Talk about disruption. With cloud computing reshaping the technology landscape at an ever-faster rate, the number of big and bold bets placed to become the disrupter rather than the disrupted was off the charts in 2016.
Dell, which completed the largest leveraged buyout in technology history just two years ago, moved to acquire enterprise storage leader EMC in a $67 billion blockbuster deal.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which had just completed the biggest split of a Fortune 100 company ever, moved to spin off its $20 billion Enterprise Services business with CSC.
With breakneck change the order of the day, CRN's Top 100 list favors the risk takers - the fearless CEOs and executives who pushed the technology and channel envelope beyond all limits.
Our No. 1 most Influential executive is in the final year of a five-year plan that has transformed one of the crown jewels of Silicon Valley into an agile and innovative next-generation infrastructure provider.
Our No. 1 Disrupter has taken the enterprise industry by storm with a ground-breaking new technology.
Our No. 1 Innovator is pushing the storage envelope with innovative cloud solutions backed up by a channel offensive.
Finally, our top Sales Leader helped launch a new recurring revenue software and services model for midmarket data center-focused partners.
Solution providers have also been moving to place bigger bets for the future with acquisitions, mergers and private equity investments hitting record highs. This as all partners moved quickly to drive higher pro‑ ts as strategic service providers relying heavily on recurring revenue cloud and managed services.
Douglas Grosfield, who sold the managed services provider business he built over the past decade to start strategic service provider Five Nines IT Solutions, says the blinding pace of change requires vendors to step up and aggressively communicate how they plan to team with the channel.
"With VARs, resellers and managed service providers that own the last mile of the customer relationship morphing into strategic service providers it is more important than ever that companies do a better job of communicating their strategy not just for tomorrow, but for the next six to eight quarters."
But speaking of tomorrow, Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of CB Technologies, one of HPE's top partners, says the changes driven by HPE CEO Meg Whitman have forever changed the channel and helped CB Technologies grow its customer base more than 108 percent under Whitman's tenure.
"None of this would have happened without Meg's leadership in the transformation of HPE," said Ireland. "We have been investing to build the company. Now is the time to reap the rewards. In the next ‑five years, we think we can triple our business."
The 25 Most Influential Executives Of 2016
Here we present this year's class of the 25 Most Influential individuals in the technology industry.
The Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders Of 2016
As part of the Top 100 Executives of 2016, CRN looks at 25 channel sales executives that really stood out as they worked to bring success to their partners.
The Top 25 Disrupters Of 2016
As part of the Top 100 Executives Of 2016, CRN looks at 25 execs that are throwing a curveball at the technology world.
The Top 25 Innovators Of 2016
As part of the Top 100 Executives Of 2016, CRN looks at 25 execs that are setting the tone in the technology world.