By Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA
I’m still stoked weeks after experiencing Inspire 2023, the RSPA’s annual leadership conference, Jan. 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort. The conference set an attendance record for an RSPA event in Hawaii with over 225 registrants representing 100+ different companies, a mix of VARs, ISVs, DISDs (Direct Independent Software Developers), vendors, and distributors.
Inspire is known for its in-depth networking but what struck me this year was the simplicity of the event. If trade shows are akin to navigating a sprawling state university campus, Inspire is a charming one-room schoolhouse.
That simplicity theme carries beyond the conference, I believe. Across three days, the group wrestled with new growth strategies, market trends, and company leadership – all heady topics for sure. But a first-time Inspire attendee, an RSPA VAR member from Canada, shared with me that the solution to those challenges and more can be found in one word: partnerships. If he said it to me once, he said it to me 10 times during our conversation. Partnerships.
To grow, you need to offer best-in-class products and services and continually expand that offering. You can’t do that alone, so you’ll need to engage in more partnerships. The flurry of emerging technologies can be confusing, but there’s help for sorting through it all. Lean on your longtime trusted partners and find new partners to give you clarity. Partnerships.
The Inspire panel I moderated about channel trends touched on marketplaces, ecosystems, platforms, customer experience, automation, cybersecurity, 5G, AI, the transformation of the retail business model, and more. When I asked panelists Jon Moran of TD SYNNEX, Michel Sirois of BlueStar Canada, and analyst Jay McBain of Canalys how VARs and ISVs should navigate each of these, their answers had a common thread: Partnerships.