With a end of buzzer-beater and tens of thousands of votes cast, Scale Computing’s Scott Mann won CRN’s prestigious Channel Madness Tournament of Bosses this year, besting 31 of the world’s most influential channel leaders.
“He was born for this role,” said George Jabra, president of Ascent Data, a Pittsburgh-based Scale Computing partner. “He has been a great asset to us and to our growth as a company. He has always been there for us when we need him and even when we don’t. … When I see him, he tells me about all our clients. It’s like we’re the only client he has.”
Bruce Rosen, CEO and founder of IT Service ArchiTechs, said, “Scott is a true champion” of the channel.
“He is highly motivated, passionate about technology and has boundless energy,” Rosen said. “He treats partners like gold and goes the extra mile to help when needed.”
In CRN’s 2022 Channel Madness Boss TournamentMann was able to edge out channel legend Frank Rauch, channel manager for Check Point Software Technologies, in the championship round with 56 percent of the final vote count, compared to Rauch’s 44 percent.
“I say this to all partners: I have the privilege of being the face of all of this, but when you vote, you don’t vote for me, you vote for Scale,” Mann said in an interview. with CRN. “We have built Scale on the backs of our partners. … They are an extension of our team. So it’s a win for me, it’s a win for Scale, but it’s also a win for our entire partner community.”
Mann was able to take down top-tier channel bosses, including a round 4 win over Shannon Sbar of Schneider Electric and a round 3 win over Richard Vaughn of Dynabook Americas. He also defeated HP Inc.’s Scott Lannum in Round 2, following his Round 1 win over Hitachi Vantara’s Kimberly King.
Mann’s winning strategy: ‘Let my competitive nature out’
Although Mann has competed in previous Channel Madness tournaments, his strategy this year was different as he was “more outgoing” and proactive with members asking them to take the time to vote.
“I had a bunch of partners sharing it on LinkedIn and everything. I had partners sharing as their dining room where there is a whole team voting for me. So it was just that approach of embracing the competitive spirit a little bit more and letting my competitive nature out,” said Mann, vice president of sales, ROW and head of global channel at Computing at scale.
Mann first joined the company in 2014 as a Senior Account Executive, but was quickly promoted to North American Channel Director within a few years. He leads the Indianapolis-based company’s worldwide channel role focused on driving edge computing and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) partner revenue.
Mann was influential in helping Scale Computing grow channel bookings in 2021 by 36% year over year.
The partners say that both their sales and margins for Scale Computing increased this year thanks to Mann’s channel strategy and leadership. For example, Scale Computing partner Ascent Data recently needed margin help on a deal.
“We made an honest mistake with our markup price for a customer. I called Scale and said, ‘We’re not getting a good margin on this. I know your margin is narrow. And they said, ‘Give us five minutes. We’ll call you back. They called me back and made sure to cut from their own margin to make sure we got a good margin. So when I say they are always here for us, I really mean it,” said Ascent Data’s Jabra. “[Mann’s Channel Madness win] it is very well deserved. … Scale has great technology, but technology without human interaction is worthless. Scott is the link that introduced us to Scale.”
Mann has been instrumental in the evolution Computing at scale channel program and is an industry titan when it comes to onboarding new partners.
IT Service ArchiTechs’ Rosen said Mann is the reason his company partners with Scale Computing.
“When I first met Scott about three years ago at a conference, I had no idea what Scale was or what the company did. By the end of the conference, I was completely familiar with the product and its value,” said Rosen. “Scott spent time educating our team on hyperconvergence and the competitive advantage of Scale Computing. Since then, we have completed many projects with the Scott team that have been profitable and beneficial to our clients. Scott continues to be there for us when we need him and has surrounded himself with one of the best teams on the network.”
Check Point’s Frank Rauch ranks second
Right on Mann’s cures in the round of champions was Check Point’s channel boss. frank rauch, who is a longtime partner advocate with decades of executive leadership in channels, was ranked second this year. This follows another stellar performance from Rauch who placed second in CRN’s 2021 Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs.
Rauch put up quite a fight this year, beating Veeam Software’s Kevin Rooney, beating CyCognito’s Lori Cornmesser, beating Crowdstrike’s Michael Rogers, and beating Proofpoint’s Joe Sykora along the way.
“Hey, partners, we tried,” Rauch said in an award speech to CRN. “We try very hard. More importantly, you try. I want to let you know that I appreciate every message, every vote, your trust. We’re going to get them again next year.”
Despite the loss, Rauch said he is “honored” by the voter turnout of Check Point’s partners. The partners as a whole have braved so much turbulence in the past year, from COVID-19 to remote work and wave after wave of cyberattacks, to take the time to support Check Point for Channel Madness.
“So many great Twitter posts, LinkedIn posts. People I haven’t heard of in a long time. People I met on a career journey 10 years ago, reconnecting. I feel very, very honored to be here,” said Rauch, one of the most influential channel leaders in the industry.
He continued: “The partners are absolutely extraordinary. They are resistant. They are creative and adaptable. Especially going from thousands of physical events to virtual events. But most importantly, the scope of the partners. Whether it’s because of the situation in Ukraine, whether it’s during COVID. Basically, partners help communities, they work with us, Check Point, they work with other big companies so we can make a difference.”
Rauch joined Check Point in 2019 and has the formal title of global head of channel sales. Rauch has been a stalwart in the channel, joining VMware in 2012 as head of Americas channel and coming to HP with the Compaq acquisition.
Partner: ‘No one more kind and affable’ than Rauch
Kevin Casson, Vice President of Homeland Security Solutions at Sirius Computer Solutions, a San Antonio-based Check Point Partner, CRN Member 2022 Managed Service Provider 500 – told CRN in an interview that it was a pleasure supporting Rauch in the competition.
“There is probably no one more kind and caring,” Casson said. “He is someone who is in competition calibers with a lot of joy and life. But win or lose, it’s the thrill of the hunt and the competition that I think Frank loves.”
Speaking to CRN after Check Point’s CPX event in Denver this week, Casson said he’s a fan of the company’s partner program because Check Point is never just trying to sell you the technology, “but letting us see and understand the technology.”
“They are very, very honest and loaded with integrity about how they do business with the channel,” he said. “They don’t tell us in a prescriptive way how they will do business, they come to us and give us ideas, but then they are very open to how best to do business with them.”
Scale Computing is not channel first, but ‘channel only’
Scale Computing’s channel boss and winner of CRN’s 2022 Channel Madness Tournament of Bosses was humbled in his victory.
Mann said Scale Computing’s partners are an “extension of our family” that can be felt in the way the company engages, creates channel programs and supports solution providers in the field.
“The channel is in our DNA. Working with partners, that’s part of our DNA. It is an extension of us as a company. Where I think we really differentiate ourselves is that, it’s not like we’re a channel-first organization, we’re a channel-only organization,” Mann said. “So we lead with the channel every step of the way and bring our partners into everything we do, whether it’s developing new products and asking them to help us give us feedback on beta products, or their objective. merchandising strategies in a new solution that we’re introducing, or is it just getting them into the sales cycle and making sure they know we’re there with them through thick and thin, from the start of the sale to the inevitable win that we’re going to to get with them”.
Mann said the Channel Madness victory is not just his, but a victory for the partners and employees of Scale Computing.
“Honestly, I have been completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of support we have received from partners and also internally at Scale: family, friends, everyone. I was on Channel Madness for a couple more years. This year has been like no other for me. So it’s about our partners and our internal Scalers,” Mann said. “We’re at a point where everyone thinks we have a right to be here and we should win this. … Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me.”