Tech Talk groups shift attention to deliverables

TeamworkLAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. – After starting to tackle some of the biggest questions, issues and trend facing the channel earlier this year, the TechSelect Tech Talk sub-committees are turning their attentions to action items at the TechSelect Fall 2011 conference here.

Introduced at the Canada-only spring TechSelect conference in Quebec City earlier this year, the Tech Talk series takes on big issues in the channel through by combining interested members from all three of TechSelect’s main constituencies – member solution providers, sponsoring vendors, and Tech Data Canada itself – to discuss, and more importantly, take action on those issues.

Initial topics include technology issues (cloud, mobile apps), delivery models (managed services, cloud) and common business issues (human resource management and social media.)

Ed Galasso, sales director at Tech Data Canada, said the Tech Talk series was started as a way to add more value for TechSelect Canadian community members and to help keep connections and lines of communication open between the community’s twice-annual gatherings.

In Quebec City, the groups kicked the topics around and helped define the issues contained within the topic. Kicking off the Canadian portion of this North America-wide event at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort here, team leaders within the groups identified the findings and results of those first meetings this spring and subsequent meetings, discussions, webinars and events.

Wednesday, the groups reconvened for an hour-long discussion of the action items the group would take – the learnings they would develop for the broader TechSelect community and the path forward from here.

For the HR group, that included developing common or best practice HR procedures and forms to which all members will eventually have access. Over in managed services, the discussion centered around the changing nature of managed services and the notion that almost anything can be sold as a managed service. Meanwhile, mobile applications tackled some of the security challenges emerging around mobile devices, and social media (which earned massive brownie points in the group Tuesday afternoon for a summary presentation that involved beer for all involved – talk about a deliverable!) looked at best ways for solution providers to use social media tools to build their businesses, as well as policies for appropriate business usage.

I sat in on the cloud group, perhaps the broadest and most nebulous topic of the lot, and discussion of deliverables included a complex matrix that positioned the offerings of sponsor vendors when it comes to cloud services, common definitions or descriptions of the roles channel partners frequently play when it comes to the cloud, and the development of best practices for compensating sales staff in the oh-so-different cloud world.

In each case, the conversation was led by a member of the TechSelect advisory council, and groups found ways to work together (conference calls, Webinars, social media groups) to keep the discussions going and the subject moving forward between events.

Next on the schedule: some of those talked-about deliverables should start to see the light of day in time for the next TechSelect Canadian conference, early next year in Calgary.

For more on the Tech Talks series, please check out the next edition of the Podcast, which will feature a discussion with Tech Data Canada’s Ed Galasso and Access Computer Solutions’ Mark Sutor.