Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) remains in growth mode. The company's OpenStack initiatives are gaining momentum and the company has a successful channel partner program. Now for the challenge: Wall Street wants the cloud services provider (CSP) to grow even faster. And Rackspace has had some executive turnover in its channel partner program. So who's driving the Rackspace partner program going forward? The answer has not been disclosed. Hmmm...
First, the background: Former Rackspace Channel Chief Chris Rajiah recently joined ViaWest as senior VP of sales and marketing -- where he oversees that company's partner program. Rajiah apparently exited Rackspace back in December 2012 -- vacating the company's channel chief position. Today, Rackspace still has no comment about who will lead the channel partner program going forward.
The VAR Guy realizes partner programs are more than a single person. As of June 2012, Rackspace had roughly 50 employees ("Rackers") who focused entirely on channel partners. Around the same time, the CSP launched the Rackspace Partner Leadership Council -- featuring executives from CMIT Solutions nGenX, Razorfish and more.
More Growth (Please)
Those are all promising moves. But here's the thing: Rackspace is under intense pressure on Wall Street right now. Many investors are worried about potentially slowing grow and intensifying competition in the cloud market -- where Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) remains king and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Azure is now a $1 billion cloud business.
The result: Rackspace shares have fallen from $74.98 on February 12 to $48.89 on May 1, 2013. (Disclosure: The VAR Guy has been long on Rackspace shares for about three years, and continues to own fewer than 100 Rackspace shares.)
The channel is only one piece of Rackspace's sales strategy. But it's an incredibly important piece. It's therefore time for Rackspace to clearly articulate who is driving the company's channel partner program going forward -- while describing how the next wave of VARs and MSPs will benefit from that leadership.