July’s Top 12: ScanSource Layoffs, Windstream Restructuring, RingCentral Unify

There’s so much happening in the channel, it can be hard to keep up. But that’s what we are here for, delivering your top stories countdown at the first of every month.

Our most popular articles in July run the gamut. First, “people on the move” proved to catch your eye; new channel chiefs – both familiar names – took the reins at Masergy and Vonage. You wanted to know how their decisions will impact their respective partner programs.

Speaking of personnel, you were surprised to learn that a big channel exec at CenturyLink stepped away. Also, we honored the top executives of 2020 in our second annual Top Gun 51 list.

There is other news here — some good, some not so great. ScanSource announced 200 layoffs, and you wanted to see in particular how the news might impact master agent Intelisys. Elsewhere, on the technology front, Microsoft got ready to roll out a new function for its popular Teams unified communications offer. Let the UC wars continue!

But those are just a handful of stories you can expect to see on our top stories countdown from July.

Want to know how we determine what qualifies for our top stories countdown? It’s simple. We review online page views and combine the results with the popularity of articles in our weekly newsletters. That means if you want to “vote,” if you will, sign up for the channel’s most popular newsletter. We deliver it to your inbox on Wednesday mornings.

Click through our gallery below to see which story was No. 1 in July. Then, if you missed the previous month’s top stories, click here to see our most-read posts in June.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

#12 — New Masergy Channel Chief

Glackin, Jim_Masergy

Masergy's Jim Glackin

The beginning of our top stories countdown looks a lot like one of our vaunted Channel People on the Move galleries.

Masergy, the network services provider, hired Jim Glackin to be its new senior VP of global channel (channel chief). Glackin comes to Masergy from CenturyLink, where he most recently was vice president of strategic partners.

But his experience runs much deeper. He worked at Qwest long before CenturyLink acquired it, and he spent 10 years at AT&T.

Learn about Glackin's plans for Masergy's channel.
ChannelAssist's Doug Vilm

#11 — RingCentral's Unify Office Deal

Just months after signing a blockbuster deal with Avaya, RingCentral made a similar one with Atos for a co-branded UCaaS offering.

Unify Office by RingCentral will be offered through the Atos Unify channel program starting Aug. 31. It will be the exclusive offer for Atos' 40 million users. And of course, Atos' 1,700 partners can add their own value to it. The deal could significantly boost RingCentral's stature in Europe, as Atos' headquarters is in Paris.

“While there are some differences – mainly in terms of their user base – at a high level, [RingCentral's] partnership with Atos echoes last year’s deal with Avaya, 451 Research's Raul Castanon told Channel Partners, in our recap of the agreement.
Twilio's Michelle Grover

#10 — Windstream Restructuring Plan

Windstream partners are eagerly awaiting the company's emergence from bankruptcy and the positive impact it could have on the business. That's why it placed No. 10 on our top stories countdown for July.

Last month, a federal bankruptcy court approved the business communication giant's restructuring plan. Under the plan, Windstream will cut its debt by more than $4 billion. It will get access to about $2 billion in new capital to expand 1 gig internet service in rural areas.

Here is more on Windstream's bankruptcy, which the company plans to leave in the dust later this month.
Masergy's Jim Glackin

#9 — Channel People on the Move

It wouldn't be a top stories countdown without our monthly edition of Channel People on the Move, which always manages to find its way into our top 12.

This version featured moves at Vonage, Fusion Connect, PlanetOne and more.
Masergy's Jim Glackin

#8 — Verizon Copper Retirement

Our great legacy Channel Partners audience always perks up its ears when it hears the big telcos are retiring copper in favor of fiber.

The latest move is by Verizon, which asked the FCC for permission to retire copper in numerous parts of New England, Maryland and Virginia. Verizon scheduled all of the fiber implementations for September.

“These efforts benefit our customers due to fiber’s resiliency and reliability, and also provide customers with expanded bandwidth options,” said a company spokesman.

Find out if it's happening near your neighborhood.
VMware's Jenni Flinders

#7 — New Vonage Channel Chief

Vonage's Curt Allen

Vonage's Curt Allen

Another person on the move shows up in our top stories countdown from July. Curt Allen, who partners know from many years at X4 Solutions, then Sandler Partners and Windstream, now is Vonage's channel chief.

“I am very excited to join an organization like Vonage that is so committed to the success of its partners and to enabling customers’ digital transformation journeys,” Allen told us.

Allen replaces Mario DeRiggi, who went to Fusion Connect. Read more about the transition.
Automox's Russ Eddleman

#6 — ScanSource Layoffs

The business climate created by the coronavirus claimed about 200 jobs at distribution giant ScanSource. The company says it needs to cut about $30 million in expenses; hence, the layoffs.

CEO Mike Baur called it a very difficult decision, but a necessary one. There is good news, however — master agent Intelisys, which ScanSource bought a few years ago, remains strong. Revenue in the most recent quarter was up 15% year over year, while ScanSource was down 20%.

Read more about this up and down news.
Automox's Russ Eddleman

#5 — Ziply Fiber Buys Frontier Assets

Here's an article from early May that continues to disrupt the picturesque Pacific Northwest and crack our top stories countdown.

We still get a ton of reader comments debating if Frontier better served them before Ziply Fiber took over the former's operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Frontier sold the network and customers to the new company, an offload required through its bankruptcy process.

Things are getting heated.
Cloudera's Gary Green

#4 — Black Lives Matter Statement

We at Channel Partners and Channel Futures took a stand last month, issuing a statement on the Black Lives Matter movement. We told you how we stand with those seeking social justice, both in the United States and throughout the world.

It started a separate movement within our own organization, where we promised a mission to focus on diversity and inclusion on our media sites and at our events. We published new diversity and inclusion sections on our websites. We also set a goal: People of color would represent 30% of speakers on stage at our events.

Furthermore, we established the Allies of the Channel Council , part of our Allyship effort. The group will help us develop editorial content, event programming, community discussion and other initiatives dedicated to advocating for diversity, inclusion and basic human rights.

Read the Channel Partners/Channel Futures Black Lives Matter statement.

VMware's Jenni Flinders

#3 — Microsoft Teams Together Mode

Unless you've been living under a rock in 2020 – and maybe you wish you have been – unified communications is hot. And nothing is hotter right now that video conferencing.

That's probably why you were so interested to learn about Microsoft Teams' new "Together" mode. This function is an alternative to the common approach of presenting meeting participants in square tiles, in grid-like galleries. Instead, Together mode simulates them in more realistic context.

Initially, Together Mode will render meeting participants in auditoriums or classrooms, with leaders or teachers at a lectern. It will do so with what Microsoft calls segmentation technology, using artificial intelligence to digitally place participants in a shared background.

Read more about Together mode and the video wars.

Gigamon's Larissa Crandall

#2 — CenturyLink's Miller Out

CenturyLink's Ed Morche

CenturyLink's Ed Morche

Many were surprised to learn that Lisa Miller, the high-profile CenturyLink channel exec, had left the company.

Lisa Miller was the communications giant's president of wholesale, indirect and SME. The longtime Level 3 Communications veteran joined CenturyLink when the latter bought the former in 2017.

Garrett Gee remains CenturyLink's channel chief, while Ed Morche, president of North America enterprise and public sector, takes over leadership of the indirect organization.

Learn more about Miller's exit; then, check out our Q&A with Morche.
VMware's Jenni Flinders

#1 — Top Gun 51

It's no surprise that the second annual unveiling of our Top Gun 51 list sits atop our top stories countdown.

We polled master agents, distributors and analysts for nominations of top industry executives.They were judged in terms of advocacy for the channel, commitment to partner success and dedication to earning the channel's trust.

You will recognize many of the names here.

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