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Looking at the CompTIA UK Channel Community

CompTIA UK Channel Community Logo

It was back at the tail end of 2009 that I first became aware  of CompTIA and their presence in the UK. Like many people working within the IT industry, I was familiar with CompTIA primarily through their Certifications. I’d passed my own CompTIA A+, Network+ and other similar exams at the start of my career and know many colleagues who have worked towards these qualifications too.

But it wasn’t until I sat down with Matthew Poyadigi and William Linard of CompTIA UK that I became aware of CompTIA’s full activities as a not-for-profit Trade Association. I quickly became impressed by their UK Reseller Community where CompTIA were already building strong relationships with IT providers, MSP’s and other organisations within the SMB space. I was invited as a guest to attend one of the Reseller Group meetings organised alongside the TCA (Technology Channels Association) and there was both a good turn out of many different types of IT reseller, as well as a great atmosphere of sharing and participation amongst the members present.

I participated in that Reseller group through 2010, until the news came at the CompTIA EMEA Conference that the TCA had merged with CompTIA – pooling their resources and members on a formal level.

Fast forward to March 2011, and CompTIA announced the formation of the UK Channel Community – a group for UK Technology companies.

I was honoured to be voted in by my peers as Chair of the new group a few weeks ago, with Lee Evans of Harrogate based Vital Technology Group as Deputy Chair. Many of you will be familiar with Lee from the work he’s already done with the Autotask UK Community, and his long standing contributions to the Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Community.

One of the aims of the group is to provide a voice for the UK Channel community – not only resellers, but also vendors and distributors. This is an important step, and the group is actively seeking Vendors and Distributors to come aboard to provide the benefit of their perspective and input. One of my own goals for 2011 is to bring Resellers and Vendors closer together, and I think this is a great opportunity to do so.

I do write as a former reseller myself though, and as someone very familiar with the reseller community, and so I can say with certainty that there will be plenty of opportunity to pursue common goals for Resellers. Discussions via the CompTIA UK Channel Community LinkedIn group and our first Conference Calls showed that a set of guidelines for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery at the SMB level is of interest to many members, and the group is already voting on a list of projects that they would like to see the Community work towards.

Additionally, there is a strong drive to make this a formal platform for UK IT Channel members that is *not* US-centric. There are already steps underway to convert some of the great CompTIA member resources previously only of use to US-members, such as HR and Legal Guidelines, and make them accessible to UK members.

So what’s next?

Well, if you’re a UK based Reseller, Vendor or Distributor and are interested in getting involved then check out the CompTIA UK Channel Community portal, or reach out to myself or Lee Evans for more information.

In May, CompTIA is partnering with CRN Partner Connect to present an exhibition at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, followed by a UK Channel Community meeting. The Exhibition is set for Thursday 12th May (Register here to avoid the £25 entry fee!) and the UK Channel Community will meet on Friday 13th May, again in Coventry.

As mentioned earlier, there is also the CompTIA UK Channel Community LinkedIn group for members discussion. There’s already well over 100 members of this group and it’s growing daily, so get involved!

If you work in the IT Channel in any capacity, I’d encourage you to reach out and get involved. There’s a lot of great things happening within the UK Channel, and by being involved in groups such as this you can be the first to hear about them.

I’d also stress that participation gives you a great opportunity to influence the direction of the Channel going forwards. If there’s something you’re not happy about, or think could be done better – then there’s never been a better opportunity to stand up and get involved!

CompTIA UK Resellers Forum and TCA Conference – 25th February – Walkers Stadium, Leicester

I  recently had the opportunity to sit down with William Linard and Matthew Poyadigi from CompTIA UK. You may be familiar with CompTIA for their IT Qualifications – the CompTIA A+, Server+ and so on. I was personally most familiar with CompTIA due to their strong presence in the US, working with groups such as HTG.

What I wasn’t familiar with was CompTIA’s presence within the UK and the work they do globally within the industry, and this was something William and Matthew opened my eyes to. Just about every major vendor (including Microsoft) is a member of CompTIA, and thus CompTIA listen to these vendors feedback, and through it help to shape the future of the Channel for their members.

After my meeting with Matthew and William, I was invited to attend the CompTIA UK Reseller Forum – an afternoon of CompTIA members sitting and discussing the IT industry we work within. The session was excellent, some great companies and personalities involved, and felt very HTG-like in it’s nature – companies sharing Best Practices and ideas to help mutual acceleration of their growth as businesses. In fact, CompTIA were recently an invited guest at the last HTG 11 Quarterly meeting in London, and we can see many opportunities for members of the two groups to work together.

There was also discussion of plans that CompTIA is working towards in creating an official standard which the public and our own industry recognise as benchmark for ensuring the end user is using competent ICT professionals.

In short, there was a lot of value to the group and I’d recommend it highly to those who perhaps aren’t willing or able to make the large commitment of time and resources that peer groups such as HTG requires, but still want to engage and collaborate with their peers for mutual growth.

You can find out more about the UK Reseller Forum by contacting William Linard, or checking out their LinkedIn Forum. The next UK Resellers Forum is on the morning of Thursday 25th February, 2010, at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester, which, incidentally is also the date and location of the TCA Conference!

If you’re not familiar with the TCA – they are the Technologies Channels Association. Like CompTIA, the TCA have a goal of raising the bar of Professionalism within the IT industry. I met Adam Harris of the TCA at the aforementioned CompTIA UK Reseller Forum where he was a fellow attendee, and have since had a number of really interesting conversations with Adam on some of the challenges facing the IT industry.

Full details and Booking information for the Conference can be found here.

I’ll be attending both the CompTIA UK Reseller Forum and the TCA Conference, so if you’re attending either or both, let me know!

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