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.
These visionary presentations were backed by tactical discussions in the breakout sessions about cloud solutions, sales and marketing, business model change and more.
“Cloud is disruptive not only to technology delivery but to channel business models. Cloud Partners’ concurrent conference programming sought to bring some clarity and guidance to partners that are working to develop cloud practices,” said Khali Henderson, editor in chief of Channel Partners. ”Whether partners are just selecting their business models, investigating new service offerings or optimizing their professional services, they could look to industry experts to point them in the right direction.”
Cloud Partners is getting high praise from attendees and vendors alike.
“Cloud Partners event was the best [Channel Partners] event I have attended in the last five years,” said Jeremy Kerth, president for WIRED Networks. “The education, the speakers, the attendees, the content and the messaging were spot-on for us. For the record, we really appreciate what your team continues to do and wanted to let you know its of great value to us.”
“The Cloud Partners event was fantastic! Our Chicago Cloud Computing Meetup Group not only had the opportunity to experience the large (and very informative) expo, but we also had the privilege of hearing from a panel of top executives from AT&T, Comcast, and Channel Partners,” said Mitch Greenwald, founder of Cloudbakers and co-organizer of the Chicago Cloud Computing Meetup Group. “We discussed some of the most debated topics around cloud computing and learned that to be successful, your company needs to be agile. The world is using the cloud more and more everyday and it’s truly moving us forward to bigger and better things.
This falls Cloud Partners continued to help us build our channel in ways that result in measurable ROI,” added Michelle Accardi-Petersen, chief marketing officer for Star2Star Communications. “Cloud Partners attracted the right attendees to the show, so our conversations on the expo floor were productive, and unique opportunities such as the Lunch and Learn gave us prime exposure among partners interested in selling Star2Stars Cloud-Based Unified Communications solution. Channel Partners events remain a go-to for Star2Star.
The Spring 2014 Channel Partners Conference & Expo will be held Feb. 26-28, at the Venetian & Sands Expo in Las Vegas. The next Cloud Partners event takes place Sept. 10-12, 2014, in New Orleans.