Friday, August 7, 2009

A Great Week at CompTIA

The CompTIA Breakaway event has ended this week after three days of great content, partner engagement, and vendor interaction. Scott, Ken and I were in Las Vegas to man the HTG booth as part of their vendor fair, and I was privileged to moderate the lunch session on Wednesday which focused on success stories and lessons learned from partners. There were over 500 partners on hand, along with almost 100 vendor companies and a variety of other folks. Grand total was over 1000 people registered and on site for the event. That is encouraging in and of itself. Many of the IT channel events have been well down in attendees if held at all. But this event gives one hope that the economic impact is slowing and the attitude in the channel is regaining some positive steam. Overall the people we met with were upbeat and feeling pretty good about things. While there are certainly pockets of real economic distress, the general feeling was that customers have money available, but have been waiting for some solid direction that things have stabilized and are headed back toward better days. There weren’t many folks that felt we were sliding more deeply into the arms of a recession, but most said they see positive signs of recovery that should lead us to higher ground.

The event was a unique mix of folks and content. Lots of focused meetings tackling a variety of topics and issues mixed with briefings from vendors and great content from leading speakers. I was able to sit in on Verne Harnish’s presentation on planning and get some firsthand exposure to his Gazelle system. I met with a number of media folks to talk about the HTG story and mission as well as update them on our future direction and goals. We had 20 or so HTG green shirts in the crowd, and I am sure there were others on hand I missed. But our presence was felt and seen with those shirts. HTG was the buzz in the places I spent time and the interest is high and the demand to get involved in peer to peer community very strong. The partner attendees are a bit unusual at this event as the mix is all over the board from the largest in the channel down to the SMB. Most conferences are targeted at a particular type of partner, but CompTIA serves the entire channel and that was evident by the attendee list. It was a great place for us to recruit from a different pool of prospects than the normal places we connect.

HTG was the focus of lunch on Wednesday where I moderated the session of discussing successes and lessons learned by three companies in the channel. Jeff Anderson from BulletProof in Canada, a member of HTG10, made us all proud as we walked through the changes in their organization over the last 8 months or so. Jeff and Rene Sloos have merged their companies and created a new one that now includes Stuart Crawford as well. I heard from many that his section of the interview was filled with value and great insight. Thanks for making all of us HTGer's proud Jeff!

HTG will be working to identify ways we can work more closely with CompTIA in the days ahead. They certainly have a class organization that provides a lot of value to members in the channel. HTG wants to leverage their vast resources across our membership so we can participate with and take advantage of the quality programs and activities they are serving up. There is new leadership at the helm, and a fresh perspective on how they can engage the channel and drive the best interests of all involved. HTG is proud to be recognized as a leader in the channel and to partner with CompTIA to continue to help the ecosystem succeed and serve our collective customers the best way we possibly can. So a big thanks to the CompTIA team for a job well done and for allowing us to be part of your event. We look forward to much more in the coming days.

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