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Day 1: Wednesday, May 15, 2019

KEYNOTE: New channels New Challenges - How should a smart vendor respond?
Gavriella Schuster - Corporate VP, One Commercial Partner - Microsoft

What are the emerging technologies and business models that will disrupt our industry, and create new opportunities for growth?   The opening session of the Channel Focus conference will feature a leader in our industry identifying the major market trends and highlighting how venders are addressing the needs of a changing channel. This presentation promises to kick off the conference on a high note and set a thought-provoking tone for the event.

Session 1: Are partner tiers, deal reg. and other standard program elements losing relevance? Your partners are not the same – shouldn’t your program reflect this?
Sandra Glaser Cheek - VP, Global Partners & Alliances  - Ciena

Traditional channel programs have a place and are important in the business model of both vendors and partners. However, the nature of the partners has changed with the emergence of cloud, managed services, influencers, etc. The question is do you continue to fund traditional programs, or find new ways to growth the channel? Come to this session and learn from a channel champion on best practices to capture new opportunities.

Session 2: How do you define and build an ecosystem for today’s channel world (partners, vendors, alliances)?
Kim King - 
VP Global Partner Strategy & Programs - Hitachi Vantara

Building a channel program at scale requires a programmatic approach yet needs to be tailored to the needs of the partners, countries, and markets. Come to this session and learn best practices to help you develop a program that scales, and one that delivers results for partner and vendors.

Session 3: AWS -- Friend, foe or frenemy? How do you build the appropriate relationship with them?
Jeff McCullough - VP Americas Partner Sales -NetApp

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become a major player in the IT channel, representing a low cost and highly available platform that many companies and organizations rely on now for cloud services. The question is are they a threat to your business model, or an enabler? Come to this session and learn more how to leverage these services and market access.

Session 4: High-Performance Channel Marketing: What Winners Do Differently
Maria Chien - Service Director Channel Marketing Strategies - Sirius Decisions

Every channel leader wants to know the secrets to success. They're wondering what the best performing channel companies are doing, how they do it, and how their own teams compare. In this session, you'll walk away with data and tips on how to invest in people, programs and technology, what skills your team needs, and what strategies and actions set apart teams and leaders who deliver more.

Session 5: P2P (Partner to partner) collaboration, why is it happening and what the role of the vendor in facilitating these partnerships?
John Moses - VP Sales US Partner Organization - Cisco
Andrew Cadwell - CEO - IGNW
Mike Strohl - CEO - Entisys360

In today’s fast moving World customers are no longer prepared to wait months for partners to deliver a new system. Smart partners also want to avoid competitors being introduced to their customers and as a result are actively looking to create relationships with companies with the complimentary skill-sets/technologies/geographic coverage their customer’s need. This is leading to increasing partnering both within and outside a single vendors partner eco-system. Clearly Partner to partner collaboration is becoming more and more important. But what is the role of the vendor in this dynamic? How can a vendor enable partners to work more effectively together? What systems might help enable this collaboration? This session will review how to connect partners together in collaboration to grow and develop the market.

Session 6: Following M & A - The key steps in creating one cohesive go-to-market strategy.
Cheryl Cook - Senior VP Global Partner Marketing - Dell Technologies

In this session Cheryl will discuss the steps following a Merger or Acquisition you need to bring 2 companies’ Channel programs and strategies together. In the session she’ll share; How do you understand the partners you need to create an effective go to market strategy for the joint entity? Can both sets of partners sell all products? If you need to lose partners how do you do so as painlessly as possible, without affecting partner relationships? How do you create real transparency with both partner sets to ensure they are comfortable with the process? She will then discuss how you bring the two programs together taking the best elements of both and finally how you integrate the Channel account management teams. We will all go through mergers and acquisitions during our careers and this session will share the steps you need to take to build a really effective post M & A channel strategy.

SPECIAL LUNCH SESSION: The Latest Thinking - 5 ways you need to challenge your existing Channel perceptions.
Sal Patalano - CRO - Lenovo Software

Our channel business is changing dramatically with new business models, new competitors and partners, and new customer expectations. Staying ahead requires you to continually reassess your perceptions of the channel’s needs, looking for ways to innovate to grow. This special lunch session will be led by a thought leader in the channel who will challenge us all to re-think how we approach our business.

Session 7: Transitioning From Perpetual to Subscription- How do you effectively incentivize the channel while maintaining corporate profits?
Balaji Subramanian - VP Global Channel Sales & Alliances

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: Enabling Your CAMs – How can you use the latest technologies to provide them with the information they really need?
Laz Gonzalez - Chief Strategy Officer - Zift Solutions

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 requires much data and tools to perform effectively. In this session you will learn how the latest technologies can enable your CAMs to be successful with your partners.

Session 9: The rise and rise of the Influencer channels – who are they and how do you build a meaningful relationship with them?
Marc Monday - RVP of North America Ecosystem - SAP

Many customers are turning to third party consultants to help them assess the various options in the market. These specialists offer advice and council how best to select your technology, or those of your competitors. Who are these influencers? And how can we include them in our channel program? Come to this session and learn more about how to activate this channel.

Session 10: Land and Expand – Leveraging engagement with today’s business buyer?
D. Martin - VP, NA Partners, Alliances and Commercial Sales - Red Hat

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 11: The New Reality of the Channel: Why channel partners must LOVE you.
Cesar Castro - Senior Director, Adoption and Engagement - Salesforce

As the channel ecosystem grows more complex, vendors stand out from the competition by showing they are fundamentally vested in their partners' success. To move beyond transactional relationships with their partners, today's vendors must empathize with and support partners' changing needs. In this session, Cesar Castro, Senior Director of Adoption and Engagement at Salesforce, will share research-based recommendations for engaging with partners, including designing digital user journeys that will make partners love working with you. He'll also leave you with a practical tool to help you manage your partner relationships more effectively. Don't miss it.

Session 12: New Partners, New Challenges, New Skills, New Structures. Re-building your channel account management team.
Dan Overgaag - Senior Principal - The Spur Group
Richard Flynn - Founder & Senior Principal - The Spur Group

The channel is changing. New partners are emerging. The cloud and managed services are creating new business models. Looking at the skill set of your channel account management team is required, to ensure it is fit for purpose in the new world. This session will explore how you can tailor your programs to be ready for growth.

The Transition Sessions: Transitioning Your Partners Sales Organization.
Alyssa Fitzpatrick - General Manager, WW Channel Sales - Microsoft

Customers are requiring more of their channel partners, expecting them to not only know be certified on the technologies but also knowledgeable of business processes and goals to enable digital transformation. Helping your partner sales organizations to support these rising expectations will ensure your channel will continue to be profitable and loyal. An industry leader will share how a market leader addresses this challenge and promises to be one of the most thought-provoking sessions of the day.

The Transition Sessions: Transitioning Your Channel – 4 vendors discuss the key steps they have taken to transition their channel.
Nick Tidd - VP Global Partner Organization WW Channels – Polycom
Joe Sykora - VP Global Channel Development – Bitdefender
Darren Bibby - VP Partner Strategy and Programs – DocuSign
Chris Jones - AVP Sales Channel, National Business – AT&T

In this interactive session, four vendors will discuss how they have transformed their channel to address new challenges. This “not to be missed” session will bring forward the hot topics facing all of us in the channel today, and provide key lessons learned that you can take back to your own channel program.



Day 2: Thursday, May 16, 2019

KEYNOTE: Specialization - The New Phenomena Driving Channel Change and Profitability.
Rod Baptie – CEO – Baptie & Company

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 13: Hybrid channels in a Cloud World: Reality of building a direct and channel strategy and making it work.
Taylor Macdonald - SVP, Global Channels - Sage Intacct

Session 14: Outside the Box - The latest thinking on partner incentives.
Claudio Ayub - Chief Strategy Officer – Perks WW Channel

Incentivizing partners has been a key part of channel programs for many years. Traditional programs like MDF, Coop, and others have been a mainstay of most programs, but do they still deliver value? Come to this session and learn more about the latest trends in partner incentives. The session will help you to identify where to invest for the best return.

Session 15: Building a Long-Term MSP Engagement Strategy – What will they really want from the vendor?
Rob Rae - VP of Business Development - Datto, Inc.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) 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 16: Making the Most of the Honeymoon Period –Engaging, enabling and committing new partners – What do today’s partners really want?
Micheal McCollough - VP Global Channels - Akamai

After onboarding partners, how do you quickly get them to scale and delivering value and rewards? The way partners are started will determine how effective they are in your channel program. Learn about the best practices in taking your channel partners to scale in this session.

Session 17: Innovations in Maximizing the ROI on Your Channel Investments
Tony White – VP Channel Incentives – E2open

Session 18: How do you align your through channel marketing strategy to today’s digital buyers journey?
Harbinder Khera - CEO - Mindmatrix

Today’s end users expect a sophisticated marketing approach, one that aligns to their needs rather than receiving generic broadcast campaigns.  Mapping out your customer’s buying journey is the start to understand how best to serve and support them.  But how do you take your channel partner along in this marketing journey?  Come to this session and learn more.

LUNCH - Women's Leadership Council Report
Theresa Caragol - Founder & CEO - AchieveUnite
Heather Margolis - Founder & CEO - Channel Maven Consutiling 

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 19: The Demise of Technical Certification and the Rise and Rise of Sales and Marketing Enablement – How do you re-define what is important in your channel program?
Charlie Tomeo - WW VP Business Sales - Webroot

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 20: Delivering a Measurable Return on Your Co-op and MDF Programs.
Karen Strub - VP Program Management - Vistex

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 21: Breakthrough Technology – How will IoT, machine learning, blockchain, etc. affect the channel and change the Channel partners we work with?
Corey Pratte- VP of Americas Channel Sales - PTC

Technology innovation creates new opportunities for services. How our partners embrace new opportunities will help vendors to be successful in new markets. The question is how you can help your partners understand and plan for new innovations? Come to this thought-provoking session to learn more about breakthrough technologies that will change your channel.

Session 22: Virtual P&L – Changing the Channel narrative at the C-Suite
Cindy Herndon - VP Global Channel Strategies, Programs & Operations - Riverbed Technology 

Session 23: Channel Data: Overcoming the Achilles Heel of the channel with the predictive and perspective insights that truly matter.
Dave Taylor - CMO - Impartner

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

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.