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Last week, I attended IT Nation in Orlando, the land of Mickey Mouse. From the moment I got off the plane, I was bombarded with a multitude of Disney ads, merchandise and attractions. “They must own this whole town,” I thought. All joking aside, I learned that Disney has its own independent municipal government so that they can build their own roads and run their own police and fire stations. They also control their own town planning, inspections, as well as sewage and water treatment. I digress…

event, MSP, PartnerAfter hailing an Uber from the airport, I arrived at my safe haven for the week, the Hilton Bonnet Creek, where IT Nation was hosted. After dropping off my bags and registering for the event, I was directed to Egnyte’s booth. ConnectWise, who hosts the annual event, could not have made the set-up any easier.

Day 1. The Solutions Pavilion was open for four hours that evening for dinner, drinks, and solution discussions. There was a lot of excitement in the air, free food and drinks, with genuine enthusiasm for the conference and for the companies in attendance.

Past experience has taught me that standing out from the crowd and getting people to stop by your booth is like pulling teeth. But not at IT Nation. This partner-focused conference gives a chance for managed service providers (MSPs) and resellers to learn about various products that they can recommend and deploy for their clients.

We had a steady flow of attendees walking right up to us (often with a slice of pizza and almost always with a cocktail) to talk shop, as well as learn more about our product and our MSP program. Before I knew it, it was 9 p.m., and they were kicking us off the Pavilion floor for the night – great first day!

Day 2. We began the day with a keynote by ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini. The topic was “Reinvent,” and Bellini spoke about different ways individuals and businesses are reinventing themselves to achieve continued success. The talk continued with the definition of reinvention – not as starting again from scratch but developing on your strengths and adapting to the present to stay ahead of the curve.

Running with the conference’s “Reinvent” theme on the show floor, I began reinventing my pitch with the new booth visitors. I am a sales engineer primarily working with our direct sales team, so interacting with our channel partners (and potential partners) is new for me.

In the process of my own reinvention, I noticed that these partners are also looking to reinvent their businesses. Historically, their companies have lived (and died) from their customers’ large purchases (hardware upgrades, software deployments, etc.) with very limited recurring revenue opportunities outside of support packages to keep their businesses afloat. The reinvention involves moving more of their income to the recurring variety.

Finally it clicked. Egnyte’s story appeals to this crowd, not only because we offer a strong and differentiated product where businesses from all verticals and of all sizes can find value, but because we enable our channel partners to transform their businesses into reliable money-making “machines.”

The time flew by and soon I was packing our booth and heading to the airport for the return trip. Just a few short days before I had been skeptical of the “all things D” (Disney) atmosphere, but now my perspective had fundamentally changed. I couldn’t help but appreciate how Disney had reinvented the line between business and government to transform their brand and position themselves in such a way that they are still one of the world’s most profitable businesses nearly 50 years later.

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