Nextiva Names Channel Veteran Olen Scott As Channel Chief: Exclusive

“[Scott] is a tried-and-true channel person, and so I think it’s great for Nextiva to have someone who is a pro-channel advocate and has depth of experience in this channel,” one longtime Nextiva partner told CRN on the latest appointment.


Nextiva has tapped Olen Scott, a longtime channel leader, to head up channel efforts for the cloud-based unified communications provider, Nextiva told CRN.

This move signifies the company’ dedication to becoming more channel-centric and focused on partner success for Nextiva, according to the company.

Scott, who is no stranger to the channel, has taken over at the channel helm for Marc Stein, who served as Nextiva’s global vice president and channel chief since May 2021.

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Scott said that he was drawn to the company because of its focus on partner and customer experience first, he said.

“There wasn’t a single conversation where the person I spoke to – everyone from the CEO, down - that didn’t stress two things to me: partner experience and customer experience,” Scott said. “Usually, for sales leadership roles, people talk about sales and MRR [monthly recurring revenue] and growth, and all of those things matter. But everybody put massive emphasis on making sure that the partners love us. It’s a great culture, and for me, that sealed it. I’ve never worked anywhere that had this emphatic of a channel centricity and channel commitment. And of course, what channel chief doesn’t want that?”

The UCaaS specialist in April introduced a revamped partner program with extended benefits and support for solution providers selling unified communications and contact center as a service. The recently launched program is called NextivaOne, a rebrand from the company’s first channel program, NeXus, that was introduced in 2020.

Chris Reaburn, Nextiva’s CMO told CRN at the time of the NextiveOne launch that the company would be adding additional staff to support its new channel efforts, including extending dedicated team members to partners, such as account managers, sales engineers and enterprise solutions architects.

Scott said that as channel chief, his first priority is to educate partners on the $50 million investment that Nextiva has made in its channel ecosystem over the last couple of years, which is really setting the table for the next stage of rapid growth.

“That investment has a lot of benefits to our partner community, but it also was a system change,” he said. “We really want to emphasize with our partners that we’ve got a solution set and now we’ve got an ecosystem because of these investments that really lets us scale the solutions a bit further upmarket.”

“[Scott] is a tried-and-true channel person, and so I think it’s great for Nextiva to have someone who is a pro-channel advocate and has depth of experience in this channel,” said Adam Edwards, CEO of telecom service broker Telarus, a Nextiva partner of more than five years.

That channel, Adams said, is the agent partner channel, which is very different than the traditional IT or VAR channel, he added. “[Scott] has earned his stripes with agents and Nextiva is going to benefit from that.”

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Nextiva takes a platform approach to the UCaaS space, which brings together business communications applications, intelligence and automation. It’s an approach that has served the provider well in targeting SMBs and is helping Nextiva move into the midmarket, Adams said.

“They’re not just offering UC - they have their own operating system, so they’re not interchangeable with some of the big UC brands out there,” he added.

Prior to his latest appointment, Scott served as CRO for Stored Energy Systems, LLC, since 2021. Before that, SD-WAN provider Aryaka brought Scott in as senior vice president and global channel chief where he served for more than two years. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of sales and business development at Purple Communications. Scott led Windstream Communications’ channel efforts as senior vice president of indirect channel for five years and served as telecom service provider EarthLink’s channel chief for two years before the company was acquired by Windstream in 2016.