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Sessions

Day 2: Wednesday, November 18th

8:15am - 9:15am
KEYNOTE: Building the new channel in a cloud centric world
Gretchen O’Hara - Vice President, Go-to-Markets, One Commercial Partner - Microsoft, US
Cloud services have taken our industry by storm. For end-users, they offer options to work smarter and safer and give them the scale and scope for innovation and expansion. And with an industry transformation to the cloud, it offers new opportunities for channel partners and challenges traditional programs. Come to this opening keynote to find out how an industry leader has embraced this change and helping partners offer new value to their market.

9:30am - 10:10am
SESSION 1: One size does not fit all! Building a flexible but simple program to meet widely differing partner needs
Cheryl Cook – SVP Global Partner Marketing – Dell Technologies
Our partner programs need to evolve to embrace innovation and change in the channel. Partners are finding new ways to deliver services to their customers, yet sometimes are challenged with partner programs that are inflexible and built around old traditional models. Find out how one industry veteran is embracing these changes to enable their partners with differing needs.

9:30am - 10:10am
SESSION 2: What is the role of the vendor and the channel in marketing to today’s technology buyer?
Peter Thomas – VP Channel Strategy – E2open
Today’s technology buyer has changed dramatically. Gone are the days when vendors could simply address IT managers. Today, there are many influencers in the purchase of technology including business managers. How does a vendor help channel partners to drive a marketing program where they may have limited resources? This presenter will show how vendors are making it easy for partner marketing to participate and drive an effective program.

9:30am - 10:10am
SESSION 3: How do you build a model to effectively measure both the partner and customer experience?

Balaji Subramanian – VP Global Alliances & Channel Sales – ServiceMax
Customers have high expectations of their partners. Likewise, partners have high expectations for their vendors. With the proliferation of competition in our markets, both customers and partners have many choices, and their experience in procuring and using your technology plays an important part in driving preference and loyalty. Measuring customer and partner experience should be a part of every program.

10:35am - 11:15am
SESSION 4: Best practice in building a recruitment and enablement strategy for today’s MSPs

Joe Sykora – VP Global Sales and Channels – Bitdefender
Addressing a new channel of managed services providers is high on every technology vendors list given the success of the cloud in our markets. This offers new challenges and opportunities in finding these cloud-oriented partners, recruiting them, and enabling their business model so they grow your channel. This industry leader will share best practices on how they have targeted the MSP channel as important part of their go-to-market strategy.

10:35am - 11:15am
SESSION 5: Focus on what really matters – How do you drive meaningful partner engagement?

Vedonia Ingram – VP Client Services - Mindmatrix  
We know that managing partner relationships is critical to the success of our channel programs. Driving loyalty from partners enables their business and yours. Yet it is challenging for vendors who might have thousands of partners in their program to engage with each one. Partner Relationship Management or PRM should be an important part of your strategy to manage the scale and scope of your partner channel and driving growth and success of your program.

10:35am - 11:15am
SESSION 6: Using the latest technology to create a more meaningful partner experience

Lisa McLin - VP of Alliances and Channel Chief - Rackspace 
Leading technology vendors know that they need to provide support and flexibility partners need to better serve their customers, build loyalty and create new revenue opportunities. The key is how to manage this at scale across hundreds even thousands of partners in your program. Can technology tools play a part in driving a meaningful partner experience? Come to this session to learn how a leading cloud services provider is using technology to manage and grow the channel.

12:20pm - 1:50pm
SPECIAL LUNCH SESSION: How do you ensure the channel is a key component of your company’s corporate strategy?

Micheal McCollough – VP of Global Channels & Alliances  - Akamai
Our customers depend on their channel partners to help them make choices about technology vendors, provide a solution that fits their business, and scales to support their growth. Even with the changes in cloud models and digital transformation, your channel partners have become even more important in driving your corporate strategy and growth. Join us over lunch to hear a thought-provoking presentation that will empower us to be proactive about the role the channel has in enabling the growth of our companies.

1:50pm - 2:30pm
SESSION 7: Professional services – Best practices in reconciling the needs of the direct team and your channel partners

Karl Meulema – VP Global Partner Strategy - Tata Communications
The dynamic between direct sales teams and the services our channel partners provides has been a topic in our industry for many years. Done right, the two work together towards customer success. Gone wrong, they compete with each other and impact the channel partner model in a negative way. Come to this presentation to find out how a global systems integrator has used their professional services program to drive channel engagement and growth.

1:50pm - 2:30pm
SESSION 8: Building Partner Programs in a Cloud and MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) World

Darren Bibby – VP, Partner Strategy and Programs - DocuSign
Customers today desire subscription or monthly models to pay for their IT services. It matches their cash flow and provides a more affordable way to procure technologies and services. Yet, our channel partners have in the past upfront revenue when implementing a solution, and monthly recurring revenue (MRR) creates a challenge to their business and how they invest in your technology. This session will answer questions in how to embrace MRR in your program.

1:50pm - 2:30pm
SESSION 9: Becoming tomorrow’s channel leader – What new skill-sets will be required?

Richard Flynn – Founder & Senior Principal and Dan Overgaag – Principal - The Spur Group
The needs of our channel have changed over the years, and now vendors are looking for ways to accelerate growth while providing insight and management to enable that. The new business models in the channel with cloud, MRR, and other factors have created new requirements for those who lead it. Come to this session to learn how a leading consulting firm has identified this trend in the skill sets needed for tomorrow’s channel leaders to succeed.

2:35pm - 3:15pm
SESSION 10: With the move to the cloud will there be a role for traditional on-premise partners?

Mike Conlon – VP National Partners - RingCentral
The cloud models offer new services and innovation that many of our customers have embraced and continue to do so at an accelerating rate. However, what is the role for traditional on-premise partners in this new channel landscape? Do they need to abandon their traditional business models, or is there still a market for on-premise solutions to fit customer needs? This session will address the debate we all are having in our channel programs.

2:35pm - 3:15pm
SESSION 11: Building an effective sales and marketing enablement program

Aimie Vargas – VP Sales – Zift Solutions
Do you feel that sometimes your channel program is too complex, too many partners, too difficult to manage? Is our program a patchwork of initiatives that seem to have no coherent focus and not aligned to our growth and goals? Have we created a monster to manage? Come to this session to learn how leading organizations are building effective sales and marketing through enablement.

2:35pm - 3:15pm
SESSION 12: Are partner tiers, deal reg and other standard incentives losing relevance? If so, what will replace them?

Sal Patalano – EVP & CRO - SilverSky a division of BAE Systems
Managing the channel used to be simpler. Incentives based on partner tiers like gold, silver and bronze, discount programs like deal registration, and promotional tools with MDF and Coop were the foundations of most channel programs. Now with movement to the cloud, innovative business models, and disruptive technologies, do the old rules for managing channel incentives still work? Come and find out how an industry leader is embracing these changes.

4:40pm - 5:20pm
SESSION 13: The 800lb gorillas, AWS and Azure! How do you build a partner with them?

Brad Tompkins - CSO - Igel
Cloud service platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure offer huge scale and scope for end users and now enjoy great market success and penetration. Finding a way to partner with AWS and Azure can be a catalyst to great success with your channel program. However, the question is how to partner without being crushed by their market dominance, especially for small niche vendors.

4:40pm - 5:20pm
SESSION 14: Creating a program to target the influencer channel

D Martin – VP NA Sales Organization  – Red Hat
Technology providers typically partner with resellers who can offer sell-through opportunities to reach the end-user customer. However, technology procurement has many influences outside of this resale model. Buyers often rely on consultants with expertise in their sector or platforms to help them make decisions. Reaching these influencers is now more important than ever for every technology vendor. So the question is how do you influence the influencers?

4:40pm - 5:20pm
SESSION 15: Panel: The voice of the MSP – 3 MSPs share how they have moved up-market to target mid-sized and enterprise customers

Moderator: Rob Rae - SVP - Datto, Inc. 
Managed services used to be an easy way to reach the SMB market, but with today’s growth in scale and quality of cloud services, many larger companies now rely on these solutions too. But are the go-to-market rules for small businesses the same for larger enterprises? Come to this panel discussion to learn how leading MSPs are reaching new, larger customers by moving up-market, offering new services and support, and creating a competitive channel market for your services.

5:20pm - 6:00pm
Evening Panel Plus Beer, Wine and Nibbles: The big debate “To channel or not to channel...” – Sales leaders debate the relevance of the channel to today’s changing marketplace

Panelists: Rodney Foreman – CRO – Cobalt IronDarren Bibby – VP, Partner Strategy and Programs – DocuSignTony Puopolo - VP of Sales - Service Providers and Integrators – CradlepointMichelle Hodges - VP WW Channels - GitLab Inc.

Moderator: Larry Walsh - CEO -  The 2112 Group

That is the question. Today’s marketplace for technology and services has changed dramatically. There are new business models with cloud, new partners in the market, and new ways to reach your end users directly. With that in mind, is the channel still as relevant today as it was before? Come to this thought-provoking panel to end the day, and learn about the key trends that are shaping our industry for the future.

 

Day 3: Thursday, November 19th

8:15am - 9:15am
KEYNOTE: How will the MSP model evolve – Which new models are being adopted and how should a smart vendor respond?

Rod Baptie – CEO – Baptie & Co
Day two of the conference opens with an insightful view on the changing dynamics of our industry. Managed Service Providers are offering value to end users with new and innovative services that offer economies of scale. Yet they challenge the traditional channel models that vendors have leveraged for many years. How do vendors embrace these new models to drive growth and value for their organization? Join us for this breakfast keynote to find out.

9:25am - 10:05am
SESSION 16: Lessons from the trenches building and implementing a concierge marketing model

Amy Belcher – VP Global Channel Enablement - Xerox
Managing a channel marketing program has its challenges. You invest in content, incentives, and training programs for channel partners, only to have them poorly utilized due to the lack of skills in the partners to execute. Concierge marketing services provide everything the channel partner needs to manage and execute their program by outsourcing these functions to the vendor or chosen providers. Find how effective these services can be in your marketing program.

9:25am - 10:05am
SESSION 17: How do you effectively measure the ROI of your channel partner program?

Cesar Castro – Senior Director – Salesforce Community Cloud
Measuring the effectiveness of your channel program is more important than ever. Gaining insight into the return on investment will help you make the business case to continue to grow. But measuring effectiveness in the channel is inherently difficult due to the complexities of numerous partners, lack of consistent tools for measurement, and visibility on execution. Come to this session to find out how an industry leader has overcome this challenge to show ROI.

9:25am - 10:05am
SESSION 18: Best practices in effectively leveraging the power of today’s marketplaces

Colleen Kapase – VP WW Partner & Alliances  – Snowflake 
Marketplaces offer a place for technology buyers to find many providers that can fit their business needs and deliver a complete solution for their organization. Leading cloud platforms have extended marketplaces to third party services and vendors to drive adoption. Using these channels as a key component in your go-to-market will provide access to qualified technology buyers who are ready to move forward. But managing this new channel has its challenges.

11:35am - 12:15pm
SESSION 19: What are the best practices in supporting and upskilling your top partners?

Sandra Glaser Cheek – VP Global Partners - Ciena
Channel enablement has always been an important component in success of your program. Do you offer the same benefits in support and training to all partners, or do you differentiate in selecting top partners for enhanced services? Taking your top partners to the next level of performance can be a catalyst to growth of your program. How do you identify which partners to select? What special services do you provide them? How do you measure the effectiveness of this investment over others in your channel program?

11:35am - 12:15pm
SESSION 20: How do you use rebates to drive the channel behaviors you need?

Steven Kellam – SVP Marketing and Alliances – 360Insights
Channel incentives still have an important place in our industry. Rebates and discount programs can incentivize certain behaviors with your partners. Yet they can also be complex for vendors to implement and for partners to leverage. Rebates need to be reinvented for our new world of cloud models and services. Come to this presentation and find out how vendors can manage rebates on a scale that drives growth, value, and return on investment in your channel program.

11:35am - 12:15pm
SESSION 21: Trends in international distribution – Who is going to win and where are the opportunities?

Craig Patterson – VP of Sales Indirect Channel, West Division - CenturyLink
Distributors provide an effective way to enter international markets. They have a channel, scale, and scope to help you expand your program plus the market knowledge to accelerate your growth. Working with international distributors offers unique challenges over domestic partners. Distance, culture, trust, and other factors are very important, not to mention other issues like regulatory, currency risk, etc. This session will share best practices from an international leader.

12:50pm - 1:50pm
LUNCH - Women's Leadership Council Report

Theresa Caragol - CEO & Founder - AchieveUnite
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 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.

1:50pm - 2:30pm
SESSION 22: 5 key steps that you need to take to gain partner mindshare

Kim King – VP Global Partner Strategy and Programs – Hitachi Vantara
Partner loyalty is a key success factor in growing your channel. If partners are prioritizing your business, then they are likely to invest in it for customer success. Yet how do you get their attention to your program in a crowded and competitive market for technologies? This session will cover best practices in gaining partner mindshare and preference. You will come away with key steps you can take now in the office after the conference.

1:50pm - 2:30pm
SESSION 23: If the ease of doing business is the key – How do you simplify and automate your channel incentives program?

Claudio Ayub – Chief Strategy Officer - Perks
Most partners have many vendors they represent who each have dozens of incentive programs, discounts, promotions, rules, etc. This creates a complicated situation for partners, especially smaller ones, who may lack the resources and time to make sense of it all, let alone take action on claiming what they are due. Making your company easy to do business with channel partners will win hearts and minds with your partners and drive loyalty to your brand and offers.

1:50pm - 2:30pm
SESSION 24: Untapped revenue: Why referral partners are a critical and fast-growing partner segment – and how to harness their power

Kerry Desberg – CMO - Impartner
Many technology buyers today rely on consulting partners to help them navigate the complex solutions available in the market today and make a choice of the best solution. Or, they may turn to non-traditional firms who are advising them in other areas of the business to recommend a technology service. These referral partners are those who do not fit the typical resale model but are all the more influential in driving preference to your solutions.

3:55pm - 4:35pm
SESSION 25: Using predictive analytics to drive a program that meets the needs of tomorrow’s channel

Karen Strub - VP Program Management - Vistex
There are many factors that go into making the right choices for your channel program to optimize the revenue and growth for your company. Choosing the right mix to deliver a strong ROI will influence how much investment your programs continue to get, and also make a positive impact on partner loyalty. Having a predictive model will help analyze what has worked, identify factors that influence the outcome, and help you meet the needs of your partners.

3:55pm - 4:35pm
SESSION 26: Master agents – Ignore them at your peril

Master agents simplify the buying and sales cycle in technology channels by aggregating access to managed services and streamlining administrative tasks like paying of sales commissions and the like. They can be an important factor in many IT channels for selling your products and services and provide a value-added service to buyers too. Making sure part of your channel program is tuned for master agents will ensure success and avoid conflict.

3:55pm - 4:35pm
SESSION 27: Bringing partners back from the brink – They signed and did nothing – How do we make them productive?

Taylor Macdonald – SVP Global Channels – Sage Intacct
Staying close to the needs of your partners and aligning their goals to those of your customers is key to building a successful channel. Yet many partners may not be investing in your growth either due to a lack of understanding of the market or a feeling that the business will come to them. Re-activating these partners will help you get your channel growth back on track.

4:35pm - 5:00pm
Closing Session & Concluding Remarks: The Channel Focus Benchmark Survey - The Results - What Really Matters to Vendors and Partners?

Rod Baptie - CEO - Baptie & Company
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.