After a fantastic evening with Grammy Award winning Train last night (see further below for some photos), guest speakers Karen Mills, Small Business Administrator on President Obama’s Economic Leadership team, and Ben Mezrich, best selling author of Bringing Down the House and The Accidental Billionaires filled the last day of IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2013 with even more excitement.
How Small Businesses Drive America’s Economic Growth and Global Competitiveness–Karen Mills with Obama’s Economic Leadership Team
Karen Mills, Head of President Obama’s Small Business Administration, spoke on the importance of investing in small businesses for America’s future and growth since 28 million small businesses in America today are responsible for creating approximately 2 out of every 3 new jobs. She explained how President Obama feels that small businesses need to spend less time filling out complicated forms and more time hiring and expanding their business. Obama has signed 18 tax cuts to help small businesses and instituted a series of investments designed to ensure small business owners have the tools and resources needed to grow. Some key resources she pointed out during her talk included:
- Leveraging mentors and free consulting services at http://sba.gov
- Public Private Partnership initiatives like Supplier Connection
- The Data Palooza initiative (example: health data palooza)
Risk, Reward, and Being on the Winning Side–Best selling author, Ben Mezrich
Next up was Ben Mezrich, who shared the back stories to how he wrote two of his best selling books–Bringing Down the House and The Accidental Billionaires–which are also the bases for two of my favorite movies “21” and “The Social Network“. He then shared the back story to his most recent work–Sex on the Moon, which I’m now eager to read. Mezrich was insightful, riveting and downright hilarious in his narration. He reminds me of a young Richard Dreyfus; I could listen to him all day. He concluded his talk with these basic points for the IBM audience:
- These stories are about people basically trying to solve human problems–solve a math problem, lubricate a social ecosystem to improve your life, win a girl.
- These stories are about risks–too win big, you need to take risks.
- But it’s important to choose the right risks–”take risks to found billion dollar companies and to beat Vegas, but don’t steal moon rocks!”
Fritz & Macziol Group Wins the IBM Beacon Laureate Award
IBM gave out quite a few awards to partners this week, but the grand daddy of them all is the IBM Beacon Laureate Award, which went to Fritz & Macziol Group. Among many of its specialization, they are also an IBM PureSystems leader.
Reading the Tea Leaves: The Future of the Channel–Tiffani Bova with Gartner
I finished the last session of the conference in the break out session with Tiffani Bova, Vice President of Gartner Research, Indirect Channel Programs and and Sales strategies, Worldwide. Tiffani articulated 8 key trends emerging in the channel today:
- IT purchase moving out from under IT department control into new buying centers
- Nexus of forces driving transformation: Social mobile, cloud, and information
- Services Professional Services focused on outcomes will differentiate
- IT Skills lines blur between traditional IT skills and business skills–huge gap in the market today
- Software Development integration and custom development critical for cloud services
- New challengers ” born in the cloud” partners are new competition
- Hybrid IT: Client adoption trends force new orchestration and management requirements
- Channel Play for Cloud enable–Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB), reseller, builder
She contrasted the behaviors of today with those of the future:
- Today: Business as usual, lead with product and price, wait for vendor to lead, “technical services”, technology sales people, project based, inhouse build and delivered, sell to it, resell what you are given
- Tomorrow: meet new market demand, solutions- business outcomes, map out your own course, “professional” services, business sales talent, recurring revenue based, partner to parter collaboration, sell to business leaders, develop your own IP
She concluded with the following recommendations for the Channel
- Determine what kind of partner you want to be in the future
- Understand change in business model and skills needed between on-
- premise and cloud-based services
- Consider “productizing” IP for differentiation
- Develop stronger consultative selling capabilities
- Build Strong “professional services” organizations
- Hire sales and technical talent with business background
- Look beyond your current customers
- Make the hard decisions soon–or double down on current model
And she left her audience with a quotation from Charles Darwin–”It is not he strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
Concert with Grammy Award Winning Train
Train was awesome last night. Of all the concerts I’ve attended, the Train performance last night had the most audience participation I’ve ever seen. Lead singer, Pat Monahan (whose birthday is today–Happy birthday, Pat!) not only invited the audience to sing into his microphone, tossed out t-shirts to the audience, took pictures of himself with their cell phones, and gave away a signed guitar, but also brought the audience up on the stage with the band throughout the night. He invited a male and a female to join him on stage in singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” and offered an open invitation to any women who wanted to join him on stage to sing and dance to the Mermaid song.
I was thoroughly impressed with how observant, warm, and patient Monahan was with the participants. He catered his whole performance to a natural interaction with his audience collaborators based on their personal behaviors–asking them to clarify what they were singing, teasing them when they didn’t know the words, encouraging them to dance, commenting on the natural way they interacted with each other and praising their successes. Monahan continues his interaction with his fans on his blog, too.
Thanks to Todd Austin, I was lucky to have front row access to the Train stage last night and captured several photos of the event.
A big thanks to IBM and IBM sponsors for bringing us all of the rock stars above to this year’s PartnerWorld 2013 Conference and to all our guest and IBM Business Partners who made this year’s conference such a success. You all rocked! Take a bow.
Related blog entries:
- Expert Integrated Systems at IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2013
- PureSystems Live from the IBM PWLC 2013
- PureSystems market opportunity for IBM Business Partners: Recap of Day 1 at PWLC 2013
- Steve Mills encourages IBM Business Partners to leverage IBM PureSystems: Recap of Day 2 at PWLC 2013
- PureSystems meets the needs of growth markets with a focus on Cloud, Big Data, and Analytics: Recap of Day 3 at IBM PWLC 2013
- Rock Stars at IBM PWLC 2013: Train, Ben Mezrich, Karen Mills, Fritz & Macziol Group, and Tiffani Bova: Recap of Day 4 at PWLC 2013
~By Tiffany Winman