2014 Best of Breed Conference Coverage
As part of Cisco’s global partner marketing team, I had the opportunity to attend this year’s Best of Breed (BoB) Conference (#bob14) in Orlando, Florida. The theme of the Channel Company’s show this year is Aftershock, due to the monumental shifts across the board in the tech industry – the move to embrace cloud technologies and services, the proliferation of mobile devices and demand for data, not to mention the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s always a valuable opportunity to gather and hear firsthand from our partners and how we can better equip them to deliver business outcomes with innovative solutions.
We’re just around the corner from Disneyworld in the beautiful Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Since I live in Portland, Oregon and worked at Disneyland in college but have never been to Disneyworld, I pretty much had to come a little early to visit with the mouse and take in a few attractions. I got that out of my system prior to the show so that I was able to give my full attention to impressive line-up of speakers and networking opportunities with partners here at BoB.
The BoB Conference could also be called “the best in the business” with the stellar line up of speakers and attendance from many companies’ C-level executives. Mark Slaga, CEO of Cisco Partner Dimension Data kicked off the event by underscoring the event’s theme “Aftershock,” with a quote from US Army General Eric Shinseki that said it all. “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” George Barkley, managing partner for Cisco Partner Sovereign Systems offered his business perspective saying the Cloud still remains the biggest trend that they’re both embracing and challenged by. Bob Faletra (@rfaletra) closed out the afternoon with an engaging and personal Tonight Show type interview with Michael Dell, followed with a nice welcome reception – just enough content for day one to get us excited for day two.
Tuesday’s agenda was jam-packed with interesting topics and speakers including our own Steve Benvenuto, Senior Director of Cisco Channel Partner Programs, presenting on how partners can enable the Internet of Everything (IoE). I heard from many of the folks who attended that they were intrigued about the opportunities that exist to connect people, processes, data, and things.
Another highlight included Lee Ohanian, Professor of Economics at UCLA and Forbes Columnist, who talked about future economic growth and innovation citing sobering stats and data that indicate the U.S. will experience below normal growth and low employment. Luckily, the Channel Co.’s Robert DeMarzo (@RDeMarzo) quoted survey results from BoB attendee solution providers that indicated 75 percent are expecting an improved sales outlook during the next 12 months.
The rest of day’s agenda included topics on best practices from other partners, branding your company, and focus on the customer for continued growth and success.
We ended yesterday at the popular “Dine Around the World” event. We really enjoyed sponsoring the “Italy” room with all the good eats and having yet another opportunity to meet with partners and hear how their business is evolving and the challenges they continue to face. I especially enjoyed meeting Ben Johnson and Andy Nunez from Cisco Partner Liberty Technology, Christy Sparks of Avnet, and Michael Grossman from Cisco Partner NetWolves.
In light of the company’s recent news, I’m interested in hearing what HP’s Meg Whitman has to say today in her keynote. I know I am facing another busy day as I travel home and settle back into a routine after wrapping up today in Orlando. I will make sure David Durham has any other relevant news from today. He will feature our follow up from the BoB Conference in his Weekly Rewind on Friday. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.