(pictured above, left to right: Intelisys’ Andrew Pryfogle, Jay Bradley, Rick Dellar, Rick Sheldon and Dana Topping)
INTELISYS CHANNEL CONNECT — Jay Bradley affectionately remembers “Inteli-golf.”
That was Intelisys‘ debut event 20 years ago, which was no more than “a handful of guys on the golf course.” The master agent/tech distribution giant has come along way in two decades.
After a long run of hosting Channel Connect in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, Intelisys moved its annual event to the central coastal community of Monterey, California, to accommodate 1,200 attendees. Perhaps best known for its connections to John Steinbeck and Clint Eastwood, this part of California will be home to Channel Connect through at least 2019.
“One partner in particular told me,” Bradley, Intelisys’ president, recounted to Channel Partners, “‘I always come with the goal of learning one new thing. As long as I can learn one new thing, I’ll keep coming back.”
Education is a big part of the agenda at Channel Connect, with breakout sessions featuring topics such as SD-WAN and cloud contact-center sales.
“Cloud has already won the argument around contact center, yet roughly 12 percent of global contact centers are cloud-based,” Andrew Pryfogle, Intelisys senior VP, cloud transformation, told the audience at Monterey’s Golden State Theater on Wednesday. “[Customers] are waiting for you to call them; they need your help to figure this out. We’re investing heavily in our own cloud contact center practice.”
Pryfogle outlined a series of digital-transformation drivers that are critical for partners to know. First, people and companies are buying differently than they used to — citing his own recent experience buying an exercise bike with call-center help, starting with chat and ending in a phone call.
“Your customers have to get smart about how they sell products and services,” he noted.
Also significant are the rise of mobility, an infusion of millennials into the workforce, and globalization. When asked how many attendees have customers with global interests, almost everyone raised their hands.
These drivers, of course, present “massive challenges,” Pryfogle said. Regulatory compliance is a big one — most notably the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which can levy fines on U.S. companies doing business in Europe come next May.
Another challenge is staffing – the industry faces a serious skills shortage we’ve written about countless times – and of course, security.
“Security as a service is such a hot area right now,” Pryfogle said. “If you’re not having the security conversation with your customer, you’re leaving money on the table.”
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