Best Of Breed: CRN's BoB Conference Coverage
UBM Channel's Best Of Breed conference, is an exclusive three-day event, brought together the most progressive and innovative leaders in the IT channel. The invitation only BoB conference featured a variety of speakers from the solution provider community as well as industry luminaries, noteworthy authors and more.
The BoB Conference provided a platform for examining the business model issues facing the IT channel and enabled partners to learn from each other. CRN was on hand to provide exclusive insight and analysis from the show. Check out the coverage below.
We would also like to thank our 2011 Best of Breed Club members for their investments and contributions to this new event.
There's more to a social media strategy than just having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. At the BoB conference, Wendi Garrison, director of marketing and partner relations at Business Communications Inc., and Ruth White-Cabbell, marketing programs manager, U.S. channel marketing at Cisco Systems, offered a look at some best practices to help solution providers boost their social media strategies.
Cloud computing is a widely used term in the IT industry vernacular, but what cloud computing actually means depends on who you're talking to. During the Cloud Integrators Forum panel held at the BoB conference, solution providers in various stages of transitioning to the cloud offered a glimpse of the business impact cloud computing is having on their discussions with customers.
Ginni Rometty will take over as the new IBM CEO effective January 1. While Rometty has 30 years under her belt at Big Blue, the assessment of top solution provider executives at the BoB conference is that transitioning IBM's $100 billion business into the cloud services era will be anything but easy.
HP has been actively engaging in discussions with customers who are interested in learning how the cloud can help transform the way they do business. And while HP is pleased with these discussions, Frank Rauch, vice president of channel sales for HP's ESSN division, believes it's time to transform these discussions into actual cloud business. During his presentation at the BoB conference, Rauch discussed how the channel will play a critical in converting these cloud conversations into actual sales of HP cloud products.
According to UBM Channel research, progressive solution providers that are investing in new business models and are actually winning cloud customers is in stark contrast to solution providers who have not changed in the last decade. While adoption is soaring with approximately $2 billion in cloud services expected to be sold in 2012, 25 percent of those vintage solution providers claimed to see no demand. That was one of the big takeaways in a keynote presentation by UBM Channel CEO Robert Faletra at the BoB conference.
Virtual desktop infrastructure adoption is not taking off like server virtualization did. And while it's a much trickier technology to deploy from a cost and business model perspective, solution providers are still bullish on the long-term benefits VDI can bring to customers. During a panel discussion at the BoB conference, solution providers discussed why the VDI adoption rate is still in the single digits while providing optimism for the future impact of the technology.
Product conversion is all fine and well, but getting to know the person you're doing business with is critical to actually growing your business. This is according to David Nour, best-selling author of "Relationship Economics," who spoke to solution provider executives at the BoB conference. Nour stressed the importance of strategic relationships for solution providers, and noted that focusing on solving the actual business problem a customer is facing will lead to a greater ROI than transactional sales.
Lisa Gansky, entrepreneur and author of "The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing," kicked off the BoB Conference with a look at how the most innovative companies on the Web are leveraging shared access to goods and talent. Gansky highlights services such as Spotify and Zipcar as early examples of businesses who are tapping into the advantages that can be derived from the sharing resulting from social networking and the near-ubiquitous ownership of mobile devices.
For solution provider executives gathering at the BoB Conference, collaborating on a path to success in the midst of fast-paced technology and business model changes is top of mind. DLT Solutions President and CEO Rick Marcotte, GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler and other solution provider thought leaders view collaboration as a key to forging a new path that will allow the channel to prosper in the cloud computing era.