Which technology events should channel partners attend in Q1 2016? The ChannelE2E Technology Event Calendar lists plenty of options. But here are our top 15 choices along with some context explaining why VARs, managed services providers (MSPs), cloud services providers (CSPs) or independent software vendors (ISVs) should attend.
We've sorted our Q1 20216 channel partner event picks in date order. They are:
1. Citrix Summit 2016 (Jan. 11-12, Las Vegas): A CEO change. Business spin-offs. Irate shareholder activists. If you're an established or aspiring Citrix Systems channel partner, the stakes are very high for you and the software company in 2016. Attend this event to understand exactly how Citrix is managing its business and partner program at a time when major question marks surround the company.
2. Retail's Big Show 2016 (Jan. 17-20, New York): Hosted by the National Retail Federal (NRF), this massive annual event features plenty of tech talk. Attend this event to understand how retailers are adjusting their customer experience strategies within stores, online and across mobile devices. You'll also hear plenty about point of sale technology, sensor-driven networks and big data analytics.
3. SMB TechFest Q1 (Jan. 21-22, Southern California): Hosted by SMB technology expert Dave Seibert, this gathering typically attracts VARs and MSPs that are transitioning to cloud and managed services. Attend this event if you're looking to network with entrepreneurs who lead small IT service providers.
4. HTG Peer Groups Q1 (Feb. 1-5, Phoenix, Ariz.): If you own an IT service provider and you're seeking to understand how peers are running their businesses, then joining a peer group organization like HTG could be highly worthwhile. HTG's members meet quarterly to discuss their financial performance, business priorities -- and life priorities as well.
5. IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference (PWLC, Feb. 15-18, Orlando): For roughly three years now, IBM has suffered from falling revenues as the world shifts away from traditional hardware and software purchases. But here's the thing: IBM also has some of the fastest-growing cloud, analytics, mobile and security businesses -- and they depend heavily on channel partners. How heavily? This conference will offer timely updates.
6. HIMSS 2016 (Feb. 29-March 4, Las Vegas): If you're working in or around the healthcare vertical, this massive event has all the content you'll ever need -- though most of it is designed for IT professionals who work directly for the healthcare providers. A great way to get beyond your basic HIPAA discussions and dive deeper into the key IT issues facing healthcare.
7. RSA Conference 2016 (Feb. 29-March 4, San Francisco): Simply put, the world's largest annual IT security conference. It's extra intriguing this year since Dell is striving to acquire EMC -- parent of RSA.
8. Cisco Partner Summit 2016 (Feb. 29-March 3, San Diego): This event marks the first partner summit since Cisco Systems' CEO crown shifted from John Chambers to Chuck Robbins. Always a channel-centric guy, Robbins will update the world on Cisco ONE software licensing, and the shift to software-centric networking...
9. VMWare Partner Leadership Summit 2016 (March 6-9, Scottsdale, Ariz): An invite-only event for VMware channel partners. An especially timely gathering, since Dell will be seeking to finalize its buyout of EMC and VMware. Also, watch for VMware to talk up its developer relations with ISVs.
10. Aruba Atmosphere 2016 (March 6-11, Las Vegas): Designed for customers and partners that work with Hewlett Packard Enterprise's wireless networking business -- Aruba Networks. Pitched as a mobile conference...
11. ASCII IT SMB Success Summits (March 16-17, Southern California): Typically attracts small IT service provides that are blending hardware resale with cloud and managed services.
12. Channel Partners Conference & Expo (March 16-18, Las Vegas): Always a safe bet for channel partners that are seeking to wrap their arms around the convergence of telecom, office equipment, managed services, cloud and more.
13. CompTIA AMM 2016 (March 22-24, Chicago): This is CompTIA's Annual Member Meeting. CompTIA is the largest U.S.-based association for channel partners and IT professionals. Join in, and you'll get a feel for various working groups and front-of-mind issues for IT service providers -- particularly in the SMB market.
14. Strata+Hadoop World San Jose 2016 (March 29-31): Not exactly your traditional channel partner gathering. This event is designed more for data scientists, big data experts and IT professionals who work with Hadoop. But... it's a highly valuable gathering for channel partners that are trying to wrap their arms around analytics and big data customer strategies. In particularly, pay attention to cloud-based big data services.
15. Microsoft Build 2016 (March 29-31, San Francisco): Where is Microsoft heading next with Windows, software and hardware? This event is ideal for early adopters and ISVs (independent software vendors). For channel partners, it provides key clues about Microsoft's strategic bets before related chatter shows up later this year at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July.
Also Worth Mentioning: Q1 2016 Tech Events
Our ChannelE2E Technology Event Calendar includes additional conferences that didn't quite make our list of "must attend" Q1 2016 events. Still, they're noteworthy for a range of reasons. Here's a sampling:
1. USENIX Enigma (January 25-27, San Francisco): This security-centric event is designed to pinpoint and discuss emerging threats that aren't yet on the national radar. Google is among the sponsors, and all content involves 30-minute presentations from some of Silicon Valley's top security gurus.
2. IBM Connect 2016 (Jan. 31-Feb. 6, Orlando): This is not to be confused with IBM's PartnerWorld Leadership Conference. But if you're focused on cloud, analytics, mobile and social strategies, IBM Connect could be worth checking out.
3. TED 2016 (Feb. 15-19, Vancouver, BC, Canada): The ultimate thought leader conference. Far outside the norm for a typical channel partner to attend. Or is it?
4. Spark Summit East (Feb. 16-17, New York): Spark is one of the fastest-growing open source big data technologies in the world. IBM has bet its big data business on Spark. But we suspect this technology conference is about two or three years ahead of its time for channel partners.
5. SUP-X: The Startup Expo (Feb. 16-17, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Assuming the event lives up to the agenda, SUP-X could be a great gathering of entrepreneurs who are seeking to show off their innovations while also discussing hot topics like seed funding, venture backing and more.
What Did We Miss?
Are you planning to attend a channel partner conference that we didn't list? Are you trying to gather information about a new or emerging IT event? Let us know what we overlooked and we'll be sure to check it out.
Also, the ChannelE2E Technology Event Calendar is open to your submissions. (Sorry, we don't list road shows, lunch and learns or webcasts.)