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The Top 25 Technology Disrupters Of 2020

CRN Staff

Here are the men and women who are pushing boundaries and turning the IT market on its ear.


The Disrupters 

Sometimes you just have to chuck the status quo in order to find success. The executives on our Top 25 Disrupters of 2020 are doing just that, pushing unique technologies and channel strategies into the spotlight and finding tremendous success for their companies and their channel partners while they do it.

As part of CRN‘s Top 100 Executives Of 2020, these are the people who pushing boundaries and turning the IT market on its ear.

25. Tom Galizia

Global Chief Commercial Officer, Alphabet/Google Practice

Deloitte Consulting

Galizia commands what’s expected to be Deloitte Consulting’s fastest-growing, billion-dollar business, a milestone that Google Cloud’s largest partner anticipates reaching within two years. The partnership includes new Deloitte solutions targeting large-scale SAP workload migrations in a global major market thrust.

24. Peter Bauer



Bauer tasked Mimecast’s channel team with pursuing and landing larger accounts by devising an approach that covers everything from training and technical support to marketing and vendor alliances. Bauer added more tools to Mimecast’s arsenal by buying DMARC Analyzer to slash the effort associated with stopping domain spoofing attacks and Segasec to safeguard against credential harvesting.

23. C.R. Howdyshell


Advizex Technologies

The technology-savvy 30-year sales veteran is driving a revolutionary business-outcome-based services sales model at Advizex that is designed to provide customers the ability to consume everything as a service. The new model is gaining momentum as cash-strapped customers increasingly look to move to consumption-based models in the wake of the global pandemic.

Among the customers singing the praises of Advizex: the Mohawk Valley Health System of Utica, N.Y. Advizex implemented GreenLake Cloud Services as part of a complex move for Mohawk from four electronic health-care records systems in the wake of a health-care merger to a single Epic Systems software electronic health-care records system. Key to winning the deal was providing an on-premises cloud-like customized consumption model with licensing and support all bundled together in a predictable monthly pay-per-use model that has won raves from the customer.

Howdyshell has also brought technology customer DNA into the company with the hiring of Kurt Schnieders, the former CIO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, as chief operating officer. That addition is helping to accelerate the Advizex transformation.

Look for the Everything-as-a-Service model to continue to gain momentum in 2021, continuing to drive deeper and more strategic relationships with Advizex customers.

22. Joe Alapat



Alapat spent years creating the automated documentation tool that lets MSPs run their business, not get bogged down “knee-deep” and “digging through data,” as he recently put it in a blog post. In May, Liongard was awarded $17 million in Series B funding to build a bigger team to assist with the triple-digit customer growth in more than 20 countries that has happened in the past year and a half.

21. Bart Giordano

SVP, Ruckus Wireless, Cloud


Cloud strategy guru Giordano combined his wireless and cloud expertise during his time with Ruckus Networks. Since the company was acquired in 2019 by CommScope, Giordano has continued to climb the ranks and today is spearheading Wi-Fi, IoT and cloud services product management, marketing and business development for Ruckus.

20. Rory Read



Read, a longtime tech veteran that led AMD and Dell‘s Virtustream division, in June revealed he was jumping to cloud communications company Vonage. As CEO, the proven leader is helping Vonage become a household name for all things business communications.

19. Fred Voccola



The outspoken leader of IT service management provider Kaseya spent the past two years bringing the best offerings into its platform through the acquisitions of IT Glue, ID Agent and RapidFire Tools, among others. The company debuted IT Complete earlier this year to raves from partners. Voccola told CRN earlier this year that he believes Kaseya is four years ahead of the competition, but it isn’t standing still.

18. Andrew Gregoire



LTE connectivity for primary use wasn’t a reality until a lightbulb went off for Gregoire, a former MSP founder, which led to the launch of business LTE provider For2Fi. For2Fi is making LTE connectivity more than just a backup solution for businesses.

17. David Wagner

President, CEO


Wagner has spent $20 million to develop Secure Cloud and enhance Zix’s platform and application capabilities since closing its purchase of email security peer AppRiver 17 months ago. Zix’s investments under Wagner at the application level have improved Secure Cloud’s advanced threat capabilities around everything from sandboxing and messaging protection to integrations with SIEM platforms.

16. Paul Hooper



Hooper has extended Gigamon’s technology that allows users to peer inside and understand east-west and north-south traffic from applications inside the cloud, providing organizations with visibility into data in motion. Hooper’s investment has provided customers looking to supplement their existing Security Operations Center or deploy a new SOC with access to threat detection, insight and investigations at a low cost.

15. Lisa Su

President, CEO


In her nearly six-year tenure as AMD‘s president and CEO, Su has turned around the company and brought it to the forefront of high-performance computing with new 7-nanometer processors for servers and PCs and widespread support among OEMs and cloud service providers.

14. Liz Centoni

SVP, Emerging Technologies, Incubation

Cisco Systems

Cisco veteran Centoni had not one, but two promotions in the past year. Most recently, she was called on to head up a brand-new business unit for Cisco—the Future Technologies and Incubation Group— that is busy developing new business opportunities for the tech giant.

13. Sanjay Mirchandani

President, CEO


Talk about a transformation. Since joining Commvault in early 2019, Mirchandani first disrupted his own company with a new focus on cloud and SMBs, and in the process made Commvault a prime competitor to the startups.

12. David Friend

Co-Founder, President, CEO

Wasabi Technologies

Friend is doing it again. After helping Carbonite shake up the SMB cloud storage market, Friend is now pushing Wasabi to potentially disrupt Amazon Web Services‘ business model by cutting data storage and protection costs to the bone while building the world’s fourth-largest public cloud.

11. Prakash Panjwani


WatchGuard Technologies

Panjwani expanded WatchGuard’s footprint into the endpoint with the blockbuster acquisition of Panda Security, creating a security platform that bridges both the network and user perimeter. Panjwani plans to drive the fusing together of WatchGuard’s network and Panda’s endpoint intelligence and telemetry data to better correlate and analyze disparate events and take rapid action.

10. Ryan Walsh

Chief Channel Officer


With Walsh in charge of channel sales, Pax8 continues to grab market share by sticking with its plan of delivering a few high-functioning products that are fully integrated and ready to drive simplicity for MSPs. “Take some noise out of their day. Take some headache,” Walsh has said of Pax8’s approach.

9. Jay Chaudhry

Founder, CEO


Chaudhry has disrupted traditional network security by authenticating users and connecting them to applications without relying on a castle-and-moat approach that requires firewalls and putting boxes in the cloud. Chaudhry has boosted Zscaler’s zero-trust approach by acquiring Cloudneeti to protect public cloud data and Edgewise Networks to verify the identity of application software, services and processes.

8. Charles Meyers

President, CEO


Under Meyers’ leadership, the data center giant didn’t skip a beat through the coronavirus pandemic as Equinix kept its more than 200 data centers operational while at the same time boosting sales 6 percent year over year in its first quarter.

7. George Kurtz

Co-Founder, President, CEO


Kurtz helped CrowdStrike notch the largest initial public offering valuation in cybersecurity history, and just a year later, the company is a crown jewel in the security industry with a market cap nearing $22 billion. Kurtz has spearheaded massive growth in CrowdStrike’s Amazon Web Services partnership as customers look to secure cloud workloads and endpoints that reside on their corporate network.

6. Jeff Ready


Scale Computing

Ready is always ready for a fight with larger competitors in the edge computing, virtualization and hyperconverged markets. His bold innovation strategy has led to some revolutionary products for the edge, virtual desktop infrastructure and remote-work infrastructure including the new HE125 all-flash, NVMe appliance.

5. Deepak Patil

SVP, GM, Dell Technologies Cloud

Dell Technologies

A Microsoft Azure founder, Patil recently joined Dell and has hit the ground running by driving innovation around the Dell Technologies Cloud, including new integration with Google Cloud, VMware Horizon and Kubernetes and a boost to its SD-WAN and security capabilities.

4. Michael Gold



Under Gold‘s leadership, Intermedia’s unified communications and Contact-Center-as-a-Service businesses are having their best year yet as demand for reliable, secure business communications explodes. Gold has been busy driving Intermedia’s global expansion via a newly inked partnership with Japanese telecom equipment maker NEC Corp.

3. Bill Scannell

President, Global Sales, Operations

Dell Technologies

The veteran Dell channel supporter took over the company’s new unified commercial and enterprise sales organization this year with the goal of driving massive market-share gains. Scannell was critical in not letting Dell sales slip due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the company’s first fiscal quarter.

2. Prem Jain

Co-Founder, CEO


After heading up the all-star engineering team that powered multiple Cisco networking breakthroughs, Jain is now leading the charge at Pensando to flat out deliver better performance and security at the edge than rival Amazon Web Services’ Nitro system.

The Pensando technology is aimed at delivering the same game-changing economics and agility that were previously only available from hyperscaler cloud providers like AWS.

The initial engineering results are better than spectacular, with Pensando powering nine times faster performance with lower latency.

Besides engineering chops, Jain brings a deep knowledge of working closely with partners to make blockbuster market transitions. Add it all up and you have a monster channel opportunity with the backing of Hewlett Packard Enterprise—a Pensando investor.

1. Keith White

SVP, GM, HPE GreenLake

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

A partner-savvy, cloud services superstar with a Midas touch, White, a cloud computing veteran and former 20-year Microsoft executive who was instrumental in driving dramatic Azure sales growth, is working the same magic at HPE.

White is disrupting cloud behemoths Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google by delivering a GreenLake on-premises cloud experience that is looking more and more like the public cloud experience.

In just nine months on the job, White has already made big advances, bringing a simpler, point-and-click cloud consumption experience to HPE GreenLake.

At the HPE Discover Virtual Experience event in June, White led the cloud services charge, rolling out 17 new standardized offerings for small, midsize and large businesses.

The building block breakthrough opens the door for partners to reduce the sales cycle from what previously took six months to even a year down to just 14 days or less from price quote to delivery on many deals.

On top of that, HPE is bringing the full GreenLake Cloud experience to, where customers can try the various packages—from disaster recovery/backup to private cloud and container as a service—and then buy from an HPE partner.

White, who was handpicked by HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri to lead the company’s new GreenLake Cloud Services Business Group, got a big thumbs up from Neri after the new GreenLake standardized offers were rolled out.

“Thank you to @KeithWhite_HPE for seeing us through to the next era of the cloud market and to help customers harness the full power of their applications, data and workloads as a service,” tweeted Neri. Thank you indeed.

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