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Windstream’s New Channel Chief to Build on Curt Allen’s Foundation

Passing the torch

…during this time that our SD-WAN and UCaaS sales across the board have increased this year, and we continue to invest in those strategic deployments of those technologies while having significant liquidity available to us today. We will emerge from restructuring as a financially stronger organization.

CP: What sort of feedback have you received from partners in your new role?

MM: We have a lot of support from our partner base. They’re encouraged with the changes that we’re putting forth within our organization. Channel integration has a high level of interest that our partners have expressed with us, so they want us to succeed. We want to be successful for them. So the continued marriage between those two parties will continue to allow us to be successful in the marketplace. We’re encouraged with their loyalty, we’re encouraged with their faith in our business.

CP: You spearheaded development of the Channel Integration program. What’s the status of that program and partner participation?

MM: Since launching our Channel Integration program, we have seen remarkable results. The success and the interest from our partners have been so strong that we recently began rolling out [the] program nationwide. We want all of our partners nationally to have available to them the added benefits, the additional resources and the stronger alignments that channel integration affords while eliminating the historical channel conflict. In my opinion, there has never been a better time as a partner to do business with Windstream as we continue to develop concepts that provide a better partner experience coupled with the best portfolio of solutions in our space. These winning combinations have already resulted in some remarkable customer engagements and we are eager to continue that trend.

CP: This past spring, Windstream initiated a partner agreement consolidation process. Has that now been completed?

MM: Curt and the advisers had worked through some of that. We had several different iterations of our partner agreement and we were able to consolidate that process during the proceedings, and all of that is behind us. We are fully looking forward with our strategic partners and the growth within our channel community to reinvigorate the trust that they have as well as the capabilities that we have as an organization. And through the channel integration process, we’ve actually seen legacy partners come back and start participating within the business again. We’re very thankful for that.

CP: Has Windstream been taking on new partners?

MM: We have been taking on new partners. In the partner community that we operate in, there’s a metamorphosis occurring with the technologies as well as the partner landscape, and as the partner base across the country continues to grow stronger, we are constantly evangelizing the solutions and services to new partners and subagents alike.

CP: What’s at the top of your to-do list in this new role?

MM: Anyone with whom I’ve had the privilege of working in the past can attest to the fact that my leadership strategy is quite simple: listen, learn and execute on initiatives that will reduce the barriers that impede success. Our organization has done a lot of listening and learning during 2019, and as we approach 2020, we are thrilled to start executing on those findings. For our channel teams, we are focused on the nationwide channel integration program and the onboarding of our new business development teams so that all of our partners nationally can start recognizing the benefits of the program. For our reseller teams, where we have very loyal and longstanding customers, the priority is to continue to drive value for them by delivering leading technology solutions, evaluating and expanding our offerings, and constantly finding procedural improvements that will show enhanced benefits for their trust with us.

CP: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?

MM: Our organization accomplished a lot during 2019. We won industry awards, we were added to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for our UCaaS offerings and we released additional options for our industry leading SD-WAN solutions. As for the next year and solely looking at the strategic channels, our organization is focused on the partner experience and the customer experience. The national widening of our channel integration and further alignment is a key accomplishment we’re targeting, and candidly, there is a lot that we can accomplish within that strategy. We want to continue to build momentum and success with our strategic solutions of SD-WAN and UCaaS, and make sure we evangelize to our partners why we are winning and where we are winning.

Aside from channel integration and the deepening of our strategic solutions, one of the things that I’m most excited about is that we will launch our new and innovative, industry leading partner portal, which by design is a single pane of glass for our partners to have access to key data at their fingertips. Our target launch date for that is Q1. We have some other things we’re working on, but it’s better to keep under the cover for the current time.

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