More than 2,500 partners and suppliers from the channel community attended the Fall 2011 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Aug. 24-26, in Chicago, making it the largest in the events 15- year history.
Channel Partners Conference & Expo was a success directly attributable to the quality of the program,” said Group Publisher Larry Lannon. Once again, we significantly improved the program and introduced several successful new program elements, including the Selling Techniques Luncheon and the Channel Partners Zone, or CPZ, and an improved level of interactivity in sessions.
The continued focus on the quality of the programming and on programmatic innovation, combined with the inherent strength of the channel itself, led to an increase in attendance of 10 percent compared to the attendance last September in Washington, D.C.,” Lannon added.
The event featured more than 50 hours of programming, nine hours of networking and more than 120 exhibitors and sponsors.
Attendance figures are a referendum by partners on the quality of the program,” Lannon added. The positive vote last week is encouraging and much appreciated. We certainly intend to continue to earn the trust of partners. We will continue to stress improvement and innovation in our programming plans for 2012. We anticipate a continued positive response to programmatic quality by the channel.”
The Channel Partners content team, led by Editor-in-Chief Khali Henderson, works with the Channel Partners 2010-11 Advisory Board to create the programming at Channel Partners two annual, national events.
I was happy with the positive response we once again received to our program,” Henderson said. We built on a long history of strong programming, including recent innovations from our spring event like Women in the Channel, the Cloud Convergence Council and the Agent-VAR Workshop, by layering in totally new elements, like the Selling Techniques Networking Luncheon and the CPZ, and by expanding the interactive elements of the program.
The channel is focused on providing quality services and is full of creative innovators,” continued Henderson. We are committed to creating quality, innovative programming that maps to the channels qualities, wants and business needs. Look for more innovation and a continued commitment to quality in our two national programs in 2012, in Vegas next spring and in Orlando next autumn.”
Henderson expressed particular enthusiasm for the increasingly interactive nature of Channel Partners, including real-time text polling and moderated small group discussions that usher todays partners into the center of the challenging intellectual dialogue that shapes successful channel strategies.
“We are excited to offer more opportunities for channel partners to make their voices heard at the Channel Partners events.”
VIRGO CEO John Siefert, an active participant in the CPZ discussion last week, also pointed at the importance of developing quality programming for a dynamic, demanding audience like the channel.
The channel is thriving and changing while it thrives,” Siefert said. This dynamic creates a thirst for both information and perspective. The context and content of the programming has to fit the needs and wants of the channel.
Channel Partners continues to lead in developing content that is both of the highest quality and is tailored to the historic moment in the channel. We call that content in context. Demanding professional information consumers like channel partners have every right to expect content that meets those criteria. The content team once again met or exceeded that expectation in Chicago this week. We intend to continue to invest in quality and innovative content for the channel. Like Khali, I have no hesitation in making that commitment firmly and publicly.
I also was delighted with the increased level of participation and interactivity in the program,” Siefert added. I enjoyed participating myself. The more time I spend with people in the channel, the more convinced I am that there is an inexhaustible well of ideas and humor in the channel. The channel has brains and personality and both came across in Chicago.”
The next Channel Partners Conference and Expo will be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, March 27-29, 2012.
Both 2011 Channel Partners events recorded substantial growth,” said Group Publisher Larry Lannon. As we all know, the general economy has been rough this year. But the channel is doing well, even though SMB spending in the general economy has been slow to recover from the recession that began in 2008. Why? I can think of at least two reasons: the model and the people.”
Channel Partners creates numerous networking opportunities for the channel. Face-to-face interaction is an important part of the experience at Channel Partners national events. The interaction around the shared concern for building business value is at the heart of Channel Partners.
The channel is full of competent, strategic, determined professionals who these past three years have found ways to add business value to their SMB customers during particularly tough times,” Siefert added. The model works for SMBs, who stress efficiency, performance, flexibility and innovation even more in challenging times than they do when the general economy is growing. The role of trusted advisor is more important than ever today.
The channel, thanks both to the highly distributed model and to the talents of channel partner professionals, is not only going to thrive during the recession,” Siefert concluded. The entire channel ecosystem is going to emerge from the recession well positioned to benefit from the next economic cycle, when growth will drive demand for converged solutions to new heights.”
Channel partners touch SMB customers directly on a daily basis. Being the customer interface on the communications solutions value chain is a strong position to occupy,” Henderson observed. The trusted advisor position is the high ground in a competitive, complex world. Today the channel firmly holds that high ground. We are working to help the channel strengthen that hold.”
Channel Partners is all about adding business value to the channel,” Seifert concluded. That is why participation is important and rewarding. Partners can obtain competitively significant insights, information and understanding at Channel Partners events, and in our media. Participation and engagement bring a competitive edge. No industry is more competitive than the communications industry, with all its innovation and change and rapidly shifting cost-benefit calculations.
Can I define the reward for partner participation and engagement with Channel Partners? Certainly! It is simple: a distinct competitive advantage.”
Channel Partners creates content that matters,” said Henderson. It is quality content tailored tightly to todays channel. Thats the mission today. It will be the mission tomorrow. The channel will certainly continue to change. Our mission will not. We will continue to be committed to providing quality programming at the leading event in the channel industry. You can take that commitment to the bank.”