Join us Sept. 8-10, for the virtual version of the world’s largest channel event. Here's what to expect.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

July 7, 2020

4 Min Read
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The lesson that 2020 is teaching us seems to be that we all need to get comfortable with change. It’s a brave new world across the board, and no business has been left untouched. That includes us at Channel Partners and Channel Futures. Get ready for Channel Partners Virtual.

The Pandemic Pivot

Back in March, we had to postpone the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the world’s largest channel event and one of the highlights of the year for our team. It was early in the coronavirus pandemic, when the world didn’t know just how bad things would get. We decided to colocate Expo with our fall event, Channel Partners Evolution, to create one massive and diverse conference such as we’d never held before.

But as the summer wore on, the situation in the U.S. and around the world began to quickly deteriorate. We came to the reluctant conclusion that to try and floor a live event would be dangerous to our attendees, our sponsors and our team. Last month, we announced that Channel Partners would be virtual for the very first time.

Off to the Races

As soon as the decision was made, it was go time! Over the last several months, our team has spent a tremendous amount of resources in researching platforms and creating content formats that will shine in a digital experience. We’ve talked to the industry to see what works for them and what doesn’t. Our speakers, many of whom we are bringing from our Vegas lineup, are tweaking their content for a virtual event. This is applicable to both the telco and IT channels, and relevant in a COVID world.

Keep up with resources for supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Most of what we told you to expect from our Vegas event will carry over to our new virtual format. Each of our speakers and panel moderators will provide educational assets for partners as session takeaways. Attendees will leave with workbooks, reference and resource sheets, partner enablement materials, and infographics that bring session content to life. If you’re looking for top-notch education to tide you over until then, check out our Channel Educational Series page on Channel Partners Online and Channel Futures. Many of the webinars in that series feed directly into our event programming.

You’ll also be happy to hear that our high-energy sessions will still appear at Channel Partners Virtual. All of our Debate 2020 sessions are still a go. These bring industry experts together to argue a hot topic like convergence, managed security and distribution. The CP Influencer of the YearJohn DeLozier, will lead a mainstage panel of rock stars on how to engage with influencers in the channel. Experts like Jay McBain, Gary Pica and CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux will cover how to compete in the COVID channel.

Setting the Stage

New to our lineup are Tiffani Bova of Salesforce and Zoom channel chief Laura Padilla, who will take to our mainstage to brief attendees on the changing nature of technology and business practices in the telco and tech industries.

Will Harris will still teach us about sales and prospecting strategies, but he’ll add material that is particularly relevant in light of this pandemic. Not only that, but we partnered with Will’s philanthropic foundation to support kids in the foster system.

In light of recent events, Channel Partners is taking a firm stance on the side of equal rights, diversity and inclusion in the channel. We will lead breakout sessions and devote mainstage time to exploring the social movement. We will also explore how to discuss these issues with colleagues with sensitivity, and how to make your voice heard.

We’ve worked hard to make the vast majority of our content applicable to both the IT and telco channels. How? By providing sales and marketing training, talks on technology stacks, business best practices and a slew of security-focused sessions.

The MSP 501 Class of 2020

And don’t think just because we’re going virtual that we’ve forgotten about networking. We will honor both our MSP 501 Class of 2020 and our 2020 Excellence in Digital Services winners. And, of course, we’ve built in plenty of networking time in our virtual expo hall.

Speaking of the expo hall, one of the benefits to hosting this event in a virtual environment is the ability to build out incredible exhibitor booths, help desks and consultation stations.

We know we can bring our community opportunities to connect, learn and be inspired at our virtual event — just as we would for a physical event. Join us Sept. 8-10, 2020for three days of top-notch content and networking at the brand-new Channel Partners Virtual: Digital Events for the Modern 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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