I’ve been to two large events recently, Enterprise Connect and Channel Partners. Both were great events, some of the same people, but also very different.
Events are great. When the pandemic started, I was perfectly happy to skip all the travel. Honestly, I travel too much. I have 1K status on United, which is really nice, but I think I would be ahead in life if I had less travel and didn’t have status.
Status on airlines is really a scam. It offers ‘elite customers’ better customer service, but it’s only valuable because of how bad general service has become. As an elite flier, for example, a human agent (a useful one, too) actually answers when I call. Other benefits include a free drink and snack during the flight and free checked bags. Remember when this was all standard?
I digress. My point is that while I didn’t miss travel at first, travel, events, and face-to-face meetings are important. I was missing them, and glad they are returning. Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, famously travels very little (like a few times a year). I used to envy that, but I’m not so sure anymore. I got so much out of these two events that I could not as a remote participant.
Enterprise Connect worked really hard to satisfy both in-person and remote participants. The tech term for that is hybrid events, and it makes a lot of sense. It really depends on what you are after - keynotes and many of the sessions are actually better as a remote participant. Same is true for professional sports, IMO. Play/Pause control was one of man’s greatest achievements. Not to mention volume and subtitles.
Cisco is the only UCC company pushing hybrid events. That was a prudent move. Clearly, online webinars and events will continue to grow, and there’s also a need for in-person events, so why should these involve separate tools?
I am writing a deep dive on EC22, so I will just mention a few key takeaways from Channel Partners here. First, the channel is reclaiming itself. I sense a rebellion forming against the agent model, which has taken over/disrupted enterprise comms. There are several plays/angles here, but watch Intermedia
. For those that like the agent model, watch Nextiva
shake things up.
Also, don’t take your eyes off Sangoma
- these companies are among the most transformed during the pandemic. I am considering a research note called “While You Were Sleeping” about the UCC companies that changed the most during the pandemic.
Post-pandemic is the next chapter of the ongoing Future of Work saga, and there’s some interesting developments. The pandemic changed everything. Along these lines, an interesting provider I met at Channel Partners was Nynja
. It offers a fresh and new approach to collaboration.