What I learned about the MSP industry at the CompTIA UK Channel Community Event
This is a guest post by my friend Gudrun Lauret, a copywriter and expert in great quality content. Gudrun helps your content marketing work harder and better!
I’ve written before about who are CompTIA and how can they help your IT business.
So when Gudrun recently attended the CompTIA UK Channel Community meeting in Birmingham with me, I thought it would be interesting to get her perspective on the day!
The CompTIA UK Channel Community Event in Birmingham
I’ve been serving IT companies for just over a year now, so I thought it would be a good idea to attend an industry event to develop my understanding further and to find out more about the challenges that managed service providers (MSPs) and vendors face in their businesses.
Attending the Event
The CompTIA event seemed like a good option because it would give me scope to hear from all the various companies involved in providing IT services, and to give greater context to what I’ve learned creating and repurposing content for Tubblog.
I was a bit apprehensive, because I didn’t expect to know anyone, and as a founder of the group, Richard (whose guest I was) would be in high demand from people wanting to catch up with him.
I did know a couple of people from a (completely different) business event I’d been to recently, but I needn’t have worried – from the moment I arrived at the welcome drinks reception, everyone made me feel welcome. I think they were intrigued to know why I was there, as I don’t have any kind of IT background.
I thought the reception and formal dinner was a great idea. For me, it was a way to break the ice before the full day event, and to find out the types of businesses who were there. For almost everyone else, it was an opportunity to catch up with friends, collaborators and suppliers.
As a veteran of conferences, I liked the format of the day – presentations interspersed with workshop sessions for delegates to learn something practical. And of course, plenty of tea breaks!
I was interested to learn about all the moving parts to CompTIA. They have 10 other communities across the globe, with a focus on the specific needs in each area or sector.
I was also taken by their commitment to donating to charity, to increase diversity and to both grow themselves and the businesses of their members. The online training and networking they provide contribute to this aim.
What I Learned from the CompTIA event
I enjoyed the panel discussion on various aspects of the industry. The panel was led by Richard and featured
- Chris Ward of Hampshire-based MSP, Vermont Systems
- Perry Ashby of London-based MSP, Urban Network
- Tracy Pound, of Birmingham-based IT Training and Consultancy company, Maximity
- Ian Vickers of Birmingham-based MSP, MET Ltd
- Janet O’Sullivan, Channel Marketing Manager at MSP vendor StorageCraft
The future of MSPs is something that’s talked about a lot on the TubbTalk podcast, so it was good to get the perspective of those in the room.
While increasing numbers of competitors and trying to stand out in the marketplace is a familiar concern, it was the advance of AI technology that stood out, which is something I think will impact more roles than we currently realise.
The other key was how to help customers understand technology. As an end-user myself, although on a small scale, I think there’s a risk of forgetting, as Tracy said, that there is a human at the end of every computer who’s trying to do a job.
You can watch the recorded live stream of the panel session below.
I attended the ‘unconference’ workshop, as the other option (being a better leader) wasn’t really applicable to me. I didn’t have anything to contribute, but I liked having the opportunity to hear people airing their views ‘in the wild.’ The discussion was confidential, but it gave me food for thought.
We had a delicious lunch, and I can highly recommend the food at the Hyatt Regency – outstanding! After some more tea (there’s a theme here!) I was ready for the afternoon.
Stuart Warwick explained the £Million Game Plan, and while I’m not an MSP, the part about selling time for money vs selling assets certainly resonated. It’s a challenge for everyone, especially if (like me) scaling the business isn’t really doable.
He talked about the importance of building over time and provided the ‘accelerators’ that MSPs need to do this. A statistic that stood out for me was that by 2021, there will be a 3.5m lack in workers skilled in cybersecurity. Wow!
I have to confess that I hopped off to check out the rather fabulous Library of Birmingham (well, I AM a writer!) and spent a happy half hour in the Shakespeare Room. This was my first time in Birmingham, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to look around in the sunshine.
However, I made sure I was there for the highly entertaining Marcus Cauchi, who gave a hilarious but very useful presentation about being better at sales (hint – don’t sell). He gave some great insights into how to develop your sales pipeline, and it was interesting to hear him talk about solving your prospect’s pain. This is something I’ve learned a lot about from various sources, but relating it to IT and support organisations were very useful.
What did stand out for me during and after the event was that marketing isn’t something that’s high on the priority list for many IT businesses, and in some cases even something they view with suspicion!
I know from conversations with other business owners (in different fields) that it’s hard to make time for marketing when you’re doing everything yourself, but it would be good if they could see the value of content marketing in relation to their own growth.
I really enjoyed the event, and although I was confused in parts (the IT industry needs to reduce its reliance on acronyms!) I feel like I learned a lot.
I’d like to go again and see if what I’ve learned in the intervening months helps my understanding next time.
This is a guest post by Gudrun Lauret, a copywriter and expert in making your content marketing work harder and better.
Read more on great quality content from Gudrun at www.gudrunlauret.com
Interested in attending a future event? Find out more about the CompTIA UK Channel Community.
Were you an attendee at the CompTIA UK Channel Community meeting in Birmingham? If so, what was your biggest takeaway? Leave a comment below or get in touch!