CompTIA Community and Council Leaders Focus their Efforts on 2017 and Beyond at Planning Meeting

IMG_1867_editAt the recent 2017 Planning Meeting of CompTIA Community and Council leaders in Kansas City, Missouri, over 50 council and community leaders, representing 13 of the 18 groups, came together to brainstorm on key issues facing the industry and where they plan to focus their efforts in 2017.    

With some of the channel's most respected individuals contributing to the discussion, the sessions were enlightening and highly productive. In fact, the communities and councils came up with several innovative prospects they will discuss in more detail with their respective members in the coming weeks. Here is a sneak peek at some of the objectives they laid out for the coming year:   

  • Partner Advisory Council (PAC) members are dialed in on resource and training gaps for solution providers in 2017. They plan to develop additional tools and programs to help VARs and MSPs strengthen their business fundamentals. Potential topics include financial metrics, service and operational excellence, marketing, organizational and employee culture, strategic vision and customer/market relevance. Many of those issues can be complex and hard to define, so the PAC members may employ a variety of methods to convey best practices and lessons, such as:
    • Creating short, focused videos.
    • Leveraging or repurposing existing CompTIA resources.
    • Developing and strengthening partner analysis tools and capabilities.
  • In their discussions, Vendor Advisory Council (VAC) members highlighted several concerns that affect partners as well as the broader channel, from converged channels and consultative selling to revenue and pricing strategies. They discussed opportunities in Cybersecurity and mapping global policy initiatives, as well as developing voluntary standards for partners. Working through the complexities involved with those big-ticket items won’t be easy and may take a fair amount of time, but VAC members are considering a series of short “day in the life” videos to start out. Their list of potential topics includes profiling an actual IT services partner, a customer experiencing a security breach and/or a live ransomware attack. Their end goal is to encourage interaction and greater discussion, and strengthen awareness of issues and opportunities in the channel. 
  • Distributor Advisory Council (DAC) members discussed numerous ideas for elevating their vendors’ business prospects while increasing awareness and understanding of everything solution providers have at their disposal (that many don’t currently take advantage of). Their brainstorming sessions resulted in a host of potential projects, including an authentic storytelling video series to educate the future workforce, solicit and share actual experiences to convey how distributors act as a critical force multiplier to extend the reach of any growing technology company. Under this scenario, DAC members would identify vendor and partner executives who can effectively talk to that value proposition, willing to share their stories in articles, short videos and other media.
  • The CompTIA Community Executive Boards (CEB) were well represented at the meeting, including leaders from the UK and Canada. They collective collaborated on a variety of topics and devised several “themes” that could be incorporated by their respective groups, including the evolution of the channel and how those changes will affect VARs, MSPs and other service providers. CEB members understand they need to widen the definition of IT as it relates to the channel. Some of the issues they hope to address in 2017 include expanding providers’ skills so they can sell deeper into their customer organizations, driving specializations in the industry and opening their groups, or the association, to new types of members.

In many cases, these objectives may be incorporated in each individual group’s own member initiatives and/or become part of CompTIA’s broad portfolio of education, research, events, websites, case studies and channel resources. CEB members will take these ideas and conversations back to their respective Communities, and use them as a framework when they build out their own specific 2017 objectives.

The first collective leadership meeting was, in a word, electric. Even as the members started getting their bags together to head for the airport, the room continued to buzz with ideas and activity. That’s the feeling collaboration elicits, especially among those who serve a similar purpose with closely aligned goals. While some may compete outside CompTIA meeting room walls, those rivalries are, for the most part, set aside when they assume an industry leadership role. Their objectives become virtually the same as every other member in the room (and the association): strengthening and growing the technology ecosystem.

Every member has the same opportunity. Ready to lead the way or offer insight and support to the IT industry? Get started today by joining one of the ten current CompTIA communities and attend their next online meeting. Those who get involved may decide to eventually run for chair, co-chair or the executive board. If you want to make a difference in your industry, the opportunity is there…and you never know where it will take you. 

 ‎Annette Taber is Vice President of Industry Strategies for CompTIA.

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