See who Rackspace tapped to fill its channel-chief role.

April 7, 2014

3 Min Read
Rackspace Names Microsoft Veteran New Channel Chief

By TC Doyle

Rackspace has named Microsoft veteran Will Knight to serve as its new vice president of partner sales.

The former senior director of SMB sales for Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific region, Knight has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry across sales, marketing and channel strategies. During his tenure in Singapore as Microsoft’s cloud sales and geo expansion lead for Asia Pacific, Knight more than doubled the business in the first year and expanded operations throughout Southeast Asia, according to Rackspace.

As head of partner sales, Knight told Channel Partners in an interview that he has three key objectives. The first is to help build out reference architectures that will help partners increase their business velocity with customers by providing them with ready-made solutions that are easier to sell and support. Second, he wants to improve upon the company’s reputation for providing world-class support and increase the support it provides to support business applications. Third, Knight said he wants to work with partners to optimize how they pitch holistic solutions across the infrastructure that Rackspace offers.

“We cannot support every commerce platform,” he said, “but the ones we do support we have to support with the standards we are used to.”

Knight joined the company four months ago, though maintained a low profile after the resignation of former CEO Lanham Napier in February. Since then, Knight has worked on quietly getting to know Rackspace partners and the company’s partner programs inside and out.

“The leadership told me when I joined that in order to get back on the leadership trajectory that it wanted, they had to increase their momentum with partners. That’s initially what attracted me to the job,” said Knight.

Working in Asia, he said, he saw firsthand the number of companies that were eager to move to an off-premise infrastructure solution only to be stymied when it came to providing for the applications their users needed.

“I saw a real opportunity for partners to simplify the complexity for their customers. I think what customers have traditionally believed is that ‘gosh, I’ll just move all this stuff to the cloud, and it will be easy.’ What they are beginning to understand is that they cannot move everything to the cloud, so they have some stuff on premise[s], some stuff in a multi-tenant cloud, and some stuff in a dedicated cloud,” he said. Where they need help is from partners who can guide them as where to put their applications and data, he said.

Rackspace, which does business with more than 1,500 business partners, maintains several channel programs.

Its Reseller Program helps partners incorporate hybrid cloud hosting into their current product and service offerings. After enrolling, resellers get access to key benefits such as competitive discounts, sales, marketing and technical resources and on-demand training.

The company’s Referral Program provides rewards to those who refer customers to Rackspace’s dedicated bare metal, Rackspace Private Cloud (RPC), public cloud, and email hosting to partners’ customers and prospects.

The company’s Cloud Affiliate Program enables partners to earn money and drive revenue through their own website by using Rackspace-approved Web banners and text links.

Finally, Rackspace’s Strategic Program is for partners who “deliver enterprise IT infrastructure services, system integration, digital marketing, content and e-commerce solutions.”

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