With just under two months to go until Channel Expo 2008 kicks off, registrations are flooding in at a rate of knots.
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.
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, software, applications, networking, storage and peripherals.
More than 2,000 resellers have already registered for the event and over 80 exhibitors have booked their stands, including firms such as Oki, Lenovo, Xerox, T-Mobile and Star, to name just a few.
Mark Burton, CRN’s publisher, said Expo registrations were pouring into Incisive Media’s offices on a daily basis. “This year is shaping up to be the best one yet and will be a shining star in CRN’s growing portfolio of events. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into arranging this event, using the key skills of industry experts and CRN’s editorial and marketing teams.”
Back in February we revealed how the education programme will take the form of CRN’s popular How to Sell series. Now it is time to explore the discussion topics in more detail.
To kick off the first day’s education, Steve Gilroy, business growth consultant at independent organisation CompTIA will go through the seven key points to sales success in a speech tailored for the channel.
Highlights will include why each stage is important and what it can do for your business, how to identify weaknesses in any of the areas, practical advice on how to improve results and how to apply each stage to a vendor/partner environment.
Following the CompTIA opener, will be the first in a series of panel debates on six of the hottest topics facing the channel in 2008.
Day one will cover the convergence of audiovisual (AV) and IT, data leakage and the opportunities around it for resellers, and print management. Splitting up the panel debates will also be a keynote speech from rogue trader Nick Leeson, who will speak about risk-taking and implementing the proper control processes within a company. He will also talk about his experience at Barings Bank and his subsequent jail term in Singapore.
CRN’s editorial and events teams have been working hard to gather a panel of industry experts for every debate and are hopeful that the discussion will draw in those listening on the floor and spark some interesting and lively discussions. Each panel is made up of a chairperson and a number of senior industry figures.
Convergence of AV and IT
Sitting on the first panel (AV and IT convergence) as the chairman will be Colin Messenger, senior consultant at Decision Tree Consulting; Paul Berry, director of UK business at Promethean; Mark Tildesley, sales and marketing manager at Maverick; Mark Bird, group sales and business development director at Steljes; and Stuart Mizon, business manager at Midwich.
Areas covered will include how AV vendors are increasingly looking towards IT resellers, with AV resellers having to learn networking and IT skills. Does this mean that AV and IT resellers be working together more in the future?
Messenger said it should be an interesting discussion. “Technology in the UK
is leading the world at the moment. The UK is ahead of most countries and a lot
of people come here to see what we are doing. From a reseller’s point of view it
is a really exciting time because there is so much going on.
“AV resellers have been in education for a long time and now the traditional IT resellers are also looking to the space. There will certainly be plenty to talk about.”
The data leakage gold mine
The second panel debate is centred on the hot topic of data leakage and how the channel should capitalise on this potential gold mine. Bob Tarzey, service director at Quocirca will be chairing the debate.
With a number of high-profile government data losses over the past few months, the debate should have plenty of material. Resellers will learn how to convince their customers to invest in the proper protection and what types of technology are the best to offer their customers.
Sitting on the panel, alongside Tarzey, will be Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of the Wick Hill Group; David Ellis, director of e-security at Computerlinks; Andy Gibbs, business and information security manager at Star; and Adrian Marsh, head of SME and EMEA channel sales at Trend Micro.
Kilpatrick told CRN: “There are huge opportunities in the market and disastrous levels of take-up of the technology, surrounded by a complete incompetence so there should be plenty to talk about. There is also much to discuss given the size of the opportunity around developing the necessary sales skills.
“If data leakage is so easy to address, why is less than five per cent of the market using it when it only costs pennies?” he said. “The discussion will be around how to bridge that gap. Also, I think there will be a bunch of security virgins at the Expo so it will be nice to see a few of them for which the value-add opportunities are new and exciting.”
The final discussion of the day will centre on the channel opportunities of print management. Most businesses have no idea how many printers, copiers and multifunctional devices they have on their premises and certainly no knowledge of who is printing what. How can resellers make margin out of this opportunity and start document management discussions with their customers?
Chairing the panel debate is Jean-Louis de la Salle, president of global document management organisation Xplor. He will be joined by Darren Cassidy, director and general manager of Xerox; Ewa Johnson, marketing director at Oki Printing Solutions; and Nigel Allen, head of product management at Kyocera.
Channel Expo is drumming up a lot of interest from the industry.
James Ward, managing director of storage distributor Hammer, said: “The Channel Expo promises to be a unique opportunity to meet and network with industry peers and vendors, and offers a comprehensive view of the state of the channel and its most contemporary products.”
Dave Everitt, AMD Live! Evangelist, which is sponsoring the VIP area at the event this year said: “We look forward to Channel Expo every year because it is the ideal opportunity to meet with a wide range of partners, resellers and distributors in a short space of time and discuss views on the UK channel market.”
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