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Top 12 Stories in December: Avaya, ACC Business, CenturyLink

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Some of the hottest topics in all of 2017 finished the year strong in our readers’ minds.

December featured Avaya getting out from behind the veil of bankruptcy protection and ACC Business partners getting a big boost. But several of the top stories from last month were around grim news, as job cuts at more than a couple of big channel players made headlines.

Other stories that cracked our top 12: A new satellite from ViaSat reached its destination in space, and partners got a new friend at Aryaka who could push the company toward an IPO in 2018.

But those were just a handful of your favorites in December. Which was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out!

As usual, our rankings are determined by tallying online page views and mixing those results with the popularity of stories in our weekly newsletters. (You can sign up for that here.)

Looking for more top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in November.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

CenturyLink's Shaun Andrews
#12 — Broadcom/Brocade Layoffs

Not uncommon with acquisitions, companies determine some positions to be redundant. That happened when Broadcom completed its $5.9 billion acquisition of Brocade in November.

We told you in a story published on Nov. 30 that more than 300 workers would lose their jobs in San Jose, California, with the first employees leaving Jan. 19, 2018.
Datapipe's Robb Allen
#11 — Tech Data Debuts Technology as a Service

Tech Data’s launch of Tech as a Service (TaaS) joins the expanding lineup of industry as-a-service offerings that partners can offer their customers. This latest service allows partners to bundle hardware, software and services into a single monthly subscription.

It’s also a rebranding of a legacy Avnet Technology Solution program called CapacityNow, which now falls under the TaaS umbrella. The new piece of this latest offering is endpoints, said Linda Rendleman, vice president of marketing, endpoint solutions at Tech Data.
#10 — ViaSat: Out of This World

Viasat‘s highest capacity communications satellite, ViaSat-2, successfully arrived in geostationary orbit. It will allow delivery of advanced residential, enterprise, government and in-flight internet services starting in February. The satellite launched in June.

Within days of reaching its geostationary orbit, the ViaSat team says they were transmitting data to and from the satellite, as well as streaming content — providing an early demonstration of the satellite’s power and flexibility.
GTT's Eric Warren
#9 — SD-WAN Roundup Featuring Cisco

This version of our new, popular recurring SD-WAN column focused on Cisco,

Competitors have attacked the networking giant's approach to SD-WAN as being too router-based. Analyst Matthew Toth of C3 called Cisco's purchase of Viptela a good fit between two "router-based systems."

Channel Partners' James Anderson wrote: "So are these assessments of Cisco SD-WAN as a router-based system true? And if so, is using routers an effective strategy for SD-WAN? Or is the router-driven approach like Molly Ringwald: beloved during the ’80s and early ’90s but lacking the depth required for any meaningful sense of career longevity?"
Bah Humbug
#8 — Aryaka's New Sales Leader

Aryaka bolstered its goal of going public by hiring a man who has already helped lead a company to an initial public offering (IPO).

Mike Hoffman is Aryaka's new chief revenue officer and senior vice president of global sales. His appointment is an important step in the company pressing on toward an IPO.

“Mike has been building successful, goal-oriented sales teams with a channel focus for more than 30 years," said Shawn Farshchi, president and CEO of Aryaka. "His experience in growing a company from a private startup through a successful IPO will be extremely valuable during this next stage of expansion for Aryaka.”
Bah Humbug
#7 — Cloud's Big Boys

It hardly comes as a surprise, but that didn't keep you from being interested in the fact that AWS, IBM, Microsoft and other giants are leaders in cloud migration services.

MarketsandMarkets noted in a study that the market for cloud-migration services will grow at an annual rate of more than 24 percent over the next five years. So if for some reason you've been waiting to take a deep dive into cloud sales, maybe this will get you going.

Rural Broadband
#6 — ACC Business Expands Channel Team

In this exclusive Q&A with new AT&T channel chief Zee Hussain, we learned that the carrier is increasing its ACC Business channel sales force by a whopping 50 percent to keep up with demand from partners.

Hussain also weighed in on his first two months on the job and expanded on AT&T's decision to bring its Alliance Channel under the AT&T Partner Solutions umbrella alongside Partner Exchange and ACC.

Get all of these insights from the full Q&A here.
ScanSource's Rich Long
#5 — Channel People on the Move

Our Channel People on the Move segment never takes a month off from our top 12 list.

This version included promotions and new hires at TPx Communications, Broadvoice, Intelisys and more.
Tortoise
#4 — What's the 'Ruckus'?

Just how much will partners benefit from Arris' $800 million purchase of Brocade's Ruckus Wireless? A lot, if you ask Dan Rabinovitsj, president of Ruckus Networks. We did.

“We have channel partners that are in really specialized, diverse areas of the market focusing on specific verticals, in some cases like education, K-12 or higher ed, or hospitality, and service providers that go after large swaths of the midmarket,” he said. “But we also have channel partners that have specialized traditionally in the premium home market. So there I do think there’s in particular going to be some interesting opportunities to take advantage of Arris technology and what they could integrate there, and vice versa.”

The acquisition closed Dec. 1.
Tortoise
#3 — Telecom/IT Layoff Tracker

It's not the rosiest news during the holiday season, but our semiannual tracker of jobs lost in telecom and IT caught your eye in the second half of December.

This edition highlighted job cuts in the second half of 2017 at big channel players such as CenturyLink, Brocade, HPE and more.
Trusted Advisor
#2 — CenturyLink Bonus Quashing, Layoffs

As AT&T was announcing $1,000 holiday bonuses in connection with the passage of tax reform in Congress (although that turned out to be blown out of proportion since this report two weeks later indicated thousands of pending job cuts), CenturyLink was cutting year-end bonuses due to "reductions in operating cash flow."

Also catching your eye at CenturyLink were job cuts that most analysts expected as the company further integrated its Level 3 acquisition into its business. The number, however, in terms of the company's total employee base, was small — 165 out of 52,500 workers.
FatPipe's Ragula Bhaskar
#1 — Avaya Exits Bankruptcy

One of our readers' most popular topics in all of 2017 was also the most-read in December. Avaya's year-long saga with chapter 11 bankruptcy protection came to an end last month, as the company emerged "stronger than ever and positioned for long-term success, with the financial flexibility to create even greater value for our customers, partners and stockholders," according to president and CEO Jim Chirico.

Analysts seem fairly bullish on Avaya's future in the channel as well.

“Clearly, the company had been staggered under its debt expense, but they still managed to keep moving forward on product,” industry analyst and Channel Partners contributor Michael Finneran told us. “While Avaya was on the ropes, the other guys had a field day selling to Avaya accounts, but the customers who hung on are likely glad that they did. With a strong product line, new management and the debt monkey (more like gorilla) off its back, things are looking good for Avaya.”

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