Meet the Channel: Bob Crissman, Alfresco

This week we chatted with Bob Crissman, vice president of Global Channel Sales at Alfresco, a company specializing in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) platforms.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

November 7, 2016

4 Min Read
Meet the Channel: Bob Crissman, Alfresco

This week we chatted with Bob Crissman, vice president of Global Channel Sales at Alfresco, a company specializing in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) platforms. Crissman has spent the past 20 years working in various roles in the IT world, beginning his career at Microsoft and eventually transitioning to VMware, where he served as senior director of partner and SMB sales & Markingting before becoming Alfresco’s channel chief in 2015.

The VAR Guy: Over the past 20 years, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the channel?

Crissman: The value add [aspect] of it is so much more important now, I think, than it’s ever been. Now the solutions are so much more complex in a lot of ways because people are running their businesses off of these things and vetting their businesses on them. You really need these channel partners that really, really understand what it is they’re doing and understand specific verticals. That’s become so important because there’s very few solutions that span all different industries.

The VAR Guy: What trends have you seen in the channel throughout your career?

Crissman: It’s all about the cloud. Again, it was called different things, but I think that concept that there is an easier way to manage solutions than by managing them all yourself. You can put this in the cloud, up in the internet, et cetera, and it just gives you so much more flexibility and it really makes it easier to manage your infrastructure. I think that’s something that’s really come full circle.

The VAR Guy: What channel opportunity is getting you most excited these days?

Crissman: I would have to say Amazon Web Services (AWS). You look at how many of our customers, how many people in general are moving their workloads to AWS and I think it’s just an amazing opportunity for the channel.

The VAR Guy: What’s the one piece of advice that you would give to channel partners to leverage that opportunity?

Crissman: Channel partners should not only sign up for the AWS channel program, but really develop skills around it. System integrators can take advantage of the opportunities available in the program as part of the solution they’re developing so they can get a leg up with AWS. Solution providers should also work on their business model as they shift toward a subscription-based service.

Obviously when you go to an AWS or whoever that might be, it’s a subscription model and that’s a different business model for many the solution providers, so they need to get their heads around how that business model is going to work for them and adjust their model accordingly.

Think about subscription. Think about how that applies when you’re doing business with an Alfresco or AWS because that’s where the world is going whether we want it to or not. They really need to get their arms around it, and not just get their arms around it but embrace it.

The VAR Guy: What’s the thing that gets you most frustrated about the channel? What’s your biggest channel frustration?

Listen to Crissman’s answer below:

The VAR Guy: What’s the one thing you wish everyone would understand about the channel?

Crissman: I wish everybody would understand how much value the channel brings to you. Again the different places I’ve worked, I think you have your direct sales people and, again, by nature they want to control deals and they’re afraid to have different people involved with it. I think where you really get the power of the channel is when you work together and understand how much value they add. They understand the customer far better than most vendors I’ve worked for have because they are on the front lines.

I think that is so invaluable when you’re going to sell something because you know what the customer cares about, you know how to speak their language, you know what’s worked for them and hasn’t worked for them in the past. That knowledge is gold. I think as vendors we don’t always do a good job recognizing that knowledge that the channel has and how much value that adds to the entire process.

The VAR Guy: If you could wave a magic wand and implement one change in your channel program tomorrow, what would it be?

Listen to Crissman’s answer below:

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like