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May 15, 2018


KEYNOTE: New business models, new technologies - tomorrow's Channel, what will it look like and what will they want from their vendors?
The opening session of the Channel Focus conference will feature a leader in our industry identifying the major market trends and highlighting how her company is addressing the needs of a changing channel. How do we embrace the cloud? What is the role of the channel? What are the emerging technologies and business models that will disrupt our industry, and create new opportunities for growth? This session will inspire you to learn more about the emerging dynamics of the channel. This presentation promises to kick off the conference on a high and set a thought-provoking tone for the event.

SESSION 1: Referrals, monthly recurring revenue, traditional buy/sell hybrids and a host of other options - how do you build a compensation structure that is right for your business?
Compensation models are being redesigned so that companies can capture the rapidly growing demand for cloud services. The old model of rewarding based on actual revenue bookings in the period doesn’t work in the new cloud services model as customer payments are spread over the lifetime of the subscription or license period. So how do you keep the partner rewarded in this new and expanding world of cloud computing? Many vendors and partners are trying new models with success. Start the day with a nourishing breakfast and thought-provoking ideas that will motivate discussions throughout day two of the conference.

SESSION 2: Big Data, big insights – leveraging data to better enable your partners and your CAMs
Running a large channel generates lots of data. But does it give you insight or just noise? Come to this session to learn from an industry channel chief on how she uses big data and analytics to provide enablement to partners and insight to the CAMs to grow the business. Leveraging analytics can provide you with unique intelligence to help with the go-to-market and accelerate your program.

SESSION 3: Understanding and embracing the power of the 'shadow channel'. Who are they and what do they want from a vendor?
This speaker says that today most of the decisions of applications are made outside of IT.  With the growth of cloud, mobile, and apps, many lines of business groups are choosing applications without the involvement of the IT department.  Does this put partners at risk to addressing changing customer needs, or does it offer a new opportunity for new and emerging partners to create value and loyalty?  Come to this session to hear an industry thought leader share key insights.

SESSION 4: Building a Channel program to answer the needs of partners with both Cloud and on-premise offerings.
Many partners are offering both on-premise and cloud offerings as the transition occurs in the industry to new solutions. End-user customers may decide to stay with on-premise solutions due to the installed base or security concerns. Meanwhile, cloud offerings offer the potential of a more agile approach yet they provide different revenue profiles with subscriptions. Making sure your channel programs are fit for purpose is important to serve all your partners and customers. Come to this session to find out how to offer differentiated channel programs for on-premise and cloud solutions partners.

SESSION 5: 5 Steps that will improve the ROI of your MDF and rebate programs.
The old incentive models of MDF and rebates may win the deal, but do they encourage customer loyalty and a positive ROI? Finding the right balance in your programs, how they are managed, and the support vendors need to provide is challenging in today’s environment. New models for rewarding retention and renewals can improve customer and channel loyalty leading to more sustainable growth.

SESSION 6: The rise and rise of the micro-vertical apps become more and more specialized how do you, identify and work with today's specialist App developers?
New platforms have lowered development costs enabling partners to move from vertical applications to micro-verticals. This trend is starting to penetrate every business, organization and private enterprise. Today, for many highly specialized partners it is seen as the way of doing business. By becoming highly specialized they can create a real differentiation and provide real value to their clients. Now for many partners, the new playing field is to target and specialize in highly specialized vertical sectors where they can really be the trusted advisor. Question is how does this change your channel partner program? Can you offer general partner terms when the market is demanding a specialized approach? Come to this session to learn how an industry leader has made that transition.

SPECIAL LUNCH SESSION: M & A - Lessons learned in bringing 2 or more Channel teams together
Our channel is changing with new business models, revenue, and go to market. And technology vendors are also changing and sometimes combining through mergers and acquisitions. What happens when your company decides to merge with another? What does that mean for your partners and programs? Our special lunch session always features an important channel leader in one of the most thought-provoking sessions, and this one promises to be a highlight of the conference.

SESSION 7: Helping your partners achieve success with renewals - Building the systems to sell year 2 and beyond!
It’s clear that end users are asking for more cloud-based services as they offer many advantages including lower upfront integration costs and improved cash flow by spreading subscription payments out over monthly or quarterly terms. But what implications does this have on the revenue to the partners, incentive and support from the vendors, and viability to grow this business model?

SESSION 8: The state of Channel incentives - the latest thinking on channel incentives.
Channel incentive are more than rebates and software. It takes innovation, experience, and knowledge to create loyalty programs. Do you have the right strategy and program design to achieve a go-to-market? Do you have the right infrastructure and processes to streamline administration? Come to this session to learn about the very latest thinking on how to innovate with your incentives and systems to take your program to the next level.

SESSION 9: If Specialization is the key to partner success - how do you build programs to help your partners specialize?
Customers are expecting much more from their partners. Whether it’s a deep level of understanding about big data or in-depth knowledge of their vertical industry, specialized partners are becoming more important because they understand their organization. Specialized partners may be non-traditional and outside your current channel program. So how do you identify, recruit, enable and go to market with specialized partners? Come to this session and learn from an industry market leader on how they have succeeded with specialized partners.

SESSION 10: Partner time to revenue - how do you, onboard new partners, quickly and cost-effectively?
Partner recruitment is only part of the story to creating a successful channel. Once a partner has agreed to join your program, what is the best way to empower them to market, sell, and service your products or solutions? A vendor’s success in the market is directly linked to how effectively partners can ramp up effectively and represent your solutions in the marketplace. It is worth investing in a quality on-boarding process so that partners are productive sooner and deliver results faster. This session will cover how to build an effective on boarding program that both vendor and partner get results.

SESSION 11: How do you help your partners embrace digital marketing?
By using a more systematic approach to marketing, vendors can increase lead quality and partner engagement. With better visibility to the pipeline, channel managers can close the loop between their marketing and sales investments. How can you make smarter decisions that provide revenue for the partners and more control over the vendor’s brand in the market through effective lead generation campaigns?

SESSION 12: Thinking outside the box - what are the new systems, tools, and techniques vendors are building to generate partner success?
Customer loyalty and advocacy is fuelled by the ability to connect with your organization or brand on an emotional level. In today's fiercely competitive business climate, that has impact on your bottom line and future success in the channel. That's why every engagement solution should be crafted to inspire authentic, lasting emotional connections. Come to this session to discover some new ideas to build customer loyalty to enable customer success.

SESSION 13: What is the future of the MSP model?
Managed Service Providers bring a scale and scope in your go-to-market. Yet they also offer unique challenges in promoting a vendor brand preference when what the customer buys is more often a service from a remote datacenter rather than a product they see on their premises. Understanding the unique needs of the MSP in this high growth channel will help you to be successful with your own program with these channel partners.

SESSION 14: Why Gold, Silver, and Platinum are devaluing your Channel: How to build a Channel that truly responds to each partner's needs.
Do channel certifications communicate value to customers or are they a legacy way of classifying the channel that has lost its meaning?  Partner relationship management requires more than training programs and labels, but true value creation with the partner to help them grow the business.  Find out ways to build a channel that goes beyond certifications by attending this session.

SESSION 15: Understanding and building a channel to services the IoT marketplace.
The Internet of Things offers exciting new opportunities for partners in new areas like intelligence customer services, smart cities, and connected transportation. With ubiquitous bandwidth comes the opportunity to have everything connected. Find out from an IoT partner is addressing this and how smart vendors can connect their channel programs to this emerging opportunity.

SPECIAL EVENING SESSION: A panel of vendors and distributors debate the future of distribution
Distribution models are changing rapidly. The old model of pick, pack and ship is being replaced by new value-added models that include aggregating cloud services in distribution. Leading global distributors have all launched cloud services, but what does it mean for the traditional vendor and distributor relationship? Come to this session to find out what distributors need and how to partner with them for new opportunities.
This session will encourage delegates to share ideas and continue right through to the gala evening event afterward.


May 16, 2018

KEYNOTE: The Channel is dead - long live the channel! The rise and rise of new business partner models - who are they, how do you recruit them and what do they want?
It has never been easier for new resellers to enter the market for IT services with cloud technologies, and many non-traditional firms are doing so as well as new firms that are newly born with the cloud. So how do vendors help existing and loyal resellers make the change? And how do vendors embrace new types of cloud partners entering the market with their channel programs? In this session, find out how to leverage this important channel opportunity over a stimulating and informative lunchtime discussion.

SESSION 16: The voice of the partner - 3 partners with very different business models share what they need from the vendors.
Predications for this year are for strong growth in technology spending as end users continue the shift to the cloud. Now is a good time to take stock of the market shifts and help your channel partners to adjust their strategy. This session of the conference will be full of best practices that three partners share about their business model and on how smart vendors can support this opportunity.

SESSION 17: Beyond technical competence - how do you build a certification model that recognizes the skills your partners really need?
Certification of your channel partners is an often-used program to develop the market and ensure a vendor’s products or services are delivered with quality. But, is certification providing a real differentiator to your channel partners? Certification are important tools today, but one of many tools that are part of a successful training program. Come and find out today how best to use training as a way to help key partners differentiate themselves and get return on their investment in the program.

SESSION 18: Re-defining your CAM team - what are the new skills and capabilities that will be required to answer the needs of today's partners?
Channel account managers wear many hats from sales, customer service, marketing, business planning, and the list goes on.  They play a key role in helping the partners access the resources of your channel program, but also ensure that the partner represents your company’s services and products in the right way to the customer.  It is a complex job that becomes more complex with the emergence of new partner business models.  So how do you assess and define the new skills and capabilities that CAMs need?  Come to this session to learn from an industry veteran who has re-defined the role to keep up with partner’s needs.

SESSION 19: How do you, or should you address SI/VAR partners unwilling to embrace the Cloud?
Customers are demanding the flexibility and agility of cloud applications, yet it is disrupting many partner business models.  Traditional on-premise IT systems were complex to configure which provided systems integrators and value-added resellers the ability to sell costly and profitable projects, then do it again when the applications needed to be upgraded.  Unfortunately this business model is waning as the adoption of cloud applications grow.  Yet some partners are having difficulty switching over their services to the new approach.  The question for vendors is do you invest time in helping traditional partners who have made the switch, or leave them alone and recruit new partners to address the cloud opportunity?

SESSION 20: Best practice in building a more meaningful engagement with your partners.
Partners who are enabled to join in sales and marketing activities with your company will get results, be loyal to your brand, and represent your products and services well in the market.  Yet many partners don’t have the scale and scope to leverage tools like marketing automation, asset management, or sales programs in the right way.  Quality engagement with your partners provides rewards for all concerned, so come to this session to learn about best practices.

SESSION 21: Dealing with Amazon and Azure are they your partner, your competitor, or both?
Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service are the fastest growing areas in cloud computing.  Amazon Web Services is now the 5th largest software firm by revenue in the world.  However, Microsoft Azure is growing rapidly too at 90% last year.  Are these services disrupting the channel through competitive or enabling it’s growth by opening up new market opportunities?  Attend this session to find out more from expert insider about one of the most important trends in our market today.

LUNCH - Women's Leadership Council Report
The Channel Focus Women’s Leadership Council is a professional group that shares best practices companies can take to enable more women to expand their opportunities and reach the most senior roles in the channel.  The Council will hold a special half-day pre-conference event, then later during this special lunch session representatives will share how each of us can leverage the lessons learned at the event to boost our businesses, innovation and profits.

SESSION 22: Understanding Land and Expand - does it mean the end of the partner in each customer!
The strategy of land and expand is increasingly being used by agile vendors who see a correlation between selling simple solutions to gain a foothold in the customer’s technology architecture then using that to expand in the use of the application through incentives and innovation.  Increasingly, cloud vendors have success in this strategy by making it very easy to deploy their product, sometimes without any IT involvement at all.  Come to this session to explore the role of the partner in this emerging trend, and how you can help your channel adapt

SESSION 23: Moving the needle! - How do you become truly partner friendly?
The channel is very competitive these days with new types of partners, new business models, and technology and services that are easier to deploy.  With these changes, vendors more than ever need to be friends to their partners and earn their loyalty.  But are the needs of partners different today than they were in earlier years.  Our speaker for this session believes that vendors can make a difference if they focus on meeting the emerging needs of partners to grow and scale.  Come and find out how a market leader keeps their partner happy in a highly competitive market.

SESSION 24: How will Marketplaces and the continuing rise of e-commerce affect the Channel?
By 2020, Forrester Research expects the B2B e-commerce market in the U.S. to be worth $1.1 trillion, or twice the size of the B2C market.  Are e-commerce services and online marketplaces a threat or an opportunity for the channel?  On the one hand, it is becoming easier for vendors to go direct to the end user to sell certain goods and services bypassing their channel entirely.  On the other hand, advisory and consulting services from the channel partners can become even more valuable.  This session will explore the rapidly growing trends around e-commerce and marketplaces and what it means for the channel.

SESSION 25: Selling to today's buyer! The demise of CTO and teh rise of the 'C' Suite decision makers!

SESSION 26: Content Marketing - How do you help your partners leverage your content?
We count on our partners to extend our marketing message and brand giving our campaigns scale and impact.  Yet how easy is it for your partners to access and distribute your content?  What balance do you need to factor in between your marketing message and that of the partner to their target customers?  What systems can you leverage to enable your partner to distribute your content, so your channel marketers can track your campaign impact?  This session will show you how to scale your content market with the channel and do it measurably and effectively.

SESSION 27: How will Marketplaces and the continuing rise of e-commerce affect the Channel?

Closing Session & Concluding Remarks: The Channel Focus Benchmark Survey - The Results - What Really Matters to Vendors and Partners?

During the conference, attendees will be asked to rate various industry features and best practices in a survey. At the culmination of the two-day event, these results will be presented in an insightful read-out on what your industry peers think about channel programs, techniques, and strategies. Be sure to stay to the end of the conference to hear these insights. This session will provide you with important takeaway strategies and key messages from the conference that helps you summarize the event and begin to enable new channel management strategies when you return to the office.