Information technology (IT) channel leaders attending CompTIA Breakaway here this week were reminded again and again Wednesday to let technology take a back seat and focus more of their efforts and energies on helping customers solve everyday business challenges.
Executives from top technology companies, leading industry analysts and peers from the IT solution provider community all delivered similar messages to attendees. Customers are interested in their business, not technology, and they want technology partners who can help them solve business problems and take advantage of growth opportunities.
"The money is in understanding the domain the end user is living in," Mike deVente, vice president, North America channels, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions, said Wednesday during the Channel Chiefs Power Panel. "What are they trying to accomplish? Bring the solution to the problem and the technology will support it."
More than 1,000 IT channel leaders are attending CompTIA Breakaway, the premier annual event for the IT channel. The conference concludes today with the inaugural CompTIA Tech Summit, which features keynote speeches and panel discussions on cybersecurity and healthcare IT.
A host of speakers at Wednesday's Breakaway sessions said the focus on the customer's needs is applicable regardless of the technology solutions you're selling or the markets you're serving.
"People don't want technology to get in the way, they just want to do their job," said Bill Finn, chief executive officer and president, Finn Digital LLC, a speaker on the "Trends in Mobility" panel. "Make it easy and elegant for people to use. If you can educate the company and the employees on it, they're comfortable with it and will use it."
At a session on healthcare IT, attendees were told that understanding a medical practice's workflow is the key factor in winning business.
That's accomplished through research, good listening skills and practice, according to Patrick Wilson of Vital Signs Technology. "You're not going to have a single product that works for all entities," he said. "It's in the subtle details. You have to listen and figure out what is unique to their practice."
By understanding the workflow, solution providers can zero in on ways to increase efficiency and show the value of the technology.
The same "Do your homework" advice was offered to channel companies interested in tapping the $60B-plus market for government IT sales. Dick Idtensohn, senior partner of BDW-L LLC, offered the following checklist for dealing with the government: Be responsible, competitive, patient, committed, adaptable to new business models and technologically proficient.
"The most successful [channel] partners we see can say, I'm going to solve my customer's business problem," concluded Rauline Ochs, senior vice president and general manager, IPED/MarketBridge, who participated in the industry analysts panel.
Breakaway Technology Vendor Awards
At Wednesday night's Accelerate Dinner three technology companies who exhibited at the Breakaway Technology Vendor Fair won "best of" awards based on the votes of conference attendees. More than 160 companies exhibited at the fair.
The award for Best Software was won by Autotask Corporation, the world's leading provider of hosted IT business management software.
The Best Hardware award was claimed by Lenovo, a $US21B personal technology company serving customers in more than 160 countries, and the world's third-largest PC vendor.
Integral Solutions Group, a full-service IT company dedicated to meeting and exceeding customer expectations through on-time, cost-effective services and solutions, won two awards. The company was recognized for Best Service and took home the Best of Show prize for receiving the highest number of votes from Breakaway attendees.
CompTIA is the voice of the world's information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of IT professionals and companies, CompTIA is the recognized authority for IT education and credentials and the primary advocate for IT businesses and workers. Through its foundation, CompTIA also enables disadvantaged populations to gain the skills they need for employment in the IT industry. CompTIA's vision of the IT landscape is shaped by more than 25 years of global perspective and more than 2,000 members and 1,000 business partners. For more information, visit www.comptia.org.