Top 12 Stories in November: AT&T Channel Changes, New Windstream Chief



The year of the bankruptcy isn’t over.

While there hasn’t been a major bankruptcy announcement involving a company doing business in the channel in the second half of the year, six months after the news broke, Fusion Connect’s chapter 11 filing is still in our top 12 most-read stories of the month.

That’s not the only story hanging around. You’re still eager to learn about leaders in public cloud and SD-WAN, both from articles posted earlier in the year.

But we’ve got stuff hot off the presses as well. Take the realignment of AT&T’s channel, which impacts a ton of folks in the partner community. We also revealed the name of Windstream’s new channel chief right before Thanksgiving.

But which was No. 1?

Our top 12, outlined in the gallery below, feature the stories that got the most eyeballs from both the web as a whole and our weekly newsletters. I hope you’ve signed up for that already.

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in October.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Infoblox Lauds Partner Growth

Infoblox, the networking, security and IT automation company, might be a force to be reckoned with based on the number of you who read Edward Gately's news from the company's partner summit in Arizona last month.

Infoblox shared how its last fiscal year was the best in its history for channel performance, with a focus on security, cloud/SaaS and driving new customer acquisition on tap for 2020.

Lori Cornmesser, the company's VP of worldwide partner and alliance sales, told us Infoblox saw 30% growth in new partner bookings and more than 40% growth in customer acquisition over the past 12 months.

Learn more about Infoblox's growing channel.
8x8's Keith Jackson
#11 — Windstream Names New Channel Chief

Announced the week of Thanksgiving, this one might have slipped under the radar a bit. We would normally expect news of a new channel chief at Windstream to rank higher on this list.

The company said Matt Milliron, formerly Windstream's VP of channel sales, would ascend to the role of channel chief and head of strategic channels. Curt Allen, previously president of strategic channels, is moving to an advisory role. This was part of a planned succession plan, Windstream told us.

"We have officially transitioned the day-to-day responsibilities and we have started [our new roles]," said Milliron. "Previously, my role in the program was primarily focused on leading the channel managers across the nation and 'operationalizing' the cadence that would allow for our partners to further their reach with our strategic solutions. We’ve done a really good job of that in 2019. The new role will continue on with these foundational practices, but also include our reseller program, which we are enthusiastic about."

Read more of our Q&A with the new chief.
Passing the torch
#10 — Top Players in Malware

The channel loves a good list, and this is the first of several in this countdown.

A new MarketsAndMarkets report said the global malware analysis market is poised to reach $11.7 billion by 2024, a compound annual growth rate of 31%. Along with the forecast came the identification of "major vendors" in the market, including FireEye, Cisco, Palo Alto Networks and more.

See who the "more" are.
SMB Alliance IMONE
#9 — Avaya Ends Acquisition Speculation

This one has staying power.

One of the most-watched stories in the channel this year has been the will-they-or-won't-they sell rumors surrounding Avaya. Published on Oct. 4, our "they won't" report was still generating big traffic in November.

Instead of being acquired, Avaya entered into a strategic relationship with RingCentral, resulting in a new UCaaS solution. RingCentral is contributing $500 million to the deal to become Avaya's exclusive UCaaS provider.

And there's much more to this deal.
serenity Lake vr
#8 — Public Cloud Rankings

Only two other posts have made it a full year in our top 12, but this one is making a run at it.

Our report on public cloud rankings from February noted continued dominance by AWS. Perhaps the newsworthy item that caught your eye was that IBM's market share is slipping, offset by its lead in hosted private cloud services. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud were seeing gains along with AWS.

Learn more.
As a service cafe IMONE
#7 — SD-WAN Rankings

Here's another set of rankings — and another that stuck around for an extra month.

Published in October, you flocked to see who IHS Markit tapped as biggest and baddest in SD-WAN. The answer?: VMware, Cisco, Aryaka and Fortinet were the top four, with Fortinet moving up the ladder from the list's previous iteration.

Learn how these companies and the dozen others on it staked their claim.
Blue Ocean at IMOne
#6 — Cisco Takes Collaboration to Next Level

The biggest news coming out of last month's Cisco Partner Summit was perhaps an update to the company's collaboration strategy and how partners can take advantage.

Cisco announced a single platform for all workloads and a unified modular app; cloud calling enhancements; two new devices that bring AI and whiteboarding to small and large spaces; a new Bluetooth headset; and an as-a-service offering for phones, desk and room-sized video systems.

Take a deep dive into what Cisco's doing in collaboration.
Blue Ocean at IMOne
#5 — IronNet Hires Symantec Vet

IronNet Cybersecurity named Garrett Jones as its new VP of global channels.

The hiring of new channel bosses is always popular, and this was no exception. Jones, who previously worked at Forcepoint and Symantec, will be tasked with developing IronNet's partner strategy, including channel and technology partnerships.

No doubt you'd like to learn more about Jones and IronNet.
Blue Ocean at IMOne
#4 — 20 CPaaS Providers You Should Know

Our latest list of "20 Providers You Should Know" went beyond UCaaS and CCaaS, tackling the burgeoning market for communications platform as a service.

Some of the big players in UC and contact center are worth mentioning here, but we also identify a number of others that are making their mark in this space.

Did your company or a company you work with make the cut?
Cisco's Cherie Caldwell
#3 — Fusion Connect Bankruptcy

In the run for story of the year is Fusion Connect's bankruptcy announcement, which, posted on June 3, is still holding firm in our countdown. The company blamed poor performance from its MegaPath and Birch Communications acquisitions as the major factors behind the bankruptcy filing.

Another Fusion story, posted in October, was "honorable mention" for this countdown — it would've been 13th if our rankings extended that far. The company told us it expects to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of the year, and wants to continue doing business with all of its partners, having offered them all new agreements.
Passing the baton
#2 — Channel People on the Move

It wouldn't be a top 12 without Channel People on the Move, our monthly recap of people coming and going in the channel.

This edition featured moves at Telarus and Technology Source. Even more noteworthy was where the new hires came from: PlanetOne, ShoreTel, Level 3, Broadvoice and more.
Passing the baton
#1 — AT&T Realigns Channel

A lot of you are AT&T partners, which no doubt lifted news of a channel realignment to the top of the charts. AT&T Partner Solutions said it would reshape its sales teams to support diverse partner types.

Significant are specific changes AT&T is making to its Alliance Channel and ACC Business programs. The sales and support teams from ACC Business will realign with the Alliance Channel in order to reduce complexity. Stacey Marx, AT&T Partner Solutions’ senior vice president and channel chief, told us that many partners have been fielding calls from both ACC and Alliance channel managers, leading to confusion. Partners can still access both the ACC Business and Alliance Channel portfolios, but they will work with one AT&T channel manager instead of two.

“[Now] every partner has one person calling on them, which is great,” Marx told Channel Partners.

Another change: The Alliance Channel placed traditional agents and master agents in separate groups so that the teams supporting them can better embrace their unique business models.

Read what else is going down at AT&T.

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