The Top 25 IT Innovators Of 2022

The ability to drive innovation for technology products, solutions and services is the hallmark of CRN’s Top 25 Innovators of 2022 list.

The Innovators

The semiconductor chip shortage, global supply chain crisis and other major challenges are top of mind of every IT executive.

And the ability to drive innovation for products, solutions and services in such a challenging environment is the hallmark of our Top 25 Innovators of 2022 list.

Most tech companies claim to have differentiated offerings, of course. But which vendors actually deliver on their promise of innovation? And deliver in a way that creates major opportunities for partners?

For our top innovators list, we’ve selected executives that have been bringing true channel-friendly innovation to the market --- accelerating digital transformation, enabling new growth opportunities for partners and producing one customer success story after another.

What follows is our list of the Top 25 IT Innovators of 2022.

Be sure to also check out the complete list of CRN’s Top 100 Executives Of 2022.

25. Tomas Gorny

Co-Founder, CEO


At the helm since 2006, Gorny has led Nextiva to exceed the business communications needs of its customers. In fact, the company raised $200 million for global expansion in 2021. Nextiva in April also launched a revamped partner program to springboard recurring revenue through the channel.

24. Sasan Goodarzi



Under the mantra of “powering prosperity around the world,” Goodarzi is leading Intuit’s shift beyond its tax and accounting application roots to provide an AI-driven financial expert platform, including marketing and credit monitoring capabilities, for consumers and small businesses.

23. Rob Rae

VP, Business Development

Datto, a Kaseya company

MSPs are looking to Rae to ensure Datto continues to be the MSP-friendly organization they were used to before the acquisition by Kaseya. Now that the integration of the two companies is underway, MSPs are counting on Rae to become the driver of channel unification.

22. Jed Ayres



Ayres—who does not get enough credit for his technology vision—has transformed IGEL into a secure edge OS market leader at the vanguard of the cloud workspace revolution. For IGEL partners, that has been a pathway to double-digit margins backed up by a robust recurring revenue model.

21. Alexandra Zagury

VP, Partner Managed and As-A-Service, Global Partner Organization

Cisco Systems

Zagury is leading Cisco’s managed services and XaaS charge through the team she built herself. Under her leadership, Cisco has reshaped its systems, processes and portfolio around the $8 billion partner managed business.

20. David Friend



Friend is a leader in keeping AWS honest with his company’s cloud storage offering that promises prices that are 80 percent below AWS while eliminating the need for egress fees. Wasabi has become the back-end cloud storage for many of the world’s top data protection providers.

19. Eva Chen

Co-Founder, CEO

Trend Micro

Trend Micro, the global cybersecurity giant, keeps growing and innovating. The company has released new products this year such as VicOne, which provides security for electric and connected vehicles, and Trend Micro One, a new unified cybersecurity platform.

18. Mark Barrenechea



Barrenechea became CEO in 2012 and CTO in 2016 and has built OpenText into Canada’s largest software company. Under his leadership, OpenText has developed a broad portfolio of software via organic development and acquisitions such as Documentum and cloud storage provider Carbonite.

17. Amit Yoran



Yoran has been shaking up the cybersecurity industry of late via strategic acquisitions of key sector players. In April, Tenable unveiled its acquisition of Bit Discovery. That deal followed two acquisitions in 2021 of cloud security startup Accurics and of Active Directory security startup Alsid.

16. Janet George

CVP, GM, Cloud, Enterprise Solutions Group


The former Oracle group vice president, who was helping drive machine learning breakthroughs for the database behemoth-turned-cloud-provider, is now using her AI smarts to make sure that Intel is at the top of the AI innovation pyramid.

15. Kristin Russell

President, Global Enterprise Computing Solutions

Arrow Electronics

Russell is dedicated to bringing enterprise computing technology, services and support to solution providers, MSPs and systems integrators. Under Russell, the ArrowSphere cloud management platform continues to add strategic relationships.

14. Patrick Pulvermueller



Pulvermueller has been CEO of Acronis for about a year now, and it’s been a year of change for the cybersecurity vendor. Pulvermueller’s marching orders at Acronis have been clear: grow the company‘s partner network and increase sales.

13. Nick Parker

President, Industry, Partner Sales


A 22-plus-year veteran of Microsoft, Parker was promoted in July and now leads the tech giant’s multibillion-dollar sales business, bringing together teams focused on industries, strategic partnerships, enterprise commercial operations and partner ecosystem success.

12. Gary Steele

President, CEO


Steele joined Splunk in April and is focused on accelerating development and sales of its data platform for enterprise observability and unified security applications in hybrid cloud environments—all while pushing the company toward a goal of $5 billion and beyond in annual revenue.

11. John Kalvin

VP, GM, Global Partners, Support


Kalvin is responsible for global partner strategy and programs, as well as scaling customer support operations worldwide. A 24-year company veteran, he has been busy building Intel’s latest partner program, Intel Partner Alliance.

10. Alex Cho

President, Personal Systems

HP Inc.

Cho drives HP Inc.’s mighty commercial PC business and is responsible for the company’s notebooks and desktops along with its accessory and displays business. His long-term goal is to have HP be seen as a go-to in hybrid work rather than just a PC company.

9. Prakash Panjwani


WatchGuard Technologies

Vector Capital earlier this year took a majority stake in WatchGuard but the heart of the company remains CEO Panjwani and his vision for the future. To Panjwani the investment means two things: the ability to boost sales via the channel and improve the company’s partner programs.

8. Michael Gold



Gold, who has been at the helm of Intermedia for more than a decade, has led the business communications standout down an aggressive path. The channel-first company has a number of acquisitions under its belt to give partners more options and went global in 2020 via a blockbuster deal with NEC.

7. Brannon Lacey



Lacey joined Arcserve as CEO in October, about seven months after the company acquired StorageCraft. He has since turned Arcserve into a key data management and protection vendor for businesses of all sizes that is now thriving in a competitive environment.

6. Rajiv Ramaswami



Ramaswami has revamped how the company charges customers with new core-based pricing and metering. The hyperconverged infrastructure software superstar and rising hybrid cloud player is reaping the benefits of his leadership, with four consecutive quarters of revenue growth between 17 percent and 21 percent.

5. Jeff Ready


Scale Computing

Ready said Scale Computing is going to see big growth as partners of rival VMware fret over the upcoming merger with Broadcom. Ready also partnered with Intel this year to launch a line of compact hyperconverged infrastructure devices that bring massive compute power to the edge.

4. Jeff Clarke, Chuck Whitten


Dell Technologies

On paper and in person the two men appear as different as peanut butter and jelly, but when they begin to talk technology, it all blends together. Whitten is zeroed in on capturing big new growth opportunities while Clarke is focused on Dell’s products and services lineup.

3. Fidelma Russo


Hewlett Packard Enterprise

No CTO has had a bigger impact on the cloud fortunes of a company in such a short period of time. In just 10 months on the job, Russo has brought an architectural clarity and an invigorating fresh view on how to deliver a much more compelling HPE GreenLake cloud experience.

2. Jensen Huang

Founder, President, CEO


Huang’s passion for innovating around GPUs, AI and hardware and software endeavors is always on display. Uner his leadership, Nvidia is focused on reinventing computer science and computing so that machine learning, AI and data-driven approaches will be central to everything the company does.

1. Danny Jenkins

Co-Founder, CEO


One of the security industry’s most innovative visionaries and a true cybersecurity maverick, Jenkins is turning the tide on the barrage of attacks battering MSPs with ThreatLocker’s deny by default whitelisting and ringfencing technology.

The indefatigable Jenkins stared down the skeptics who scoffed at that technology, which is now being embraced by MSPs and even large enterprises at a breakneck pace.

In April alone, ThreatLocker added 700 new MSPs to its community and is on pace to add a total of 3,000 MSPs in 2022.

“Ransomware is the biggest threat to any individual MSP, but it is also the biggest threat to the industry as a whole because when one of your peers gets hit by ransomware and it makes the headlines, it makes it harder for MSPs to sell their services to businesses,” he told CRN in May. “Once MSPs start treating security with a sense of urgency, the world will be a better place,” he said.