As I head into my sixth IT channel trade show season, I want to share my insights on which trade shows MSPs will get the most out of attending. I have a feeling it's going to be an exciting year in the IT industry, and being at these events will give you a front row seat to the latest news and developments.
As I start planning our calendar and trying to find new IT conferences for us participate in, I hope the following list will help you find some events that will help you grow your business in 2017. (I put the list in order in chronological order to help you plan your schedule for the year.)
1. ConnectWise User Group Meetings: January – September, various locations
Yes, these events have made my list the past few years, and there's a reason for that. ConnectWise uses these meetings to continue to educate their members on their most recent products and updates. These meetings help ConnectWise learn what they need to change or add to their products to help shape the IT Industry and the path for MSPs.
Why MSPs should attend: These meetings are great because they happen once a quarter, and each meeting has a different theme (sales, marketing, product, etc.), which gives MSPs the opportunity to attend all four and continuously grow. It's also a great way to talk with other MSPs to learn how they use the ConnectWise products to grow their business.
2. Xchange Solution Provider: March 5-7, National Harbor, Md.
This event makes my list again this year thanks to an increase in the opportunities MSPs can take advantage of while they're at the conference. With security a hot topic for MSPs, The Channel Company has started to include many different ways for you to learn about the evolution in security offerings. You'll also have the opportunity to give back and take part in an outreach program that takes place the day before the event.
Why MSPs should attend: To take full advantage of the growth in security education at the event, you can attend a whole summit focused entirely on security. This gives you an opportunity to see what security products and companies you can partner with to help expand your business.
3. Dental Integrators Association Conference: April 19-22, New Orleans, La.
Does your MSP focus on dental practices? This is a conference we've attended for the past several years, and it's the only event 100-percent focused on educating and advancing MSPs that specialize in the dental/health care industry. This event does a great job of mixing networking opportunities with education, so you won’t only hear from vendors but also from service providers who are actually using the products.
Why MSPs should attend: Because this event focuses specifically on the dental and health care verticals, you know the sponsors will be knowledgable about regulations and help you stay HIPAA compliant. You'll also have the chance to hear about what other MSPs are doing to protect their dental and health care customers.
4. Automation Nation: June 19-21, Orlando, Fla.
Automation Nation is LabTech’s user conference. Yes, LabTech is owned by ConnectWise, but this is a different type of event than the ConnectWise User Groups. Automation Nation gives LabTech users the chance to learn about upcoming releases and updates that could happen during the second half of the year. We enjoy being the Recharge Lounge sponsor at this event and being able to show off our integration with LabTech and how it’s always advancing to help make your life easier.
Why MSPs should attend: If you aren’t using an RMM tool yet or have been thinking about making a change, this event gives you a great opportunity to see how LabTech works with ConnectWise as well as the other products that are a part of the ConnectWise suite. LabTech has also been advancing its integrations, which are always released at this event. Plus, who doesn’t like to get hands-on assistance with a product? You can get that kind of attention here.
5. CompTIA’s ChannelCon: July 31 - Aug. 2, Austin, Texas
This is truly one of my favorite events of the year! It is based entirely around education through various breakout sessions focused on different aspects of the IT channel. This event helps bring to light different ways you can improve your business and how it functions. I enjoy going to this event and being a part of some special communities that help pave the road ahead for the IT Industry.
Why MSPs should attend: Want to put your own stamp on how this industry is shaped? Well, you can do just that at ChannelCon. Attending this event will empower you to push your teams to do more and be better. Take advantage of all the breakout sessions, and there are even chances to walk away with new certifications.
6. IT Nation: November 8-10, Orlando, Fla.
This has become one of the, if not the largest MSP event of the year. You get the opportunity to learn not only where ConnectWise sees their company going, but where the industry as a whole is headed. Plus, you get to spend plenty of time with the various vendors to see where they've made improvements to their products over the year.
Why MSPs should attend: This event will help you set your goals for the coming year and give you a chance to learn which products make the most sense help you make those changes happen. You'll also get to hear from some of the best in the industry and get motivated by the main keynote speaker, who changes every year! Plus, who doesn’t want to enjoy some down time at Universal Studio?
7. NexGen Cloud: December 11-13, Los Angeles, Calif.
This event has made some great improvements in the three years it's been going on. With the multiple chances to hear from a variety of vendors and from some of the top though leaders in the IT industry, you can walk away with some very useful information. This event does a nice job allowing attendees to take advantage of what The Channel Company is all about: helping MSPs grow their businesses.
Why MSPs should attend: If you're looking for directional help going into the New Year, then this is the show for you. This event gives you plenty of time with the vendors as well the chance to hear what they can offer to help you grow your business portfolio.
8. Intronis Local Lunches: January – December, various locations
Want to hear about all of our exciting changes now that we've expanded our portfolio to include security? The smaller setting of these local lunch events gives you the chance to receive more personal attention and get any questions you might have answered while you're there.
Why MSPs should attend: Because we basically stop in all 50 states over the course of the year, we'll most likely be in your neighborhood so you wouldn’t even have to travel. While you enjoy a great steak lunch, you'll also get the latest updates on where we're taking our products.
I hope this list will help you plan an amazing 2017 event calendar for your MSP. These are just some of the events we're going to be a part of during year, and I hope I'll get the chance to cross paths with you on our various travels across the country. To see other industry events you can check out the events calendars on The Channel Company and Channele2e websites.