Some intensive thought has gone into this year’s Channel Expo education programme, with a view to ensuring that the UK channel exits the recession with all flags flying. Last year’s CRN seminars and Technology Theatre were well received, with the first day’s schedule proving most popular of all.
“The second day of Channel Expo in 2009 had a round of speakers on everything from fraud in the channel to international opportunities,” says Sara Yirrell, editor of CRN, which hosts the event. “So this year we are excited to announce a programme more tightly targeted on the solid themes that have been tipped to bring in the revenue as the UK accelerates out of recession.”
The world’s foremost chief executive leadership and strategic insights organisation, Vistage, has been working with CRN’s events team to develop the schedule. The aim is to arm resellers of all stripes with a wealth of practical tips on improving your business.
Mark Burton, publisher of CRN and mastermind of the Channel Expo programme, says he is thrilled to have Vistage on board.
“Vistage has at its fingertips various highly-qualified experts that not only have skills from across business but can offer a fresh perspective on hot-button channel issues,” Burton says.
Day one in the CRN Theatre will look at optimising vendor relationships to boost sales -- and, of course, profits – with Antony Young, director of consultancy Demuto, outlining the critical points that both sides are failing to address. Resellers will get insight, importantly, into what they can do to help things along.
Read the tea leaves
One of last year’s most popular and informative speakers was Gartner’s vice president of research for indirect channel programmes and sales strategies, Tiffani Bova. This year she is back to read the tea leaves for us all and predict the competitive advantages that you will need to succeed.
“The market is moving so quickly that keeping track of industry trends which will impact your business becomes more and more difficult,” says Bova. “The Gartner session will allow attendees to quickly ascertain those trends which are important to their business and how best to react and prepare for success.”
Bova notes that the introduction of alternative delivery and acquisition models is changing the IT landscape, having implications on the indirect sales channel. She will discuss how the channel business model is and will continue to evolve over the next five years, and look at what the channel can do today to be ready.
Shay McConnon, founder of Vistage Speaker Bureau member People First, a training and consultancy organisation, will shine a light on communication and relationships for management. Excellence in management is impossible without excellence in communication. Unskilled managers can create stress, conflict, resistance, low morale and staff turnover – so in tougher times, these ‘soft’ skills are more crucial than ever.
Discussions on how premium brands achieve what they do versus discounting, one on negotiation techniques on day one will be followed on day two by a bright-and-early conversation about the top five finance challenges – also looking at how to use finance to ensure your organisation is perceived to be doing well. After all, communicating success should bring yet more success.
Latest channel survey
Market analyst GfK will present the results of its latest channel survey, looking back at 2009 and teasing out the most profitable strategies for 2010 and beyond. Carl West, business group director at GfK Retail and Technology, says the presentation will outline the changing shift in demand of product mix over 2009, how buying patterns have changed and the increased importance in service over price.
“In a time where margins are being squeezed and once buoyant product areas are being challenged there are opportunities to increase margins and win new business,” says West.
A talk on the coming IT world of unified communications, devices, the datacentre, application development and solution delivery by John Chapman of IT Reality will be followed by a closer look at marketing for a changing world, presented by Graham Leboff of the Intelligent Sales Club.
Across in this year’s Technology Theatre, the latest products and tech trends -- including cloud, virtualisation and security -- will be highlighted via key vendors including IBM, HP and VMware.
Big Blue’s director of worldwide software group sales, Scott Galin, will talk about SaaS on the premises and the use of appliances to maximise channel profit. Should customers move to SaaS for collaboration? Should they use traditional on-premise software? What about hosted software? The answer, according to Galin, is all of the above, with the opportunity for the channel being in helping customers integrate these different delivery models.
Marc Groetelaars, director of the northern EMEA partner organisation for VMware, will explain about building a business in virtualisation and cloud computing. Virtualisation and the cloud are driving the IT infrastructure technology refresh cycles that affect all areas of IT spending, including hardware, software and services. Delegates will hear about VMware’s latest vision and strategy in these areas.
"My presentation will provide insight from VMware on how organisations will be adopting these new technologies and where the opportunities are for the channel to build robust revenue streams," Groetelaars says.
Attendees will also learn about fluid data – a new approach to virtualisation and storage. Mixing Compellent offerings with server virtualisation and services offers real cost savings for customers and maximum margin opportunities for channel partners, according to speaker Andy Hardy, Compellent’s managing director for international sales.
There will also be seminars by Dell, Google Enterprise, and Gamma Telecom. Google Enterprise’s enterprise partner chief Peter Lorant will divulge his views on the benefits of cloud computing for the channel.
Gamma Telecom’s marketing director Richard Bligh will explain the opportunities in the voice market around IP services and applications, targeting resellers with LAN and WAN skills in particular. Bligh will also discuss SIP trunking, hosted IP services and web-based apps for inbound call handling.
In the past, many have incorrectly assumed Dell is all about PC hardware and the odd server. But the company is much broader than that, with strengths in solutions and services as well. Mark Maclean, solution consultant at Dell, will look at systems management in the efficient enterprise.
AMD will give its perspective on next-generation PC platforms and personal computing, looking at where we have come from and where we are going in terms of PC technologies and customer demand.
Paul Hunter, channel sales director at HP, will look at how HP’s portfolio can be used to help deliver value-added services to SMBs and where the margin opportunities still lie for the channel. Hunter will also discuss how to make the most of HP’s channel infrastructure to deliver an industrial service.
‘Microsoft’ is a word that is never far from reseller lips. Last year’s entertaining and informative presenter, Microsoft head of technology for partners James Akrigg, is back again this year to go into how customers can become more efficient and effective with Microsoft Office 2010.
The programme would not be complete without a technology presentation from perhaps the fastest-moving part of the industry – IT security. Sophos channel sales manager Shane Foster is going to take delegates beyond anti-virus and into the realms of organised crime and data loss prevention.
CRN Channel Expo marketing manager
Jane Lewis 020 7316 9532 or [email protected]
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