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Sprint, Intelisys, Mitel Among Top 12 Stories in October

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News from channel events such at Channel Partners Evolution rears its head in the latest version of our monthly top 12.

Verizon’s keynote on the customer experience cracked our list, as did our tour of the Evolution expo hall.

Our event coverage in October included Intelisys Channel Connect, which featured award winners who made this list.

Beyond that, Sprint’s renewed channel push is paying dividends; news about the carrier’s channel program and IoT efforts can also be found here.

Those are just a few of our most-read stories from September, determined by online traffic and results from our weekly newsletter (sign up for that 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 September.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — Mitel Fends Off Rumors

This one got you talking.

At its Mitel Next event in Phoenix, the unified communications provider had to stave off rumors that it's leaving UC behind in favor of unified communications as a service (UCaaS). Many partners had expressed concern that Mitel might abandon traditional UC in its overall business strategy.

“We still do over 1 million seats per quarter in on-site, so there’s still a very big business for the on-site market and our VARs know that business well," Todd Abbott, executive vice president of global sales and services, told attendees.

Read more about this controversy.
Effortless' Christopher Apostolof
#11 — Channel Partners Evolution Expo Hall

The Channel Partners Evolution expo hall was once again the place to be at our fall show. More than 3,000 attendees packed the aisles to meet with reps from more than 150 suppliers on the show floor.

We snapped some photos of the biggest booths with the coolest designs.
Effortless' Sonya Meline
#10 — How to Become a Top MSP

Channel Partners' sister site, Channel Futures, recognized hundreds of top the top managed-service-provider businesses from around the world during a special awards dinner at Channel Partners Evolution, Oct. 11.

As a lead-up to the event, we published a story featuring Sirius Computer Solutions, which placed No. 1 in the annual MSP 501 rankings for the second year in a row. You were eager to learn the company's secrets in this profile, where Mike Conley, executive vice president, managed and cloud services, Sirius, discussed what has made his company so successful.
Powernet's Penny Thurnau
#9 — Intelisys Awards

Master-agent Intelisys handed out awards in various categories at its annual Channel Connect event last month.

Vendors such as RingCentral, Comcast, Evolve IP and Masergy took home honors, while individual channel managers also struck gold, based on partner votes.

Here's the list of winners.
Intermedia's Jonathan McCormick gallery
#8 — Verizon Keeps the Customer Experience in Focus

In the first of two appearances on our countdown, Verizon caught your eye with its keynote from Channel Partners Evolution.

The carrier's Catherine Sugarbroad, executive director, enterprise product management and pricing, shared insights on the state of the customer experience. Despite what you might think, people are sharing more about good business interactions than bad on social media. Part of the reason: Millennials tend to have a more positive outlook and are willing to share that.

The big takeaway, Sugarbroad said: If you can create great experiences, you're really going to accelerate your business.

Learn more from her about customer-experience strategies.
Cisco's Andrew Sage
#7 — Channel People on the Move

Our monthly top 12 wouldn't be complete without our review of people taking new jobs or getting promoted in the channel.

This edition featured changes at Intelisys, AireSpring and Masergy, to name a few.
Cisco's Andrew Sage
#6 — SD-WAN Providers You Should Know

Our list of 20 top SD-WAN providers you should know has become a regular in our monthly rankings.

First published in March, our list of players in this evolving technology has remained quite popular. See who joined Aryaka, Cisco and Windstream as key vendors of SD-WAN services.
InfoSec's Mike Nobers
#5 — UCaaS Thunderdome

One of the most competitive technologies in the channel is unified communications as a service (UCaaS), so it comes as little surprise that you would flock to see our write-up on how Mitel, RingCentral, Avaya and CoreDial went head to head in the UCaaS Thunderdome session at Channel Partners Evolution.

The four vendors got a chance to explain why their solution is better than their rivals'. They took tough questions from moderators and the audience.

Read this to help make a decision on the top provider.
Powernet's Penny Thurnau
#4 — Verizon Cutting Workforce

Anytime job cuts are mentioned, the channel listens.

The latest involves Verizon, which isn't laying people off per se, but the carrier is making early retirement offers to workers nationally. Thousands of staffers reportedly, including management, got the offers "as part of a broader cost-cutting effort." The voluntary severance packages include three weeks' pay for each year of service.

Analyst Rich Karpinski of 451 Research told us this comes as no surprise, as competitive shifts and automation are helping big telcos get by with fewer people.
Effortless' Sonya Meline gallery
#3 — Profile of AT&T's Zee Hussain

We took a deep dive into the life of AT&T channel chief Zee Hussain, who has quite a story to tell.

Hussain, senior vice president with AT&T Partner Solutions, told us how spending his youth in Pakistan helped shape who he is today — and how a career in sales wasn't on his radar at an early age.

If you read one channel profile this year, this should be it.
D3 Security's Peter Marini
#2 — Sprint Unifies Partner Program, Teams with WTG on IoT

Sprint is making a big push in the channel. The carrier told us at Intelisys Channel Connect that the official rebranding of the Sprint Partner Program went live early in the month. It also launched its IoT in a Box program for partners, which falls under the purview of the Sprint Business Partner Program. At Channel Partners Evolution in Philadelphia, Sprint announced that master agent WTG would add its IoT in a Box to its portfolio.

Other changes to the partner program include a new "sell with" program designed to prevent conflict between direct and indirect wireline and cloud efforts. Partners can register to team up with Sprint's direct sales team to work together with a customer.
D3 Security's Peter Marini
#1 — Ron Huddleston Dies

One of the channel's best-known innovators passed away.

Ron Huddleston, Twilio's chief partners officer and longtime channel executive, was only at the cloud communications platform provider for eight months before his death. He was better known for his long career at industry giants Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle. As senior vice president of global ISV and channels at Salesforce, he was credited with developing the company’s enterprise application marketplace, AppExchange.

Many in the channel got to know him from his run as corporate vice president of the Microsoft One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization, leading a major revamp at the software giant. He took "indefinite family leave" from the company in 2017, taking the job at Twilio early in '18.

“The communications industry and the role at Twilio is a whole new space for me, and the more I learned about the opportunity and ecosystem, the more excited I became," he told us at the time.

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