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We're 'Bullish' on the 2019 Channel Partners Conference & Expo

The world's largest channel event is coming, and it's going to be epic.

Lorna Garey

January 4, 2019

5 Min Read
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As I write this, the U.S. government is shut down, Apple posted disappointing fourth-quarter numbers, Brexit is proceeding without any ratified plan, a trade war looms, and analysts are pointing out just how dismally global markets performed in 2018.

MarketWatch spells it out, saying declines were broad, affecting bonds, gold, oil, stocks, equities, developed international and emerging market indices. While the longest-on-record bull market that started in 2009 is still technically running, the S&P 500 fell 6.2 percent for the year, the Dow dropped 5.6 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 3.9 percent. That marks the worst annual performance for all three since 2008.

My bet is that as a channel pro, you’re more likely than the average bear to see this as a glass-half-full situation. Disruption favors the bold, and business experts with an entrepreneurial bent (read: partners) know that all market conditions bring opportunity if you know where to look. We’re also believers that technology spending will remain strong. In fact, Channel Partners’ parent company, Informa, has doubled down on tech this year by purchasing UBM, a buy that brought some top-tier sites and events into our universe. InformationWeek, Interop, Dark Reading, Black Hat, Network Computing, Enterprise Connect — the list goes on. Dark Reading is a content partner for our new Channel Futures MSSP Insider section, and you’ll see more cross-pollination as 2019 progresses. That includes a session at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo; more details to come soon.

Looking ahead, when the financial climate gets uncertain, CIOs have a pretty standard playbook that we’ve seen before. In July 2008, the Great Recession was about a year from officially ending. I was an executive editor with InformationWeek, while Art Wittmann was editor, working on the analytics business. We published the results of our State of the Economy survey, where about 1,000 business technology pros weighed in on two rounds of questions, in March and July 2008, aimed at seeing where cuts were happening. The No. 1 area to get the ax, by a wide margin, was new hires. CIOs were also tapping the brakes on infrastructure updates and cutting travel, leading to a mini boom in videoconferencing projects. Fifty-five percent saw IT budget freezes for 2009 versus 40 percent having to make reductions.A lucky, or visionary, 5 percent saw increases. Said one CIO we spoke with: “When the clouds part, we want to take advantage of the sun.”

So, in a nutshell, no new headcount or big capex projects, and watch the T&E. For service providers, fewer in-house staff tends to be a net gain, and those who shifted from break-fix and selling expensive gear to providing opex/cloud-based as-a-service options will see those efforts pay off.

I encourage you allocate some of your own T&E budget to join us and 6,000 or so of your peers in Las Vegas, April 9-12, for our 22nd Channel Partners Conference & Expo. We’ve assembled a program designed to help you make the most of whatever creative disruption is happening.

We’ll kick it all off with our annual Business Success Symposium, featuring some exciting new speakers, beginning with our keynoter, growth strategy consultant, managing partner of Spark Partners and author Adam Hartung, who will challenge us to see a difficult market as an opportunity — perhaps to grab business from less-nimble competitors who aren’t ready to pick up the slack for headcount-challenged customers. BSS attendees can mix and match sessions for executive, sales and marketing, and technical leadership, and round out the day with …

… a networking reception.

In our conference tracks, I hope you’ll join my colleague Yevgeniy Sverdlik, content director of Channel Partners’ sister site, DataCenter Knowledge, as he moderates a half-day track on cloud and colocation. The data-center colocation market is poised to deliver more than $60 billion in revenue by 2022, with annual growth exceeding 14 percent. First-time #CPExpo speaker Kirk Killian, president of Partners National Mission Critical Facilities, will share strategies for partners to maximize their share of that revenue while delivering excellent data-center services to end customers. We’ll follow that talk with Mor Cohen, Turbonomic CTO, Cloud, who will explain how to identify applications that can easily move to the cloud – or a colo site – versus those that are best left alone. With that knowledge, you can ensure that customers get maximum value from their cloud journeys without incurring costs to port legacy code to a platform it was never meant to meet up with.

Other hot topics: how to unseat a competitor, increase customer loyalty and make money in hyperscale public clouds, presented with Cloud Girls. We’re also pleased to be the venue for the fourth annual Cloud Girls Rising: Women to Watch Awards. Know a woman who’s demonstrated innovation, solution-orientation and thought leadership in the cloud services space in 2018? Maybe it’s you? Find out more here.)

Speaking of powerhouse women, another first-time speaker, business, banking and cybersecurity attorney Kathy Winger will provide perspective on cybersecurity liability for third-party providers (read: you) and touch on the ins and outs of cyber insurance.

We have some new faces and new concepts in store for our main stage keynotes; more on that as we get closer to the show. You’ll hear from top analysts, like IDC research fellow Michelle Bailey and Forrester principal analyst Jay McBain; meet our 2019 Channel Influencer of the Year; and peek inside the mind of a transformational CIO with Splunk chief technology advocate Andi Mann.

And of course, it wouldn’t be the world’s largest channel event without parties. We’ll host our annual First-Time Attendee Reception and welcome the Alliance of Channel Women for their gala, which sells out fast. We’re also building a bigger and better awards program for our audience of digital disruptors; watch for more info on how you can be recognized in the coming days.

Psst, need a discount code? “LORNA” will get channel partners a $99 expo pass, a $199 conference pass or a $399 all access bundle, because vanity promos are how I roll.

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