With just two days to go until the doors open at CRN's inaugural Partner Connect expo at Coventry, time is running out to register online for free entry and benefit from the 100s of channel-focused exhibitors, up-to-the-minute presentations, and nationwide networking opportunities.
At the time of writing, a couple of thousand channel players from across Britain have already taken advantage of the online registration offer - those who do not and decide to simply turn up on the day will gain entry but need to pay an entrance fee.
Sara Yirrell, editor of CRN, says the day-long show at Ricoh Arena [pictured] just outside Coventry will showcase an extraordinary list of 'big-name' vendors under the one roof. "Where else will you be able to question Google, Microsoft, IBM, and HP in person in detail and on their channel plans at the same event? That has got to be worth the time taken to attend just in itself," she says.
"Don't miss out, because who knows what will be on the schedule next year?"
Yirrell says the months of hard work and planning are finally about to pay off, and she is really excited about the show, which will appeal to VARs, integrators, systems builders, managed services specialists and cloud providers, consultancies, and the whole gamut of ICT providers in the UK.
Furthermore, locating it centrally, in the Midlands, and away from the hustle and hassle of a London show makes it more accessible to more companies from across Britain and even beyond.
"Accommodation is available on the site itself, and very near to the Arena as well including in Coventry," she says.
"Do make it a day out if you can - don't forget, CompTIA is holding its UK channel community forum and EU IT services and support meeting in Ricoh Arena on the 13th, with a drinks reception in the Legends Lounge from 4pm until 9pm on the 12th, right after Partner Connect wraps up."
Best route to success via the cloud
CompTIA will also be present at Partner Connect through the day, with a stand, and the organisation's chief executive officer, Todd Thibodeaux [pictured], presenting on the best route to cloud success at 11:55.
Further big names in the exhibitor line-up include Fujitsu, AVG, Kyocera, Ricoh, Acer, and SonicWall. The trade show area will itself be divided into sections reflecting the main technological streams focused on by the channel -- infrastructure and hardware; peripherals; software; and networking and communications - and there will also be space for the likes of channel recruitment specialist CRS.
Attendees will also be able to hear about the direct experiences of other technology providers and resellers, including the likes of Servium, Gryllus, and Vitality Consulting. Some of these have already scored wins with SaaS, and learned how best to maximise their revenue streams from trends such as the move to cloud computing. Others have promised to hold forth on the best ways to win public-sector business in a time of cuts and seemingly never-ending austerity.
According to Colin Logan, account manager at CRN, chipmaker giant Intel is also going to put in an appearance on the day, and will be available to talk to resellers about the ongoing strategy. "Intel is launching a new programme that brings together its previous two programmes, for OEM's and resellers," he says.
For information about any last-minute exhibition opportunities, companies can also contact Colin Logan, on 020 7316 9484 or [email protected] .
Microsoft's Barry Ridgway will speak at Partner Connect in the early afternoon, and is expected to attract a lot of attention. The general manager of Microsoft's offerings for SMBs and of the partner group is going to talk about the future for Office 365, as well as its journey to this point and where the vendor may have gone wrong in the past.
He is bringing James Akrigg, head of technology for partners at Microsoft, who will no doubt give one of his lively and clear presentations around the latest offerings.
Brand new and tailored for the channel
Partner Connect is a brand new exhibition that has been carefully tailored to meet the needs of UK technology providers. A lack of quality trade exhibitions targeting the needs of the UK channel meant that the events people at Incisive Media had put their heads together to work out what the channel really needs in terms of trade exhibitions.
Ricoh Arena includes, as well as the world-class stadium where many big events and shows have been held, the 6,000 square-metre fully climate-controlled Jaguar Exhibiton Hall which hosted 12 major events in its first six months. There is parking for 2,000 cars. The venue is off the A444, easily accessed via Junction 3 on the M6 near Coventry. Coventry itself is about six miles away.
HP's CTO David Chalmers [pictured], with enterprise storage, servers and networking channel manager Kevin Matthews, will also look at how reseller partners can maximise their margins when participating in cloud computing. Also in the session, dubbed ‘Surround Cloud', they will seek out what consistent earning opportunities still exist for the channel outside the cloud market, and make market predictions.
Adds CRN's Yirrell: "We have worked incredibly hard in cooperation with the Incisive Media events team on this programme - and what came through consistently in all the conversations we had with vendors and the channel as well was cloud."
Other exhibitors include unified communications and cloud service provider Outsourcery, which hit the headlines in recent months for its plan to double partner numbers as it looks to the enterprise and corporate market as well as its traditional SMB business.
Open source proponent Interactive Ideas has booked a stand, as has Yorkshire-headquartered reseller group Brigantia. Brigantia boasts of the largest grouping of independent computer solution providers in the UK with around 1,000 outlets. Being a member of Brigantia brings one the opportunity of taking advantage of pre-negotiated deals with distributors, vendors and service providers.
i365 is another company exhibiting at Partner Connect. It aims to help small to mid-size organizations protect and access their business data any time and anywhere through a its integrated ecosystem of storage software, SaaS, managed services and appliances for multi-platform, multi-site environments.
Security is always a critical area of interest for the technology channel. M86 Security is one of this year's exhibitors at Partner Connect, and will showcase its real-time threat protection and secure web gateway, as well as SaaS for web and email.
Logistics provider City Link will also be on hand, to talk about its revamped offering for IT channel deliveries and transport, including a slick new security infrastructure.
Looking to the future Research company IDC has announced recently that it expects just 15 per cent of new software firms by 2012 will ship a packaged product. By 2014, about 34 per cent of all new business software purchases will be via SaaS, and SaaS delivery will comprise 14.5 per cent of worldwide software spend.
The market analysis firm has reckoned the world SaaS market will hit some $40.5 billion (£25.2 billion) by 2014 - just 2.5 years away - with IaaS and PaaS also gaining momentum.
SaaS has become mainstream, and is quickly coming to dominate the planning - from research and development, to sales quotas, and partnering -- of all software and services vendors. And, unsurprisingly, customers want to be more service-oriented, more efficient, more responsive to changes and more innovative than ever.
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