Thanks, Austin. Here We Come, Las Vegas

Venetian Las Vegas
Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey

If you joined us at Channel Partners Evolution in Austin this week, thank you. I hope you learned something, uncovered new business opportunities, connected with friends and colleagues, and had a little time left over for parties and relaxation.

That’s not a given, because there was a lot going on: We welcomed almost 40 first-time exhibitors and sponsors – including Avaya, Carousel, Cisco, Cyxtera, IBM, Intel, recent Datto acquisition OpenMesh, Pax8, Veeam and more – to the floor, and shared space with enterprise launch event SDxE: The Software-Defined Enterprise. I spent some time in the keynote and education sessions associated with SDxE and came away with some lessons for the channel, which I’ll discuss in more depth soon. A few top takeaways: If you sell servers or deal with data centers, you better be paying attention to initiatives like Open19. If customers are trying to stamp out shadow IT, where end users make end runs around “official” tech, they’re looking at things all wrong. And, DIY SD-WAN is a reality now for larger enterprises. Given the trickle-down effect, unless you have a value-add, midsize and small customers may just step back and architect their own WAN solutions, tailored to their business needs.

A few special shout outs: Thanks to Train Our Troops for bringing a great group of veterans to the event, and to Granite for underwriting that effort. As always, the Women in the Channel gala kicked us off in style with an amazing speaker, Sandy Carter, VP of Amazon Web Services. We couldn’t do what we do without this powerhouse group. The first Channel Futures Forum preconference program lineup, featuring a kickoff keynote by Forester analyst Jay McBain, was a big success and a step forward as we move to combine efforts with our Penton colleagues. And finally, I want to recognize my stellar editorial team for delivering dozens of great channel chief interviews that you will be able to view on our site soon — CenturyLink, Rackspace and Star2Star, just to name a few.

As a venue, Austin will be hard to beat, but we’re giving it a try. Channel Partners Evolution 2018 will be held in Philadelphia, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Oct. 9-12. We’ll trade tacos for cheese steaks, but our goal will be the same: Help you achieve digital business success.

Don’t worry about taco deprivation. I’m back to Austin shortly to cover SpiceWorks’ SpiceWorld conference. Then, I’m turning my sights to our 2018 Channel Partners Conference & Expo. We’re pleased to be back at the Venetian & Sands, April 17-20, with 6,000 or so of our closest friends (and close proximity to Yardbird). If you’re looking for a traditional call for speakers, you won’t see one. All education sessions, and a few keynotes, will be awarded based on contributed content. That generally means a Peer to Peer opinion column, but we’re also open to video or other types of thought leadership across our six tracks: Business of Channel, Cloud, IoT, The MSP & CSP Opportunity, Security and SDN. Speakers get a full pass to the event, and we’re looking for partners willing to share their successes with peers. Want to get in on the fun? Drop me a line.

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