Top Gun 51 Profile: Rackspace’s Lisa McLin

Channel Partners Top Gun 51 logo

By Kevin Casey

Leading a successful partner program requires 20-20 vision of the big picture — and corresponding ability to adapt to sea changes in the industry when they appear on the horizon.

Consider the transformative impacts of cloud on suppliers, partners, and customers alike. Cloud didn’t bring about a one-off change to IT strategies and the partner business models that support those strategies; rather, it ushered in ongoing evolution, particularly as hybrid cloud and multicloud approaches become the norm.

Rackspace's Lisa McLin

Rackspace’s Lisa McLin

In our latest Top Gun 51 profile, we turn the spotlight on Rackspace channel chief Lisa McLin, who leads a growing partner program that’s focused on enabling partners to seize the growing opportunities that arise out of customers’ cloud transformations. Read on to hear from McLin why partners play an outsized role in helping customers execute on their cloud strategies and other insights.

Channel Partners: Take us through some of Rackspace’s highlights of 2019 so far from a channel perspective. What stands out?

Lisa McLin: Rackspace’s channel partner program is experiencing approximately 10 percent quarter-over-quarter growth. This clearly highlights our transformation and focus in creating a fanatical partner experience. We’ve boosted the number of partner account managers across the U.S. and added an enterprise account team. These additions allow Rackspace to be more proactive and closer to our partners’ prospects and customers. Our channel has also added new commissionable products, such as managed VMWare Cloud on AWS and Rackspace professional services.

Lastly, our new enablement resources to help partners serve customers is an outstanding highlight, such as our All Clouds Guide app, which allows partners to learn, sell, share recommendations and track cloud projects with their clients. We’re always looking to expand the channel, and this app serves all partners, including the new generation of partner agents.

We recently unveiled our “Top Gun 51,” a list of today’s channel executives who deserve recognition for building and executing programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success.

CP: Can you share some thoughts on the role partners play in hybrid cloud success? It seems, for example, that many customers – especially those just now moving from entirely on-premises infrastructure – struggle with their road maps, implementation and long-term optimization. Where do partners fit into this from Rackspace’s perspective?

LM: Partners are actually leading this hybrid cloud success because customers are looking to them for guidance. Through their long-term relationships, customers are turning to partners to understand how to start, where to go and, lastly, how to optimize their hybrid cloud strategy. Partners are the glue to execution, and working with Rackspace supports our partners’ hybrid cloud success leveraging our entire portfolio, starting with a professional services for cloud assessment. Additional portfolio resources include application rationalization to understand which app fits best on a private cloud or public cloud platform, as well as the ongoing manage services and optimization.

Rackspace offers unbiased expertise, allowing partners to serve their customers with the best platform for their specific application.

CP: Can you give an overall “state of the cloud” update from a channel partner perspective?

LM: I have to say, multicloud is still the large focus, along with professional services, container services and cost optimization. Companies leverage multicloud because there is no “one cloud fits all.” This complexity is why customers are leaning on partners. Channel partners have a great opportunity to …

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