UK Channel Gets Ready for May Conference

It was back at the tail end of 2009 that I first became aware of CompTIA and its presence in the U.K. Like many people working within the IT industry, I was familiar with CompTIA primarily through their certifications. I’d passed my own CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and other similar exams at the start of my career and know many colleagues who have worked toward these qualifications too.

But it wasn’t until I sat down with Matthew Poyadigi and William Linard of CompTIA UK that I became aware of CompTIA’s full activities as a not-for-profit trade association. I quickly became impressed by its UK Reseller Community where CompTIA was already building strong relationships with IT providers, MSPs and other organizations within the SMB space. I was invited as a guest to attend one of the reseller group meetings organized alongside the TCA (Technology Channels Association) and there was both a good turn out of many different types of IT reseller, as well as a great atmosphere of sharing and participation amongst the members present.

I participated in that reseller group through 2010, until the news came at the CompTIA EMEA Conference that the TCA had merged with CompTIA – pooling their resources and members on a formal level.

Fast forward to March 2011, and CompTIA announced the formation of the UK Channel Community – a group for UK Technology companies.

I was honored to be voted in by my peers as chair of the new group a few weeks ago, with Lee Evans of Harrogate-based Vitality Technology Group as deputy chair. Many of you will be familiar with Lee from the work he’s already done with the Autotask UK Community, and his long-standing contributions to the Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Community.

One of the aims of the group is to provide a voice for the UK Channel Community – not only resellers, but also vendors and distributors. This is an important step, and the group is actively seeking vendors and distributors to come aboard to provide the benefit of their perspective and input. One of my own goals for 2011 is to bring resellers and vendors closer together, and I think this is a great opportunity to do so.

I do write as a former reseller myself though, and as someone very familiar with the reseller community, and so I can say with certainty that there will be plenty of opportunity to pursue common goals for resellers. Discussions via the CompTIA UK Channel Community LinkedIn group and our first conference calls showed that a set of guidelines for data protection and disaster recovery at the SMB level is of interest to many members, and the group is already voting on a list of projects that they would like to see the community work toward.

Additionally, there is a strong drive to make this a formal platform for UK IT Channel members that is not US-centric. There are already steps underway to convert some of the great CompTIA member resources previously only of use to U.S. members, such as HR and legal guidelines, and make them accessible to U.K. members.

So what’s next?

Well, if you’re a U.K.-based reseller, vendor or distributor and are interested in getting involved then check out the CompTIA UK Channel Community portal, or reach out to myself or Lee Evans for more information.

In May, CompTIA is partnering with CRN Partner Connect to present an exhibition at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, followed by a UK Channel Community meeting. The Exhibition is set for May 12th (Register here to avoid the £25 entry fee!) and the UK Channel Community will meet on May 13th, again in Coventry.

As mentioned earlier, there is also the CompTIA UK Channel Community LinkedIn group for member discussion. There are already well over 100 members of this group and it’s growing daily, so get involved!

If you work in the IT Channel in any capacity, I’d encourage you to reach out and get involved. There are great things happening within the UK Channel, and by being involved in groups such as this you can be the first to hear about them.

I’d also stress that participation gives you a great opportunity to influence the direction of the channel going forward. If there’s something you’re not happy about, or think could be done better – then there’s never been a better opportunity to stand up and get involved!

Richard Tubb is an independent consultant who works with IT companies to enable them to feel more in control and to grow their business. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
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