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Home » INTERVIEW » “We want to get to the crux of what’s relevant today, not just tomorrow” Gemma Edwards, Senior Director, Canalys

“We want to get to the crux of what’s relevant today, not just tomorrow” Gemma Edwards, Senior Director, Canalys

Over 1,000 of APAC’s most senior IT channel executives will assemble in Hong Kong this week for the Canalys Channels Forum APAC 2018. While the theme of the 2018 Canalys Channels Forums is “Independent Intelligence” with the focus  on how selling “intelligent” solutions offer partners greater opportunities. Let’s find out more in an exclusive interview with Gemma Edwards, Senior Director Marketing & Events at Canalys

Q1. What is the agenda of Canalys Channel Forum 2018, APAC and how it is different from last year?

Gemma Edwards, Senior Director Marketing & Events at Canalys

Delegates can look forward to not one, but at least three keynote speeches given by CEOs at this year’s event. We are thrilled to have the CEO of Lenovo, Yang Yuanqing, joining us, as well as Jean-Pascal Tricoire, CEO and Chairman of Schneider Electric. Canalys CEO Steve Brazier will also be delivering his much-anticipated keynote speech.

We were pleased with the feedback from the 2017 event on the some of the format changes we’d made, designed to make sessions faster paced, cutting to the things that matter most to delegates. In 2018, we’ve taken more attendee feedback on board to create an agenda with topics that cover how partners can better run their businesses. That’s what their feedback tells us they are most interested in. Partners are, of course, excited to hear about new technologies and solutions, but they don’t need dull product pitches – they need to know how they will affect their short- and long-term business strategies.

Then we have other fun tweaks, such as introducing the possibility for our 1:1 meetings to be “walking meetings” – delegates can pick this option so they can stretch their legs and freshen their minds, rather than being static and chair-bound all day.

We’re excited about the changes we’re bringing to the evening. Our distributor partners have always helped to host a spectacular time for everyone. But times are changing, and we’re moving on from formal and functional arrangements to something much more fun, energizing and entertaining. Most importantly, the new “CCF Celebration” is designed to ensure delegates can intermingle with a huge number of contacts, both old and new.

Canalys is also introducing the brand-new Spouse Program, exclusively designed with delegates’ partners in mind, allowing them to gain a unique experience of Hong Kong. As well as bespoke tours, delegates on this program will be able to enjoy events on the CCF agenda, such as the invite-only CCF Celebration.

Q2. Kindly throw some light on the theme of the forum “ Independent Intelligence” and what are the major attractions of the event this year?

The theme of the 2018 Canalys Channels Forums is “Independent Intelligence”.

The focus will be on how selling “intelligent” solutions offer partners greater opportunities. This intelligence can be found in the network, at the edge, across devices, in the cloud, at home and in the enterprise. The AI revolution is here. It’s the future of platforms, IoT and automation, but we want to get to the crux of what’s relevant today, not just tomorrow.

Q3. Why it is important for channel partners and vendors to attend this global event and what business / growth opportunities do you bring to the table?

The CCFs are the largest independent IT channels events in EMEA, APAC and LATAM.

Through keynotes and action-oriented sessions and meetings, the forums provide the fundamentals to help partners make vital decisions about how they should invest their time, moneyand energy to get results.

Our alliances with major distributors are a significant part of making the Canalys Channels Forums the most influential events in our industry. The senior regional and global executives from these companies attend because of the opportunities to meet their most important customers and partners, and to network with their peers. The participation of multiple distributors is one of the unique elements for delegates and forms the foundation of the community feeling at the events. We expect CCF APAC to have record support from the most important distributors in the region.

This means delegates are attending independently of any industry alliances, which allows for realistic, independent and unbiased viewpoints to be aired.

At the Canalys Channels Forums, the community will come together with ideas and opinions on the improvements and opportunities partners should invest in. Ultimately, the goal of the events is to help grow relationships and provide insights to help channel partners make the strategic decisions that will build their businesses.

Q4. How many delegates attended the forum in 2017 and what number of attendees you expecting this year?

The turnout for each of our events is about 1,000 delegates every year. We keep the number limited to this amount to ensure exclusivity and attract the most senior participants. We are expecting the same number this year.

Q5. Howe are you planning to enhance visitors experience at Canalys Channel Forum 2018?

As channels experts, we understand business and conference goals. Our Canalys Event App is designed specifically for our CCF events and goes far beyond those from generic conference app companies. The features are designed to be used before, during and after the event to communicate, ask questions, arrange meetings and find information easily. We now provide the app as a white-label solution for other events, because of demand for its unique features and user interface.

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