Channel Expo 2008 is gathering momentum, with more than 1,500 resellers already registered for the event and 55 exhibitors signed and sealed.
The UK’s premier channel exhibition is scheduled to take place this year in Hall 19 of the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 May.
Mark Burton, channel associate publisher at event organiser Incisive Media, said: “I am delighted and overwhelmed by the registration numbers for Channel Expo 2008 so far. We have more than 1,500 resellers registered already for May’s event, and that figure is increasing every day. This response really demonstrates the need for an event of this kind in the industry.”
A one-of-a-kind show
Channel Expo is the only event that brings the entire channel under one roof, showcasing the UK’s most diverse range of products and services for the reseller community, encompassing hardware, applications, networking, storage and peripherals.
We can now reveal the education programme line-up that will be held in the Masterclass Theatre during the two-day event, based on CRN’s popular supplement series, How to Sell. Last week, we were able to unveil our keynote speaker for the two-day event the man who brought about the high-profile downfall of Barings Bank, Nick Leeson.
This is quite a coup for CRN, particularly with the furore surrounding the recent Société Générale debacle, and the $7.5bn (£3.6bn) hit taken by France’s second-largest bank as a result of the actions of 31-year-old rogue trader Jerome Kerviel.
Speaking to CRN about the keynote speech he plans to deliver, Leeson, who spent more than four years in a Singapore jail as a result of his actions, said his keynote would address the subject of risk-taking and the importance of companies having proper control processes in place.
“I would never have dreamt that I’d spend four-and-a-half years of my life in prison,” Leeson said. “During Expo I will be talking about operational risk and, in particular, looking at Barings and how a lot of systems and controls not only failed, but completely broke down. I think we are also going to see the same with Société Générale, as time goes on.
“The challenge to all companies, including those in the IT space, is to ensure that the correct systems and checks are in place. Risk taking in any industry is a behaviour that should be applauded, but there should be guidelines and barriers in place that are both useful to the individual and the company involved,” he said.
“What happened to me was that I overstepped the mark over a three-year period and I was not held back by the bank,” said Leeson.
The education part of the show will be split into six different sessions over the two days, each centred on a panel of specialists from the industry. The aim is to create an interactive event with plenty of audience participation (see box for subject categories, 20). More will be revealed about the exact subject of each debate and the panellists involved in a few weeks’ time.
Sponsors and exhibitors are feeling very confident about the event. One advocate of the Expo is Matthew Poyiadgi, vice president of EMEA at trade body CompTIA, which is keen to use the show as a platform to launch its aggressive reseller recruitment drive in the UK.
“We believe Channel Expo is the perfect opportunity to meet the reseller
community and listen to exactly what they need to be more successful,” he said.
“The event is also a barometer of the channel and the sector as a whole, and is most useful in understanding the trends and products of tomorrow. The greatest danger a trade body such as CompTIA faces is trying to second-guess customer or partner needs. By attending and asking the right questions we will quickly establish the tools and activities the channel needs to be more effective,” said Poyiadgi
Poyiadgi added that CompTIA is keen to support the industry as a whole. “We believe that by attending and supporting the industry we may even add value to its position and growth; this creates a circle of growth as we invite more people to attend.”
Software vendor United Planet is looking to branch into the UK market and has chosen Channel Expo as the ideal venue to ramp up its profile.
Alexander Marsh, head of global channel development at United Planet, which
is also a Gold sponsor of the event, said: “We have been operating in Germany
for 10 years and have decided to expand internationally and open an office in
“Part of our strategy is to get close to business partners, and since we are new to market we do not have the consultancy department that we have over here. Consequently, we need the channel to help us reach our customers,” he said.
Marsh added that the firm will be very dependent on the channel as it establishes itself in a new market. “Channel Expo is a great opportunity for us to find several new business partners as well as boost the profile of the company. We intend to make United Planet a name that people know in the UK market.”
Specialist security distributor Wick Hill Group has also booked a stand at Channel Expo for the first time this year. Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of Wick Hill, said: “We have been tempted off the fence by what the show has to offer this year.
“Our business is growing and we have a very strong vendor portfolio. All our vendor partners are also growing and we are keen to expand their reach into the market and broaden our touch,” he explained.
“With our new lead management service, we are in a better position to generate business as a result,” added Kilpatrick.
Gold sponsor Gamma Telecom is also exhibiting at Channel Expo for the first time. Richard Bligh, marketing manager at Gamma, said: “We see Expo as a great opportunity to meet the data reseller and system integrator community. For us, that is a new market and one we are keen to build on.
“Having done the research, Expo is definitely the most appropriate show in
the UK for us. It will help us achieve our objectives. We are very excited about
the event,” said Bligh.
Platinum sponsor Star Technology is also keen to boost its profile at Channel Expo, now that it has spun off from parent company MessageLabs. Bruce Simpson, channel marketing manager at Star Technology, said: “Channel Expo is the biggest event of the year and gives us the opportunity to present ourselves to the channel.
“We are on a mission to raise the profile of Star and let the channel know exactly what we do. Expo gives us the opportunity to do that.”
Simpson said the show will not only allow Star to catch up with partners, but enable it to meet new ones. “It is a great networking opportunity and allows us to get feedback from our partners on our progress.
“The traditional market for us is widening from hardware and software into services and this event will allow us to meet VARs and systems integrators to show them how our offerings will fit into their services and product sets.”
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