JS Group is increasing its IT expertise as the traditional telco channel expands its horizons.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

June 28, 2021

4 Min Read
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The channel consultancy JS Group expanded its IT expertise by hiring Charlie Cox.

The firm’s new senior vice president of channel transformation will work with partners and vendors on activation. He’ll consult with large distributors, large IT channel vendors, systems integrators, MSPs and large VARs. He’ll put a special emphasis on security, edge compute, cloud and analytics.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in May.

Many people in the IT channel know Cox for his 17-year stint at Datatrend Technologies, a Minnesota-based partner. He advanced from senior vice president of sales and marketing to president and CEO. Cox later worked for Converge Technology Solutions, which bought Datatrend in 2019. He served on multiple partner advisory councils for large vendors and drove relationships with large companies like IBM and Avnet.


JS Group’s Charlie Cox

JS Group Founder and CEO Janet Schijns praised Cox’s deep relationships in the industry.

“You can’t get on a call with any vendor or distributor who doesn’t have a first-name, personal relationship with Charlie, because he has helped them build multi-million or even billion-dollar businesses,” Schijns told Channel Futures.

Cox praised JS Group’s “relentless focus on the technology channel” in a statement.

“Many of my relationships in the OEM, ISV, distribution and private equity space are facing significant transformation challenges with their channel programs and teaming up with Janet and team greatly accelerates my ability to deliver real value,” Cox told Channel Futures.

An Evolving Channel

Cox’ appointment fills out JS Group’s final top roster spot. The consultancy hired Kris Blackmon, a well-known thought leader in the MSP space, last year as chief channel officer last fall. Earlier this year it added Meredith Caram, the longtime AT&T executive, as chief revenue officer.

Cox will work alongside Blackmon, who runs vendor program consulting. Caram in the meantime oversees all routes to market and provides carrier expertise.


JS Group’s Janet Schijns

Schijns said she had been looking for a long time for someone with Cox’s level of experience in the IT channel. JS Group is seeking to deepen its resources for the IT channel, which Schijns says has been converging with the traditional telco channel.

“We’re seeing more and more of the primary agents reach into the IT space, and we’re seeing more and more IT channel partners reach into traditional network/mobility spaces. It became very important to us as we grew JS Group that we got someone who had been a leader and was trusted and had these relationships with big vendors. Charlie’s that guy,” Schijns said.

From ‘Versus’ to ‘And’

And the IT and telco channels are evolving in areas beyond technology.

For example, Schijns points to the trend of vendors adopting co-selling models. Consider what the largest carriers are doing. Verizon Channel Chief Wendy Taccetta recently spoke about her desire to build more synergies between direct and indirect sales teams, and T-Mobile has changed its compensation model to encourage teaming. Schijns pointed to the rise of non-transacting partners in the Microsoft partner ecosystem.

“It used to be direct vs. indirect,” Schijns said. “Now it’s direct-and-indirect or indirect-and-direct plus maybe a couple of application providers and industry expert.”

Schijns said the co-selling model has grown in popularity partly because there’s enough opportunity for everyone. But also, it’s to give the customer the choice they want. In addition, the growing number of tools and technology require more and more expertise.

Nonetheless, the traditional channel partner has a role to play.

“The customer wants to see things come to the table through one party that they can rely on to know their business, and that party is traditionally a channel partner,” she said.

Schijns said her team is committed to ensuring that the channel remains the predominant route to market for vendors. And for JS Group, that means working with both vendors and distributors to enhance their partner programs, and helping partners build the right business, marketing and sales program to capture the opportunity.

“Even in a growth year, there are still winners and losers in the channel,” Schijns said. “Even though we’re forecasting record growth, there are still partners who will win and partners who will lose, and we don’t want the partners to lose.”

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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