Sigma Technology Solutions CTO Moves On To Gartner As Research Director

After four years guiding Sigma Technology Solutions into new strategies and practices, CTO Elias Khnaser is moving on to Gartner, CRN has learned.

As of Feb. 2, Khnaser will be a Research Director at Gartner, the highest position that the research organization hires into. In his new role, Khnaser will be focused primarily on consulting with Gartner customers around cloud computing and some end-user computing.

"I honestly would not have left Sigma if it wasn't for the right opportunity," Khnaser said.

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Khnaser is a longtime industry veteran, who spent the last four years of his career at Sigma. Prior to that, he held CTO roles at Artemis Technology and VSD Technologies. Khnaser is also an author with six books on virtualization. He has also contributed to Forbes and InformationWeek.

At Sigma, Khnaser was responsible for setting company strategy and direction, as well as technology evangelism, he said. In particular, Khnaser helped spearhead a strategic decision to dive into cloud and end-user computing technologies. That meant placing bets on cloud as the future of the market by investing heavily in cloud computing. Those investments included hiring a practice manager and building out cloud-focused service offerings.

"We were talking about the cloud before anyone was considering it as a viable option," Khnaser said.

Khnaser said he also helped launch a practice around end-user computing, including desktop virtualization management, mobile device and application management, cloud file and sync solutions, as well as wireless and security offerings.

Khnaser said that introducing those practices helped give Sigma credibility with its customers when it came to talking about advanced solutions that other VARs had shied away from. Looking back on his time at the solution provider, Khnaser said that was what he was most proud of.

Khnaser said he particularly enjoyed working with the "very good leadership" at Sigma that wasn't afraid to face change and new technologies head-on. While it took some convincing at times, he credited the Sigma leadership with tackling market trends, such as cloud and end-user computing.

"That's one of the things that I really want to highlight -- Sigma isn't afraid of change," Khnaser said.

Despite saying that the only lowlight of his time at the solution provider was leaving, Khnaser said that he was looking forward to the more vendor-neutral consulting he can do at Gartner.

"Sigma is a fantastic company. I've helped put them on the right track. I just wanted the ability to focus a little more on the technology as opposed to being bound by the vendor," Khnaser said. "No matter how independent you try to be in the channel, it just comes down to there are certain vendors and manufacturers that you have to be aligned with ...That's the primary driver."

Khnaser said, as far as he knows, no replacement for his position had yet been named.