5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending Feb. 2

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is SAP, which struck a $2.4 billion deal to acquire cloud sales performance application developer Callidus Software in a move that significantly strengthens SAP's lineup of cloud-based applications.

Also making the list this week are Red Hat, which is stepping up its moves in the container technology arena with its $250 million acquisition of CoreOS; Erwin for hiring a veteran channel manager as the company gears up for anticipated demand purred by GDPR data governance projects; Cisco for its plans to leverage the channel to grow sales of its latest intent-based networking systems; and Sophos for showing off its technology chops by expanding the machine learning capabilities of its Intercept X security 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 Five Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

SAP Strikes $2.4 Billion Deal To Acquire Sales Performance Software Developer Callidus, Plans Front-Office App Offensive

SAP, continuing its push into cloud computing, this week inked a deal to acquire Callidus Software for $2.4 billion. SAP will combine the Callidus cloud-based sales performance (also called "quote-to-cash") applications with its Hybris ecommerce and omni-channel cloud software as the core of a new set of cloud front-office applications.

The acquisition steps up SAP's cloud application game as the company continues its transition from its reliance on revenue from traditional software license sales. It also fuels SAP's competition with rival Salesforce.com in the market for CRM/SFA cloud applications.

This week SAP CEO Bill McDermott, while announcing SAP's 2017 financial results, said he expects that cloud revenue in 2018 will, for the first time, exceed revenue from traditional software license sales.

Red Hat To Buy Google-Backed Container Tech Startup CoreOS For $250 Million

Sticking with the topic of savvy acquisitions, Red Hat made a significant acquisition in the critical container technology arena this week, striking a deal to buy pioneering container startup CoreOS for $250 million.

CoreOS, which is backed by Google's investment arm, has made a name for itself as an early player in the Docker ecosystem with a lightweight Linux distribution that's designed for running containerized workloads at scale.

Red Hat has already bet big on the Kubernetes container technology as the future of how applications will be developed, deployed and managed across hybrid clouds. CoreOS brought to market the first commercial platform for running Kubernetes, so with this acquisition Red Hat is doubling down on its vision.

Erwin Hires Former Verizon Channels Executive, Prepares For Partner Offensive With GDPR On The Horizon

Data modeling software developer Erwin wins kudos this week for hiring former Verizon channel executive Wendy Petty as its senior vice president of global sales and services.

The move comes as Erwin gears up for what it sees as a huge opportunity for itself and its channel partners with the coming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) data protection standards for all companies doing business in the European Union. Erwin CEO Adam Famularo sees GDPR driving a wave of software developers toward data governance projects, creating a business opportunity for the company and its channel ecosystem.

Petty worked at Verizon for three years where she served as executive director of global channels in the carrier's Enterprise Solutions group. She previously worked at CA Technologies – which owned Erwin for a number of years – where she was vice president of partner sales and senior advisor of the cloud solutions unit.

Cisco Making Channel Investment To Push New Intent-Based Networking Software, Capabilities

Cisco Systems is making what it calls game-changing additions to its intent-based networking technology. And the company is backing the product rollout with what it says is the biggest investment in channel activation in the company’s history.

Cisco executives told CRN that the vendor is making a “multi-, multi-million dollar investment” to put channel sales horsepower behind the new software-based Network Assurance Engine and DNA Center Assurance — the newest components of the intent-based networking platform that brings predictive analytics and insights to customer networks.

Nirav Sheth, vice president of sales and systems engineering, told CRN that the channel resources being devoted to the new products include a migration incentive program for customer refresh deals and an enhanced VIP rebate program, among other rewards.

Partners say they are already seeing significant recurring revenue opportunities with the new software. The new incentives Cisco is offering are indicative of how much the company is counting on the channel to sell the new products.

Sophos Boosts Threat Detection Prowess With Latest Edition Of Its Intercept X App

Sophos was on top of its technology game this week when it rolled out the latest version of its Intercept X anti-exploit software for general availability. The endpoint security tool incorporates deep-learning technology that boosts malware detection rates.

The company says the new release is the only software on the market that combine's machine learning, malware and exploit blocking, and ransomware protections into a single product.

The new deep learning capabilities are the result of Sophos' acquisition of Invincea in February 2017. The addition of deep learning makes it possible for Intercept X to curate and label data even more accurately given its ability to process hundreds of millions of samples rather than just tens of millions.

That boosts the predictive security capabilities of Intercept X, which can now make more accurate predictions at a faster rate with fewer false-positives than with traditional machine learning technology.