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Thoughts on the evolution of the CompTIA UK Channel Community

CompTIA UK Channel Community logoIt’s been almost two years since the CompTIA UK Channel Community was formed to create a community where IT solution providers, vendors and distributors could come together to help each other and the wider IT Channel.

I wrote back in April of 2011 about the goals of the CompTIA UK Channel Community, and how I was flattered to be elected Chair of the group by my peers.

This accolade came just a few weeks after I’d sold my own IT business, so was a real confidence booster for me at the time as I embarked on a new career offering expert help to IT companies.

At this time I wanted to ensure I spent a portion of my available time doing something to help raise the level of professionalism in the IT industry, and looking back now, volunteering my time to chair the UK Community was a great way to do this.

The Growth of the Community

October 22nd saw the latest meeting of the UK Channel Community, and my last as Chair. I’ll be stepping down from the role, giving someone else the opportunity to step up and take the community forward to even better things.

As well as my last meeting as chair, I can honestly say it was also my most fulfilling to date.

imageAnyone who has attended a Community meeting will tell you that there’s a fantastic warm atmosphere of friendship, sharing and fun both during and after the meetings. I often talk about the value of spending time with positive, successful people for your own personal development. This group has attracted some of the most positive, successful people in our industry. Just being around them can help inspire and raise your game.

imageI recall one of the earlier community meetings having around 20 people in the room, mostly solution providers. Fast forward to October 22nd, and we had 135 registrants and a full-house comprised of not only solution providers, but some vendors and distributors who are very engaged and “get” what the Community is about.

When we first started the Community and for some time afterwards, there was pushback in some quarters to having vendors and distributors involved as opposed to just a solution provider community. I felt very strongly that adding vendors and distributors to the conversation was a key element.

Looking back, I think the community has thrived because of that mixture. For me, the addition of some different perspectives adds more value to the whole conversation.

Learning’s from the life of a geek

As this was my last meeting as Chair, I put myself forward for the member presentation slot.

I can honestly say I’ve never been more nervous about a presentation in my life.

imageThe presentation – “Learnings from the Life of a Geek – Grow Yourself, Grow Your Business” – was quite personal to me, sharing the ideas behind my own personal growth over the years, as generously taught to me by some of the best people in our industry.

Thankfully, I enjoyed the presentation and the feedback I received afterwards was genuinely heart-warming. I had a number of comments and e-mails, especially from new members to the Community who I’d never spoken to before, who shared their appreciation of the presentation. Thank-you to everyone who took the time to speak with me and e-mail me before and afterwards. It meant a lot to me.

IT Trustmark

imageThe two biggest bits of news coming out of the meeting was the announcement that CompTIA and Accredit UK are merging, and the release of the new CompTIA IT Business Trustmark.

I’ve talked directly about both pieces of news in an earlier blog post entitled “How to prove the quality of your IT business with CompTIA and Accredit UK”, but suffice to say, given my personal drive towards raising the bar of professionalism within the IT industry – I look on both these initiatives as something I’m very, very proud of coming out of the community during my time as chair. Both will enable the Community to go onto bigger and better things.

The Future Of The Community

As I step down as Chair, I feel very proud of what the Community has achieved.

I’m also excited for the future of the Community.

It’s my hope that whomever takes over as Chair will help to draw more Vendors and Distributors to the Community, as well as a wider variety of IT Solution Providers including some larger MSP’s who can add further weight to the influence and voice of the Community.

I’d also hope that the Community engages further with other IT groups around the UK – including IAMCP, local SMB IT User Groups, Vendor User Groups and national buying groups. There are passionate members of these communities whose goals match those of the UK Channel Community. Getting them on board would help everyone involved.

Finally, I hope more members of the Community decide to step up and get involved. Whether it be helping with organisation, giving member presentations, offering blog posts, doing Podcast interviews, or helping to promote the Community. As anybody on the Community Executive Council or involved in the IT Trustmark Beta will tell you, it’s not the size of the company you represent, it’s the passion you have for our industry that counts. I’d encourage anyone who wants to see the Community grow to step up to see how they can help.

I’ve no doubt the community will grow bigger and better – and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.

Thank-you!

Of course, everything I’ve mentioned above has happened as a result of the Community members giving their time and effort. I appreciate everyone who has attended and given their feedback and support. It’s been a lot of fun!

I’d like to personally say thank-you to some key individuals too.

  • A huge thank-you to William Linard of CompTIA, who is a phenomenal organiser and somebody I love spending time with.
  • Thank-you to Stephanie Meadows of CompTIA, who works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the days are so well organised and run so smoothly. Thank-you Stephanie!
  • A special thank-you to Matthew Poyadigi who, along with William Linard, was very instrumental in involving me in the Community in the first place.
  • Appreciation to Nancy Hammervik and Todd Thibodeaux of CompTIA in the USA. Both have frequently made the trip across the pond to the UK to support our growing community and I believe this has had a really positive effect on us.
  • A personal thank-you to Jim Hamilton of CompTIA, who has been very generous with his time with me and who I’ve learnt more about running a Community from than I thought possible.
  • My thanks to Vaughan Shayler of Accredit UK CompTIA, who has become a great friend and mentor.
  • To all the members of the Executive Council – Mark Williams of Pensar, Andy Dow of Computer 2000, Les Billing of HMD Electronics, Jim Harrower of GFI Max, and also to Paul Tomlinson of Mirus IT. Thank-you for all of their contributions. Without exception, each of you are more experienced and more knowledgeable than me, so I appreciate all I’ve learnt from you.
  • Finally, to my Vice-Chair Lee Evans of Vital, who probably won’t like to admit it, but contributes more time and energy to this and other IT communities than anyone else I know.

It’s been my pleasure to Chair this community, and I look forward to being a member of it as it grows even bigger and better. Smile

 

Photos courtesy of Joe Watts.

You can visit Flickr to take a look at all of Joe’s amazing photographs of CompTIA EMEA 2012.

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Richard Tubb

I help IT companies grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. My clients are business owners of small to medium sized IT firms.
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