Last week I attended two events at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. The first, held on Thursday May 12th, was the CRN Partner Connect Exhibition – which many of you may know better by its previous name, Channel Expo. The event saw hundreds of vendors, distributors and resellers get together for an expo, networking, and a series of educational presentations.
The next-day, Friday May 13th, saw the second event which was the first face to face gathering of the newly formed CompTIA UK Channel Community, of which I am the chair, along with vice chair Lee Evans of Vital Network Solutions.
The event was well attended by a mixture of vendors and resellers of varying sizes, and more importantly – everyone (and I do mean everyone) who attended contributed ideas and got actively involved in the discussion.
The day saw an opening presentation on the state of the industry from CompTIA chief executive and president, Todd Thibodeaux, and the group also heard a lively presentation from Linda Ockwell-Jenner of Motivational Steps.
I felt privileged to be so closely involved in the first meeting of a group of people who are so clearly passionate about the industry they work in. I’ve been a part of the UK SMB IT community for many years now, attending lots of meetings of various groups, but I felt this group has the opportunity to make the most impact of any I’ve been to.
But what did the other attendees think? Well, judging by the fact that there were still people sat together, exchanging ideas and chatting some two hours after the event had finished – I suspect it was well received!
That said, I took time to record short video interviews with three of the attendees to get their thoughts. I chose the three individuals specifically because of their involvement in peer communities in the past – Rob Franklin of JPT Solutions, Rob Copestick of Spyral IT and Gareth Brown of SYTEC. These can be found on YouTube.
I personally came away from the two days with CompTIA with a ton of great suggestions for my own business. That’s invaluable and to me it’s the difference between growing your business slowly, working things out as best you can, and growing your business quickly by working with others for mutual benefit.
I’m excited to be the chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community, and I think that the group has the rare opportunity to help bring together some of the best and most engaged members of the UK IT community to raise the bar in the industry as a whole.
The group is free to join, and you don’t have to be a member of CompTIA to do so – although I strongly encourage to you join CompTIA as a member as they really do offer many benefits that you’ll both find useful, and help you both save and make money for your business!