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January’s Top 12: CenturyLink Outage, AT&T Layoffs, Avaya Engage

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January marked a big month for traffic to our site, with many of you eager to see some bad news (layoffs and network outages) but also good (new hires and new technologies to sell).

The biggest layoff news concerned AT&T, while CenturyLink was at the heart of the outage news.

Plantronics offered up a whiz-bang new product that stemmed from its massive Polycom acquisition, and Five9 hired a Cisco vet as its new CTO.

Those are just four of the dozen to crack our monthly recap of hot stories. Don’t like what you see here? You are in charge, as these are the most-read stories by you, our loyal reader, and those that you click through from our weekly newsletters. (Be sure to sign up for those here).

Which story was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out!

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in December. And here’s where to find our countdown of the top 15 stories of 2018.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Channel Program Trends for 2019

Trends for a new year are always hot, as analysts, channel leaders and other prognosticators peer into their crystal balls for a look at what's to come.

These insights from J.P. Dundas, director of North America channel sales at Fuze, caught your eye. Among them: the continued decline of on-premises services and rise of the app generation; companies will prioritize "value as a service"; and cloud is here to stay.

Read his other predictions and the reasons why they'll take center stage as 2019 plays out.
Telarus' Roger Blohm CoE
#11 — Channel People on the Move

No surprise to see our monthly people on the move feature in the top 12, but where it landed is. Normally it would crack the top five, but we had 10 pieces of content in January that were so hot that they overtook this old standby.

We packed this edition with new hires and promotions at Vonage, BullsEye Telecom, TBI and more.
Ingram Micro's Eric Kohl
#10 — Plantronics' New Polycom Studio

Just a few months after acquiring Polycom for $2 billion, Plantronics entered the huddle-room video market with a new plug-and-play video bar that it dubs Polycom Studio.

The new hardware is for any company whose employees use PCs or Macs for video collaboration with services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Google Meet, Cisco Webex or Amazon Chime; they get Polycom's HD audio and video quality packaged into a portable USB device.

Read more about the partner opportunity with Polycom Studio.
Ingram Micro's Eric Kohl
#9 — Microsoft's DaaS Launch/Citrix Impact

The new Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is poised for release soon, raising questions among Citrix partners as to how Microsoft's latest attempt at offering a cloud-based VDI service will impact them.

Microsoft introduced WVD last fall at its annual Ignite conference. Industry insiders see the planned DaaS offering as a move to swoop into the virtual cloud desktop-services market that its alliance partner, Citrix, and others, such as VMware, star in. 

Our Jeffrey Schwartz offered a preview of the potential conflict.
Mobile Solutions' Steve Haddock
#8 — Government Shutdown Impact

We posted more than one story on the impact of the partial government shutdown on telecom and IT, but the one that drew the most interest was how it could delay approval or denial of the massive Sprint-T-Mobile merger proposal.

The $26 billion deal was on day 84 of its 180-day timeline for review when the shutdown went into effect; therefore, we could expect the process now to be more than one month behind — unless, of course, the government shuts down again sometime in February.

Learn more about how the shutdown impacted telecom and IT.
ConnectWise personnel
#7 — Hot Certifications

It's pretty rare to have something we posted more than a year ago land in our monthly top 12, particularly in a month when our traffic level was so high. Apparently, however, you can't get enough of certifications.

Our story, "29 Hot Certifications to Spice Up Your Business in 2018," published on Dec. 26, 2017, is still going strong.

Don't hesitate to check out these certs, many of which still are important to IT pros today.
Twilio's Chetan Chaudhary
#6 — Office Depot, Schijns Go Separate Ways

JS Group's Janet Schijns

JS Group's Janet Schijns

It came as a surprise to many when one of the best-known names in the channel, Janet Schijns, left Office Depot just a year-and-a-half after being hired to build a services businesses that catered to partners.

For now, Schijns is back at the consulting firm she founded 10 years ago before she became the face of Verizon's channel.

We documented the ups and downs at Office Depot since it's purchase of CompuCom in 2017.
Twilio's Chetan Chaudhary
#5 — Avaya Expands AI Strategy to UC

Avaya made several announcements at its Engage event in Austin, Texas, the most popular of which, to our readers, was the expansion of its A.I.Connect network to include new partners and partner offers, putting its focus on incorporating artificial-intelligence capabilities into is unified-communications (UC) offerings.

Avaya's VP of partners and alliances told us that expanding the company's AI strategy to UC will created new opportunities for customers to make their employees more effective, both in individual and work group-based communications.

Learn more about Avaya's forays into new technology.
S&P Global's Jason Fries
#4 — Five9 Names CTO

Five9's Jonathan Rosenberg

Five9's Jonathan Rosenberg

You were very interested to learn about Jonathan Rosenberg's new job — chief technology officer at Five9, the cloud contact-center provider.

Rosenberg previously was CTO of Cisco's collaboration group. He has a familiar new boss at Five9 – Rowan Trollope – who led Cisco's collaboration and IoT applications group before Five9 recruited him as CEO in 2018.

Among his many tasks, Rosenberg will lead AI development efforts at Five9. Read about what else he'll be doing.
Ripcord's Alan Brotman
#3 — CenturyLink Outage

CenturyLink spent the first couple weeks of the month explaining a post-Christmas nationwide outage. Its most critical impact affected 911 service for customers across the country.

CEO Jeff Storey told attendees at an investor conference that the reason for the outage was a malfunction with a network management card, placing the blame on an equipment vendor the company has worked with for a long time.

Storey said the outage, which is being investigated by the FCC, impacted a "relatively small percentage" of CenturyLink's customer base, but was "significant and something we did not like."

Read more of Storey's comments or go here for a timeline of the outage and subsequent investigation.
Nextiva's Scott Armour
#2 — Telecom, IT Layoff Tracker

In our semiannual telecom/IT layoff tracker, we got you caught up on the latest job cuts at some of the biggest companies doing business in the channel. Most are happening at businesses that actually are performing well, citing "business transformation" efforts.

Another silver lining: The IT sector is adding jobs. Janco Associates.reports that more than 107,000 new IT jobs were created in 2018 and a similar number should be attainable this year, with medium compensation increasing to $97,000.

Miss the tracker? Check it out.
Nextiva's Scott Armour
#1 — AT&T Job Cuts

One layoff story by far surpassed the rest in terms of your interest.

Our Edward Gately reported on AT&T reportedly gearing up for more cuts just days after the Communications Workers of America criticized the telco for cutting more than 10,000 jobs in 2018. This latest round of layoffs impacts employees in nine states and the District of Columbia.

The carrier says that despite the cuts, it's hiring to "meet the needs of the growth areas of the business."

"In cases where we do have to adjust our workforce, we take steps to lessen the effect on our employees," said AT&T spokesman Jim Greer.

Learn more about the cuts here.

One comment

  1. Avatar John February 5, 2019 @ 11:02 am

    Well, Janet was a total failure at Office Depot. Since she was there, the stocks lost 60%! I think this is the reason she “resigned” (transleted :Fired?) and that’s why she didn’t get any other company.

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