This past week, a few of us from the Boston and Cranberry office packed up our bags and took south to sunny Orlando, Florida. No, we didn't spend the week riding roller coasters and catching rays. Instead, we spent an amazing week with our partners and other MSPs at the HTG 2014 and IT Nation 2014 Conferences. Early in the week, I had the pleasure of spending some time with a few of the HTG peer groups. During that time, we discussed everything from business success stories, to pain points, to which city's hockey team had the best shot at a Stanley Cup.
Later in the week, Continuum Marketing Manager, Julia Beebe covered IT Nation 2014. There, she attended multiple breakout sessions and keynotes and was also able to connect with conference attendees at the Continuum booth during the showcase. Keep reading for Julia's IT Nation recap!
Monday, November 10th
Upon arrival at the Marriott Bonnet Creek Hotel in Orlando, I had the chance to attend an informative and entertaining session titled, "Super Sponsors: Heroes of the Industry." During this session, representatives from each of the companies sponsoring the conference were able to take the stage and present what their company's "superpower" was. There were a few standouts, including Continuum's own Matt Waters.
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Later in the evening, I was fortunate enough to join one of the HTG peer groups for a Continuum hosted dinner. The food was great, but the conversation was even better. Among the talking points, was the benefit of being able to "unplug" youself from your business. One member even told a story about having to fire an employee so that he would take a brief vacation from work! Of course, they were hired back soon thereafter.
Tuesday, November 11th
The next morning, I was able to sit in on the final hour of a select HTG peer group meeting. The members used this time to discuss what was and wasn't working for their businesses. More than anything, this was a time for HTG members to offer advice and ultimately help each other out. It was incredible to see the way that the MSPs in the room truly wanted to help their peers grow their businesses from the inside out.
Afterward, a few members of the Continuum team had the chance to address the room and explain how Continuum's platform could help HTG members grow. Questions were fielded throughout the presentation, and by the end, the entire room seemed to have a comprehensive understanding of our offering.
The Partner Pavilion took place later in the evening, and our crew was ready to mingle with attendees! At the Continuum booth, partners could learn more about the platform, get free headshots, and even grab a drink ticket!
Wednesday, November 11th
Another day, another HTG peer group! Wednesday morning, I was again able to sit in on an hour of the peer group meeting, this time with a new group of HTG members. After the meeting, Continuum once again presented its platform. However, this time, a Continuum partner joined to speak on behalf of the products that he was currently using.
Sadly, Wednesday was my last full day in Orlando. However, Julia Beebe was arriving just in time for IT Nation 2014! Take it away, Julia!
IT Nation 2014
Wednesday, November 11th
Thanks Ben! The first day of IT Nation kicked off with a cocktail party in the Solutions Pavilion. We had a great time catching up with many of our Partners and met some new MSPs too! Dee Zepf and Scott Spiro stole the spotlight with their in-booth interview while our product expert Nupur Patel showed-off the platform. After five hours of networking, sharing fun swag and chatting away, we rushed off to bed to prepare for Day 2!
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Thursday, November 12th
Day 2 began with a keynote presentation by ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini where he outlined their future plans and vision. The 2000+ guests of IT Nation left the keynote pumped and visited us once again in the Solutions Pavilion. After another awesome booth session, I accompanied Dee and Partners Paul Rouse, Joy Beland and Scott Spiro to their breakout session "Work Smarter, Not Harder: The Keys to Growing Your MSP Practice". The session was packed - attendees loved hearing Paul, Joy and Scott's real-life stories on how they leverage our NOC and Help Desk (especially Help Desk) and a lively and informative discussion followed. The room was incredibly interested in scaling their business with a smart-sourced help desk (especially one located in Pittsburgh!). All-in-all it was an awesome day.
Friday, November 13th
Filing into the general session space once again, Day 3 started with an incredibly inspirational keynote from businessman turned author, Josh Linkner. He talked about why many companies fail because they are unwilling to be innovators and creative problem solvers. He championed the importance of empowering your employees to come up with and share ideas and challenged the room to defy tradition in order to create, excel and ultimately succeed.
Needless to say after that rousing battle cry, everyone was inspired to finish Day 3 strong. Frank Bauer, one of our Senior Account Manager and MSPblog contributor, joined a panel of MSPs in a bursting at the seems room for the town hall topic "White-Glove Customer Service and Your Help Desk". Once again the idea of a Help Desk took center stage and Frank was able to give the room advice on some of our best practices including HDI certifications, training programs and tips on how to go that extra mile. One of our Partners was on the panel as well and discussed how he uses our NOC and Help Desk to supplement his own to provide top notch customer service.
Overall, both conferences had amazing turn outs, and proved to be extremely valuable events. It's not every day that we get to come together to share valuable information and advice. Both conferences encouraged peer interaction and networking and, from what we saw, both were a tremendous success.
Has this blog inspired you to learn more about Continuum? Considering a help desk solution, but not sure what to look for?
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