The inaugural Cloud Partners, a Channel Partners event, attracted more than 2,500 IT and telecom executives to McCormick Place in Chicago, Sept. 11-13, to explore the opportunities for technology channels in delivering business value to their customers with cloud-based solutions.
Cloud Partners, which replaced Channel Partners' 15-year-old fall conference and expo, drew record attendance for the information services company, exceeding fall 2012 attendance by nearly 30 percent. Significantly, nearly 60 percent of participants were new, or had never attended a Channel Partners event in the past. And, Cloud Partners' participants represented the range of telecom and IT vendors and partners – from carriers and hardware/software vendors to cloud providers and MSPs to VARs and agents and even "born in the cloud" partners.
"Cloud Partners' focus on strategies for the channel's pivot to the cloud brought together executives throughout the evolving ecosystem," said John Siefert, CEO of VIRGO, the parent company of Channel Partners. "We are pleased that we were able to bring together so many new voices and to facilitate so many new business conversations."
Cloud Partners included nearly 20 hours of networking in addition to countless meetings and events organized by sponsors and exhibitors. More than 130 innovative companies displayed their cloud services or cloud-enablement products on the Cloud Partners show floor, making this the largest fall exhibition in Channel Partners' history.
"The connections that were made at Cloud Partners will be vital for companies that are moving to capitalize on this growing opportunity – not only partners seeking best-of-breed providers but also providers seeking skilled channels," said Katherine Clements, vice president of the Cloud & Communications Network at VIRGO.
Indeed, partner education was a critical component of Cloud Partners, which featured IT and telecom industry thought leaders as part of nearly 40 hours of education programming.
VMware Vice President Toni Adams discussed the corporate evolution to IT as a service and the channel's role in that journey. Gartner analyst Tiffani Bova introduced the channel to "born in the cloud" partners Cloud Sherpas, Burstorm and Twilio, whose executives shared their secrets for success in the cloud. Cisco's Cloud Evangelist Ellen Berlan discussed the need to cultivate a strong cloud ecosystem. And, The 2112 Group's Larry Walsh led a discussion on the Cloud's Killer App with leaders from AT&T, Oracle and IBM.