Cloud Strategies: The Rackspace Partner Leadership Council
Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) has launched a Partner Leadership Council that features 10 of its top cloud computing channel partners. The council includes VARs, MSPs, systems integrators, digital marketing agencies, and e-commerce experts that are resell Rackspace’s services and/or leverage Rackspace data centers. Here’s an insider’s look at the council and an update on Rackspace’s partner strategy.
First, the big question: Is Rackspace — ranked among the world’s top cloud services providers — really serious about the channel? The answer appears to be absolutely yes. Channel Chief Christopher Rajiah and roughly 50 other Rackspace employees (known as Rackers) focus entirely on channel partners. And partners influence roughly 30 percent of Rackspace’s new bookings, the company confirmed.
Rackspace held its first council meeting this week in San Antonio, Texas. Instead of pitching partner programs, Rackspace spent most of the time educating partners about the company’s history, culture and commitment to fanatical support.
- Rackspace Founders Pat Condon and Dirk Elmendorf described how the company was initially hated by customers.
- And Larry Reyes, Rackspace’s ambassador of culture, described how a Fanatical Support commitment swept through the company.
For VARs and MSPs, the Partner Leadership Council offers an insider’s view on how channel partners will evolve amid the cloud computing and cloud services waves. Initial Partner Leadership Council members include:
- Kevin Ellenwood, VP, National Technical Services, Acquity Group, a 500-person company focused on brand e-commerce and digital marketing services.
- Subbu Balakrishnan, director of technology, AKQA, a digital marketing company serving Fortune 500 customers.
- Brad Moss, managing partner, operations and managed e-commerce, Amplifi Commerce, a multi-channel marketing services firm.
- Mike Celayeta, director of product development, CMIT Solutions, a managed services provider (MSP) franchise in Austin, Texas.
- Robert Dye, president, nGenx, a desktop as a service (DaaS) and virtual desktop integration (VDI) specialist in Austin, Texas. The company recently partnered with Google on the Google Chromebook, Chromebox and Chrome OS initiatives.
- Darren Guarnaccia, senior VP of product marketing, Sitecore, a Microsoft.net partner that works with Fortune 1000 companies and large government organizations.
- Vasan Sundar, VP, group technology, Razorfish, a digital agency with 2,000 employees.
- Bobby Doss, VP of sales, Sparkhound, which focuses on core infrastructure, consulting and network support services.
- Tim McQuillen, founder and CIO, Strongmail, which focuses on email and cross-channel marketing solutions for enterprise customers.
- Annette Merriman, business development and operations, X.commerce, an eBay company focused on Magento and commerce-related opportunities.
Take a close look at that list of partners above and it gives VARs and MSPs a look at how channel partners are valued in the cloud services market.