2022 Channel Chiefs: The 50 Most Influential
In celebration of CRN’s 2022 Channel Chiefs, here are 50 leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships within the IT industry.
The Most Influential
Our 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs of 2022 are an elite group drawn from the larger pool of channel chief honorees each year that represent the cream of the IT channel crop—leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships.
All channel chief honorees are selected by CRN’s editorial staff on the basis of their professional achievements, standing in the industry, dedication to the channel partner community and strategies for driving channel growth and innovation.
The complete 2022 CRN Channel Chiefs list is available online at CRN.com and is featured in the February 2022 issue of CRN magazine.
The following snapshots include information from channel chief applications (including material in quotations), CRN news stories and other sources.
Amazon Web Services
VP, Worldwide Channels, Alliances
Borno took over as AWS channel chief on Dec. 6, 2021, replacing Doug Yeum who took a new job on the retail side of parent company Amazon.com. Borno came to AWS from Cisco Systems where most recently she was senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s global customer experience centers. She joined Cisco in 2015 as vice president of strategic initiatives and chief of staff to then-new CEO Chuck Robbins—one of his “next-generation leadership team” to lead the company into the digital age.
Borno looks forward to “continuing AWS‘ investment into its partners by listening to their unique and diverse needs, identifying strategies that continuously improve our relationships, and creating new solutions and services for them to achieve even more success.”
Borno is overseeing a planned overhaul of the AWS partner program, announced in November, that includes AWS Partner Paths—five new partner paths that Borno says provide “flexible ways for partners to engage with AWS” by simplifying the engagement model and expanding partner access to benefits.
The AWS Partner Network continued to grow in 2021 as AWS introduced new products and solutions for vertical industries including health care and media and entertainment.
North America Channel Chief
Richardson, an 11-year veteran at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, joined AMD on March 1 and was charged with building AMD’s channel sales organization. Richardson has staffed his team with experienced channel personnel, established the North America Partner Advisory Board, aligned channel marketing activities and drove the creation of the AMD North America Commercial Systems Partner Program.
Richardson said 2021 was a year of significant growth for AMD in the channel, including doubling server sales year over year. His organization has aligned go-to-market initiatives with leading server OEMs, client device OEMs (including HP Inc. and Lenovo) and systems integrators. He has also overseen the availability of partner sales and technical certifications and related enablement content to improve partner awareness of AMD‘s differentiated offerings. And in 2021 AMD on-boarded 60 new VARs, an effort that will accelerate in 2022.
EVP, Worldwide Sales
Arcserve and StorageCraft completed their merger in March 2021. Zollo has overseen the combination of the two partner sales organizations and focused on driving mid-enterprise sales through reseller partners “by delivering the most flexible, cost-effective ransomware recovery solution available” and “delivering exceptional account management for our MSP partners.”
Under Zollo’s management, Arcserve has redesigned its partner portal, making it simple for partners to self-escalate support cases, and adopted the Arcserve Cloud Status page (which shows the real-time status of all cloud solutions) for MSPs and resellers globally.
In 2021 the company doubled the number of internal channel managers, implemented a global channel sales support team to quickly and efficiently address partner questions, and delivered virtual partner training sessions and virtual road shows during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SVP, Global Channels
Skelley oversaw Arctic Wolf’s channel expansion into Europe, Middle East and Africa, bringing the company’s 100 percent partner sales model to the region. The effort included recruiting the company’s new channel team across the EMEA region and on-boarding more than 50 partners across Europe.
Skelley has also managed the evolution of Arctic Wolf’s channel program to create more opportunities for security-minded and cloud-focused solution providers, including launching two new partnership tiers to drive channel relationships. A cross-country road show tour with partners, with stops in 30 cities, combined demand generation initiatives with partner engagement, bootcamp, training and certification activities.
Arctic Wolf added more than 200 solution providers to its channel community in 2021.
Area 1 Security
Pataky led the design and launch of Area 1 Security’s inaugural partner program in 2021, including programs for solution provider and managed service partners “built around a reward-for-value model that recognizes partner contribution at every level,” and recruiting the company’s first wave of channel partners.
The efforts included developing and launching a new partner portal and deal registration program and debuting the “PhishU” self-paced sales and technical enablement program for partner sales representatives and sales engineers. Other channel initiatives included maximizing co-marketing initiatives through “partner tackleboxes,” events and webinars, digital marketing and threat assessment reports co-branded with partners.
Partners now account for more than 80 percent of Area 1 Security’s revenue.
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
VP, Worldwide Channels
Grothjan led Aruba’s efforts to help partners transform to delivering XaaS/NaaS solutions, changing all aspects of the company’s partner operating model including the partner go-to-market strategy and all partner enablement and sales capabilities.
Other initiatives overseen by Grothjan include the ongoing evolution of the Partner Ready for Aruba MSP program, allowing MSPs to purchase hardware and software as a subscription, and enhancing Aruba Managed Connectivity as a Service (part of HPE GreenLake) to allow partners without a network operations center to provide NaaS services to customers.
Grothjan and her team have seen a continued shift in the channel landscape with more partners adopting multiple business models—moving away from traditional resale models and providing more managed and “as-a-service” offerings.
President, National Business, Channels
Marx serves as the champion and internal sponsor of all indirect strategies within the larger AT&T Business community. In 2021 AT&T made investments in many aspects of the telecommunications company’s indirect channel programs including budget and people, compensation infrastructure and systems, tools and APIs.
While AT&T’s indirect channel continues to sell connectivity services, there is also an increased focus within AT&T and its ACC Business division on providing emerging technology solutions—including cybersecurity, 5G, IoT and SD-WAN— across all three of the company’s indirect channels.
Much of Tomeo’s focus in 2021 was on Axcient x360Recover, the company’s new complete business continuity/disaster recovery platform for MSPs that protects against ransomware threats, security breaches, accidental deletion and cloud outages. Tomeo has worked with MSP partners to help them successfully manage supply chain attacks by offering hands-on support to ensure recovery and driving awareness about security threats and compliance.
Axcient has expanded relationships with cloud distribution; transitioned to a more flexible billing model with unlimited storage, unlimited retention and flexible terms; and developed integrations with cloud distribution and RMM platforms. The company has seen “tremendous growth” in new partner acquisition and increased partner adoption of Axcient’s solutions.
Check Point Software Technologies
Worldwide Head of Channel Sales
Channel veteran Rauch’s focus has been on expanding revenue and margin opportunities for Check Point partners. The cybersecurity company, for example, offered improvements in deal registration and secured margins for partners selling and driving consumption with both new customers and business within the company’s install base. Partners also have new opportunities in professional services.
Rauch has helped partners boost their demand generation efforts and acquire new customers with scalable marketing campaigns, an enhanced white space program to reduce sales costs and increase win rates, and new propensity data tools. Partners also have more flexibility with market development and co-op funds and enhanced, more flexible training options with the company’s no-cost sales and technical training modules.
Check Point’s Harmony product suite has been attracting partners who provide security for remote workforces. And Rauch has managed the addition of Avanan partners to Check Point’s channel program following the company’s August 2021 acquisition of Avanan.
SVP, Global Partner Sales
Tuszik has spearheaded initiatives to increase partners‘ ease of doing business with Cisco through enhancements to Cisco’s Partner Experience Platform and partner programs. He sponsored partner growth initiatives around XaaS, software, managed services and customer life cycle. And he has managed cross-organizational teams to help partners mitigate the business impact of supply chain constraints.
Cisco said its partners continue to perform and transform by investing in their life-cycle practices, programmability capabilities, and software businesses to differentiate themselves and capitalize on their unique capabilities. In one year the number of partners with customer experience specializations has grown 20 percent and the number of customer experience-certified individuals increased 100 percent. According to a recent Cisco partner profitability study conducted by Global Touch, partners reported the highest Cisco practice profitability in over 10 years.
Cisco’s partners are helping the company with its transition to a software and services company. Cisco’s software bookings have grown 34 percent year over year and renewal rates by 40 percent while the penetration of Cisco enterprise agreements is up globally by 122 percent.
SVP, Indirect Channels
In 2021 Schlagbaum put a team model in place to ensure Comcast worked well with partners in national accounts, particularly helping partners work with Fortune 200 customers. As a result, according to Schlagbaum, there are a large number of multisite six-figure deals in the sales pipeline with several now closing. The executive also built a successful diversity, equity and inclusion program in 2021.
Channel revenue “has grown significantly,” according to the communications service provider, as Comcast Business expands into solution sales with SD-WAN and security service add-ons. Midmarket sales are also growing while Comcast is seeing more bundled sales in the SMB space with wireless backup, Wi-Fi and security—boosting revenue per customer by double digits.
VP, Worldwide Business Development, Channels, Alliances
Under Polly’s management, CrowdStrike‘s partner organization focused on three advanced strategic initiatives in 2021. The first involved integrating the scale of the company’s traditional partner motion with the ease of transacting through cloud marketplaces like the AWS Marketplace. Enabling mechanisms like the Consulting Partner Private Offer feature in the AWS Marketplace drove a high volume of deals at very high velocities, according to the executive.
CrowdStrike also launched its XDR alliance to design a common data ontology for sharing information about customer environments involving multiple vendors to better protect customers from cyberattacks. And the company made a “massive investment” in partner enablement, helping the partner ecosystem sell and service new CrowdStrike products such as its identity protection, log analytics and cloud workload protection offerings.
Interest from new partners outside the U.S. to join CrowdStrike’s program has been so high that the company has relied on distribution in several regions to support the rapid growth in the number of international partners.
VP, Worldwide Channel Sales
Cornmesser joined CyCognito in April 2020 and is responsible for the cybersecurity technology company’s global, channel-led sales strategy and execution, including working with CyCognito’s channel partners, global systems integrators and MSSPs.
In 2021 the partner organization launched a revamped Global Partner Program and partner portal—the latter offering new resources and assets for partners. The channel team was expanded with the hiring of additional channel account managers and marketing staff, and investments in joint marketing events with partners was increased.
The partner contribution to CyCognito’s pipeline development grew in 2021 and partner-led opportunities increased 30 percent.
SVP, Business Development
Rae’s focus in 2021 was on “keeping the channel positive” in such a turbulent year, utilizing a series of key webinars, blogs and “Tech Days”—virtual events that covered such topics as security, cloud, sales and marketing. The company’s DattoCon, usually a live event, was also virtual and had the largest of any audience for any industry MSP-only event, according to Rae.
Information from Datto’s own State of MSP report indicated that 48 percent of the company’s partners saw growth over the previous year, fueling Datto’s own publicly reported revenue growth.
Global Channel Chief
Dagher’s focus in 2021 was listening to partners and empowering her team to address partner priorities, including strengthening alignment across regions and cross-functional teams, breaking down process or silo barriers to enhance the partner experience, and fostering a culture that prioritizes actions that lead to positive social impact.
Program simplification and greater profitability opportunities were the chief goals of the Dell partner organization, including optimizing the OSC online configuration tool to speed time to market, simplify cross-sell and upsell motions and provide the most competitive pricing. New Business Incentive accounts were adjusted to unlock more eligible targets and the successful Storage Competitive Swap program was expanded to include servers.
Dagher, who joined Dell in August 2020, said that in the first half of fiscal 2022 channel sales grew 29 percent year over year and partners have adopted a broader set of the Dell Technologies’ portfolio “to address new market conditions and pressures.”
SVP, Global Partner Marketing
Cook has focused on driving partner thought leadership and strategic priorities in the areas of as-a-service, telecommunications and edge computing. She has also sought to increase partner adoption of digital marketing by evangelizing Dell’s own digital transformation. Her leadership of Dell partner program marketing strategy and the company’s Cross-Sell/Upsell Partner Preferred programs helped drive demand to exceed company goals.
To improve the partner experience, Dell’s partner organization has modernized its Incentive Center, better enabled and utilized marketing automation for improved partner communication, and drove marketing and demand for transformational solutions with Global Alliances partners.
The channel drove 62 percent of all Dell Technologies’ new and reactivated buyers globally in the first half of fiscal 2022.
Commercial Integration Leader, VP, Channel Sales
Dealing with uncertainties during the pandemic, Loeb undertook a number of initiatives in 2021 to meet partners’ needs including pivoting to a digital platform and implementing business continuity plans. A focus on overcoming supply chain disruptions to ship products in a timely manner helped partners continue to service their customers and meet service-level agreements.
The Eaton channel organization also continued to improve customer touch points across the channel, from end-user engagement to distribution. And the company expanded channel marketing programs to offer incentives to a broader range of partners, including offering programs for regional partners designed around their specific needs.
Eaton has recorded significant growth in revenue per partner, according to the company.
Commercial Integration Leader, VP, Data Center Channel Sales
Beyhaut has led an initiative to survey and interview more than 6,000 channel partners on their needs and expectations around Eaton’s March 2021 acquisition of Tripp Lite, one of Eaton’s biggest competitors in the power management and IT infrastructure space. Beyhaut’s team is reviewing the survey and interview results to help “build success” with MSPs, VARs, Pro AV partners and other solution providers around the acquisition.
Eaton partners were able to navigate supply chain disruptions in 2021 thanks to the company’s broad portfolio of custom and specialty products and services and its “ability to offer full services and support before, during and after a sale.” Eaton has also continued to expand its power management as-a-service offerings for MSP partners.
VP, Channel Sales
Bove directed a realignment of Fortinet’s MSSP organization in 2021, including the addition of a SecOps specialization to the company’s Engage Specializations, “to provide better focus and increase productivity.”
Bove and his team also created a channel organization dedicated to helping partners build expertise around operational technologies and introduced OT and zero-trust architecture Engage Specializations.
Partner deal registration is growing at a faster pace than the overall business and now accounts for 32 percent of Fortinet’s U.S. business.
Corporate Vice President, Global Ecosystems, Channel
Ichhpurani added the channel chief duties to his role just last month following the recent departure of channel executive Carolee Gearhart.
Ichhpurani has overseen a doubling of customer spending through channel partners on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). His focus has been on making working with Google Cloud simpler and more profitable for partners.
Those efforts include extending the partner incentive portfolio and expanding partner enablement for sales, pre-sales, implementation and support roles using the same content used to train and equip Google’s own teams. GCP has also doubled the number of active certifications among its Global Systems Integrators partners.
The channel executive has worked to improve the Google Cloud Marketplace partner experience and growing the number of participating partners and transactable solution listings. Google Cloud Marketplace recorded a 550 percent year-over-year increase in revenue during the first three-quarters of 2021.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
VP, Worldwide Partner Program, Operations
Chavez’s focus has been on creating a pilot program to test different business models for partners delivering HPE’s Everything-as-a-Service portfolio, helping partners embrace HPE’s XaaS vision.
The cloud services sales cycle, for example, has been simplified through the Swift and Quick Quote sales programs, enabling partners to sell preconfigured HPE GreenLake services. Partners also can provide instant pricing through iQuote and can more quickly configure solutions and provide quotes from distributors’ stock using HPE Flex Offers.
HPE began integrating GreenLake APIs in top distribution marketplaces in 2021 to expand their reach.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Worldwide Head of Partner Sales
Hope has focused his efforts on “changing the conversation” with traditional reseller partners with the goal of positioning the Everything-as-a-Service opportunity and piloting initiatives to get partners on board, whatever their business model may be. Active HPE GreenLake partners have been growing at double-digit rates and 60 percent year over year.
Hope and his team have worked to improve partners’ digital experience with HPE using AI-based process automation and robotics, including launching the Software Defined Opportunity Engine that incorporates predictive analytics to help partners make customer recommendations. The HPE Demo Program now offers interactive demonstrations and partners can virtually host shared customers in HPE Innovation Centers.
HPE has enabled partners to leverage the HPE ecosystem (including the partner community and online marketplaces) to accelerate their business transformation, expand their reach and boost their growth.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
VP, Channels, Ecosystem
Maher helped support the implementation of two new pricing programs, Partner Transformational Pricing and FlexOffers—based on partner feedback—to create a simplified, improved partner experience and provide competitive pricing with low/no touch from HPE.
Maher has been involved in HPE’s efforts to develop as-a-service business and practices around HPE GreenLake, including providing channel sales specialist talent and investment funds. She has been instrumental in growing HPE’s transactional business by creating “compelling offers” to drive the sale of in-stock products through distribution. And the partner organization developed a pilot program with partners to improve joint sales engagement and deal progression.
SVP, Strategic Partners, Alliances
Heading into 2021 King continued to prioritize and emphasize flexibility, ease of doing business with Hitachi Vantara, and partner profitability. She fought for (and won) spending for inside partner manager positions, partner portal improvements, and attractive partner incentives, back-end rebates and market development funds.
The company also expanded financing options for partners, including a 90-day, interest-free financing plan and a new option allowing partners to finance an entire deal from storage through services.
King said Hitachi Vantara added more than 1,000 new partners in 2021 and increased the number of accredited partners 100-fold through the use of “flexible, intelligent microlearning” resources for partners.
Head of Global Routes to Market
Broggi was instrumental in the February 2021 launch of HP Amplify Impact, a partner assessment, resource and training program driving meaningful change across HP‘s Sustainable Impact program priorities. More than 1,400 partners have signed the HP Impact pledge, representing 20 percent of HP Amplify partners (versus the goal of 10 percent).
More recently, she led the debut of HP Amplify Data Insights, a platform providing more than 500 partners with real-time access to personalized analytics that anticipate customer needs. And the HP partner organization introduced Amplify Retail that enabled 1,350 retail partners to drive digital transformation and growth as consumer buying behaviors continue to evolve.
VP, GM, Americas Commercial Channel Sales
Lannum has spearheaded the progress partners have made in driving growth in a number of strategic market opportunities including Device as a Service, retail point of sale, gaming, A3 printing and 3-D printing. Those gains are the result of HP’s expansive product portfolio along with continued partner collaboration and training.
Lannum touts the success of the HP Amplify program, which he said places an emphasis on services, data collaboration and digital capabilities and is designed to “help future-proof partner businesses with data-based insights that drive growth.”
SVP, Weather Company & Alliances
In 2021 Lord and IBM’s partner organization have played a leading role as the company scaled up its hybrid cloud platform through thousands of business partners, strategic alliances, developers, systems integrators and open-source communities. That included efforts to simplify engagements with partners, streamline its go-to-market strategy and invest in resources and expertise to assist partners.
Lord remains focused on transforming IBM alliances with partners and developers around the company’s open hybrid cloud platform and AI software. He has spearheaded the introduction of new Build and Service program tracks, along with an updated Sell track, to provide partners with more opportunities. As part of a $1 billion investment in its partner ecosystem, IBM launched a new competency framework through which partners can demonstrate expertise and technical validation in hybrid cloud infrastructure.
IBM also expanded its Cloud Engagement Fund, which provides technical resources and cloud credits for partners to migrate customer workloads to hybrid cloud environments, to all partner types, whether they build on, service or resell IBM technology.
VP, GM, Global Scale, Partners
Kalvin is leading a transformation in how Intel works with its partner ecosystem, saying he is zeroed in on “driving my team to focus on delivering partner value, moving at the same speed as our partners, and demonstrating execution.”
Those efforts included the January 2021 launch of the new Intel Partner Alliance program, uniting previously disparate partner programs including the Intel Technology Provider program and Intel IoT Solutions Alliance.
As Intel has accelerated its product development, Kalvin has brought new products and new solutions to channel partners including the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors in April and the 12th-generation Intel Core line in October. And with CEO Pat Gelsinger’s renewed focus on software, the channel executive has helped partners leverage those expanded product offerings.
Intel is also growing its partner ranks with additional service integrators, ISVs and cloud partners, according to Kalvin.
GM, U.S. Channel, Partner Program
Kimrey led the January 2021 launch of the new Intel Partner Alliance program, uniting previously disparate partner programs including the Intel Technology Provider program and Intel IoT Solutions Alliance. A key component of the new program was a new partner portal that combined previously separate partner elements including Partner University, the Solutions Marketplace and Intel Studio into one consolidated site.
“Customers are demanding increasingly complex solutions in this data-centric age and those solutions require that partners work together,” said Kimrey. A goal of the new program is spurring greater collaboration among channel partners with different skills, as well as supporting new types of partners coming into the Intel ecosystem such as born-in-the-cloud partners.
Intermedia Cloud Communications
The COVID-19 pandemic that forced millions of people to work from home accelerated demand for Intermedia’s cloud-based communications and collaboration software. McCormick has focused on helping partners meet that demand “through the unique and challenging circumstances posted by the pandemic.”
McCormick has overseen the deployment of a new partner relationship management system that provides partners with on-demand sales and marketing resources and materials. And he has worked to keep partners actively engaged through remote education initiatives such as on-demand training modules and expanded webinar programming.
Worldwide Channel Chief
Bourget led the development of the new Lenovo 360 partner program and channel sales framework that was unveiled in June and is expected to go live this year. Lenovo 360 brings together the company’s previously separate partner operations for intelligent devices and data center infrastructure products.
The Lenovo 360 program is expected to provide partners with additional resources to better support end-to-end solutions, initiatives to create additional earning opportunities for partners, and new tools to simplify transacting business with Lenovo.
Bourget also has worked with partners over the past year to manage supply chain disruptions, ensuring that Lenovo has product available in the channel to meet demand and providing partners with “transparent and consistent communication.”
VP, North America Channel Sales
Cato, who was promoted to his current post in September, is overseeing the combination of Lenovo’s channel programs for intelligent devices and data center infrastructure products into the new Lenovo 360 partner program and channel sales framework that will launch this year. Cato said the new program will “build alignment, consistency, relevance and trust with our business partners.”
Cato has managed Lenovo’s partner recruitment efforts, building a more diverse partner ecosystem that includes VARs, national solution providers, distributors, OEMs, MSPs, ISVs and systems integrators.
Corporate VP, Global Channel Sales, Channel Chief
Clark is leading a multistage, multiyear effort to “deliver a simplified engagement experience that maximizes partner earning opportunity and creates new value for customers and partners.” In 2021 that included a series of changes across the company’s commercial strategy, rewards and incentive policy, and culture and mindset initiatives.
Clark, who was appointed Microsoft’s channel chief in March 2021, has overseen increased investments (greater than 250 percent) in partner enablement, a more robust co-sell process with partners, and a reduction in marketplace fees for partners to 3 percent (the industry standard is 20 percent).
A key initiative in early 2021 was enabling partners to sell commercial perpetual software licenses for on-premises deployment through cloud solution providers. That provided partners and customers more licensing flexibility for their digital transformation.
SVP, Worldwide Partner Organization
Flinders, who has held channel leadership positions at Microsoft and VMware, joined NetApp as the data management and storage technology vendor’s channel chief in mid-2021.
Flinders has been accelerating NetApp’s focus on cloud solutions and engaging with partners with deep cloud capabilities and specializations. She also has enhanced NetApp’s go-to-market strategy with partners across the company’s solutions portfolio, added more specializations to the partner program, simplified deal registration and introduced a new partner rewards program.
NetApp has seen increased interest from partners in extending their portfolios to include Opex, subscription-based services to drive annual recuring revenue.
SVP, Worldwide Channel Sales
In 2021 Alvarez, winner of the CRN 2021 Channel Madness Crown, and his team oversaw the expansion of the Nutanix Elevate Partner Program (launched in September 2020) to include support for service providers and distributors. They also debuted the new Performance+ deal registration system and a new partner portal with such capabilities as the XPAND partner demand center, partner incentives estimator calculator, partner locator, a more robust content library and “Manage My Business” features to provide partners with data on deal registrations, opportunities and education certifications.
While the Elevate program serves a range of partner types (resellers, distributors, service providers, systems integrators, OEMs, ISVs and cloud providers), Alvarez said many partners themselves “are evolving to build multiple practice areas and revenue streams.”
VP, Worldwide Partner Organization
DaCosta managed the expansion of Nvidia’s partner ecosystem in 2021 by adding programs specifically for global systems integrators and distributors and starting a pilot program for ISV partners.
During the year the number of partners doing business with Nvidia grew 30 percent while partner-related revenue doubled year over year. And average revenue per partner is now about $1 million.
DaCosta also oversaw the development of a new business planning process for partner business managers and revenue dashboards to help them with quarterly business reviews.
Palo Alto Networks
SVP, Worldwide Channels
Soderlund and his team have managed the continued expansion of the resources that Palo Alto Networks offers partners including new incentives, rebates and specializations—the latter including the new Cyberforce Special Ops designation for partner engineers. Many of the new offerings were part of a comprehensive update of the company’s NextWave Partner Program rolled out in February 2021.
Palo Alto Networks unveiled a two-tier go-to-market strategy for the vendor’s Prisma Cloud native cloud security platform, including deal registration and new customer incentives. The company also launched an entry-level Registered partner designation that had more than 700 partners in the first 45 days.
Palo Alto Networks partners completed more than 10,000 trainings and more than 17,000 certifications during the company’s fiscal 2021.
SVP, Worldwide Channels, Partner Sales
Sykora, who joined Proofpoint in December 2020, said the past year was “pivotal” for the Proofpoint channel as he oversaw the rollout of a channel strategy to support all partner routes to market and make it easier for partners to do business with the company.
As part of the strategy, the company introduced product specializations around the Security Awareness and Training platform and Information Protection platform, aiding partners who build practices around those offerings. Proofpoint’s product access program was revamped, allowing partners to reach the company’s entire solution set. And deal registration and incumbency programs were modernized to protect partners with initial and future sales.
Regional VP, Americas Channel
Breton led an effort to overhaul and improve the RSA SecurWorld Partner Program with the goal of making it more inclusive and provide additional ways for partners to achieve higher status program levels. That included the creation of the Authorized Partners tier for new partners to enter the program—a move to expand RSA’s partner base.
RSA initiated more product-based promotions on high-demand SecurID products to provide partners with more margin on opportunities. The company debuted a new process allowing partners to register deals through distributors and created focused channel teams organized by product to be “more nimble and agile when working with partners.”
Mann has overseen the growth of Scale Computing’s channel team and its partner base—the latter up by 50 percent in 2021. He improved the company’s MSP program while increasing revenue per partner and average selling price per partner.
Key to Scale Computing’s channel sales growth is its expanding product and service portfolio in both edge computing and converged/hyperconverged infrastructure. That includes the launch of the Business Resilience System, an appliance for MSPs that allows for instant recovery of all critical workloads, and the HyperCore for Video Surveillance and HC5250-V series of video surveillance and security appliances.
Sbar’s 2021 goal was accelerating channel growth. A significant step was the launch of the Edge Software and Digital Services Program, a managed power services offering that supports partners—including MSPs and IT solution providers—as they build managed power service practices.
The channel organization also worked with IT distribution to offer partners UPS as a Service, giving partners the opportunity to extend their service capabilities and generate predictable recurring revenue.
Sbar also sought to step up investment in Schneider Electric’s e-commerce strategy and competencies, including improving the sales team’s ability to better support partners.
VP, Global Channels
One of Marks’ top priorities for SentinelOne’s channel program has been partner enablement, training and certification—a driver behind the relaunch of the company’s partner program in 2021 to enhance the benefits provided to the company’s most strategic partners.
Over the past year, Marks has overseen the development and launch of a comprehensive, outcome-based set of learning paths and related resources for partners. The result has been more than 5,700 partner accreditations since the program’s launch.
SentinelOne more than doubled its marketing investments with partners during the year, including co-branded marketing campaigns, co-sponsored events, thought leadership white papers and demand-generation activities. The company also increased and streamlined partner incentives around new customer acquisition, partner-initiated deals, and upsell/cross-sell opportunities.
VP, Global Partnerships
McCullough, who took on the channel executive job in November 2021, is currently focused on building go-to-market models as he leads the global transformation of SolarWinds’ go-to-market strategy for its VAR, global systems integrator and cloud solution provider partners.
SolarWinds has seen “strong alliances engagement” with partners around the company’s database products and an increase in opportunities among larger enterprise customers. The company also launched a “Secure by Design” initiative to boost partner sales activities.
SVP, Global Channels, Sales Operations
Krause oversaw a significant revamp of Sophos’ partner operations in 2021, including consolidating 17 different programs into one foundational, global partner program—all with the goal of streamlining processes and rules of engagement as well as providing additional benefits for partners.
Today Sophos has more than 73,000 channel partners globally and many are ramping up their focus on the public cloud and cloud marketplace segments. The most significant growth has been among MSP partners: The Sophos MSP Connect program now supports more than 16,500 global and regional MSPs—up 54 percent since April 1, 2020, with MSP billings up 55 percent during that time.
VP, Americas Channel Sales
Rooney has remained focused on ensuring that partners could support their customers amid the economic upheaval of the pandemic. That included efforts to expand the company’s “virtual landscape” for partners, such as reinforcing the partner marketing concierge program to provide partners with digital catalogs of marketing materials, training videos and more.
Veeam provided partners with more sales opportunities through an expanded product portfolio, including the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 and Kasten by Veeam K10—the latter through the acquisition of Kubernetes technology vendor Kasten.
Veeam has shifted from perpetual license to subscription-based solutions, with the latter now accounting for 75 percent of sales, and partners can participate through the company’s subscription renewal program.
SVP, Nationwide Small Business, Channel Chief
Taccetta was the executive sponsor behind the May 2021 launch of a new agent channel program to aggressively drive 5G business internet sales as 5G markets launched. Verizon plans to invest and expand in more than 50 5G markets.
Verizon worked to grow its partner ecosystem in 2021 and expand its portfolio of channel-enabled products to increase the overall channel revenue contribution.
As for partner program enhancements, Verizon launched a new partner portal with a revamped partner on-boarding process and resources to help partners create comprehensive value-added solution packages. The company also established new rules of engagement to mitigate channel conflict, expanded agent sales support via the Partner Experience Group, offered new partner incentives and an expanded market development fund program, and launched a new Partner Accreditation Program and a new partner community training platform.
Taccetta is overseeing preparations for a Verizon partner program relaunch slated for some time this year.
VP, Americas Channel
Klanian expanded Vertiv’s partner recruitment program in 2021, adding more than 1,000 channel partners in just the past year and doubling the number of partners joining the company’s partner ecosystem each month.
Klanian also oversaw the launch of Vertiv’s MSP Control Center, enabling MSP partners to add all of Vertiv’s products, including cooling and power management, to their service offerings. Business continuity training is now available to all channel partners.
SVP, Worldwide Partner, Commercial Organization
Hogan drove a number of initiatives across VMware’s partner organization and programs in 2021, including providing partners with new multi-cloud sales tools and incentives to deliver “outcomes as a service.”
Hogan said those initiatives are part of VMware’s efforts to incentivize partners to move beyond transactions and become “consumption obsessed,” motivating partners to “engage with customers throughout their multi-cloud transformation journeys, across all routes to market.”
VMware partners benefited from the March 2021 debut of Cloud Universal, the vendor’s flexible subscription model for multi-cloud infrastructure. Partners can add their own value throughout a Cloud Universal sale with additional services and IP.
Falaro spearheaded the implementation of an “aggressive investment” in channels strategy in North America, Europe and Asia in 2021 with the aim of growing mindshare and channel revenue. That included hiring and training experts to help partners sell Wasabi cloud storage services.
Wasabi grew its partner base from 3,500 to 8,500 partners between late 2020 and late 2021, adding about 425 new partners every month. The company supplied partners with new tools, including the Wasabi Account Control Manager, to provision and bill customers for cloud storage services. And channel teams in each region now provide local training, account planning sessions and deal registration support.
Wasabi has seen solid growth in sales deals through the channel for its Reserved Capacity Storage service.
Following WatchGuard’s June 2020 acquisition of Panda Security, Welch was instrumental in managing WatchGuard’s efforts to develop a common, channel-centric, go-to-market motion and make the combined company’s complete product portfolio available to all partners.
WatchGuard grew its partner ecosystem by more than 30 percent in 2021 and the WatchGuardOne partner program has seen double-digit growth in year-over-year partner participation. Following the company’s shift to a specialization-based approach to partner certification in late 2019, more than 40 percent of WatchGuardOne partners have achieved more than one specialization.