Channel Futures Launches 501er Community, Names Community Builders

The new initiative recognizes a group of exceptionally engaged MSPs that embody the spirit of the new channel.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

June 18, 2019

3 Min Read
Businesspeople Teamwork, community

In the 12 years since its inception, the MSP 501 has grown from a competitive ranking list into a vibrant group of service providers, vendors, distributors, consultants and industry analysts working together to define the growing managed service opportunity. As the 501 has evolved, so must our understanding of the value the program carries. Today, Channel Futures is excited to announce the launch of the 501er Community, a formalization of the group of IT service providers that have helped us grow our MSP readership and that want to engage in conversations that propel them forward into the new channel.

While the annual rankings are the central pillar of what has evolved into the 501er Community, the 501 is not solely a ranking list. It’s a richer, more expansive society of MSPs that embodies the 501 spirit of innovation, eagerness to learn, desire to network and dedication to forming a new era of the IT channel. Any IT service provider that has applied to the MSP 501 – regardless of whether they’ve landed a spot in the rankings – is eligible for the designation of a 501er Community Company.

Over the coming months, Channel Futures will develop the 501er Community through initiatives such as discussion forums, increased networking opportunities, exclusive access to dedicated guidance from industry experts and special events. Programs will roll out throughout the remainder of the year.

Go here for access to the 2019 MSP 501, the world’s most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers.

“The fact is that the MSP 501 – like the channel itself – isn’t the Wild West anymore. MSPs are of course competing for business, but the industry has recognized the value of collaboration and a free exchange of ideas,” says Kris Blackmon, senior editor for Channel Futures and Channel Partners and head of the MSP 501 program. “It’s time for Channel Futures to embrace a new partner community that embodies those values. That’s why we’ve created the 501er Community.”

While any MSP 501 applicant through the years is eligible for the distinction of a 501er Community Company, there are a handful of MSPs that have been instrumental in helping us build this Community over the last year. Some of these service providers made the 2019 MSP 501 and some did not, but their consistent contributions to our editorial coverage, active engagement with our social presence and enthusiasm for participating in our events as attendees or speakers is everything we feel embodies the 501er spirit. To these shops, we offer our sincere gratitude and are thrilled to be able to recognize them and their contributions formally.

The inaugural 501 Community Builders are:

These 501er Community Builders will be recognized at the MSP 501 Awards Gala at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 9-12, in Washington, D.C. We will rely on these IT service providers to serve as anchors in our efforts to build out this Community. We hope every MSP that bears the designation of a 501er Community Company will be equally involved. We’ll be revisiting our Community members throughout the year and inviting exceptionally engaged service providers to join the 501er Community Builders fold.

We hope you’ll join us on this new journey to build a Community that will help shape the future of the IT channel.

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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