Five9's Jake Butterbaugh chats about the ever-changing channel partner landscape and the shortcomings partners face.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

September 13, 2023

3 Min Read
Victory in today's channel partner landscape
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

The words channel, partner, landscape and transformation are all too familiar to Jake Butterbaugh. He serves as the senior vice president of Five9 global partner sales.

Before joining Five9, Butterbaugh spent nearly 12 years at Cisco, in his last role with the firm, as director of global collaboration sales. During his four-year tenure, Butterbaugh said he’s saw a lot of modifications to how things get done within the channel.

That is principally due to channel partners adopting novel technologies that disrupt many of their practices, he contends. Butterbaugh believes there has been an increased emphasis on emerging technologies like generative AI (artificial intelligence) in the contact center space, forcing the hands of many partners to evolve.

Now, the channel partner landscape no longer looks like it did when Butterbaugh first flirted with the idea of channel sales. We sat down with him to chat about that and some of the shortcomings partners encounter today.

And with an army of authorized resellers, service providers, technology solution brokers, solution providers and system integrators, Five9 is perhaps best positioned to speak on the subject matter.

Clasp On to Strategic Sales, Biz Development in Today’s Channel Partner Landscape

Though sales have always been a central part of the channel partner landscape, Butterbaugh comments that he has seen an “augmented importance” on channel partners embracing more strategic sales and business development practices.

Jake-Butterbaugh.jpg

Five9’s Jake Butterbaugh

“This approach matches well with the CCaaS (contact center as a service)/AI marketplace as a consultative relationship is required, and discussions beyond a simple ROI (return on investment) are needed to align vendor solutions to customer needs.”

We recently compiled a list of 20 top contact center as a service (CCaaS) providers offering products and services via channel partners.

Consolidation is also significant, according to Butterbaugh, who told Channel Futures that he’s seen partners joining forces to expand reach and customer base, presenting various cross-sell/upsell opportunities.

All this change has been for the “better,” Butterbaugh adds, further telling Channel Futures, “Since partners equal scale, a well-enabled partner equates to growth.”

Moving Beyond Migration, Concentrating on Education

“The best partners are ready to have these conversations and help us (as solution providers) build smart-quality migration plans,” Butterbaugh shared. Yet, according to Pluralsight’s 2023 State of Cloud report, the prominent fad in cloud computing is (no longer) migration.

It is now the rapid adoption of cloud services.

“There’s a big difference between adopting cloud solutions and leveraging said solutions to drive organizational success. Even though cloud adoption is table stakes, 69% of leaders still do not have a clearly-defined cloud strategy,” the report notes.

Butterbaugh thinks this is where partners can lend a hand, noting that the most victorious partners will assist organizations in defining their approach to cloud migration.

That same report found that 70% of organizations say more than one-half of their infrastructure is in the cloud, while 44% of organizations adopt the latest cloud products when made available.

Sixty-five percent of organizations note that their cloud environment is multicloud, and 27% of leaders added that their cloud strategies enable them to drive “customer value,” something else Butterbaugh assumes will only aid partners.

“As with any technical evolution, there are leaders and laggards,” Butterbaugh shared.

He told Channel Futures that the leaders within the customer experience/AI market “were relatively well prepared.”

That is when it came to supporting customers by familiarizing AI with CCaaS/CX customer plans. Now, it is time for partners to do the same.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Moshe Beauford or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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