Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Jul 28

It’s 501 Somewhere: Michelle & Ray Orsini on Diversity in the Industry, Cloud Connections Summit

By | Managed Services News

Ray and Michelle Orsini, CEO and CFO of OIT, talk diversity in the industry and company culture in a COVID world.

Ray Orsini, CEO at OIT (Orsini IT) and Michelle Orsini, chief financial officer, have been in the game long enough to know that company culture is a huge part of business’ success. Particularly when face-to-face interactions are scarce, special attention must be paid. There are also a lot of conversations happening around diversity in the industry, and the channel as a whole.

OIT's Ray Orsini

OIT’s Ray Orsini

OIT's Michelle Orsini

OIT’s Michelle Orsini

We at Channel Partners and Channel Futures are strong supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. And we just came out with a statement outlining that support. Michelle, a Latina in tech, shares her thoughts on where the industry stands and her hopes for the future.

Channel Futures is dedicated to fostering an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion in the channel and the technology community. Thus, we are featuring content around topics of race, diversity and inclusion to spur discussion of these important subjects. Visit our webpage dedicated to diversity and inclusion.

In this installment of “It’s 501 Somewhere,” Michelle and Ray talk frankly about their company culture, diversity in the industry, and their Cloud Connections Summit.

Jul 28

Pandemic Increases Need for Collaboration, Security Apps and Tools

By | Managed Services News

The pandemic has been a “wake-up call” for companies and accelerated digital transformation.

Collaboration and security apps and tools are in high demand as organizations continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to a survey of 55 Okta strategic partners. That includes solution providers, global systems integrators (GSIs), MSPs and public sector organizations.

In April, Okta unveiled major updates and additions to its Partner Connect program to help partners run full sales cycles and solve complex customer challenges. Okta sells identity and access management services.

Patrick McCue is the company’s senior vice president of worldwide partners.

Okta's Patrick McCue

Okta’s Patrick McCue

“The findings are less surprising and more so a confirmation that our partners are placing security and collaboration at the top of the priority list. And they’re well equipped to meet this demand, which is what customers need during this time. The findings may be obvious, but it’s good to know that we’re all on the same page in terms of staying connected and secure.”

Escalating Demand

Some 54% of solution-provider partners saw a significant increase in demand for collaboration apps and tools since January. And 47% report more demand for security apps and tools. Network security tools such as VPNs that extend secure access to remote workers are in high demand.

Other key findings include:

  • GSIs saw the greatest demand for multifactor authentication (MFA) within finance/banking. Two in three (67%) indicated increased security demand.
  • Since January, every public sector partner saw increased demand for both collaboration apps and tools in education. Demand also increased among federal, state and local government.
  • What are the most in-demand collaboration tools within education, and state and local government? All public sector partners and MSPS said video conferencing is in demand the most — even over VoIP and chat tools.

Attackers are trying to take advantage of the chaos around the pandemic. They’re doing so by launching a flood of phishing and identity attacks. With the traditional perimeter gone, companies need to protect their workers and customers, and security is more important than ever, according to Okta‘s partners.

‘Wake-Up Call’ for Companies

The pandemic has been a “wake-up call” for companies and accelerated digital transformation for many, McCue said.

“We don’t know when this pandemic will subside, so it’s crucial that we think for the moment and plan for the future,” he said. “A transition from on-prem to the cloud and adoption of best-of-breed tools will help companies to manage current demands and ensure they’re well-equipped for the future as well.”

When this started, everyone needed to act quickly to address and solve real-time issues of remote work, McCue said.

“However, as things continue, we now know that the dynamics of work are going to change forever,” he said. “We need to consider cloud or hybrid infrastructures to redevelop the workplace in order to meet the needs of in-office employees and remote workers. We are also adapting the ways we allocate market development funds to partners, by shifting from in-person events to more digital strategies. With so much unknown, staying flexible and thoughtful will help our partners maintain a competitive advantage.”

Jul 28

Will the Master Agent Model Take Hold in Europe?

By | Managed Services News

RingCentral has become the latest vendor to bring the US master agent model to Europe.

The unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provider on Tuesday announced a master agent partnership with Telarus in the UK.

Zane Long is senior vice president of global partner sales at RingCentral. He says master agents such as Telarus are instrumental in delivering its cloud communications solutions to customers. He adds that the partnership will “strengthen and accelerate” RingCentral’s channel presence in the UK.

Last month, Westcon, Avant and ScanSource were among the first to sign up as European master agents for Avaya’s new UCaaS Cloud Office offering in partnership with RingCentral. First announced in February, the vendor hopes they will act as an entry points for volume partners.

Sign up for Channel Futures’ new EMEA newsletter. That’s where we feature news and analysis involving companies based in EMEA, and those doing business in that region.

At the same time, distributor Nuvias became a master agent for Zoom. Elsewhere, North America’s largest privately held master agent, TBI, recently expanded into Europe.

But while the master agent model has flourished in the US, the model is still new to many European partners. It was established in North America as telcos pushed more of their partners to cloud, says Canalys senior analyst Robin Ody. Carriers wanted more investment from the second tier to accomplish the necessary changes in their service delivery capabilities.

Canalys' Robin Ody

Canalys’ Robin Ody

“The cloud solutions model for telcos in the U.S. has been the main driver,” said Ody. “And US competition dynamics mean the market is consolidated to a slightly larger extent than in EMEA.”

Proving Value

Lisa Del Real, VP, global partner programs at RingCentral, says the firm has been working with master agents for many years in the UK. However, she concedes the model is less established in the region.

“In the US, a master agent model just makes sense,” she said. “It provides a quick go-to-market option, which serves to offer customers best-of-breed solutions — especially when it comes to cloud-based communications. “In the UK, master agents are still proving their value to many partners that have already been operating in the channel for years. While it doesn’t make sense for agents to operate exactly like they do in the US, we do feel this model is a great fit for the U.K. channel. It just needs an approach that fits the context.”

Del Real says RingCentral’s approach to partnering “is very different from our competition.”

RingCentral's Lisa Del Real

RingCentral’s Lisa Del Real

“We’re all about helping our partner community drive demand, which includes full support in closing the deal from a RingCentral expert at no extra cost. For master agents, this means no heavy financial investments to increase innovation in the back-office functionality,” she said. “Instead, they can focus on working with customers to understand and address business pain points with cloud-based communications solutions.

“For customers, the master agent model not only means the speed of deployment but also the ability to be supported directly by us,” she said.

Del Real maintains that this way, partners can enjoy “lucrative commissions by leveraging RingCentral’s sales team expertise to help them close business quickly with zero penalties.”

Convincing the Channel

Nevertheless, UK channel partners remain unsure of what the new round of master agent agreements means for them. Much depends on the vendor’s requirements and the way they view the role.

“The ultimate questions are where you create value and how you deliver it,” said Ody.

He contends that, actually, the amount of investment required is high.

“Microsoft can afford to push its channel hard to make these kinds of changes. But for other vendors, and especially carriers in EMEA, it will be harder to convince partners and distributors to take the financial risk. But there is a dwindling amount of margin in some legacy areas, and customers are looking for new ways to unlock the value of their IT investments.

“If the master agent model can enable this value creation through its focus on training, channel management and new services, then so be it. But it is also down to the vendors to make sure they have the products that allow partners to create the kinds of solutions and services that customers will value.”

Jul 28

SMBs’ SaaS, Cloud Collaboration Spending to Fall in 2020

By | Managed Services News

Much of that drop will impact the channel. But research firm Analysys Mason says there is hope.

Channel partners serving SMBs may have a tougher road ahead of them than expected. New findings from research firm Analysys Mason indicate that COVID-19 is putting a big dent in SMBs’ IT spending; in particular, software as a service and cloud collaboration.

The guidance seems to run somewhat contrary to that of other outlets. Data from other entities has tracked and forecast more spending on cloud platforms amid the pandemic.

But this week, Analysys Mason released two reports. They show SMBs funneling less money into SaaS and cloud collaboration tools, all because of the novel coronavirus. There are, however, caveats to the predicted trend.

Starting With SaaS

The good news? SMBs’ reduced spending on SaaS will prove temporary, according to Analysys Mason in its latest SMB Technology Forecaster for SaaS. For managed service providers, VARs, ISVs, system integrators and other channel partners, navigating the intervening weeks or months of decreased demand may be the hardest part.

SMB spending on SaaS graphic from Analysys MasonThat’s because the channel collectively accounts for 91% of SMB spending on SaaS, Analysys Mason said. Year-on-year revenue growth for this key route-to-market category is expected to fall 3-5 percentage points in 2020; that is compared to the firm’s previous forecast.

However, even though SMBs will buy less SaaS because of COVID-19, Analysys Mason still expects the sector to grow by 12% this year.

The ups and downs coincide with organizations’ furloughs and permanent layoffs, analysts noted. Yet, as economies reopen, the need for SaaS will bounce back. In addition, the pandemic has altered the nature of work. That means SMBs, along with their larger counterparts, stand to consume more SaaS over the long term, according to Analysys Mason. This applies in verticals across the board, including those that traditionally have had a more hands-on approach to serving customers.

“Small retailers and restaurants will need to rethink how they accept orders and payments, thereby creating a push for e-commerce, touchless payments and SaaS POS solutions,” analysts wrote.

Retailers and restaurants still are struggling as COVID-19 impacts shopping and dining out. Yet channel partners can work with these customers now to help them survive. Taking all verticals into account, Analysys Mason sees hosters and MSPs in the channel growing their revenue the most. The firm says that’s due to SMBs’ increasing needs for support and management.

On another note, partners targeting SMBs in Asia Pacific (APAC) may find more success faster. The SaaS growth rate in that region will be higher in that region than in EMEA and the Americas over the next few years. Analysys Mason attributes that to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been more severe in the Americas and EMEA. Thus, analysts say the SaaS spending growth rate in these two geographies will reach 12% and 9% this year, respectively. APAC will see growth of 16%.

In all regions, though, Analysys Mason says SaaS will return to pre-pandemic growth levels by 2023.

All in all, Analysys Mason found that SMBs will spend $75 billion on SaaS in 2020, compared to analysts’ previous forecast of $78 billion.

The Forecast for Cloud Collaboration Spending

The situation for cloud collaboration differs somewhat than that for SaaS. In essence, channel partners may see more immediate benefits from focusing on sales of these platforms for a while.

SMB spending on collaboration graphic by Analysys MasonAs Analysys Mason points out in its new SMB Technology Forecaster for collaboration, SMBs are relying heavily on cloud-based software for video meetings, chat and file sharing because of the pandemic.

Still, the research firm says overall collaboration spending (not just on cloud platforms) will drop by about $1 billion, to $34 billion. That aligns with analysts’ expectations that SMB spending on IT and communications solutions, in general, “will fall significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report reads. Analysts say the largest declines will come in 2020 and recovery will begin late next year and into early 2022.

The general reduction comes in response to less on-premises collaboration and legacy hosted voice usage as businesses cut staff and close offices. At the same time, organizations are looking to cloud alternatives to keep teams connected. Because of that, Analysys Mason forecasts cloud collaboration spending to almost match that of its pre-COVID-19 numbers, or $43 billion in spending, by 2022.

Even so, Analysys Mason says resellers’ and ISVs’ collaboration revenue – including that from cloud solutions – will come in $500 million lower this year. MSPs, meanwhile, will see about 11% year-on-year growth due to organizations’ need for their holistic services.

By region, APAC will experience the most notable spending decline because of COVID-19. But Analysys Mason says it also will have the strongest recovery. The Americas will suffer only slight drops, with 8% year-on-year growth fueled by U.S. SMBs. In EMEA, SMBs in Western Europe will outpace the spending of their counterparts in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Jul 28

2020 MSP 501 Rankings

By | Managed Services News

The MSP 501 is the world’s first, largest and most comprehensive survey and ranking list in the IT channel. Every year, partners around the world throw their hats in the ring for a chance to be named an MSP 501er. The data collected in the survey process fuels Channel Futures’s editorial coverage, event programming and thought leadership so that we’re talking about the things partners are most concerned with. Here are the 2020 MSP 501 winners!

Jul 28

2020 MSP 501 List Revealed: Welcome to a Whole New Era

By | Managed Services News

It’s a new methodology, a new channel, and a new ranking list.

Systemic change is never easy, as is perfectly evidenced by the events of 2020. It takes courage, community and massive communication to enact real change. Luckily, we had all three when we decided to evolve the judgment criteria for the 2020 MSP 501.

While we enjoyed widespread support for this change, we also received our fair share of criticism and complaints. We don’t mind that over here at Channel Futures. In order to craft the best programs possible, we have to hear from people who are happy with what we’re doing — and just as much, we need to hear from those who aren’t. We had dozens of conversations during this year’s application period with partners unsure if they were on board with the new methodology.

Go here for access to the 2020 MSP 501, the world’s most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers. Also, be sure to check out our brand-new SMB Hot 101!

We’ve written extensively about why we felt a change was needed. Essentially, we realized that judging solely on annual revenue will give you a great idea of who the biggest partners are, but not who the best in class shops are. So we talked to a giant roster of partners, vendors, distributors, analysts, consultants and media experts about what metrics they use to evaluate the health of a partner. We landed on the below metrics to arrive at an applicant’s score:

  • Annual revenue weighted by revenue stream: 50%
  • Profit margin: 25%
  • Percentage of annual revenue that’s recurring: 15%
  • Revenue per employee: 10%

In addition, we created two new lists this year. The NextGen 101 recognizes diversified partners with growing MSP practices and annual recurring revenues under 20% of total revenue. These partners offer managed services, but they’re also resellers, system integrators and shops that do project work. The 501 needs to be a list of businesses that primarily identify as MSPs, and these diversified shops deserve to be recognized for what they are in their own list. So any applicant that met the above criteria was automatically moved to this brand new list.

SMB Hot 101 LogoWe also feel that our SMB community, many of whom are figuring out how to evolve and grow their own MSP businesses, deserve recognition. The SMB Hot 101 recognizes these MSP 501 applicants in their own list.

All this to say that the 2020 MSP 501 is a whole new ballgame. The new methodology fixed many of the problems we saw with the 2019 list. It is overwhelmingly composed of managed service providers. The average annual revenue – which increased by about one-third between 2018 and 2019 because of all of the giant, non-MSPs that applied – is much more in line with the industry.

Most importantly, we saw a good deal of movement within the list. Many small shops with low annual revenues but sky-high profit margins, massive recurring revenues, large contractual managed services revenue streams, and high revenue per employee, soared in the rankings. Larger MSPs with big annual revenues but lower scores on the criteria that measure operational efficiency and best-in-class business models dropped. And many longtime 501ers moved to the NextGen 101.

We don’t expect everyone to be happy with or agree with our new approach, but we firmly believe it was time to evolve the MSP 501 judgment criteria so that it reflects the modern, mature channel. This list, we believe, accomplishes that goal.

To give applicants a sense of why they ranked where they did, we’ve broken down the major judgment criteria for each group of 50. If you’re wondering why you fell where you did, take a look at the numbers below and see how you stack up. If you want a copy of your application to double-check the numbers you submitted, email [email protected], and we’ll pull it for you.

You can access the full 2020 MSP 501 and SMB Hot 101 rankings now. Congratulations to everyone who can say they’re a #501er this year!

Full 501 List
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   31,835,145.6350.3045$   196,663.8645%61%
Rank 1 through 50
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$ 180,665,554.5357.9388$   227,891.4572%73%
Rank 51 through 100
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   10,274,879.0854.6214$   196,646.3164%67%
Rank 101 through 150
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   39,458,301.1945.4280$   160,767.7258%61%
Rank 151 through 200
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   17,805,805.0852.4680$   172,224.1850%63%
Rank 201 through 250
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   13,127,110.8951.3792$   208,160.9247%58%
Rank 251 through 300
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   13,844,950.8248.1254$   205,432.0742%55%
Rank 301 through 350
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$     7,578,536.0249.4074$   197,956.3137%56%
Rank 351 through 400
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   10,042,715.1251.9306$   178,751.5131%58%
Rank 401 through 450
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   10,991,808.4545.8398$   187,380.9426%58%
Rank 451 through 501
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   14,900,488.2945.9373$   230,745.5519%58%
SMB Hot 101 Rank 1 – 50
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average$   13,370,220.2143.1572$   207,934.2319%49%
SMB Hot 101 Rank 51 – 101
2019 TOTAL REVENUE% of Revenue for Contractual Managed Services:Revenue per EmployeePercent ProfitPercent of Revenue that is Recurring
Average10,152,453.775843.4467$   188,739.6810%47%


Jul 28

Dell’s UK Channel Chief on Adapting to the ‘New Normal’

By | Managed Services News

Financially savvy partners will “weather the storm” of COVID-19, says Dell’s UK channel boss.

The “new normal” might mean something different to us all, depending on your situation. In the IT channel, it has meant, among many things, helping customers set employees up with work-from-home products and services.

Dell's Rob Tomlin

Dell’s Rob Tomlin

Channel Futures caught up with Rob Tomlin, vice president, UK channel, Dell Technologies, to talk about the current – and post-COVID – channel. We wanted to know how vendors like Dell can continue to support partners during the pandemic. Our conversation also touched on how partners will weather the storm; plus, the critical technologies in play for the rest of the year and how partners can position them.

Channel Futures:What challenges do Dell’s partners face in the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19?

Rob Tomlin: Like everyone, partners have had to transition from their normal office life to the new normal: working-from-home. I’ve seen partners acting admirably in their speed to stand up work-from-home solutions quickly. They are managing to continue a “business as usual” approach to the way that they perform.

I know that supporting customers in their move to remote working has not been without its challenges; still, our partners have managed those challenges expertly, particularly when it comes to ensuring customer security. The swift acceleration of remote working has presented hackers with fresh opportunities to take advantage of less secure frameworks. As a result, channel partners have reported a significant surge in security sales. And we continue to support them in this crucial area.

Partners are helping their customers navigate their cash flow issues, allowing extra time to finalise payments so that distributors can work effectively. At the same time, they must determine their own cash flow and decide on how best to manage the spike in demand for work-from-home solutions. On top of this, they must ensure they can support customers logistically while maintaining and managing social distancing — especially with resellers who operate within warehouses.

Partners are also acutely aware of their increased responsibility towards their staff’s mental health and well-being throughout the transition to working from home full-time. It is a challenge that business large and small face. I’ve been impressed by the practical and empathetic ways our partners have found to keep in touch with their teams.

CF: How can vendors like Dell support partners?

RT: We’ve listened to our partners on precisely what they need, and they’ve told us that financial support is top of the wish list. Uncertainty around payment days, and the worry that these would be challenging to meet (for both customers and partners) has been a common theme among partners. In response, we announced our stimulus package. As part of that relief, we have extended our Working Capital Solutions (WCS) so that qualifying partners can benefit from a 60-90 day payment terms extension, or up to 120 days for a small fee. Considering the impossibility of physical events, we’ve also extended windows for spending marketing funds. And we’ve offered training on how to hold virtual events. Something we’ve seen huge uptake on is our DFS (Dell Financial Services) offerings. They enable customers who need tech now to receive what they need with up to nine months for referrals.

For obvious reasons, many of those in the systems engineer community have been unable to get hands-on to deploy our solutions. But what they have been able to continue doing is training and exams. We wanted to make that training more accessible, so as well as continuing courses virtually, we’re making the essential exams free of charge where possible and lowered prices of others.

We are in an unprecedented period, and we need to provide exceptional support for our partners to ensure they can support their customers in undertaking projects without financial concerns. It’s a time for the ecosystem and community to pull together more than ever before.

CF: Cash flow will be a concern for partners still, though?

RT: If I’m honest, I have …

Jul 27

Menlo Security Partners Get More Benefits from Boost Program

By | Managed Services News

Menlo Security has seen more than 117% quarterly growth in registered deals by partners.

Menlo Security partners are getting new incentives and more enablement as part of the company’s Boost channel program.

The cloud security provider also is increasing partner communications with new webinars and newsletters.

Boost! launched last November. It aims to help VARs, distributors, MSSPs and systems integrators provide their customers with zero-trust internet via Menlo Security’s cloud platform powered by isolation.

Menlo has added 25 new partners in the Americas. Also, it has grown significantly in the first half of 2020. That includes more than 117% quarterly growth in registered deals and 45% revenue growth.

Danielle Wilson is the company’s director of U.S. channels. She said Boost offers a high-incentive model for Menlo Security’s partners. And market demand for cloud security has only increased with the pandemic.

Menlo Security's Danielle Wilson

Menlo Security’s Danielle Wilson

“Most companies have a remote workforce today, and the best way to ensure security for every employee requires a cloud-delivered web and email security solution,” she said. “Menlo Security’s solution is proven technology used by some of the largest companies in the world. And our partners are finding that it solves real business problems for their customers.”

Menlo Security Partners Get Incentives

In addition to high margins and incumbency protection, Boost offers ongoing sales incentives to Menlo Security partners focused on growing the company’s customer base, Wilson said.

Additional partner communications increase visibility and awareness of how Menlo Security is solving business problems for their customers, she said.

“The channel is part of Menlo Security’s culture and we want to ensure they always have a resource to connect with,” Wilson said.

The additional enablement allows Menlo Security partners to build service capabilities around the company, Wilson said. Partners also better understand the company’s top use cases to discuss with their customers, she said.

“This will allow them to be better enabled to discuss Menlo Security during conversations and security architecture reviews with their customers,” she said.

COVID-19 has had an impact on all businesses, Wilson said. And partners have to be subject matter experts on cybersecurity as customers move to a remote workforce.

“The pandemic has also had an effect on what organizations see at the top of their needs list,” she said.

Menlo Security expects its growth trajectory to continue, Wilson said.

“In addition to our Boost partner network, we are expanding our alliance partnerships and Menlo Security platform offerings,” she said, “[The second half of] 2020 is set to be a very exciting time for Menlo Security and our Boost partners.”

Jul 27

Top Gun 51 Profile: Frank Rauch, Check Point Channel Chief

By | Managed Services News

The Top Gun 51 Lifetime Achievement award winner says to practice humility with empathy.

Longtime channel leader Frank Rauch, of Check Point Software Technologies, had big plans for its partner program when he joined the company early last year.

Frank Rauch of Check Point

Check Point’s Frank Rauch

Since then, he has realigned it to focus on partner profitability through enhanced incentives for deal registration.

In addition, the channel leader has made Check Point more predictable for partners. He has done this by aligning the field compensation plans and training on rules of engagement.

Rauch is part of our Top Gun 51 for 2020 — and we are awarding him for lifetime achievement, a special honor among the group. Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. There were three criteria considered in selecting this year’s group: advocacy for the channel; commitment to partners’ business success; and dedication to earning the channel’s trust.

High Praise

Rauch’s colleagues have high praise for his performance in the channel at Check Point and before.

“Frank’s career has spanned multiple decades [and] he has had a meaningful, positive impact on partners and clients,” said Bob Kane, Insight‘s senior vice president and general manager of U.S. enterprise sales and product marketing. “His ability to listen, offer solutions and help solve problems quickly is one of the things that has set him apart as a leader in the channel.”

Check Point’s Frank Rauch is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. The Top Gun 51 recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

Tom Cahill is CDW‘s vice president of product and partner management. He says Rauch has been a “fantastic business partner, a boss, a mentor and most importantly a friend to me for many years.”

“As a leader in the channel, he has always strived to do the right thing for his channel partners, even when it was not the most popular thing within the OEM,” he said. “The relationship between the manufacturer and the channel partner has evolved greatly over the years and Frank has been a driver of that. I am very happy to see Frank getting this award. It is well deserved and I look forward to working with Frank for many more years.”

And Joseph Koenig, World Wide Technology‘s president, said “we’ve known Frank for over a decade and we have always appreciated his passion, work ethic and integrity.”

“In addition to being an outstanding channel chief, Frank has a passion for giving back to the community,” he said. “He’s just a great guy and a pleasure to work with.”

Winning Strategies

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Rauch highlights his career, including global partner program leadership, and gives advice to future channel leaders.

Channel Futures: What are your thoughts on the Lifetime Achievement honor?

Frank Rauch: I am humbled and grateful for this award, which represents a body of work versus a quarter, year or even tenure at one company. I am thankful for the support I received from family, all the people who had confidence in me and took a chance on me, my mentors, my rock star teams, and of course, every partner I met on the journey. I am also confident that the future of the channel is in amazing hands.

CF: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?

FR: The first half of my career was direct sales with IBM, Compaq and HP, but of course working closely with partners. I was then asked to move into a senior strategy role where I learned even more about the importance and power of the channel. My boss at that time basically told me he would give me any job I wanted, and I opted to lead the enterprise channel for HP. So not by design, but more of a career evolution.

CF: Have you been responsible for building channel programs from the ground up? If so, how did your experience come into play in these processes?

FR: I have had the opportunity to build and rebuild channel programs at large companies like …