Bob Kilbride Is A CRN 'Most Influential Channel Chief' (We Know Him!)

Rachel Round
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications
Feb. 11, 2019
3 minute read

CRN, the go-to authority on all things channel, has released its annual list of the Top 50 ‘Most Influential Channel Chiefs,’ which includes CloudHealth’s own Bob Kilbride.

In CRN’s own words, the list recognizes top executives “for outstanding commitment to driving growth and revenue in their organization through partners, as well as extraordinary leadership in the channel as a whole...Each of the 2019 Channel Chiefs has demonstrated loyalty and ongoing support for the channel by consistently promoting, defending and executing outstanding partner programs. Of those, only 50 were selected for the Most Influential list, each singled out for his or her prominent role in guiding and shaping the IT channel itself.”

For more on the significance of this award, as well as recent highlights from the CloudHealth partner program, check out the official press release.

We sat down with Bob to discuss the honor and hear what lies ahead for him and his team.


Congratulations! How does it feel to be named one of CRN’s Most Influential Channel Chiefs?

The channel has been a part of my career for more than 20 years, but you never expect to be recognized just for doing your job. The success we’ve had at CloudHealth could not be possible without the partners themselves. We provide an opportunity and they provide the results.

I also have to give massive thanks to the entire partner team here at CloudHealth, who truly loves what they do and cares immensely about the success of our partners and the wellbeing of the company overall.

To what do you attribute CloudHealth’s channel program success?

For a service provider, strong multicloud expertise is a must, not just a “nice to have.” CloudHealth’s focus is on making partners successful by enabling them to deliver real insight, optimize resources, and helping them govern these multicloud environments. That’s why we have the CloudHealth partner platform, which is specifically designed for partners with things like a Partner Generated Billing engine and Custom Price Books.

We also look toward solutions that support a hybrid model. Enterprises are moving to the cloud, but many still have a data center presence and so they need technology that supports both the data center and the public cloud.

Our partners are truly accelerating business transformation for their clients throughout their entire cloud journey, not just a single stage. That’s what it really comes down to.

CloudHealth was acquired by VMware about four months ago. With the acquisition, what changes can we expect for the program this year?

There will be some changes, but they’ll all be positive. We entered into the acquisition with our customers and partners front and center in our minds. VMware and CloudHealth truly are better together.

The acquisition has upgraded our resources across the board – we went from coach to first class. CloudHealth, as a brand, is going to be the multicloud management platform for everyone in the industry, both end-users and service providers alike.

VMware has a focus on multicloud and already owns the enterprise data center in terms of virtualization – this is the next wave of expansion. Going into 2019, we are aligned on strategy and the timing could not have been better to set our partner program up for success.

What are your objectives for the channel program in 2019 and beyond?

As always, support for our global partner ecosystem comes first. We will continue to apply resources that equip our partners with the tools for success. This year, it revolves around multicloud and hybrid.

When it comes to multicloud adoption, enterprises are under immense pressure to take advantage of the unique capabilities that different platforms deliver. The vast majority of enterprises adopt a multicloud strategy and they require their partners and vendors to support this. We’ll be there for them.  

What advice do you have to someone who’s looking at starting their career in IT channel?

I’ll paraphrase the immortal words of JFK: “Ask not what your partners can do for you, but what you can do for your partners.”    

We all understand the value which channel partnerships can bring, but it’s important to focus on the value YOU can offer to your partners. Ask yourself key questions like: How can I help them grow their business? What type of business issues and goals does the partner have and how can we align?

Channel partnerships are a two-way street, and the strongest are built on a foundation of mutually shared goals and reciprocal value.

My second piece of career advice is to act with integrity, respect, and honesty. Be transparent with channel partners, even when the news is bad (especially when the news is bad!).

You could argue that these are core values which aren’t necessarily channel specific, but they should always be front-of-mind when working with channel partners.