MSPs understand the value of attending industry events and conferences. These professional gatherings allow MSPs to network with their colleagues and current clients and to discover new prospects. They also bring vendors, executives, and experts together for a few days to learn best practices. Companies often use conferences to introduce sales and marketing programs and launch new products.While taking time away from your business is always a tough decision, conferences can provide the MSP with some downtime to share ideas among peers and contemplate new business opportunities. Sometimes, it takes stepping away from day-to-day business to clear the mind and rekindle your passion for the work. Nobody can (or should) attend every single one of the hundreds of events and conferences out there. This article will help you narrow down the list and hopefully introduce you to a few events you had not considered.
MSPWorldMSPWorld is one of the few vendor-agnostic events. A group of MSPs along with help from the MSPAlliance started this event about a decade ago, creating MSPWorld based on their real-world experiences. You will hear MSPs talk about their successes and failures. The planners designed MSPWorld with fewer keynotes but plenty of opportunities to network. Attendees will find analysts from Gartner and Forrester Research on hand, but the focus of the event is the MSP. If you can attend one event next year, consider MSPWorld. MSPWorld is a 3-day event that takes place twice a year. It includes a general conference as well as workshops. Cost: $399 Content focus: Networking, education, peer discussions
IT NationIT Nation is one of the largest and most popular MSP events in the United States. The conference brings together ConnectWise partners, executives, consultants, and experts to help grow your business. This is a traditional conference with keynotes, breakout sessions, and plenty of training opportunities. IT Nation is a 3-day annual event with keynotes and over 190 breakouts sessions to choose from. If you are a ConnectWise partner, this is a must-attend event. Cost: $995 Content focus: ConnectWise solutions, networking and training
HTG Peer GroupsIf you are tired of the traditional conference and prefer something a bit more personal, you might like HTG Peer Groups. You must first join by application, but once accepted, HTG will pair you with a non-competing MSP. You will work together, discussing your business goals and learning from each other. HTG brings everyone together four times a year to let you hear from business experts in your field. Networking and sharing ideas also play a crucial role at HTG. Unlike many events at which networking is a byproduct of the event, at HTG, networking and sharing ideas is the event. You will work one on one with a mentor who understands your business and be expected to share your knowledge with other MSPs. HTG offers both in-person and online communities. HTG Peer Groups is the one most MSPs join, but check out HTG Coaching and Consulting if the time commitment or cost exceeds what you can handle. Cost: $5,000 per year Content focus: Mentorship, networking, and best practices
Gartner CatalystOrganized by the leading industry analyst firm, Catalyst offers six tracks based on your role and business. Gartner gears the conference toward the needs of technical professionals including MSPs, analysts, consultants, and sales professionals. As you might expect from a Gartner event, you will hear a lot of business strategy and advice to help you understand which markets are ready for expansion. Gartner changes the six areas of focus each year. IoT, hybrid-cloud, blockchain, and AI were hot topics covered this past year. Catalyst is an intense 2-day event, held annually. It includes over 150 technical breakout sessions. Cost: $3,400 Content focus: Strategy, business opportunities, analytics
Microsoft InspireInspire is Microsoft’s way of bringing together partners, Microsoft employees, and industry experts to network, learn, and play. Microsoft knows how to treat its partners, and it knows how to throw a party. Microsoft events are known for large-scale keynotes, product demos, and lots of technical sessions. Inspire does not disappoint in these areas. Attendees can choose from several tracks based on business and role. Inspire is an annual 5-day event. It includes keynotes, breakouts, and training sessions. Cost: $1,995 Content focus: Microsoft products and services, networking, training
Managed Services and Hosting SummitFor MSPs doing business in Europe, this is an option closer to home. MSH Summit was held in London last year and draws a large number of attendees who come from all over Europe. MSH Summit offers breakout sessions that tackle the issues and challenges MSPs face today. MSH Summit is an annual conference that offers many opportunities to network and learn from your peers. Cost: Free for qualified delegates Content focus: MSP strategy, business opportunities, networking
ConclusionMSPs have dozens more events to choose from. Some MSPs might find it easier to attend certain events every couple of years instead of each year. When you evaluate events, don’t forget that some of the most valuable information and connections you bring home may not come from the formal program, but from the networking and conversations over dinner or in the hallways. If spending in-person time at an event is not your thing or conflicts with other obligations, you can often purchase videos of the keynotes and training sessions once the event ends. What events have you found to be the most valuable to your business?
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