This year's one-day Partner Connect conference is following up 2011's extremely popular seminar programme with another that has been carefully tailored to help address the latest challenges and opportunities for the UK IT channel.
CRN has been fortunate to secure Jeremy Davies, chief executive officer and co-founder of Context, to deliver the initial hard-hitting keynote, scheduled for late morning, that will frame the rest of the day's intense discussion.
Working within a weakened economy with little immediate prospects for growth, the UK IT channel may well face a watershed year. Davies (pictured, right) understands, however, that while money is tight there is still business to be done by channel players, particularly if they focus on their strengths and concentrate on understanding their customers better.
What's more, Davies has access to weekly sales-out information from what is believed to be the world's largest IT distribution database to back up his predictions.
He promises to identify the fastest-growing areas of opportunity, as well as analyse the performances of products and categories. He will also look at what vendors can do to best help the channel.
Sarah Yirrell, editor of CRN and Channelweb, says the event is very lucky to host this latest Context presentation.
"We have tremendous respect for the hard-hitting, in-depth analysis that Context has produced for the channel over the years. Davies, as leader and founder of Context, has access to some of the very best qualitative and quantitative information on the channel today, so we are really looking forward to his seminar," Yirrell says.
Headline sponsor Microsoft will also participate in this year's education programme, presenting an examination of how best to grow revenue when the UK economy remains relatively flat.
Janet Gibbons (pictured, below left), director of partner strategy and programmes at Microsoft, will look at the ongoing development of opportunities in the cloud, and how cloud offerings can help partners win new customers as well as expand relationships with existing ones.
IBM, another main sponsor of the event, has also put forward an education offering for partners.
Big Blue's vice president for business partners and the mid-market, Richard Potts, is going to answer a question that has been increasingly front of mind for many, many resellers and other channel companies, namely what the main financial challenges for the emerging channel focused on cloud, services and related solutions will be in the coming years.
Potts says he will give real-life insights and examples from IBM's business partner community, and hopefully give indications of current best practice.
More sessions on a range of different subjects are under discussion with leading vendors, with the full details yet to be confirmed at press time. Last year, the education and seminar programme was enormously popular, with most sessions oversubscribed. This year will see the presentations take place within the exhibition space itself, which will not only free up space for more delegates to attend, but facilitate networking and viewing of the stands between seminars.
Who should attend?
* Network resellers
* Voice resellers/SIs
* Integrators and other solutions providers
* Security services and solutions providers
* Storage services and solutions providers
* Software developers/ISVs
* Computer retailers
* OEMs/systems builders
* Managed services providers
* IT consultancies or services providers
* Software resellers
CRN understands that exhibition space may still be available. For further details on exhibition opportunities, contact Colin Logan, sales manager at CRN, on 020 7316 9484, or [email protected]
Partner Connect will take place at Ricoh Arena, Coventry, from 10am-4pm on 17 May. It remains free to attend for all attendees who pre-register online at http://www.exporeg.co.uk/visit/sites/incisive/crnpartner/12/vis/login.asp
More information is on the Partner Connect website
London-based firm says cash injection will be used to fund acquisitions
HP's partner conference was a largely positive affair despite one glaring concern, Tom Wright reports
Manchester firm squares up against Softcat and Insight with framework and certification plans
Reuters says Avaya is already considering a return to private ownership