Didn’t Know What to Expect
Over the years, I’ve attended many Cisco and Tech Data events. Events like Cisco Live Local! (now called Cisco Connect), Cisco Live, Partner Connection Week, joint-hosted events, Partner Summits, and many more with attendance ranging from engineer to executive representation. Because of the broad experience, I wanted to take a moment and highlight Ignite for many reasons that stand out from the crowd. This post is dedicated to helping educate other partners of Cisco and Tech Data, but I feel customers will love to know how as a partner, our partnership with our customers doesn’t end with us, we have an army of support behind us that is rivaled in the industry.
Aside from the location being in the Bahamas for Partner Connection Week, Ignite was by far the most impressive, engaging, and dynamic event I’ve ever attended. The sheer amount of positivity, real engagement instead of ‘yes man’ situations, and even the follow-up that has already happened with Tech Data and Cisco to push in the direction we all agreed have been phenomenal.
Conferences can sometimes be hit or miss. Sometimes you’re hoping the happy hour is enough to keep you going. Ignite wasn’t that way. From the moment you arrive networking with your peers is fundamental. Keynote sessions that didn’t fill a gap, but brought value. Breakout sessions that were intimate and purposeful to help you understand the partnership capabilities with Cisco and Tech Data. Discussions with executives that brought attention to detail and a focused connection that showed they were listening while taking notes.
The Power of 3
The ‘Power of 3’ is an initiative I’ve watched mature for several years. Watching how the partnership between OEM, Distributor, Reseller has been centrally honed and focused is great. The adage of we are stronger together than apart comes to mind. Something that was highlighted made me think of prior places I’ve been and how leveraging Tech Data specifically was often viewed as ‘worthless’ or ‘negative.’ What I learned here reinforced my own experience since starting Quaversal, Tech Data is more than just a box pushing distributor. Programs to help you on-board engineers, salespeople, and workshops to align with territories or industry verticals. Everything you need to grow and keep growing as a business is at your fingertips because why? As Jason Eatmon stated, “Tech Data wins when you win.” This is a simple concept that I feel many often overlook or understate.
Tech Data’s ‘1Source’ portal is a pure representation of the power of APIs. For years I’ve been part of the struggle with ordering and tracking shipments. Instead of dealing with “this is the way it is” mentality, Tech Data built their ‘1Source’ platform to work directly with Cisco and integrates into your company’s estimates and deals to streamline the ordering process, centrally shown tracking, and keeps track of SmartNet in a single dashboard. I’ve watched many partners struggle with this kind of holistic view. I’m happy to see that not only is it working as intended, but it is free as an offering to all of their partners! Why? Tech Data wins when you win. How do you win? By being easy to work with and having great tools that speed your response to inquiries.
Networking as I’ve Never Seen
Most of all, I think Ignite was astounding for the way front-line Cisco Partners like Quaversal shared ideas, content, strategies, and made friendships both business and personal. As with any industry you focus on, it is a small world. We all see each other. But, in my experience, rarely are you catching your fellow partners that are sometimes competitors on the street and exchanging such intricate knowledge. This was done in an environment where we all came to grow, learn, and educate and the facilitators from Tech Data and Cisco did a fantastic job.
I had the privilege to speak with several owners, CEOs, or high-level executives in firms small to large that were in attendance. For example, Todd & Kerri Ellis out of Houston, TX with SecureNetworkers and loved listening to their tales of growth, how they focus on customer success and bring a heightened level of awareness to their customers daily operations. Charles Barazin, the VP of Bar None Technologies, and I enjoyed numerous conversations as he is expanding his firm out of California into North Carolina where he just set up shop in Raleigh, NC! Charles has a passion for his work like few do these days, and I look forward to seeing his firm grow. There were many more that I spoke to as well, but I don’t want to turn this blog into a book!
- Character, Capacity, and Passion make a good Cisco Partner – John Moses, VP Sales, US Partner Organization @JohnBMoses
- While discussing the future of the world and technology maintain a childlike “relentless perseverance to ask questions of the world around them” – Mike Walsh, CEO Tomorrow @MikeWalsh https://www.mike-walsh.com
- “We are in a race to relevance; customers don’t need ‘stuff’ they need partnerships” – Jason Eatmon, VP & Principal, Development Group
- “Be the source of disruption instead of having it thrust upon you” – Josh Linkner, Chairman Platypus Labs @joshlinkner
If you’re a Cisco Partner and you utilize Tech Data, I would encourage you to ask your contacts about Ignite. Is it right for you? Are you charged for stratospheric growth? Are you at a plateau and seeking innovation? Are you new and want to hit the ground running? Many reasons to attend, but one key takeaway – you will meet the right people with the right connections to help you succeed. But more importantly, it helps your customers succeed. What more could you want from an investment of your time?
I’m honored to have been included in the group, and I hope to be on that main stage with the likes of those above one year talking about how Ignite delivered, empowered, and fueled Quaversal’s success.