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Sponsored by Cohesity:  Spotlight on Mike Houghton - Leading an Ecosystem Driven by Excellence

Posted by Dena Koklanaris on Jan 21, 2021 8:00:00 AM

At Authority, we had the pleasure of connecting with Mike Houghton, VP, Worldwide Channel Sales at Cohesity. We covered extensive ground – from the importance of strengthening connections to the breadth of Cohesity’s partner ecosystem. Hear what Mike has to say about this and Cohesity’s new Data Management as a Service (DMaaS), a comprehensive SaaS-based offering that Cohesity announced in strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Thanks for joining us, Mike. Take us back to the start of your career. What brought you to a life in technology?

Mike HoughtonThanks for having me. Like so many of us who work in technology, I like to say that the career found me. While I was in college at Arizona State University, a member of one of my study groups introduced me to a founder of Insight. This sparked a connection that would become a fulfilling career move. At Insight, I began my career as an intern and was subsequently offered a position as a buyer. What I’ve found during the course of my career is that I gravitate toward a fast-paced environment – one that’s never static and always changing.

When did you become the VP of Worldwide Channel Sales at Cohesity, and what sparked your interest in this role?

I’ve been in my current role for several months, although I’ve been at Cohesity for nearly a year. Cohesity’s commitment to channel growth inspired me to take on this role. In fact, growth is why I joined the organization. Our executive leadership is exceptionally passionate about growing the channel. Across numerous departments, we’re investing in channel resources including enablement, marketing, field sales and more. Whereas other organizations are pulling back their investments because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re upping the ante and investing more. We’ve consistently maintained a high Net Promoter Score (NPS) of over 90, showing our commitment to customer success. This commitment – coupled with our track record of excellence – was at the heart of my decision to join Cohesity and take the role of VP, Worldwide Channel Sales.

Mike, what’s a typical day like for you?

Well, ask my kids and they’ll tell you that I talk for a living. As I’m often in back-to-back Zoom meetings, I can see why.

So much of my day is spent making and strengthening connections. On any given day, I’m meeting with partners, distributors, various teams, the executive team at Cohesity – you name it. I’m also working on quarterly business reports (QBRs), conducting business planning sessions, hosting webinars and meeting with channel teams in other regions.

Let’s switch gears to the partnership between Tech Data and Cohesity. Why do you think it’s successful?

I think it boils down to strategy and strength. Across both organizations, we have exceptionally strong teams. For Cohesity, Tech Data is a strategic partner in the U.S. and is our primary North American distributor. So much of our shared success is also due to the level of investment that Tech Data has made in our organization. They handle distribution-managed partners. Tech Data supports us on the federal side of our business as well. Operationally, they help us close out quarters and aid us in large deals; in fact, more than 70 percent of major deals come through Tech Data.

Moreover, they’re willing to take smart, strategic risks with us. Without a certain level of risk, you can’t grow. Tech Data is eager to try new, innovative approaches to our joint business that take us to the next level – from new market segments and go-to-market strategies to operations and logistics. The channel is evolving at a rapid pace. Tell us how Cohesity responds to change.

What’s unique about your approach?

For us, it’s all about our partners. We’re 100 percent partner focused. We’re developing a world-class ecosystem of alliances and investors who support our partner-services model. In addition, we prepare for change. We anticipate it and respond accordingly, particularly when it entails solving for the complexity of our customers’ changing needs. We pay very close attention to our customer relationships and are always mining for and gaining feedback through our strong relationships.

How does your evolving ecosystem support partnerships – with service providers, alliances and customers – across the channel?

First and foremost, our ecosystem is designed to support our channel partners who, in turn, support our shared customers. We have a rich ecosystem consisting of different types of partners – solution providers, service providers, global system integrators (GSIs) and alliances – all of whom enable different go-to-market models. The power of our ecosystem is that we all work together to satisfy the needs of our customers. What’s more, our alliance partners – like Cisco, HPE and Pure Storage, with their strong industry footprint – amplify and accelerate business with our solution providers.

Cohesity recently announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), providing customers with a comprehensive DMaaS solution. What challenges will the DMaaS solution help to solve?
The DMaaS solution is designed to provide enterprise and mid-size customers with another radically simple way to back up, secure, govern and analyze their data. And, with this solution, we’re offering customers even greater choice. With Cohesity, customers can now manage their data using an on-premises model, a SaaS model in which we manage the infrastructure for them, or both. With DMaaS, the solution infrastructure is managed directly by Cohesity and hosted on AWS, and the customer is free to focus on what really matters: their business.

As data continues to grow exponentially, many organizations are looking to manage it in ways that allow their IT teams to focus on policy versus infrastructure, provide consumption-based pricing, accelerate the move to the cloud, make it easy to derive value from data and remove inefficient data infrastructure silos. That’s where Cohesity can help. In putting our comprehensive DMaaS solution to work, we also aim to support multiple use cases including data backup and archiving, disaster recovery, file and object services, copy data management and analytics.

Mike, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Cohesity is a rocket ship: it’s fast-moving and growing at an incredible speed. We have top-notch technology and we’re 100 percent partner focused. We pride ourselves on the consistently high ratings we receive from both customers and partners, and look forward to steering the future with Tech Data and our partners.

About the Author
Dena Koklanaris joined Tech Data in 2018 and leads the company’s in-house team of copywriters and content strategists. She’s proud to hone her craft for one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” When not writing, you can find her on the beach or riding her bike.


Tags: Data Management, SaaS, As A Service, Storage, Data Storage, Data Management as a Service (DMaaS), Cohesity