JCL Blog

Fifteen Ideas from Baptie Channel Focus

Yesterday I wrote about some themes that emerged at Channel Focus, and I promised to share some of my other notes.  Like most everyone I make lists of notes while at conferences -- always intending of course to pay some attention to them later in my life.  The act of writing this blog is great encouragement for me to put a little more thought into these notes, so here is my list of fifteen things I want to remember from the conference.  Whenever possible I give credit to the people that either directly proposed the idea, or said something that sparked the thought in my brain.  These are not direct quotes but attribution none the less.


  1. Sandy Carter (IBM): Know the customers problems better than they do.
  2. David Green (Motrola): 1% of the cloud is for the enterprise right now.
  3. Sandy Carter (IBM): We see far less than the Gartner 20% at the enterprise. The private cloud is the way to go. Good stepping stone to the public cloud.
  4. Oli Thordarson (Alvaka Networks) Everyone overestimates change in the short term and underestimates the impact in the long run (Geoffrey Moore). And Solution Providers are the most adaptable creature on earth.
  5. Gartner Study Cited:  Was 20%, now 50 % of purchasing decisions influenced by the Business Decision Maker (BDM) and going to 70%.
  6. Sandy Carter (IBM): Social Media is 50 % for listening.
  7. Tarkam Maner (Wyse): 300 to 3 watts of power required per device makes wireless power possible.
  8. Tim FitzGerald (Avnet): We are 3 years into a quest to deliver solution and the partners in our program are experiencing growth at 3X the industry.
  9. Ross Brown (Microsoft): Three screens include the TV; Younger gen drives the adoption; 90% of all MS developers will be on cloud projects by FY11; Script is fast and flexible compiled is not; cloud computing will take the most complicated licensing (MS) and double it.
  10. Ross Brown (Microsoft): ISVs are partners now but many want to be customers instead.
  11. Ross Brown (Microsoft): You really don't have to find new partners but broadcast your intentions and let them come to you.
  12. Ross Brown (Microsoft):  Who is building the Government Cloud?
  13. Julie Parish (NetApp): Only 15 % going to the cloud – so do what you do best even if it is not cloud oriented.
  14. Rod Baptie (Baptie): 20 percent fewer SPs now than 2 years ago.
  15. Rod Baptie (Baptie): Channel thinks the cloud will happen much faster than the vendors do. 


Baptie Channel Focus 2010: Three Themes

Earlier this week I attended the Channel Focus conference in La Jolla, CA organized by Rod Baptie.  Rod does a tremendous job putting these events together and all of us in the industry owe him a debt of gratitude.  It was a pleasure to connect and reconnect with people in real time and compare ideas and experiences.  Although there was not an official theme, there were some ideas that came through for me this year.  Here are three that I want to remember:


  1. Hot Trends: The Cloud and Social Media:  These are big things in our business now and they would emerge as the topics in any conference.  There were many good tactical ideas for dealing with each and I have some lists of thoughts I will publish later.  That being said, the old saying:  “the more things change the more they stay the same”, did ring in my ear.  We have been talking about these and the cloud in particular for a long time and as the changes actually start happening it is almost anticlimactic.  We need to remember that the hard work of building and operating channel partner programs still has to be done through these changes.  In the very last session we discussed a recent survey of vendor and channel partner sentiment and found that the channel partners could be more ready for the changes than the vendors.  Not surprising on one hand because channel partners are smaller companies and prone to change faster, but it is ironic because it has been the vendors that have been evangelizing the changes to the partners. 
  2. Organizing Ourselves:  At lunch yesterday Rod Baptie and Scott Hammond took a few minutes to remind us that we have no industry association to advance our thinking in a more organized way and advocate for policies and practices that could benefit all of us.  Rod and Scott have been working on this since the conference in 2009 and have made considerable progress.  Perplexing as this reality may be, we do need to get on this.  I will post a link here to the working group as soon as I get it.
  3. The Recovery is On:  Everyone I talked to seemed to agree that the recovery is on – and everyone is swamped trying to make the most of it.  Hiring seems to be going on in channel marketing departments everywhere as the plans that have been cooked up during the downturn are pressed into service.  As we struggle together up this steep ramp the winners will be the ones that make sure to keep things simple enough to execute well and that listen to their partners.


As always the speakers were very high quality and the agenda was just packed.  Rod squeezed what any normal person would consider enough content for three or even four days into two days.  Even though some people may have to add a third day just to recover, I think the format was very good.  Short enough to attract the busiest people and with sufficient density to satisfy the most discriminating conference attendee.

One more thing:  We all are absorbing more information than ever:  The social media tools do enable vendors, channel partners and customers to process much more information – and so our capacity to absorb messaging seems to be taking some big steps forward.  We have been working for several years to make the communications vendors have with channel partners more compact and efficient – in response to partner feedback of being overwhelmed.  In this event I did not hear that sentiment anymore.  Could it be that through these new aggregating and distillation tools that the channel partners actually want more information from the vendors?

This reminds me of something I heard Jay Rosen say not so long ago (and this is a paraphrase from memory):  There has never been a time where I have been able to get enough information about a topic I was really interested in.  There may be something to this.

Tallying the Impact to the Channel

The announcements in the last few days by Facebook and Twitter are very real reminders of the pace at which things are changing in our industry.

In an effort to take a step back and evaluate the impact of these and other shifts to the technology channel marketing industry, we are assembling a group to do a SWOT analysis on the Channel.  

We are going to kick this off at the Baptie Channel Focus event next week in San Diego.  You can participate even if you are not going to be at the event.  Here is what you need to know:

  •  Follow us on Twitter:  You will be able to see all of the contributions and you can contribute your thoughts -- just put @CSG_Channels in your tweet and we will take care of the rest, or
  • Email us at swot@csgchannels.com.  We will turn your contribution into a tweet -- so others can see it.

We will take everyone's contributions and craft a SWOT Analysis of the Channel that will be shared with the industry.   We will not be completely relying on the wisdom of the crowd in this effort however.  We will be assembling an advisory group that will steer the effort.  In the event you would like to participate as an advisor to this project, please send us an email at swot@csgchannels.com or contact me directly.

Here is the link to the announcement about this project on our web site.