In working with Partners day-in and day-out, we often hear about the value MSPs place on their ability to connect with other IT service providers to share best practices and improve your businesses. Thankfully, the IT industry is full of events that provide opportunities for networking and thought leadership. These events come in a wide variety of formats, including regional lunch and learns, “boot camps” for training on new products and services, and conferences for industry leaders.
With the new year fast approaching, several MSPs have asked our team members for tips on which events they should plan to attend in 2019. We recently spoke with Erin Shaw Crowley, Senior Events Marketing Manager at Barracuda MSP, to get her input, and to provide a guidepost for some conferences you may want to put at the top of your “must attend” list for 2019. Having played the roles of organizer, host, and attendee many times over at conferences like these, Erin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the IT channel events scene.
Erin began by explaining that she’s seen a change in the industry recently. This change is reflected in the types of events being put on and the topics being covered at them. The industry’s focus is shifting from innovations in product and service technology to high-level discussions about security.
Many events are not about living in the moment; but rather keeping an eye on the future in an effort to stay ahead of the curve.
Hosts are basing their event programs around educating their attendees on where industry is headed, addressing how emerging concepts and technologies, such as IoT for example, will impact the IT and MSP landscapes.
Top event picks for 2019
With Erin’s overview in mind, we asked her to provide some of her best recommendations for IT events and conferences for MSPs to attend in 2019. The list of events as well as Erin’s commentary on each one is as follows:
IT Nation Share– Locations in Continental US, EMEA, and APAC
IT Nation Share hosts 12 quarterly meetings in various cities, where regional partners can come together and network. Partner panels, meals, and a special happy hour are just some of the vehicles that Share uses to help attendees connect with vendors and each other. Share is also a great venue for attendees to exchange best practices, thought leadership and other forms of content.
IT Nation Explore (formerly Automation Nation)- June 13-15, Orlando, FL
IT Nation Explore provides a great opportunity for service providers to educate the technical side of the business and bring them together with vendors to network within and across groups to grow their knowledge and expertise. Many attendees also find the event as a venue for identifying forming potential partnerships. Explore also provides breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and hands-on product testing to maximize value for attendees.
IT Nation Connect– Locations in NA and EMEA, with APAC location TBA
IT Nation Connect brings a global flavor to a three-day conference experience as tech industry leaders bring their professional experiences from around the world to share with the attendees. The Connect event puts emphasis on spreading knowledge about thought leadership, better business practices, and achieving growth for MSPs. The event achieves this through its use of guest speakers, info sessions, and general networking for the benefit of attendees.
Robin Robins’ IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp– March 5-8, Nashville, TN
Robin’s Boot Camp focuses heavily on educating MSPs on how they can improve their marketing process and practices. The event also provides great insights to vendors and MSPs alike on how they can grow the success of their partners, in turn strengthening their partnerships and opening the more doors for future potential partners to enter. Robin’s Boot Camp comes with a money back guarantee and even the opportunity to meet NFL legend Peyton Manning.
“Schnizzfest” from TruMethods and Gary Pica– Date and Location TBA
The “Schnizzfest” is designed to help MSP professionals build the perfect image that their MSP’s sales team can project to its partners and prospects. Geared towards making improvements beyond just a company’s sales process, Schnizzfest addresses the evolution of the IT industry through fun networking activities and panel discussions. Schnizzfest offers a special keynote speaker, as well as the opportunity to stop by the Barracuda MSP exhibit for an introduction to Ready, Set, Managed (a free, interactive educational program designed to help attendees learn how they can move into the MSP space).
CompTIA Channelcon– August 5-7, Las Vegas, NV
ChannelCon provides several guest speakers, educational materials and activities, and networking opportunities for both vendors and MSPs. Channelcon’s structure isn’t rigid or forced, as they provide time for breakout sessions and conversation to help the attendees give their business a tangible boost that is almost immediately visible. Vendors find ChannelCon particularly helpful, as it provides them with opportunities beyond the general networking that vendors settle for at other events.
This is just a start
This list is the beginning of a long one of various industry events you’ll want to consider. Be sure to keep an eye out for any other events that may be announced soon. Local and regional events may attract less fanfare than many national events, but they more than make up for it with the convenience that they provide for the MSP. Resources like the Channel E2E industry event calendar make it easy for you to keep track of every IT conference as they are announced. Watch for any events that come to your area, so that you can capitalize on their benefits at a reduced cost for your business.