Live Blog: CompTIA Annual Member Meeting 2016

At CompTIA Annual Member Meeting 2016 (#AMM16) this week in Chicago, ChannelE2E will be navigating the halls and attending a range of sessions designed for VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud solutions providers (CSPs), distributors and other channel-friendly companies.

Stay tuned to this live blog tracking the sessions we attend and the conversations we hear.

The Managed Services Community Meeting

Participants include:

Photo courtesy of Rob Rae
Photo courtesy of Rob Rae, Datto

A. Opening Chatter - Communications: Most of the opening chatter involves vendor-to-partner communications, and how to more effectively communicate timely technical and business messages to partners. The key tip: Mention no more than three action items in a communications dispatch.

The question/point I wanted to raise: You've got to have predictable communications -- perhaps delivered on the same day each week, so that partners get used to the rhythm. Nobody really mentioned a coordinated effort across social, email, phone, etc., though a growing number of folks are measuring results with analytics.

Among the biggest concerns among panelists: Vendors spend so much time marketing and too little time responding to actual partner inquiries involving a potential customer sale.

B. Next Topic - Partner and Customer Onboarding: The first point from MSPs -- only work with vendors that really want your business. They'll show the commitment through proactive, responsive communications. Partners also downplayed c0-branded marketing solutions from vendors, since many end-customers aren't familiar with the underlying technology brands. Both vendors and partners reiterated the need to walk away from specific deals, customer engagements and relationships that deliver more pain than profit.

C. Marketing Development Funds: A pool of funding from vendors to partners that helped the partners grow their businesses. The big challenge: Many partners don't report back to the vendor after using vendor dollars. The result: No future MDF funds for that particular partner.

Ted Roller

D. Casual Observation: GetChanneled Partner Ted Roller and I have an identical wardrobe. I'd say we have similar haircuts too, but I'm winning the race on failed follicles. (A proud way to say I'm going bald. Fast.)

One-on-One Briefings

CompTIA: What Comes After Trustmarks?

  • Nancy Hammervik, senior VP of industry relations, described how CompTIA is evolving its Trustmarks to free business standards for IT service providers to pursue.
  • Trustmark holders can march forward with the honor as long as they remain in good standing with CompTIA.
  • About one Trustmark per month leading up to ChannelCon in August will become a free standard for registered users to leverage.
  • The standards map to the company's various training and education guides.
  • The overall TrustMarks include Managed Services, Managed Print, Security, Cloud and IT Business. First migration is IT Business Trustmark, which is now readily available as a standard.
  • Basically, CompTIA wants all members to leverage business best practices -- built upon the standards.
  • Noon through about 5:00 p.m. ET.

Password Management for MSPs

Evening Briefings

  • Stay tuned for the after-hours chatter

Remember: This blog will be updated multiple times throughout the day. Keep checking back for updates.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.