From The Editor | July 17, 2013

CompTIA ChannelCon Offers Ideas, Tools, Connections To Grow Your Business

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Multitasking

CompTIA ChannelCon 2013 attendees will find a number of new topics, programs — and even a new format — at the July 29-31 event in Orlando, FL.

“The great thing about ChannelCon is that you never get the same thing two years in a row,” says Kelly Ricker, CompTIA’s VP for events and education. She added that the vendor-neutral conference is unique, bringing people together from all sectors of the IT channel with a focus on education and partnering. ChannelCon will address this year’s hottest topics —including cloud computing, security, marketing IT, selling telecom, and Big Data — and offers tools needed to grow your business and guidance on how to use those tools successfully. Attendees get to choose a course of study from ChannelCon curriculum tailored to their needs.

Get Tools to Grow Your Business

ChannelCon attendees can participate in CompTIA Executive Certificate workshops designed to help them enhance their businesses. CompTIA will offer a new executive certificate program, "Maximizing Vendor Relationships," for the first time at ChannelCon 2013. Executive certificates for solutions providers also are offered for cloud, data recovery and business continuity, and mobility. One Executive Certificate, in channel management, is offered to IT vendor companies.

Ricker says ChannelCon also is introducing CompTIA Sales Playbooks — a “deeper dive” into different subjects. She says attendees will work through about 75 percent of the playbook, which equips sales teams with “plays” for repeatable sales processes. Attendees can tailor the remaining 25 percent to their specific businesses. Cloud-based storage is the first Sales Playbook with additional playbooks to be released after ChannelCon.

ChannelCon attendees also have the opportunity to receive CompTIA Security Trustmarks  in managed services and managed print  at the event this year. Solution providers earn “Trustmarks” for documenting that they use best practices to help companies identify regulatory compliance gaps and address problems with security policies, processes, or planning. Ricker says providers that want to receive the Trustmarks at ChannelCon are preparing in advance to show they meet the host of standards to earn this “seal of approval.”

Learn from Experts To Grow Your Business

In addition to learning at workshops, ChannelCon attendees learn from each other. Ricker says planners of the three-day conference made sure there was ample time for subject experts to take the stage. 

The keynote speaker is Robert Stephens, former CTO, Best Buy, and founder of The Geek Squad. In 2002, The Geek Squad was acquired by Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy properties worldwide. With over 24,000 agents, The Geek Squad is now the world's largest technology support company offering online, in-store, and in-home support. Stephens served as CTO for Best Buy until 2012 when he relocated to San Francisco with his family to pursue his next start-up.

Dan Roam, author  of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures will speak at the closing session. He will demonstrate step-by-step how anyone —- regardless of artistic talent or training —- can use simple pictures to describe what they do, explain complex concepts, solve problems, and sell others on breakthrough ideas.

The “Best Practices in Selling Telecom” session focuses on the ongoing convergence of IT and telecom technologies —  and the partnerships between traditional IT channel firms and telecom agent channels. The topic at the ChannelCon “Lunch with the Distributor Power Panel” is “The Cloud Evolution.” At the Channel Chief Power Panel, leading vendors will share their insights on the latest opportunities and challenges facing the IT channel, how they see the channel evolving in the years to come, and the future critical value proposition for solution providers. In the Business Transformation in Managed Services session, seasoned MSPs will share their experiences through the process of offering managed services and address the new opportunities and challenges they're facing on the other side. The panel, including the vendor perspective, will cover topics such as defining your service catalog, value-based pricing, , and the pros and cons of being a generalist or specialist.

Network With Peers To Grow Your Business

Ricker says this year’s event invites participants to develop part of the ChannelCon agenda with the “Unconference Lunch.” The unplanned, participant-driven meeting gives anyone at the conference, either alone or collaborating with peers, the opportunity to claim time to initiate a discussion on a topic in an informal setting. Click on this video for more information on how the Unconference Lunch will work.

Click here for a list of exhibitors, and Click here for a look at who attend ChannelCon.

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