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CP Expo 2018: Where 6,000 Change Agents Come TogetherCP Expo 2018: Where 6,000 Change Agents Come Together

The Channel Partners Conference and Expo turns 21 in Vegas. Come learn something new.

Lorna Garey

January 19, 2018

6 Min Read
St. Mark's Square, Venetian Las Vegas
We'll be back at the Venetian, with a 100 percent chance of gelato.

Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey

The leitmotif of our 2018 Channel Partners Conference & Expo is Balancing Innovation & Immediacy. Some 6,000 participants will wrestle with how to navigate the creative destruction that’s happening around us.

What destruction? Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist for Salesforce.com, tweeted that it took airplanes 68 years, wired telephones 50 years and television 22 years to gain 50 million users. It took Twitter 24 months. If you’ve seen MIT Sloan School principal research scientist and machine Learning and AI expert Andrew McAfee speak recently, you likely heard about Google DeepMind beating a human Go player a full decade before experts said that would be possible. AWS didn’t exist in 2005. Now it owns about 35 percent of all cloud workloads. What’s next?

My team’s resolution for 2018 is to help you thrive in a time of head-spinningly rapid change. We started by publishing our list of 2018 channel innovators, techs and trends to watch. We’ve brought the Channel Partners and Channel Futures edit operations together to add breadth and depth of coverage. In Las Vegas, just 13 short weeks from now (eek) we’ll present a program designed to help you shape the services customers will need in three years, and to get you thinking about what they’ll demand in five. Yes, that’s a long time in tech years, and I don’t claim to have a crystal ball. But you don’t need precognition to realize partners need a plan to build on current core competencies and add the exact right new skills and suppliers, just in time. After all, robbing today’s innovation to pay for tomorrow’s is no way to run a business.

Here are some highlights, day by day, with the caveat that this is just a fraction of the editorial programming we’re preparing. You’ll also hear executive leadership keynotes from AT&T, CenturyLink, Office Depot and 8×8.

On Monday, April 16, we’re pleased to support the fourth annual Telecom for Change Charity Golf Tournament at the fabulous Bali Hai Golf Resort on the Las Vegas strip. The event will benefit University Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center in Nevada. UMC treated more than 100 victims of the horrific mass shooting in October. Angie Tocco, owner of LanYap Networks and co-founder of Telecom for Change, says the tournament brings together 150 golfers and about 40 volunteers for networking and a day on the links before the bustle of the show gets everyone running in different directions. If you want in, better get cracking, because Tocco tells me foursome spots are already 80 percent filled. Granite Telecom, which is also a returning supporter of our Channel Partners Veterans Initiative, is the title sponsor. These efforts are just part of the $5 million Granite has donated to various causes. 

Speaking of giving back, we’re again partnering with Train Our Troops to bring veterans to the event. As a former soldier myself, I know how relevant the skills these men and women possess are to the channel. They understand pulling together as a team, taking initiative and adapting under pressure. If you’re interested in helping us bring more veterans to the event or connecting with board president Glen Brynteson about hiring a graduate of the organization’s extensive training programs, please drop me a line or talk to your account executive.

Tuesday’s programming gets started with our second Business Success Symposium presented by Channel Futures, featuring keynote speaker Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems. The BSS will start at noon with lunch, then attendees can choose from six sessions suited for executives, sales and marketing leads, and technologists. I’m looking forward to sitting in on …

… an all-star marketing panel featuring Lisa Miller, CenturyLink’s president of wholesale, indirect channels and alliances; Vonage marketing VP Ted Gilvar; and Kathryn Rose, senior adviser with Achieve Unite. Tasha Klares, director of marketing for MSSP Force3, will moderate. Check out the full lineup. After an afternoon of learning, we welcome BSS attendees to mingle at a networking reception.

Then, join me at the Women in the Channel gala. I look forward every show to connecting with this dynamic group, and the event always sells out, so keep an eye out for registration to open. The evening also features our annual mixer for first-time attendees, underwritten by our title sponsor, AT&T. We’ll have some Channel Partners Las Vegas (CPLV) veterans on hand to share advice for making the most of the conference.

On Wednesday, my colleague T.C. Doyle and I will emcee the opening breakfast keynote block, featuring Jay McBain. As Forrester’s principal analyst for global channels, McBain has the inside track on what’s ahead; he’ll share his five trends shaping the future of our industry. He’ll be followed by AT&T channel chief Zee Hussain, making his first appearance on our stage.

Our packed lineup of conference tracks for Wednesday: Business of the Channel, Cloud, Security, SDN, IoT, and the MSP & CSP Opportunity with Channel Futures. Come join us for lunch to hear Rick Calder, president and CEO of GTT, discuss how to turn the M&A consolidation among suppliers to your long-term advantage, and stay as Brian Lischer, founder and CEO of Ignyte, explains how to future-proof your company’s brand identity. We’ll give Ankur Srivastava, CEO of Swarmsales, 8 minutes to convince you that engaging with early-stage startups is key to remaining relevant and increasing growth.

Don’t party too late on Wednesday night at our reception for 360° Award winners (have you entered yet?) and Channel Influencers, because Thursday brings another full slate of programming. We start with Dan Saks, CEO of AppDirect, explaining how the channel can (and should) be a digital-transformation change agent, followed by the popular Masters & Distis panel. Our own distis watcher Lynn Haber will quiz Adam Edwards, co-founder & CEO of Telarus; Ian Kieninger, CEO of Avant; Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer, Pax8; and a special guest from Intelisys on how they’re evolving to help partners navigate the changing channel.

After a morning of conference sessions around Business of  the Channel, Cloud, and The MSP & CSP Opportunity, we’ll come back together to close the editorial keynote programming with Gavriella Schuster, who recently stepped in as corporate vice president of One Commercial Partner at Microsoft. Schuster will call on partners to be bold as they turn new, innovative technologies into profitable business models. Here’s a preview of what she’ll discuss.

And of course, we have a packed Expo floor open both days. You can catch a live recording of our semi-famous Coffee With Craig & Kevin podcast as well as a great lineup of interviews at the Channel Partners Studios, sponsored by Jive Communications. In a few weeks I’ll talk more about our conference tracks and expo floor programming.

Want in? Register now through April 13 using the code LORNA (yeah, I have a vanity discount code) and get $100 off any pass.

Lorna Garey is editor-in-chief of Channel Partners and Channel Futures. 

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