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2017 Channel Chiefs: The Year Of Partner Quality Over Quantity

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Here we present the 2017 Channel Chiefs, CRN’s annual list of the top channel executives and what they’ve been doing to ready their channel programs for 2017.
The role of the channel was, traditionally, to expand the sales reach of an IT company. Putting more « feet on the street » to help sell IT products that were well established, perhaps even commoditized, was the goal.
But talk to channel chiefs today and it’s clear those days are gone. IT vendors with groundbreaking technology are engaging with the channel earlier and increasingly counting on partners to not just sell leading-edge products and services, but even serve as an evangelist for those products and help customers get the maximum value from them.
Take big data software developer Hortonworks, which launched its Partnersworks channel program one year ago. « We have a leading-edge technology, » said Chris Sullivan, senior vice president of global channels and alliances. The company has been recruiting solution providers who are capable of working with Hortonworks’ software to help customers solve challenging data transformation problems.
[ 2017 Channel Chiefs Database ]
« That’s a complex thing, » Sullivan said. « But it’s also a tremendous opportunity.  »
Startup Cohesity is likewise relying heavily on its partners to evangelize the value of its hyper-converged secondary storage systems. « Partners are so eager for an alternative to the legacy vendors, » said Joe Barnes, head of worldwide channels for the company.
For its part, CRM application developer SugarCRM now derives about two-thirds of its revenue through the channel.

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