23 Reasons to Go All-Access at #CPExpo — Starting with Smart Investment Advice

Join 6,000 channel colleagues for three full days of learning, networking — and hopefully really good bourbon.

Lorna Garey

March 13, 2018

6 Min Read
All-Access Ticket


Lorna Garey

It’s no coincidence that SADA Systems is Microsoft’s 2015 partner of the year for cloud packaged solutions, Google Cloud’s 2016 Americas partner award winner for GCP customer success, and one of the 100 fastest growing private companies in Los Angeles County.

SADA, an 18-year-old IT consultancy, called itself a “cloud solutions provider” well before cloud was fully embraced by channel partners, or end customers for that matter. The “why?” is what led to us invite SADA president and CEO Tony Safoian to be the first keynoter on stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

“If you don’t invest ahead of the curve, your competition will, capturing market share that could have been yours,” Safoian recently told my colleague Edward Gately. Safoian’s keynote, “Investing Ahead of Technology Demand: Seeing the Future and Making Bold Decisions,” kicks off three days packed with in-depth content, all crafted to help you not only future-proof your company but be that forward-thinking competition grabbing more than your fair share of business.

I won’t list all 23 Business Success Symposium precon, conference and VIP sessions that are included with an All-Access pass; our full agenda is available here. I do want to outline a session path that offers a typical agent looking to transition to a full-stack digital services provider the tools to expand.

After Safoian’s keynote and a networking lunch courtesy of Vonage, drop into Mark S.A. Smith’s session, “Profitably Pivoting to Embrace New Business Models.” Smith, an author and owner of consultancy Bija Company, will build on Safoin’s message. Smith asserts that enterprises aren’t the only ones being slayed by the “creative destruction” happening around us — two-thirds of C-suite executives believe that 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in 10 years, and as many as 70 percent of MSPs will go under in half that time, Smith tells Tom Kaneshige. Agents, VARs and other partner types aren’t exempt. We believe digital services are the path to continued profitability, but selling them might require a shift in business model.

Well, we have advice for that. Our all-star panel of marketing experts will discuss how to navigate shrinking marketing and MDF funding coupled with ROI demands and the need to target your efforts at customers ready to consume IT as a service. We’ll suggest strategies and technologies tailored for marketing pros that can help. From this session, grab a drink and a snack and network with peers before heading off to our annual First-Time Attendee Reception or joining me at the Women in the Channel networking event (which sells out, so get your ticket now).

After a hot breakfast, opening keynotes and opportunities to give back, you can choose from three tracks: Business of the Channel, Cloud or Security.

For the first time, we’re holding a Channel Chief roundtable, featuring Terra Bastolich of track underwriter Get Wireless, Vonage’s Bob Crissman, Tina Gravel of Cyxtera and Datto’s Rob Rae. The 2112 Group’s Larry Walsh will moderate. It’s not a coincidence that the chiefs on the panel represent a mix of technologies, from IoT to security, that can and should be sold as services. These top channel chiefs will reveal what you can expect in terms of analytics support, ongoing training, consultation services after deals close, and more. Then we’ll drill down into how cloud transformation is impacting channel partners in a wide-ranging discussion led by Dave Hauser, VP of cloud services at PlumChoice; Hauser and his guests will illustrate ways DSPs can develop customer stickiness and a steady …

… recurring revenue stream.

I hope you’re sensing a theme: #CPExpo 2018 is about making sure your business and your customers thrive through disruption. So where to after lunch? Get a little geeky with Intelisys SVP Andrew Pryfogle and learn how to deliver functions traditionally sold as appliances – think SBCs, firewalls, WAN optimizers – as virtual services, provisioned in minutes and sold with monthly recurring revenue. Then join my colleague, Brian Buntz of the IoT Institute, to see just how easy it can be to hack IoT devices, and get advice on making sure customers don’t end up owned.

Our expo floor features more than 65,000 square feet of space for some 275 exhibitors, including those you’d expect and some new faces, like GlobalGig, IBM, ID Agent, Kaspersky Lab, Office Depot, Samsung and LogMeIn. After a long day making new business connections, you can enjoy the dozens of dining spots within the Venetian complex; I am partial to Yardbird, where if you’re lucky, you might find some Pappy Van Winkle.

Thursday, don’t miss our popular masters and distis main stage keynote panel, then consider our CP 360° spotlight, where peers will discuss award-winning projects, or hear from Comcast’s Craig Schlagbaum and Lenovo’s Sal Patalano, part of our Channel Futures Think Tank, on how they see “everything-as-a-service” selling still shaking out for partners. Then, in another conference track first, our own SVP of content Art Wittmann continues that discussion with three top executives in our inaugural CEO Fireside Chat.

I hope you agree that this content lineup will help your business enter the digital future with more confidence. If there’s something you think we should have covered, please let me know in email or comments. We’re building our content lineup now for Channel Partners Evolution, to be held Oct. 9-12, in Philadelphia.

A final note about an effort being spearheaded by our resident millennial, news editor James Anderson. James is working with Aaron Leveston, national account manager for RingCentral. Together they are co-founders of a project called “Channel Next,” aimed at giving those new to our community a place to share leads, ask for advice or just vent about the challenges of daily life as a millennial in the channel (some of which Leveston outlines here). While I am not … eligible to attend, I am happy that we’re hosting a first-ever meetup for our under-35 attendees. While we hope it will be a fun time, there’s a serious mission of making sure everyone has a roadmap to enjoy at the many parties that mark the last full day of #CPExpo. And finally, a shout out to the sponsors of our veterans initiative, Granite Telecom and MetTel. You can learn more about that at an upcoming webinar that we’re doing with TrainOurTroops.

Want the scoop on keynotes? Get it here. 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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