Networking technology vendor Brocade (BRCD) has tapped veteran channel chief Bill Lipsin to lead the company’s worldwide channels organization, shifting Regan McGrath back to his former position as vice president of Sales for the Americas region, as the company works to better align its field sales and channel organizations.
“One of the main objectives was to ensure we really did have focus on key areas, and one of those was getting better alignment between field sales and our channel,” Lipsin said. “Regan did move to run sales for the Americas, but it’s not the traditional organization that was there before—he is running the field sales and field channel account managers to get stronger alignment and stronger field force capabilities.”
At first blush it sounds as though Brocade was experiencing channel conflict, but Lipson said it’s quite the opposite; he’s “pleasantly surprised” at the level of collaboration among the internal and external players.
“This is a way for ensure we are in lockstep with our channel partners in everything from strategy to execution to communication, especially as we start to see the data center transformation that’s going on now,” he said. “We want to ensure the conversations we are having with our customers and our channel partners are properly focused.”
As vice president of Worldwide Channel and Global Systems Integrator Sales, Lipsin is responsible for distribution, VAR and systems integrator relationships, and is focusing on ensuring Brocade’s different teams, from sales to engineering and beyond, regard the channel as one seamless entity.
“This is about how to continue to grow the value of this company,” Lipsin said. And that’s important for a company that has been up for sale since December 2009. In January of this year Brocade named Lloyd Carney as its new CEO to help it better position itself for a buy, and since then the company has pushed storage area networks (SANs), data center, data center fabric and software defined networking (SDN) as its four main focus areas.
“Brocade is taking a leadership position in where the market is going,” he said.
Lipsin is no stranger to the channel—he is former VP of Channels and Alliances at Arbor Networks and before that led the Global Channels team at CA, according to a Brocade release (and his LinkedIn profile). He also has held senior executive roles at IBM and Bay Networks.
Lipsin’s barely had time to break in his office chair—having been on the job only about three weeks—but already he’s spoken with Brocade’s distribution partners and larger channel partners. “What I’ve been hearing is, they like our strategy and like the way our programs are designed, just want to know where we’re going,” he said.
His answer? Watch this space. “Our focus will be clearly articulated as our new fiscal year begins in October,” Lipsin said.
Update, Sept. 10, 2013: A Brocade spokesperson noted the company is not for sale, and never has been.