Vendors are the driving force in the channel. They make the products, create the services, provide the training and invest in the marketing that enables the channel to thrive. These people and companies have a tremendous influence on the channel, and will continue to do so in 2012. (They are listed in no particular order.)
Mark Hurd, co-president, Oracle: Hurd is making a difference. He’s the agitator in the HP-Oracle feud, but also the force behind the Oracle hardware evolution. Watch Hurd continue to build the channel organization under Judson Altoff and newcomer (and HP defector) Tom LaRocca.
Jon Roskill, worldwide channel chief, Microsoft: After 18 months in the job running Microsoft’s channels, Roskill has proven himself an adept channel leader and driver of new initiatives. He’s got a big agenda ahead of him in mobility, Windows 8 and cloud computing.
Scott Barlow, vice president of sales and marketing, Reflexion:Reflexion is a small but rapidly growing email security company, and its success is due in large part to Barlow’s tireless efforts in evangelizing to the channel. He’s not monolithic; he contributes his time and insights to numerous channel working groups and research efforts. He’s an up-and-coming industry leader.
Randy Cochran, vice president, Americas channels, Symantec: Cochran has emerged as a driving force behind specialization in the channel. Through the program he’s developed at Symantec, he’s proving the benefit of partners specializing and influencing scores to adapt to a more focused model.
Alex Rogers, CharTec: When you think about hardware-as-a-service, you think of Alex Rogers. He didn’t invent the model, but he’s made it practical for hundreds of solution providers. He’s extended his influence though investments in training programs that strengthen HaaS providers.
Raju Chekuri and Justin Crotty, NetEnrich: The CEO and general manager, respectively, are emerging as the driving force behind the next generation of managed services. NetEnrich is taking hosted NOC to a new level by encouraging MSPs to offload their routine tasks and focus on developing advanced services. Chekuri and Crotty are the architects of that vision.
Mark Cattini, CEO, Autotask: Over the past year, Cattini has transitioned from CEO-in-waiting to master of the Autotask domain. He’s reshaping the company for the post-Godgart era and has big plans for international growth.
Chris O’Malley, CEO, Nimsoft: O’Malley has big plans for the next evolution of Nimsoft, wanting his MSPs and users to transform themselves into value service providers. It’s not a unique vision, but O’Malley is one of the loudest voices in this managed services evolution.
Fernando Quintero and Allison Harabis, McAfee: As head of channels sales for the Americas, Quintero can take credit for turning around the McAfee channel and invigorating partners to reach for new heights. His right-hand person and behind-the-scenes player is Allison Harabis, who makes much of Quintero’s vision become reality. The pair makes a dynamic duo.
Mark Enzweiler, vice president of global channels, Red Hat: A veteran IBMer, Enzweiler is proving at Red Hat what a small, focused channel can do with open-source software. The Red Hat channel, under his direction, is growing and prospering by concentrating on the value and recurring engagements with customers.
Motorola Solutions: After breaking away from its consumer division, Motorola Solutions is emerging as the major force in enterprise mobility and mobile computing. It released its first ruggedized tablet in 2011 and has plans for expansion into services and cloud computing. Motorola Solutions could be the blueprint for the enterprise tech vendor of the mobility era.
OnForce: OnForce revolutionized the exchange of service labor capacity through its marketplace. It evolved itself in an alliance with Apple to bring channel professional services to Mac small-business users. OnForce continues to push the boundaries of channel services and is the benchmark for all companies of its kind.
Tom Gall, vice president of sales, Xerox; and Jess Trotter, vice president of U.S. Channels and SMB Sales, Oki Data: If there will be two leaders in managed print services, it will be Gall and Trotter. The two are doing more to push the model and gain widespread channel adoption than anyone else in the print business (Scott Dunsire at HP could be the third). With their efforts, managed print may finally become a reality.
Stephen DiFranco, general manager, HP’s Personal Systems Group: When HP went into free-fall last year, it was DiFranco who pushed up against the HP channel’s foundation walls to keep them from crumbling. His candor in explaining the HP situation was refreshing and reassuring.
Amanda Jobbins, vice president of global channel marketing, Cisco: Jobbins is new on the job, but has big plans for enabling Cisco partners through continuing marketing programs. Her vision is the sustainability of channel marketing and knowledge transference. She’s bound to make a mark in the channel in 2012.
Frank Vitagliano, vice president of U.S. channels, Juniper: If there’s a grandfather of the channel, it’s Vitagliano. He’s been around as long as the channel and is one of the most forward and innovative thinkers in the industry.
Lenovo: The China-owned PC-maker has rebounded to become a significant and growing player in PCs and tablets. It’s aptly managed its channels to drive sales and expand market share. All indications are that it will continue to do more of the same in 2012.
Intermedia: Cloud computing is the rage and will continue to be so in 2012. Intermedia is one of the vanguards in the cloud, creating a sprawling and growing channel network for its hosted email, collaboration and voice services.
Citrix and VMware: The future is built on virtualization, and Citrix and VMware are the two pillars. VMware virtually owned the virtualization market, but Citrix is coming on strong, especially in virtual desktops. They are the driving force in virtualiztion.
Google (et al): Is there anything Google isn’t doing? Cloud applications, operating systems, security, search, notebooks, mobile operating systems and soon tablets. When Microsoft was fighting its antitrust lawsuits, it always said it could be disrupted by an innovative company. Google is that company.
Samsung: Coming on strong in smartphones, tablets and computers is Samsung. Where all of the attention goes to HP and Dell, Samsung is making big inroads with its innovative products. Expectations are for it to continue expanding in new technologies.
Riverbed: The cloud and enterprise require rapid applications. Riverbed’s advanced WAN optimization products and services are ensuring high performance in the cloud era.
Jeanine Edwards, director of communities, ConnectWise: It’s hard to ignore Edwards, a boundless promoter of all things ConnectWise throughout its “IT Nation.” She stands as an example of what a partner advocate should be at a vendor.