Rackspace Snaps Up 15-Year Microsoft Vet To Lead Sales

"I will be responsible for running a sales organization for the Americas, bringing Rackspace's capabilities to new customers across the Americas, and helping them understand the best way to take advantage of and exploit this wave of new cloud technologies," Cione told CRN. "The marketplace is at a unique point right now. The evolution of the cloud, including public, private and hybrid is accelerating, and Rackspace is uniquely positioned to help lead the customers through that decision process."

Cione has spent 15 years at Microsoft, most recently based in Singapore where he was responsible for $4 billion in annual revenue for software, cloud services and enterprise services. Prior to Microsoft, he briefly worked as a business consultant at accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

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Cione's responsibility spans both direct sales and indirect sales.

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"We think the channel plays an important role in extending our sales force and in helping to extend our value proposition while helping the customers to realize the value of our services," he said. "We believe the channel can help customers accelerate their journey to the cloud, creating a vision for how they can take advantage of the cloud, and what that end state looks like, whether it be through public, private or hybrid clouds."

Cione declined to share any forthcoming plans for changes to sales strategy or channel programs.

"I'm in assessment mode right now, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with our channel partners and customers in the coming days and weeks in order to better understand the opportunities," he said. "After that, we'll have a better idea of how to reshape our programs to support those opportunities, recognizing that partners can play an important role in augmenting our capabilities. Examples would include professional services, data center transformation and consolidation, as well as doing assessments of applications and related architecture."

Cione added that Rackspace is also highly interested in helping VARs and integrators to better understand the dynamics of the cloud business models and to evolve their strategies and practices toward the recurring revenue model.

"It's no different from the journey that many of our customers are on, in terms of understanding what the cloud can mean for their business," he added. "The traditional channel is on a similar journey, and Rackspace is very interested in helping partners along that continuum."