Thanks to the coronavirus, we had to postpone our spring show. The result is a first-ever combined show that promises to be our best ever.
In March, Channel Partners had to make the very difficult decision to postpone our flagship spring event, Channel Partners Conference & Expo, thanks to escalating concerns over the spread of coronavirus. The event was set to be one of our most educational conferences ever, with sessions based on your feedback, an incredible preconference workshop, and a slew of downloadable materials to accompany most sessions.
Our sponsors pulled out all the stops to create a show floor packed with creative booths, help desks and consultation stations. We had several high-energy, fun sessions like our Thunderdomes, a new debate series with experts weighing in on hot topic issues, and improv sales training.
The event landed at a particularly ambiguous time during the COVID-19 pandemic. By and large, formal travel restrictions weren’t yet in place. While we kept a close eye on the situation, things escalated quickly in the week leading up to the Channel Partners Conference & Expo.
On Monday, the vast majority of our attendees, speakers and sponsors were still gung-ho about coming to Vegas. By Thursday, we started to see massive numbers of people withdrawing from the show. This was either because of personal health concerns or mandates against travel issued by their own companies. By Friday afternoon, we knew that for the sake of our communities and our employees, we had to postpone.
We spent the next couple of weeks searching for the best alternative. We explored ways in which we could still serve up the educational and in-person networking benefits of Channel Partners. After lots of research and discussion, we came up with a plan that would be the most widely beneficial. The best course of action, we decided, would be to combine the spring event with our fall show, Channel Partners Evolution.
The Channel Partners Conference & Expo is somewhat geared more for our telco audience than our other communities, and Channel Partners Evolution leans a bit more toward the IT side of the channel. In our newsroom, we’ve been talking seriously about more convergence between the two channels in the last couple of years. A silver lining for this situation is that we have a chance to bring our two communities together. We got the opportunity to learn from one another, form relationships and find new business opportunities.
What can you expect from this new, combined show? It’s the biggest channel show of the year, which we have fondly nicknamed “Expolution.” Almost all of the content we had programmed for Expo will be included. The sales training, business best practices and security education are applicable to both audiences. You’ll see more IT folks on our keynote stages, and we’ve added new sessions that focus on additional technologies.
For the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, we challenged each and each of our speakers, moderators and panelists to develop an educational asset for their session: a workbook, reference sheet or list of resources, for example, that gives attendees tangible materials they can use to act upon what they learned from each thought leader. That push will continue for Expolution. If you’re looking for top-notch education to tide you over until then, check out our Channel Educational Series page on Channel Partners Online and Channel Futures. Many of the webinars in that series feed directly into …
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