5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending April 6

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Microsoft for its plan to invest $5 billion over the next four years in a series of Internet of Things initiatives.

Also making the list this week are Amazon Web Services for launching a new channel program that provides incentives for partners to extend their AWS practices, RSA for a savvy acquisition of a developer of behavioral analytics security technology, Spirent Communications for launching its first-ever partner program, and McAfee channel chief Ken McCray for being named this year's champion of the CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.

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.

Microsoft’s $5B IoT Plan Will Arm Partners With New Products, Services

Microsoft this week disclosed a plan to invest $5 billion in Internet of Things initiatives over the next four years – and the company’s channel partners have a major role to play in the effort.

Microsoft is ramping up its IoT research and development with a focus on IoT security and on new development tools and intelligent services for IoT and edge computing, according to a blog post by Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure.

Some of the investment will support Microsoft partners who work with its IoT technology and products. The company is particularly seeking partners with expertise in developing small-form-factor applications.

AWS Introduces Channel Program With New Incentives For Solution Providers

Amazon Web Services wins kudos this week for debuting a new channel program the company said delivers greater financial incentives to all categories of resellers that invest in their AWS practices.

The AWS Solution Provider Program replaces the AWS Channel Reseller Program, adding benefits for partners that develop technical capabilities and drive new business around AWS cloud services.

The new program offers more flexible contracts and support plans, allowing Authorized Solution Providers to manage, service, support and bill AWS customers. It includes more training opportunities for partners and monthly performance metrics on partner operations, and aligns discounts with the quality of support partners provide to customers.

The program is open to all AWS reseller partners including VARs, systems integrators and managed service providers.

AWS partners told CRN that the new program places more value on selling solutions that incorporate AWS cloud services, not just reselling.

RSA To Buy Behavioral Analytics Startup Fortscale To Strengthen Flagship SIEM Platform

Security tech developer RSA made a savvy acquisition deal this week when it struck an agreement to buy emerging vendor Fortscale in a move that will allow it to provide customers with new user entity and behavioral analytics capabilities through its RSA NetWitness SIEM system.

The addition of the Fortscale technology will give RSA's product portfolio a competitive boost with its rapid time to value and ability to help customers step up the speed at which their security operations centers perform. The Fortscale software provides better security visibility across an IT network and insight about potential security threats. That helps them better prioritize their response to those threats.

The acquisition is also expected to be a plus for RSA's channel partners, providing them with a new add-on offering for the RSA platform, creating new upsell opportunities for the RSA NetWitness customer base.

Spirent Launches Partner Program As Company Moves In A ’Channel-Reliant’ Direction

Spirent Communications launched its first-ever partner program this week to recruit solution providers to sell the vendor’s network testing and security systems.

U.K.-based Spirent develops a range of testing, assurance, analytics and security products for next-generation networks. While about 13 percent of its business worldwide is currently done through the channel, that number is only about 5 percent in the U.S.

Spirent is counting on its new partner program, called Pace, to give its channel business a boost, especially in North America. The company also plans a significant partner recruitment effort, Mark Bateman, senior director of global channels and alliances, told CRN.

McAfee’s McCray Wins CRN Channel Madness Crown

Ken McCray, head of channel sales and operations for the Americas at security software developer McAfee, is the champion of the 2018 CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.

McCray was the last channel chief standing in the three-week tournament, which kicked off March 15 with 32 of the industry’s top channel chiefs vying for the champion title.

McCray took the top spot this week with 60 percent of the vote, defeating a tough competitor, NetApp channel chief Jeff McCullough.