This weeks ChannelCon was a great success. Congratulations to the entire CompTIA team on a very well produced event. The buzz was consistent, loud and positive. I heard many people say this was the best ChannelCon ever. The number of people in the closing sessions and at the wine down reception was the best I’ve ever seen.
All this positivity speaks to the opportunities ahead for our industry our the clients we serve.
One of the better interviews this week, was when CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux interviewed Alyssa Fitzpatrick, General Manager, Worldwide Channel Sales at Microsoft. Microsoft is in the midst of a transition to what she referred to as a Partner First business model. Partner First is a realignment of resources to ensure the success of Microsoft partners and customers. It’s also about making sure that partners have access to the resources they need to have the right conversation with their clients and those conversations are about business needs, not technology. I’m excited to have a broader team of experts within Microsoft to work with, to match our clients business needs with the right Microsoft technologies to meet those needs and exceed their goals.
There was a great morning session titled “The Best Career Advice Ever.” The panel included some people I know and some I did not. Each of them had a great nugget or two to share about their own experience and advice for others. Here are just a few of those nuggets:
- Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.
- Being a success in your family life will ensure your success in your professional life.
- Understand before being understood.
- Put yourself in a position to be lucky.
- Preparation will overcome any obstacle.
There were several sessions related to cyber security. I sat on a panel for one of the sessions, which focused on helping small and mid-size businesses improve their cyber security posture. CompTIA is helping to educate its members on what services they should be delivering and how best to deliver those services. Many smaller IT firms are trying to determine whether they build these new services themselves or partner with others.
The only concerning moment of the week for me was when I polled the attendees in one session as to how many in the room were taking certain safeguards to protect their own internal system. These are service providers who hold a treasure trove of sensitive information about their clients and our industry, MSP’s in particular, are known to be a target for this very reason. I would estimate there were around 150 people in the room. Less than 10% said they had taken steps to ensure the security of those systems other than the built in username and password capabilities. We have a problem as an industry that needs to be addressed. These firms can’t properly safeguard their clients if they are not first safeguarding themselves. It was a wake up call.
CompTIA has a very active philanthropic arm as well. In addition to the Creating IT Futures foundation, CompTIA has the Tech Leaders Giving Circle (TLGC). CompTIA commits $200,000 annually to donate to charities each year through TLGC. Each member designates a charity of their choice to receive a $1,000 donation. For the first time this year, all of those who were in attendance at ChannelCon gathered for a group photo, below.
Gina emcee’s ChannelCon Online, the live stream of the event for those who are unable to make it in person. Gina worked with one of my cousins who was a pioneering producer for CNN back when it was first starting up. We live in a small world!