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The Channel Leadership Gap

Get ready to sharpen your leadership skills. The MSP Summit and Channel Partners Leadership Summit kick off Tuesday.

Robert DeMarzo

September 13, 2022

5 Min Read
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As channel partners of all sizes, shapes and business models descend on Orlando for our annual fall summit, they are staring down an uncertain future. It will be here at the Channel Leadership Summit organized by Informa Tech Channels – parent of Channel Futures and the Channel Partners Conference & Expo – where the leaders of today and tomorrow will get their arms around the big issues facing their organizations and the channel. With a better understanding of how to navigate the coming year, these leaders can not only advance their companies but move ahead with confidence. After all, that is the job of every leader — to establish confidence throughout the organization so everyone can perform at their peak.

But leading a channel organization – whether MSP, technology advisor (agent) or tech supplier dependent upon partners –  is far more complicated today than it has ever been. As a result, leaders say they face a gap between the realities of the day and the skills they and their teams needs to navigate through this period. Think of it as a team that wants to advance to the World Series but needs better pitching or defense to do so. To close that gap, everyone needs to upgrade their skills through a variety of means. One of the most important is to hear best practices from peers and industry experts, which just happens to be the centerpiece of the Channel Partners Leadership Summit. This year, we designed the fall conference to address the needs of women who want to accelerate their careers, technology and advisors/agents who focus on next-gen communications services, and MSPs who look to expand recurring revenue streams.

All of those individuals, no matter where they are on their leadership journey, face myriad challenges starting with customer uncertainty over tech spending, followed by economic turmoil, supply chain disruptions, rising interest rates and inflation, compounded by a tight and confusing labor market where workers demand not only more money but flexibility — even four-day work weeks. Data released from our recent Channel Futures MSP Quarterly Survey reflect that this burden is taking its toll on today’s leaders. While MSPs remain optimistic about the short-term outlook for the tech industry, they are more pessimistic about the U.S. economy — and that is not good.

“In terms of the sentiment regarding the economy as a whole, I believe that inflation is scaring MSPs and other businesses alike. In our space, customers are getting tighter,” said Mayron Herrera, founder and CEO of MSP Synetek Solutions, one of the speakers who will be at the Leadership Summit this week.

Well, to help our community navigate through this head-scratching period, we assembled nearly 100 speakers who will appear at the Channel Partners Leadership Summit, sharing their wisdom over the course of three days. A big focus of this gathering will be on how to create profitable recurring revenue streams to help even out the ups and downs the industry will face in the months ahead, particularly if we head into a recession or a slowdown in tech spending.

Here are some event highlights:

  • On Tues., Sept. 13, at the Women’s Leadership, we will deliver a full day of content featuring presentations on how to build a powerful leadership brand, presenting your big ideas, strengthening communications and supercharging business basics around deciphering a P&L and new-age interview skills for identifying talent. A special feature is a training session for women who want to become channel leaders for a vendor organization. It will be an amazing day. Thanks to the Alliance for Channel Women for their collaboration on this event, which will be capped off by ACW Connect Live.

  • As we segue into Wednesday, there will be content, an exhibit floor, networking and receptions designed for technology supplies and partners – from the entire channel spectrum – who want to strengthen or create new relationships. The day kicks off with a first-of-its-kind managed services accelerator program which will help all partners grow managed services by developing services catalogs, along with instruction on how to price and bundle managed services.

  • Experts will deliver solo presentations and gather on panels to help leaders sort through M&A, branding, cloud, cybersecurity and AI, along with how to turn your company into a frontrunner, thinking without restrictions and doing more with less. We are thrilled to have the voice of the customer represented at our CIO/customer panel along with a new feature — a fast-paced, from-the-heart session where a group of veteran and new leaders will share their wisdom on one of four key leadership themes.

  • The anchor of our fall conference has always been the Channel Futures MSP 501 gala. We will honor all those who made the prestigious list with special awards for executives of the year, MSPs of the year, lifetime achievement and a new recognition ceremony for the MSP 501 organizations owned and run by women. It will be a very special evening for sure.

There is no doubt that the focus of this event on leadership and theme on the future of you has hit a chord with our attendees. They realize this is the moment to embrace the challenge of becoming a better leader — or the moment and opportunity will be lost. Thank you to all our speakers, sponsors and attendees who are coming together to address this leadership gap so we can all grow as individuals and take our organizations to new heights.

Enjoy the event, but please let us know how we can make it even better next year. This leadership challenge facing us all will continue.

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About the Author(s)

Robert DeMarzo

VP of Content, Channel Futures

Robert DeMarzo is the vice president of content for Informa Tech Channels.

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