CompTIA ChannelCon is officially in the books and can be counted as a success. More than 850 solution providers and channel leaders gathered this week in Orlando for the confab formerly known as Breakway for three days of education and knowledge exchange.
CompTIA, the channel’s largest trade association, packed its agenda with training and education courses ranging from building cloud practices to understanding the intricacies of backup and disaster recovery to thinking like a vendor and better aligning business activities.
A core message CompTIA drove home at ChannelCon was the need for staying ahead of the evolutionary curve. CEO Todd Thibodeaux emphasized this in his keynote, citing emerging technologies and market opportunities such as 3D printing and smart buildings as the next wave solution providers to capitalize on.
Noticeable, though, is the weight solution providers give technology education over business. ChannelCon sessions that dealt specifically with management, strategy and marketing were less attended than those that were more prescriptive about specific technologies. This is a chronic issue in the channel, as solution providers continue to see themselves first and foremost as technologists rather than business people.
If anyone at ChannelCon was paying attention to the core messages delivered by speakers such as Thibodeaux, Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens, business author Dan Roam and business evangelist Laura Atchison had little to do with technology and more to do with business planning, strategy and professional development.
Solution providers are challenged when it comes to business management and development. They’re great at the technical aspects of their business, but have little skill or taste for the strategic arts of their businesses. Marketing, sales, business development and product packaging are tasks they often relegate to vendors and distributors rather than developing their personal or staff skills.
CompTIA deserves recognition and applause for its efforts to raise the level of awareness and resources for developing business skills in the channel. Technology has made it possible for the geeks to inherit the earth. But technology isn’t enough. Real and sustainable success will come from the development of business models and systems that leverage technology as a valuable marketplace commodity.
Solution providers who get that concept, take advantage of programs and materials such as those offered by CompTIA, and develop their organizations with laser focus on business management will be in a far better position to leverage technology and sustain thriving businesses.