CompTIA Canadian group rebrands, expands focus

CompTIA's Canadian IT Community eyes expanded national focus, membership drive, creation of trustmark for Canadian IT solution providers.

Kevin Hiebert, chair of CompTIA's Canadian IT Business Community.

Kevin Hiebert, chair of CompTIA’s Canadian IT Business Community.

CompTIA’s Canadian community has rebranded itself, part of a broader move to reinvent the role of the IT association in this country.

The new name and image, the CompTIA Canadian IT Business Community, reflects a broader membership and mission for the group, something that’s been an ongoing mission for CompTIA in Canada over the last two years, said Kevin Hiebert, chair of the Canadian IT Business Community. In the past, the group was largely focused on service and support, but with shifting focuses both within the IT industry and with CompTIA’s own move to a more open and inclusive membership model, that needed to change.

“Over the last 18 to 24 months, we’ve seen a lot more demand to get that very strong, very robust existing community and creating a lot more cross-pollination that was coming where people were finding the world changing,” Hiebert said. “People are still facing the traditional concerns like parts and time, but they also have to understand things like cloud, how it will impact how we deliver services, and the emergence of managed services. Everything is seeping across IT lines.”

At the same time, in truly Canadian fashion, the group wanted to “skate to where the puck is going,” and that includes a broader representation of the IT community in Canada, said Rino Marinelli, director of member engagement for Canada at CompTIA.

“We were really centered on service and support, with a lot of technical engineers. But now we’re opening it up to the marketplace, to sales people, to executives, to marketing, to small business owners, a wider gamut of the community,” Marinelli said.

That expansion also includes much more representation across Canada. Traditionally, CompTIA’s Canadian group has focused heavily on the Greater Toronto Area. But moving forward, the group is focusing on broader presence across Canada. Yes, it will still hold several of its annual events in the Toronto area, but the group will also look to “spread the word” across Canada, as it did at recent events in Calgary and Vancouver.

Rino Marinelli, CompTIA's Canadian director of member engagement

Rino Marinelli, CompTIA’s Canadian director of member engagement

Along with the new name comes a new logo and a new portal within CompTIA’s Web site for the Canadian community, one that Marinelli said the company is using to make sure all Canadian members – including members of its new free-to-all community membership – have access to all of the market research and educational information made by the organization.

“One of the first things I heard from the community is that it the Canadian content is difficult to get to, so we’ve gone to a lot of effort to redesign the site so our own stuff is front and centre,” Marinelli said.

That content is expanding, with a focus on creating educational content and seminars on three of the biggest issues shaping the technology industry in general and the channel in specific: Big Data, cloud, and mobility.

“CompTIA does quite a bit of research and education, in general and around these topics. We’re going to find out what we’ve got, make it accessible to the working group responsible for it, tweak and add info to it as needed, bring it together and package it up for our members,” Marinelli said.

Another major initiative, said Hiebert, is making sure Canadian employees of multinational members understand they have access to the knowledge of the group. CompTIA membership is set up at the organizational level, which means that members of a multinational organization, whether major vendors or multinational solution providers, that are members of the organization have access to all of the group’s resources. But that doesn’t mean Canadian employees of those members know that they have access, much less what the benefits of that access can be. Fortunately, since membership is already paid for at the organizational level, “it’s an easy sell,” Hiebert said.

But perhaps the biggest project the Canadian community is eyeing is the introduction of a business-level “trustmark” for IT solution providers in Canada. Marinelli said the group will take the existing templates it has in place south of the border and port it into Canada. The group will aim to certify that members adhere to industry best practices, both in terms of technology and business.

The plan is already being rolled out by the working group within the Canadian community responsible for its development. Marinelli said the goal is to “Canadian-size” the program and roll it out early in the new year.