Let the March Madness Begin, Channel Style

Lorna GareyIt’s the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. It’s March in Las Vegas, and it’s all about the Madness. Whether or not you consider bracketology a real science, we all weigh past performance, current conditions and our own backgrounds and intuition to predict winners. In business, smart prognosticators got in on the cloud game early, but for shops with limited resources, that meant passing on other promising picks.

Consider a 2016 business bracket with Internet of Things, hybrid cloud, security, app dev and mobility. Which will you bring to the dance?

As Art Wittmann discusses in the Channel Partners cover story, there’s plenty of reason to bet on the IoT, including new monthly recurring revenue streams and the possibility of pulling together unique services that your customers can’t find anywhere else. We profile one channel company that pulled in $250,000 last year with a highly targeted service by bundling custom software with sensors and bandwidth.

In my look at how the skills shortage is affecting the channel, I spoke with a range of experts and examined salary data and market projections to handicap the difficulty of offering security, mobility and advanced cloud engineering to customers.

We’ll continue these discussions in our 16 education sessions, eight keynotes and dozen or so talks across two show floor stages. Yes, this year’s Expo is bringing another kind of madness to Las Vegas — the crazy dash to cram as much as possible into a few days. But first, I’d like to circle back to eight months ago. I was standing in line waiting to get into a keynote session, when Art Wittmann forwarded me an email with a simple question: “What do you think?”

My response: “They had me at ‘bake off.’”

That email string was the genesis of our Cloud Migration Lab. We shifted the focus from comparative bakeoff to education, but the end result is pretty close to the idea as outlined by Jo Peterson and Mike Goodenough:

“Mike had a great idea, essentially it’s to have a Cloud Bake Off, using two different products — email and cloud DR, for example. Vendors could show in real time what a migration to a hosted environment actually looks like. … The win for the audience is that we’re not just sharing theory. The partner can witness the experience in real time and be able to state with confidence to their customer that they’ve seen the process live … —Jo”

Our goal is to empower attendees to dig into the technology — see what’s different among the companies demonstrating, what’s the same and what’s the best fit for your company and customers. Even if you’ve performed a few hundred or thousand migrations, please take time to stop by the lab and share your stories with peers, some of whom are just getting started.

So dig in, pick your winners, and enjoy the madness.

Follow editor-in-chief @lornagarey on Twitter.

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