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Vonage Ushers In New Chapter with Microsoft, VMware Vet as Channel Chief

Q&A

**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in August.**

CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Vonage‘s partner program and channel strategy could use some tweaking to make them more effective and attractive to its network of master agents, subagents, ISVs, VARs and other resellers.

That’s according to Bob Crissman, whom Vonage has hired as its new senior vice president and channel chief. He previously was channel chief at Alfresco Software, where he was responsible for building a new partner program, which grew partner revenue from 50 percent to 70 percent of the business in two years. He also held channel leadership roles at Microsoft and VMware.

At VMware, he oversaw partner strategy, program development and the partner-led midmarket sales model, which grew from zero to $200 million in revenue in less than two years.

Kyle Johnson previously was Vonage’s senior vice president of sales, and Crissman’s role is an expanded channel leadership position. Johnson’s LinkedIn page lists him as the chief sales officer at OnSolve, a SaaS provider.

Kenny Wyatt, Vonage’s chief revenue officer, said Crissman’s appointment as channel chief represents a new chapter for the company and its partners.

Vonage's Kenny Wyatt and Bob Crissman

Vonage’s Kenny Wyatt (left) and Bob Crissman

“We have someone now who’s an executive dedicated to the channel irrespective of if you’re the largest of SIs to one of our fantastic-producing agents or subagents, and everything in between,” he said. “He’s dedicated to the success of that entire channel. Putting an executive leader in place who wakes up, breathes, eats and lives the channel every single day is an important step to this evolution to get to the growth that we want to with the channel.”

In May, RapidScale acquired the hosted infrastructure services portion of Vonage’s business. RapidScale acquired the employees of this Vonage business unit and the following services: IaaS, hosted exchange, virtual desktop, IT services, hosted firewall, backup services and Microsoft Skype for Business.

This week, Vonage announced it has opened an office in London as part of its global expansion.

In a Q&A from Channel Partners Evolution last week in Austin, Texas, Crissman talks about what differentiates Vonage from its competitors and how he plans to work with partners.

Channel Partners: What made you decide to take the channel chief position with Vonage?

Bob Crissman: One was meeting Kenny (Wyatt) and the rest of the executive team, and there’s really kind of a shared vision for where the business is going. Everybody was in alignment. And two is really what they’re in alignment about. Yes, we have unified communications as a service (UCaaS), but we have the communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) technology as well, and how those two things converge really makes Vonage different than anybody else I can see out there based on the due-diligence that I did. There [are] people that have the CPaaS piece and there [are] people who have the UCaaS piece, but nobody else brings it together. And with the background that I have in software and platforms, I see that and go, “That is pretty amazing,” kind of what I call the secret sauce because …

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