Eleven Valuable Takeaways from ChannelCon 2015

Minds were definitely in motion earlier this month in Chicago as one the great collaborative and educational channel events of the year, ChannelCon 2015 kicked into full gear. With a record number of solution providers, vendor and distribution executives and other industry professionals in attendance, they got to choose from a multitude of thought-proving presentations and collaborative IT business- advancing sessions.

The event started off with Community Day, which included a full slate of collaborative workshops, educational discussions and channel research overviews. The day was filled with debate and teamwork, advancing industry initiatives such as new business training programs, organizational tools and other channel resources that we’ve come to expect from these member-lead groups.   

Community Day created a solid foundation for all the great content that followed. CompTIA expanded the ChannelCon content for 2015, allowing solution providers and other channel professionals to advance their skills in a number of new areas. This year’s Vendor Summit followed a similar path, with exclusive keynote speakers and a number of high-level sessions designed for that specific community.

Add in the live CompTIA Executive Certificate, the Trustmark Workzone, Track4Techs and specialty tracks for sales, leadership and top industry trends ─ it’s not hard to see why there were a number of options available for every channel professional. Couldn’t make this year’s event? While there's no way to detail all the information shared in so many fantastic sessions, here are eleven (because ten simply wasn’t enough) of the more notable highlights:   

  1. Three Paths to Understanding your Customers: Ever had problems conveying your value effectively to clients and prospects? According to Adam Alter, author of the New York Times best-selling book Drunk Tank Pink, that’s one of the biggest challenges for businesses. In his ChannelCon keynote, he shared several ways solution providers and other channel organizations can overcome that obstacle.

     

  2. Anyone Can Be an "Intrapreneur": How did the Advancing Women in IT Community’s guest speaker Miki Agrawal earn the distinction of being named to the “Top 20 Millennials on a Mission?” She’s not just a dreamer, she’s a doer. Miki shared stories from her own personal successes and encouraged the audience to find their own way to be valuable in a competitive business environment.

     

  3. IT Security House of Horrors: What’s the worst security nightmares you’ve ever encountered with a client or prospective customer? The IT Security Community meeting included a number of stories highlighting the poor decisions some companies make. How are your clients compromising their network and data protection?

     

  4. Mobility Mobile Lifecycle and Recycle Business Opportunities: Have you ever considered the security implications of repairing and replacing smartphones and tablets?  Mobile devices break frequently and your clients may be handing them off to unknown (not vetted) individuals with access to all the vital information they contain. What options should solution providers be considering to reduce the risk of data leaks?

      

  5. Building a "Born In the Cloud" Business: As many would have us believe, the solution provider community is fully selling and supporting cloud services today. The reality is quite different. In the Cloud Community meeting at ChannelCon, a group of experienced cloud professionals debated what it takes to build a viable cloud practice (and what to avoid).  

      

  6. The Promised Land of IT Opportunities?: Have the “IT business shattering” predictions made by well-respected industry experts really come to fruition. CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux compared a few of these transformational “prophecies” with the actual channel results in his keynote address to the ChannelCon audience. Joined by a panel of successful solution providers, they discussed some of the biggest challenges in business transformation using real life stories.  

      

  7. Sales Said – Tech Said: Are your most critical teams on the same page? If not, how do improve internal cooperation and communications? The IT Support and Services Community tackled this crucial topic in an insightful panel discussion during its ChannelCon meeting.

     

  8. Effectively Managing Your Client’s Lifecycle: Is your team is doing all it can to bring in new clients and keep the existing customers happy and productive? The CompTIA Managed Services Community created a new tool to help solution providers answer that question, and several of the group’s members helped bring it to life.

     

  9. Reaching Nirvana: The Managed Print Services Community hosted an engaging panel on the business assessment process during its ChannelCon meeting. In the “Integration Nirvana” session, three industry experts shared their insights on how to reach Managed Print enlightenment by following the three major process steps – Assess & Design, Implement & Manage, and Measure.

     

  10. Say No to Stereotypes: Do Gen Y employees deserve some of the labels experts have tagged them with, or are generational issues more to do with life experience and tech perception? The Future Leaders Community explored the need for better communication between (and with) Millennials, as well as ways to connect with those in other age groups.    

     

  11. Customer Experience is the New Channel Battle Ground: More than ever, the end customer is a crucial part of the channel equation. Tiffani Bova, VP and Distinguished Analyst with Gartner shared that insight and much more in her Vendor Summit keynote presentation at ChannelCon.

 

Of course, that’s just a small peek at what happened at this year’s event. Don’t miss out on CompTIA ChannelCon 2016, scheduled for Aug. 1-3, 2016 at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla. Keep up with all details on next year’s event over the coming months at https://www.comptia.org/events/all-events.

Brian Sherman is Chief Content Officer at GetChanneled, a channel business development and marketing firm. He served previously as chief editor at Business Solutions magazine and senior director of industry alliances with Autotask. Contact Brian at Bsherman@getchanneled.com.