Over the past several months, Everything Channel, in conjunction with the XChange advisory boards and key vendor executives, has been working to refresh the event's content and develop a track for solution-provider executives who want to transform business practices.
That conference track, called the Premium Executive Content Session, is scheduled to take place Thursday, March 11, focusing on marketing, leadership, fiscal fitness and growth strategies. The sessions will be led by solution provider and channel executives who have built businesses or are experts in their field.
During the main XChange conference, keynote addresses will be delivered by IPED's Practice Director Ryan Morris, Think Strategies' Jeff Kaplan and Reach Personal Branding's William Arruda. The mix of topics intersects the XChange themes of Control Your Destiny, Embrace Alternative Vendors and Business Models, and Delete Bad Business Practices.
Speaking to an anticipated audience of nearly 300 solution providers, Morris will interpret IPED's latest research and industry trends so those executives understand the current channel landscape.
Kaplan has been a thought leader in SaaS, and more recently in cloud computing, and will address the transformation currently taking place in the industry as solution providers move deeper into SaaS and cloud-based models. His views are refreshing if not controversial. The keynotes are rounded out by a professional who helps individuals and organizations better understand the power of their brands and how to develop better brands that not only help position their organizations but motivate employees.
Arruda will address one of the lingering issues facing the solution-provider industry -- the lack of marketing prowess, particularly when it comes to VAR brands. Arruda's presentation will no doubt serve as a wake-up call to many solution providers who have struggled with branding or looked at marketing as just a necessary expense. Solution providers will also hear from social networking expert Heather Margolis on how platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be used as marketing weapons.
In addition to the general sessions, top vendor executives will be delivering keynotes, including Microsoft, IBM, Xerox and HP, among others.
Perhaps the biggest content change at XChange is the inclusion of a Business Transformation track featuring premium content that is not part of the main XChange event. Solution providers attending the Thursday sessions will drill down into the four areas mentioned above.
Leading the fiscal fitness track is former solution provider James Kernan, who today is a senior consultant with the 4-Profit group. Kernan, who was a top sales executive with VAR500 firm The Integration Group has successfully coached hundreds of VARs since striking out as a consultant.
One of the building blocks for transformation is an innovative marketing strategy. Long-time industry veteran Stewart Krentzman will lead a "Marketing Mavens" session based on his years of experience in the consumer goods industry and his tenure leading Oki as its top U.S. executive. Krentzman will bring not only his business and IT acumen to the table but also his experience as an MBA marketing instructor at Columbia University.
For VARs seeking to sharpen their leadership skills and put a process in place to do so throughout their organizations, David Russell, CEO of ManagetoWin Inc. and author of Success with People,, will provide some needed perspective. Russell is a fixture at many vendor and solution-provider gatherings.
Speaking of industry fixtures, John Varel will share how he successfully built one of the industry's largest IT integrators -- FusionStorm -- in a session aptly titled, "How to build a $100 million VAR." Even for solution providers whose ambitions do not include running an organization that large, they will glean information on how to grow their businesses based on Varel's experience.
Rounding out our conference is a Cloud Bootcamp featuring Gartner vice president Tiffani Bova, cloud expert Bobby Napiltonia and VARs Doug Ford of I.T. Pros and John Ross of GreenPages.
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