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Former Microsoft Channel Chief Joins RingCentral Executive Team

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Another Microsoft corporate VP has joined the RingCentral executive team. Former channel chief Phil Sorgen is now the UCaaS provider’s chief revenue officer.

RingCentral's Phil Sorgen

RingCentral’s Phil Sorgen

Sorgen, Microsoft’s former channel chief from 2013-2016 until Gavriella Schuster stepped into that role, joined RingCentral last week. A 24-year Microsoft veteran, Sorgen was corporate VP for Microsoft’s enterprise commercial group before arriving at RingCentral.

At RingCentral, Sorgen reports to his former Microsoft colleague, Anand Eswaran, who RingCentral recruited as president and COO in January. Eswaran was corporate VP for Microsoft’s global enterprise business before joining RingCentral’s executive suite as the No. 2, reporting to CEO Vlad Shmunis.

As CRO, Sorgen oversees all of RingCentral’s direct and indirect sales.

“Phil brings 30 years of experience in leading sales and partner organizations at global scale and is going to have an immediate and lasting impact,” Eswaran said during the company’s first quarter earnings call.

Sorgen is responsible for RingCentral’s global sales organization, including its service providers, channel and strategic partners. RingCentral channel chief Zane Long now reports to Sorgen.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in April.

In an interview with Channel Partners, Sorgen said he joined RingCentral because of the company’s growth potential. Sorgen also pointed to RingCentral’s direction and position as a leading UCaaS provider.

“I was very excited about the fact that they’re a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant in that upper right position,” Sorgen said. “But it’s also a market that has a lot of growth opportunities. Every company is trying to be more collaborative, more connected, more mobile and more data-driven. And RingCentral products are at the sweet spot of that.”

The drive for growth comes as RingCentral has consistently posted double-digit, quarter-over-quarter revenue gains during the past two years. Nevertheless, net income is consistently in the red.

Community Acclaim

JS Group CEO Janet Schijns described Sorgen as “a disciplined leader who understands the benefits of the channel.” Likewise, Schijns said Sorgen recognizes factors that influence customer purchasing.

JS Group's Janet Schijns

JS Group’s Janet Schijns

“He will drive the importance of the channel higher in the organization, which is needed at RingCentral,” Schijns said. “Now is the time for them to double down on channel. Phil will empower that focus by taking a careful look at the channel partner loyalty, alternate routes to market beyond the agents and adjusting the channel strategy to focus on profitable revenue.”

Noting that he just joined the RingCentral executive team last week, Sorgen avoided offering any specific plans, or conclusions. Sorgen said he’s learning the nuances of the telephony channel. He said he will continue to focus on RingCentral’s Channel Harmony program.

“One thing I will continue to do is to drive enablement and readiness, especially as we’re bringing on and engaging many new partners,” Sorgen said. “The second thing will be to continue to expand our demand-gen programs. That means signing up a partner and then getting them active and getting them to a place where they can comfortably grow their business. It’s a multistep process and we’ll continue to enhance that.”

Sorgen also plans to refine RingCentral’s approach to industry-based solutions.

“Partners are key to that,” he said. “And that also expands the partner circles. Another area will be continued focus on growing internationally. That will have us reaching out to additional partners that will be newer to us in our ecosystem and that we’ll be building relationships with.”

Sorgen joins the RingCentral executive team as the company touts new products and strategic alliances. The company recently launched its Universal Desktop application with a streamlined user experience for collaboration, and voice and video communications.

Through its alliance partners, RingCentral Video is available with AT&T Office@Hand and Avaya’s Cloud Office. Global system integrator Atos also recently added RingCentral as its preferred UCaaS provider.

Sorgen also joins RingCentral as demand for UCaaS has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Remote meetings with the use of collaboration tools that support distance engagement are exploding,” he said.

In its first quarter earnings report, RingCentral said downloads of its app rose 180% in April compared to February. Phone calls from the app rose 150%, message volume increased 70% during that time and video conferencing minutes increased 200%.


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