Each month you learn which stories had the most traction with Channel Partners readers in a given 30-day-or-so period.
Then, at the end of the year, comes the big one. Here we offer the top 12 stories of 2016.
So much got you talking this year, particularly some of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in history. And while a number of acquisitions came close to cracking our list, they fell just short.
So what is here? Windstream announced it would raise rates on some sub-$1,500 accounts. Blake Wetzel stepped away from CenturyLink to take on a similar role at Rackspace. Avant opened a glitzy new headquarters in Chicago. But alas, we don’t want to give away too much.
We compile our rankings by comparing the most oft-visited posts on our website and those that did the best in our weekly newsletters.
What was No. 1? Click through our gallery to find out!
Want to relive 2015? Click here to go back in time a full year.
Our top story in each of the last two years, our images from the Channel Partners Expo Hall at our Las Vegas show once again cracked our year-end list. Not that being No. 12 is too shabby, but this year we published a number of galleries from the show in a variety of categories rather than piling all of our pictures into one. Not surprisingly, the sights from the show floor were the most popular of the bunch.
Registration is open for our next show, April 10-13, 2017, in Vegas. Go here to register — you’ll be one of the 5,500+ participants we’re expecting!
In a June Q&A, Blake Wetzel told our Edward Gately that it was hard to leave the friends he made during his reign as channel chief at CenturyLink, but taking on a similar role at Rackspace was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
I’ve always been very impressed in the market with what Rackspace was doing … definitely the vision of the orchestration across multiple clouds and the migration of IT services to hybrid clouds,” Wetzel said. “I felt that Rackspace was probably the best-positioned company in the industry to be able to support that.”
Five years ago, we honored the first set of winners of the Channel Partners 360° Business Value Awards at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
This prestigious recognition has only grown in popularity since; in fact, this year we doled out CP 360° awards at both our spring show and at the inaugural Channel Partners Evolution in Washington, D.C.
You clamored to our website after we posted the year’s first set of winners in March to see which partner businesses took home hardware for providing holistic telecom and IT solutions to their customers.
Want to be part of an event with fellow winners at our next show? You have to apply with a Business Success Story. Learn more here.
Napa, California, was the place to be in October – well, when isn’t it really? – for master agent Intelisys’ annual Channel Connect event.
The festivities were especially big this year since not long before partners gathered for the opening reception, tech distributor ScanSource said it was buying Intelisys in perhaps the biggest channel acquisition ever. The purchase marked what some insiders predict will be just the first of many consolidation announcements involving traditional telecom masters and tech distributors.
Channel Partners was there and offered these images and recap of the event.
By now, we all know that cloud computing is a game-changer. But to keep up with his rapidly evolving technology, a partner needs to learn and keep up with the language of cloud.
That was the message from Clarify360’s Jo Peterson and then-BCM One’s (now Whoa.com’s) Michael Goodenough in a guest column for Channel Partners, where they espoused the benefits of 10 cloud certifications – both vendor-specific and vendor-independent – designed to equip you with the tools to help customers succeed.
Construction began this year on Swiss-based Kudelski Group’s second headquarters, in Phoenix, Arizona. In August, Kudelski Security announced the launch of its U.S. presence to meet growing market demand for cybersecurity offerings and managed services.
Kudelski Security is the cybersecurity arm of Kudelski Group, which has 3,500 employees in 32 different countries, and 4,800 patents for its technologies around the world. The Phoenix location will be the U.S. headquarters for the security business, and will house its executive briefing center and Cyber Fusion Center.
In October, Channel Partners got a tour of the facility under construction. We published those photos here.
Windstream told a percentage of its SMB customers with sub-$1,500 accounts that it is raising rates on deals that are costing it money.
This is part of the Little Rock, Arkansas-based business communications giant’s increasing focus on its enterprise unit and enterprise partners.
Jason Dishon, Windstream’s channel chief of enterprise sales and operations, told Channel Partners that the company has segmented its customers between an SMB unit and an enterprise unit. Sub-$1,500 accounts were moved to the SMB unit.
“We have less than 3 percent of our partner base that’s being looked at, a small percentage of customers,” he said.
Customers can either pay the rate increase or opt to retire services and move on without incurring a penalty, Dishon added.
Read the full story here.
Avant Communications debuted some cool new digs this year in Chicago. The growing master agent/IT distributor moved into its new Windy City headquarters this summer.
The cornerstone of the facility is what the company calls a “BattleLab,” a unique – and, as you’ll see if you click through the gallery, colorful – area that will help partners “sell more cloud, colo and connectivity than ever before,” the company said. The educational lab is an immersion center.
The seven-week-long strike by Verizon wireline workers caught the attention of Channel Partners readers for the better part of two months.
We kept you up to date from the day the ballots were cast to the day the workers were back on the job.
Our timeline of events recapped the entire episode.
We profiled 10 vendors, all tech startups founded no earlier than 2011, that are making a splash in the partner community. Most are based in California, with a couple in suburban Boston.
Several are storage providers; others offer cloud migration, analytics, data-center services, security — or a combination of two or more of these hot services.
Our partner readers looking to share the wealth with some of these up-and-coming companies.
And our most-read story of the year …
You were taken aback when it was reported that AvayaÂ was nearing a deal to sell its call-center business and could be heading toward chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The company has been transitioning from a legacy hardware business to a software and services company, and is looking for ways to decrease its debt load.
As of press time (Dec. 23)Â for this gallery, none of this had happened.Â Yet, noted the Wall Street Journal, citing âpeople familiar with the matter,”Â the filing likely would occur after a deal is in place to sell the call-center business.
Brendan Read, senior industry analyst of digital transformation at Frost & Sullivan, told Channel Partners thatÂ Avaya is making the right moves in considering the sale.
âAvaya has a strong brand that is founded on one of the most comprehensive portfolios of contact-center solutions and development tools in the market today,” he said. âAvaya continues to enhance its solutions and build customer loyalty. But Avayaâs position, and its future opportunities in the contact-center market, is imperiled by the shift of applications to the cloud.”
Read went on to say that Avaya “hasn’t capitalized” on its opportunities.