The Top 25 Disrupters Of 2017

The Disrupters

In the IT world, in order to survive, companies need to remain a step ahead of an ever-changing landscape. The companies that survive not only find new ways to solve customers' problems but also find ways to solve problems customers didn't even know they had.

Here we present the Top 25 Disrupters from CRN's Top 100 Executives of 2017, the executives that are revolutionizing the industry by challenging the status quo.

Be sure to also visit the complete list of Top 100 Executives Of 2017.

25. Peter McKay

President, Co-CEO

Veeam Software

Former VMware executive Peter McKay joined Veeam Software one year ago as president and COO and was named co-CEO in June to oversee the company's go-to-market, finance and human resources operations. McKay is leading Veeam's efforts to displace legacy products and compete with giants like Amazon Web Services with its backup and availability Software-as-a-Service offerings for physical, virtual and cloud workloads.

24. Judy Marks


Siemens USA

Siemens is part of nearly everything from medical devices to power infrastructure to manufacturing, giving it a real advantage in collecting information on the processes surrounding our world. That puts Judy Marks at the center of the Internet of Things, where her team has an opportunity to disrupt how a wide swath of IT is managed.

23. Jed Ayres

CEO, North America, Global CMO


Jed Ayres has been the driving force behind a software transformation at the thin-client powerhouse. IGEL's software sales in North America for the first six months of this year are up a whopping 890 percent and 156 percent worldwide.

22. Kevin McGibben

President, CEO


Kevin McGibben plans to aggressively grow LogicMonitor's service provider business through the hiring of channel thought leader and MSP maestro David Powell. At the time of Powell's hire, McGibben said he expects LogicMonitor to more heavily leverage channel partners, particularly outside North America. To that end, LogicMonitor introduced a performance monitoring platform that delivers to service providers faster customer on-boarding, improved issue resolution times and more transparency.

21. Dave DeWalt

Vice Chairman of the Board


Dave DeWalt, former FireEye CEO, is highly respected for his cyber-security smarts and is playing a major role shaping the future of the industry on the boards of some of the hottest startups focused on IoT security. All in all, he sits on five top security company boards.

20. Ted Schuman

Founder, CEO


Ted Schuman says PlanetOne's boutique approach to the master agent space is working, with cloud now accounting for 50 percent of the company's revenue. The CEO's strategy is to sell a complete offering that packages multiple products while tailoring engagements between suppliers and sales partners differently depending on their needs. Thanks to Schuman's leadership, PlanetOne revenue has doubled every three years.

19. Mike Lawrie

Chairman, President, CEO

DXC Technology

Mike Lawrie leads a channel goliath with 170,000 employees and $26 billion in annual sales, created by bringing together CSC and HPE Enterprise Services. DXC Technology opened for business April 3 with 20,000 Microsoft professionals, 4,000 security professionals, 3,500 data scientists/analysts and 1,000 Amazon Web Services professionals. Lawrie then upped DXC's game around Microsoft Dynamics 365 by acquiring software solution provider Tribridge and managed cloud subsidiary Concerto Cloud Services.

18. Sanjay Mirchandani



Sanjay Mirchandani is leading the charge for IT infrastructure firm Puppet through building out its channel strategy. The company in March launched an upgraded partner portal and other incentives to help bolster its channel. Puppet has a hefty goal under Mirchandani's charge—to double its business and subsequently double partner participation as well.

17. Michael Proper

Founder, CEO


Michael Proper is the driving force behind ClearOS, an open-source, Linux-based operating system that is powering astronomical cost savings and improved security for SMB computing. Partners embracing ClearOS say they are seeing huge gains in recurring revenue and customer satisfaction.

16. Sean Dolan

President, CEO

Global Knowledge

Sean Dolan has launched a channel offensive at Global Knowledge with the hiring of former Hewlett Packard Enterprise executive Aaron Mills as vice president of channel sales. Mills has been tasked with tripling channel revenue, engaging more deeply with large, multinational resellers, and boosting the company's channel-based revenue from 15 percent to 45 percent. Dolan said the industry is focusing more on holistic, architect-driven solutions rather than individual components as the cloud makes multivendor environments more manageable.

15. John Street



An ally of the channel, John Street leads a startup focused on helping partners develop cloud practices. Street created the value-added distributor Pax8 to provide a marketplace for provisioning popular Software-as-a-Service products from companies including Microsoft and Symantec. Street is striving to disrupt the market by creating a new type of distribution model for the cloud market and an Opex spending model.

14. Michael Gold



Intermedia has more than tripled in size over the past five years under the leadership of Michael Gold, with annualized revenue now at over $200 million. Gold has been CEO of Intermedia -- ranked No. 194 on CRN's 2017 Solution Provider 500 list -- since 2015 and was president of the company for four years. The CEO is leading a services and cloud business application charge for Intermedia, which he says is the world's largest one-stop shop for essential cloud IT applications.

13. Marc Harrison


Silicon East

Marc Harrison is one of several solution providers tapping into the Internet of Things through security. Silicon East provides external support for different components of building automation devices—from HVAC systems, to security and alarm systems. In addition to working with connected buildings, Harrison is working to educate customers and other channel players about the vulnerabilities that IoT devices inherently possess—and the critical role solution providers play.

12. David Goeckeler

SVP, GM, Networking, Security Business

Cisco Systems

The shining star for Cisco over the past two years in terms of revenue growth and market momentum has been cybersecurity, which is led by David Goeckeler. Security revenue has consistently climbed double digits under his leadership, while he also leads Cisco's holistic effort to tie security products directly into the network. The networking giant has been acquiring a slew of security vendors, including forensics security software startup Observable Networks, with Goeckeler in charge of leading the integration processes.

11. Arnie Bellini



Arnie Bellini has driven the integration of ConnectWise's PSA, RMM, quote and propose and remote desktop capabilities into a single user interface to provide greater efficiency at a lower cost. The company plans to add Amazon Web Services to its CloudConsole in a push to double the number of users by the end of the year. Bellini has urged ConnectWise's MSPs to add penetration testing, disk encryption and network encryption to their line card, as well as an SSL for traffic coming from the outside.

10. Tom Bradicich

VP, GM, Servers, Converged Edge, IoT Systems

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Tom Bradicich has led the conversation at HPE around its Edgeline Services Platform, which helps manufacturers manage and control industrial connected systems and networks at the edge. Under his guidance, HPE is "pioneering the convergence of OT and IT" as it seeks to deploy its EdgeLine systems into the industrial vertical and focus more heavily on the connectivity, control and compute opportunities behind the Internet of Things.

9. John Cunningham

Founder, Co-CEO


John Cunningham has expanded BCM One beyond connectivity and voice services into cloud and managed services. The company under Cunningham is now positioned to help partners bring multiple cloud and connectivity options to their enterprise customers while providing them with service and engineering support. BCM One seeks to tame "cloud sprawl" with a new offering that lets businesses monitor, analyze, and adjust cloud expenses and consumption.

8. Richard Newberry


KMC Controls

Richard Newberry has worked to build up KMC Controls' channel strategy around the company's Commander Internet of Things platform, which helps bridge the gap between traditional building automation and the world of IoT. Newberry is continuing to foster communication between KMC Controls' existing operational technology partners and new IT channel relationships.

7. Ren Zhengfei

Founder, Deputy Chairman, CEO


Huawei under Ren Zhengfei has stormed the networking, carrier and mobility world with good hardware and software at prices that threaten to disrupt the likes of Cisco Systems. If Ren can allay U.S. government concerns about possible ties between Huawei and the Chinese government, his disruption could spread to the U.S. market.

6. Kumar Ramachandran

Founder, CEO


One of the standouts in the software-defined WAN arena is CloudGenix, led by former top Cisco executive Kumar Ramachandran. The startup's Instant-On Networks family of products delivers an application-defined fabric that eliminates the need for hardware routers. Ramachandran said he's looking to take on Cisco or any other SD-WAN competitor in 2017 while also doubling down on channel initiatives.

5. Pierre Nanterme

Chairman, CEO


Accenture under Pierre Nanterme has launched a full-court emerging technology press, rotating half of the company's business to cloud, digital and security in just four years. Nanterme directed Accenture to spend $900 million to retrain all 200,000 of its technology-focused employees in next-generation IT such as cloud, artificial intelligence and robotics. Going forward, Nanterme wants Accenture to build up more capabilities around artificial intelligence, blockchain, immersive reality and quantum computing.

4. Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala

Group President, Client and Internet of Things Businesses and Systems Architecture


Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala leads Intel's shift in strategy from a PC-focused company to a connected device, cloud and data center company with a tighter emphasis on the Internet of Things. The former Qualcomm executive is responsible for speeding strategy execution across Intel's core areas of growth.

3. Riccardo Di Blasio



A former VMware and EMC sales leader, Riccardo Di Blasio is taking his 20-year expertise to Internet of Things connectivity and services specialist Globetouch. Di Blasio is seeking to disrupt the IoT market by elevating the company's enterprise presence through his global experience, saying he's extremely keen on shaping "the future of IoT connectivity."

2. Steve Singh



Steve Singh will bring a fresh perspective to Docker after being named the company's new CEO in May. The executive, who had previously served as chairman of the board since 2016, will continue to innovate in open source and Docker's overall product portfolio and invest in sales around enterprise customers.

1. Keerti Melkote

Co-Founder, SVP, GM

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

He's the ultimate disrupter. Keerti Melkote's technology vision has completely reshaped the networking landscape. The Aruba co-founder wrote the playbook for leap-frogging Cisco Systems with a mobile-first focus that has paid off in huge sales growth for software-savvy Aruba partners.

Now the superstar engineer, who holds several patents, is taking Aruba into the core of the network with the game-changing OS-CX operating system and 8400 switch. Still not satisfied, Melkote is overseeing the next big Aruba breakthrough: an SD-WAN offering that is aimed at bringing wireless and wide area networks together.

Melkote, for his part, says he is no longer worried about Cisco catching up. "With the innovation path that we are on, we have put a lot of distance between us and Cisco," he says. "You will see us continue to innovate and expand the distance."