The recent PCA conference was, on the whole, a great success and our superb speakers covered an incredibly diverse range of topics. Do you want to know about the 25 per cent margin potential available by reselling Sony video conferencing kits?
There was plenty of opportunity to learn about this 30 per cent per annum growth market. Want to find out about Trust Technology's push into the Mac arena with some superb peripherals? Their shiny new 2009 range was there and the Mac environment is a bit different to the PC one – for starters you can actually make a margin.
And talking of margins, some excellent profit potential was demonstrated by IDSbox, Autotask, Level Platforms and NTR Global – the latter three making offerings in the highly lucrative remote and managed services arena, while Synaxon and FixITlocal expounded the benefits of their respective groups' schemes.
One of the most distinctive offerings was that made by Ghost Software. Do you have some software that needs writing or modifying, either for yourself or your customers? The Ghost team can do it for you, at a cheaper rate and will give you a good discount or commission. If you serve the needs of business users, this is another great string to your bow.
The Conference wasn't just about products or services, though. We heard from speakers who were able to offer insights a bit further into the future. The Application Home Initiative (TAHI) is about the concept of an interconnected home where appliances and systems really do communicate; where the electric meter becomes a two way service and where we can benefit from many extra services, such as remote healthcare monitoring. Best of all, they'll still need local specialists to sort out the problems.
As always, the EMEA director of credit services at Bell Micro, Eddie Pacey made finance come alive – underlining just how important it is, now more than ever, to maintain dialogue within the supply chain. However our keynote speaker, Alastair Dryborough from Akenhurst Consultants had the audience's complete attention with his seminar entitled 'How to Deal with a Downturn.'
We intend to bring Alastair back to deliver a business management master class later on in 2009 – most of the audience indicated they might even pay good money to attend.
Which leads me on to the only spanner in the works with regard to the conference: even though we had over 70 in attendance, we should have had 100 or more delegates like last year. Why weren't they there? Well, it was the school half term in many areas, but as someone said, if our guest speaker had been a naked Angelina Jolie the people would have turned out. In fact, they'd have been there even if she was clothed!
When we did our ring around prior to the event the most common excuse for not attending was business. Interestingly, more often than not it was because there was too much business, which confirms the received wisdom that everyone is having to sell lots more units in order to make the same money. Which in turn brings us back to the conference.
What better place for resellers to find out how to sell the higher margin products or those items sporting a high ticket value, or how to move into a fast growth market? But I know full well that when you are up to your backside in alligators it's hard to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp. Angelina would help you remember, though, wouldn't she?