November 2, 2021
CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — The Channel Partners Conference & Expo is officially back in a big way. There are more exhibitors than ever before, and an attendee number that will rival if not surpass pre-pandemic levels. That’s not to mention perhaps the most important thing — the sense of excitement in the air.
Monday’s First-Time Attendee Reception and MSP Summit Welcome Reception drew tons of attendees new to Channel Partners events. And they all said they’re looking forward to accomplishing a lot before heading back home.
There will be more than 320 exhibitors when the CP Expo show floor opens Tuesday. And as of Monday, 5,900 people were registered for the show.
Kelly Danziger is general manager and vice president of channel for Informa Tech, the parent company of Channel Partners and Channel Futures.
“I think after all that we’ve gone through, people are ready to get back at it and this community is very tight. The channel is really very connected, very close and has worked very closely together to support each other and their customers throughout the past 20 months. And so what we’re seeing here right now is a community that is so excited to be back together. They’re ready for engagement. They’re ready for connection and they’re ready for an education, and just the camaraderie of being together.”
Connections Among Channel Partners Attendees Important
Kenny Straub and Brett Conner are among first-time Channel Partners attendees. Straub works with NewSpring Capital, an investment firm that’s partnered with Magna5, an MSP based in the Northeast.
“My role with them is to support them on a corporate strategy and corporate development capacity as we look to grow our business organically and through acquisitions,” he said.
Conner is principal at nGenius Mobility, a consulting practice focused on mobility transformation in both the commercial and consumer segments. He’s exploring relationships, particularly with MSPs.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with a big telco out of Canada and they’ve made two acquisitions with telematics software companies, so now I’m helping them with a U.S. go-to-market plan,” he said. “I’m taking a look at how indirect channel partnerships can help us.”
Straub said it’s “really important” to be connected to this community.
“It’s a small community, but there are a lot of companies in this space and it’s pretty technical,” he said. “And so the more plugged in we as a firm can be to the market and to all the participants in it, not just other MSPs, but the vendors and the technology, the more we can learn, the more we can serve our customers. So I’m here to learn about the entire ecosystem.”
In addition, NewSpring Capital is looking to grow through acquisitions, “and there are a lot of companies in this space, many of which are looking for some sort of succession plan, whether it’s today or in a few years,” Straub said.
“We want to build relationships slowly that can lead to some sort of transition and eventually a transaction,” he said.
Conner said he’s also always interested in acquisitions. This is his first time at a conference since March 2020.
“It really hurt us with [not being able to attend] trade shows and events,” he said. “We serve very specific verticals and a third of our leads come from shows and events, and we haven’t had that. So it’s really been tough. What we’re looking to do is hopefully spin back up trade show attendance. That’s going to be about a third of our leads; direct leads are going to be about a third and then indirect partners will be about a third. And events are key, as well as identifying good channel partners.”
Nerdio Among First-Time Exhibitors
Nerdio is among the first-time exhibitors at Channel Partners and the MSP Summit. Liz Hoscheid, Nerdio’s director of marketing, and Haley Sullivan, Nerdio’s director of PR and communications, were at the reception.
“We empower MSPs to sell Microsoft Azure and build successful Azure practices,” Hoscheid said. “Last year we weren’t at any conferences so this is all new to us this year. It was kind of dipping our toe into the water and now it feels normal minus the mask thing.”
Business is booming with MSPs, and “it’s because of the cloud,” she said.
“Everyone is migrating their customers to the cloud, especially with the pandemic,” Hoscheid said. “Now people are heading back to work and it’s more of a hybrid. But MSPs more and more are coming to us saying our customers want to go to the cloud or they have to upgrade their servers, one or the other … and they’re a little intimidated by it. But with Nerdio, we’re teaching them how in a more cost-effective way.”
“We heard so many people come up and say, “Yes, we’ve just started an Azure practice or we’re looking to start one, and I think that’s a growing trend as folks realize Azure’s the place to be, and being a Microsoft partner obviously has its many benefits,” Sullivan said. “So it was great to see that and experience it in person and hear it directly from the source.”
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