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How to prove the quality of your IT business with CompTIA and Accredit UK

I’ve been reflecting on my last meeting as Chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community, which gathered in our biggest meeting to date on October 22nd, 2012 in London (more on that to come in a later blog post).

Over 135 Resellers, Vendors and Distributors were in attendance for our busiest meeting yet.

Busy because there were two huge announcements at the event.

CompTIA IT Business Trustmark

imageThe first was the finalisation of the CompTIA IT Business Trustmark.

Almost a year ago our community put their support behind an initiative to create a Trustmark that would allow an IT company to demonstrate its sound business practices and show that it provides quality service.

On October 22nd 2012, after months of hard work from both CompTIA and volunteers from the member community, that Trustmark became a reality for UK IT companies.

The credential validates that an IT company follows industry best practices related to service agreements, standard operating procedures, and systems and tools for delivering its services.

Going forwards, I hope it will help buyers and suppliers to find the best IT companies to work with.

This Trustmark will undoubtedly develop and grow, but for me as departing Chair of the Community, it’s an amazing demonstration of what can be achieved when you get enough good people together who are passionate about a subject – in this case, raising the bar of professionalism in the IT industry.

If you’d like to get started with an application for the CompTIA IT Business Trustmark, you can do so today.

CompTIA and Accredit UK to merge

Accredit UK LogoTalking of good and passionate people, the second huge announcement at the Community meeting was that CompTIA announced plans to merge with Accredit UK.

For those unfamiliar with Accredit UK, it is a strong audited industry credential for those IT companies wishing to prove their procedural excellence and adherence to best practices. You might think of it (as I do) as the premier Trustmark for IT companies.

I’ve been a huge advocate of Accredit UK throughout the years, ever since my own MSP business went through the process. I wrote at length about What I think about Accredit UK and how it changed my business.

Why the merger?

imageWell over two years ago, I introduced Vaughan Shayler of Accredit UK and William Linard of CompTIA to each other, based on the fact they were both passionate about raising the bar of professionalism in the IT industry.

It was always clear to me that Vaughan and his team at Accredit UK were absolutely dedicated in their work towards helping IT companies become as good a business as they could be. Accredit UK wanted to see the IT industry take on a more professional image.

This was a message that I kept seeing in the work that CompTIA did too. For me, I felt the two were absolutely aligned in the same direction.

They must have felt so too, because as well as integrating Accredit UK into the CompTIA Trustmark schemes, it was announced that Vaughan Shayler would be joining CompTIA as Director of Channel Strategy at CompTIA in the UK! Congratulations to Vaughan!

What the merger means

Personally, I’m so pleased for Vaughan that he’s joining CompTIA. Vaughan is one of the world’s experts on IT business operations and deserves to be heard on a larger platform, one which CompTIA will now provide.

Professionally, I’m delighted that Accredit UK will be joining the CompTIA family. CompTIA are the IT industries Trade Association. They lead the discussion for the IT Channel, have influence at many levels and are respected. The good work that Accredit UK have done and will continue doing can now be heard by more people in our industry than ever before.

Conclusion

Almost two years into the growth of the UK Channel Community, and I’m over the moon that we’ve achieved two major milestones in IT business Trustmarks.

The CompTIA IT Business Trustmark is a fantastic way for IT businesses to stand up and differentiate themselves from their competitors as a professional, progressive organisation.

The CompTIA Accredit UK standard is now set to be the premier accreditation for IT companies to demonstrate in a vendor neutral way that they don’t just say they are the best, they are the best.

If you’re an IT company wanting to differentiate yourself from the competition, and prove to your clients and suppliers that you’re a progressive and professional business, then you should check out CompTIA’s work.

Exciting times. Smile

CompTIA EMEA Conference – London, 22nd & 23rd October, 2012

imageA heads-up that the CompTIA EMEA Conference will be taking place at the Lancaster London on October 23rd, 2012.

The conference, which is expected to be attended by over 400 IT Solution Providers, Vendors, Distributors and Channel Partners is open to both CompTIA members and non-members and is arguably the “must attend” event for the UK SMB IT community.

What to expect

The conference features three educational tracks:

  • IT Channel
  • Learning and Development
  • Training and Certification

Each track includes insights from keynotes and educational sessions led by industry thought-leaders; and opportunities to network with industry peers and partners.

Anybody who is anybody in terms of Vendors will also be in attendance, highlighting their newest products services and solutions in the Vendor Exhibit Hall.

Get your registration for free?

You can still register for the CompTIA EMEA Conference, and here’s a tip – keep an eye out for discount or free registration for CompTIA EMEA from some of your favourite vendors.

UK Channel Community meeting

CompTIA UK Channel Community logoThe day before the EMEA Conference, the CompTIA UK Channel Community will be meeting at the same venue.

I’ve written about my involvement in the UK Channel Community before, and this meeting will mark my final one as Chair of the Community after two great years in the role.

As well as a great day of networking, educational sessions and participating in a beta session for MSP’s who are interested in acquiring the newly created CompTIA UK Trustmark – I’ll be presenting at the meeting myself with my thoughts on the lessons I’ve learned from my time working within the IT channel and which I hope will help you achieve business success with.

Attendance at the meeting is free, but with over 150 registrations already and the event technically “sold out” – if you do want to to attend then feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to get your name down as an attendee.

See you there!

Whether you are attending the UK Channel Community meeting, the EMEA conference, or both events (and I do recommend getting an overnight hotel in London and doing both – they are a valuable use of your time out of the office) – do feel free to find me at the events to say hello!

CompTIA UK Channel Community Meeting – 18th July 2012, Reading

CompTIA UK Channel CommunityA heads-up that the CompTIA UK Channel Community will be meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading on Wednesday July 18th, 2012.

The meeting, which is free to attend for both CompTIA members and non-members, will bring together over 50 IT Solution Providers, Distributors, Vendors and Channel Associates from across the UK to connect and share ideas.

There is a packed agenda, including:-

  • an Industry Hot-Topic discussion
  • a Quick Start Guide to Managed Services presented by CompTIA’s Adam Harris and myself (all attendees receive a free copy of the CompTIA printed guide)
  • a Solution Provider Member Presentation by Chris Tate of Orchid IT
  • a Vendor Member Focus Presentation from David Hay of GFI Max entitled “Acquisition’s are quite like getting married”
  • a roundtable discussion on the forthcoming CompTIA UK IT Trustmark
  • and a Keynote presentation from Ian Moyse entitled “The Big C in Cloud: Channel and Conflict”

DSCN0167Plus there will be plenty of opportunity for networking during the day and over lunch.

The evening before, CompTIA will be offering a golf day at the Reading Golf Club, and a complimentary networking dinner at the Aqua restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Hotel that is open to all attendees of the Golf Day and Channel Community meeting.

I understand there are only a few spots left so if you haven’t already registered, then feel free to reach out to me or William Linard of CompTIA for more details or to check availability.

Listen to the CompTIA Podcast interview with Paul Tomlinson of Mirus IT

CompTIA UK Channel Community Logo

One of the benefits of being the Chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community is that I get to chat to some of the best and brightest people in the UK IT industry today.

I’ve said many times before that after a lot of these conversations, I often  wish that we had recorded that chat, so we could share the conversation with other people.

With that in mind, I’ve been scheduling time to sit with many of my peers from the  CompTIA UK Channel Community to hear their stories, get their thoughts and opinions on the latest news in the Channel, and generally chew the fat.

Paul Tomlinson of Mirus ITFor our latest episode, I’m thrilled to be talking to Paul Tomlinson of Mirus IT.

Mirus are one of the biggest members of the CompTIA UK Channel Community, with 70+ members of staff. They are arguably one of the top 100 Technology companies within the UK in terms of growth.

Paul himself is a successful entrepreneur, and in our interview we talk about the growth of Mirus, as well as two other businesses Paul has setup – Vivositi, focusing on Office 365 Cloud Solutions and a start-up in the tough IT recruitment market.

You can listen to the Podcast in one of three ways.

The Podcast is around 15 minutes long, so ideal for the commute to the office or a lunchtime listen.

You can also go back and listen to our other Podcast.

Would you like to be featured in an upcoming Podcast?

Is there anyone within the UK Channel that you would like to hear from? Leave a comment and let me know!

A list of User Groups for UK Managed Service Providers

Shaking HandsHere is a list of User Groups for UK based Managed Service Providers and IT Solution Providers that I hope to keep regularly updated.

Peer and User Groups are a fantastic way of accelerating your learning and building your business, and I highly encourage you to get involved.

Need more convincing? Here are 3 good reasons to attend your local user group.

 

CompTIA UK Channel Community

The community was formed in an effort to provide a platform for resellers, distributors, and vendors to focus on developing best practices, business education and resources for companies engaged in the delivery of IT services in the UK.

The community meets face-to-face four times a year, and the LinkedIn group keeps the community in touch between meetings. There is no requirement to be a member of CompTIA to join the community, and attendance at the community meetings is free.

Further reading:-

 

UK IT Small Business User Groups

A number of user groups regularly meet around the UK to discuss both business and technology, to share ideas and to network. Many of these groups were born from the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) and members of these groups are typically the owners of SMB IT solution providers and Managed Service Providers.

Further reading:-

 

Microsoft Office 365 UK User Group

Meeting the first Thursday of each month alternately in London and Birmingham, the group is dedicated to IT companies who work with Microsoft Office 365.

For more details, contact group lead Matthew Hughes or visit the Office 365 UK User Group web-site.

 

SQL Server User Groups

The Midlands SQL Server User Group meets every other month in Birmingham. For more details, check out the SQL Midlands web-site or follow @SQLMidlands on Twitter.

The Leicester SQL Server User Group meets three times a year in Leicester. For more details, check out the Leicester SQL Server User Group web-site.

 

Autotask User Groups

There are a number of worldwide Community groups for users of the Autotask Service Intelligence tool, including a group in the UK.

Autotask User Group meetings are typically open to all-comers, not just Autotask users, with industry wide as well as Autotask-specific education.

If you want to know more about the Autotask User groups then contact Len DiCostanzo, Senior Vice President, Community and Business Development at Autotask.

 

ConnectWise User Groups

There are a number of Community groups for users of the ConnectWise PSA tool across North-America, Australia and there is also a group named Five Hours Ahead that regular meets in London for the UK.

If you’re a ConnectWise user who wants to know more then contact Jeannine Edwards, Community Manager at ConnectWise.

 

Heartlands Technology Group

The Heartlands Technology Group (HTG) is a peer group for IT businesses that lives by the mantra “Business and Personal growth driven by execution”.

HTG 11 is the UK chapter of the peer group and meets once per quarter. Find out more details about Heartlands Technology Group (HTG).

 

Other Groups

If you have a User or Peer Group you’d like me to list, then please contact me.

 

Image used courtesy of Garfield Andersson under Creative Commons license.

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