First, a little background. CompTIA is one of the best-known associations within the IT channel. The organization has undergone an overhaul of sorts in the past three years or so, abandoning big, broad membership drives and focusing instead on education and multiple emerging communities in the IT channel. In addition to promoting certifications and training to resellers and IT administrators, CompTIA has been developing Trustmarks to help VARs and MSPs communicate their expertise to end customers.
So what CompTIA communities should you track this week? Here are 10 of them...
1. CompTIA Cloud/SaaS Community: It sounds like CompTIA is working to develop a so-called Cloud Trustmark. CompTIA already offers Trustmarks in such areas as security and managed services. Jim Hamlton (the MSP Partners veteran) and Kate Hunt (formerly of Looks Cloudy) will be on hand for the session. Plus, Intronis Channel Chief Ted Roller will be in the house.
Hamilton and Roller, among others, played key roles in CompTIA's development of the MSP Partners Trustmark. Can they leverage some of that work in cloud computing? Hmm...
2. CompTIA IT Services and Support Community: A timely update on the transition from IT product sales to services and solutions. Breakout sessions will cover changing services delivery models and warranty fraud issues.
3. CompTIA IT Business Growth Professionals Community: This is an invitation-only gathering. IT Business Growth Professionals is a fancy term for channel coaches -- the folks who help solutions providers, vendors and distributors to grow their sales. It sounds like CompTIA is working to develop an online directory that would allow channel companies to find the business growth professionals more easily.
The community chairs, according to CompTIA, are:
- Ken Thoreson, president of Acument Management Group
- Dale Johnson, president and CEO of Technology Assurance Group
5. CompTIA Healthcare IT Community: Plenty of VARs and MSPs are trying to push into the healthcare vertical. But we've all seen channel partners implode as they realize they lack healthcare market expertise. This session will provide a certification and education overview.
6. CompTIA MSP Partners Community: CompTIA already offers an MSP Partners Trustmark. Is a formal certification or accreditation under development? Hmmm... It's safe to expect plenty of Trustmark chatter at this session, plus brainstorming on how to maintain margins.
7. CompTIA IT Security Community: Watch for a Trustmarks & Certification Update from Miles Jobgen and Carol Balkcom. Plus, security and business continuity experts like Mike Semel, Larry Walsh and Seth Robinson will be on hand to share an IT Security Industry Roadmap, research and implications for channel partners.
8. CompTIA Small Business Owners Community: Sales and cost-effective growth will drive the discussion at this session. Who's in charge of this gathering, though? The VAR Guy is poking around for names, titles and company affiliations.
9. CompTIA Unified Communications Community: This seems to be a big-theme community going forward. Among the sessions worth watching: A Review/Gap Analysis of existing CompTIA UC Education resources. Translation: CompTIA plans to bolster education in the unified communications market.
10. CompTIA Managed Print Services Community: Is a CompTIA Trustmark set to emerge in this market? Hmmm... Only about 30 percent of top MSPs offer managed print services, according to the fifth-annual MSPmentor 100 survey results, which surfaced in February 2012. Obviously, CompTIA believes there's upside opportunity here for VARs and MSPs.