it can focus on developing its market-differentiating intellectual property.

Under the relationship, Tech Data will become Kaminario's global systems integrator, combining Kaminario's software with hardware certified by the developer. Kaminario plans to phase out its hardware appliances and will move all logistics to Tech Data by the end of this quarter.