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DITCW: Turning prospects into partners

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 16 March 2010

DISTREE IT Channel Week (DITCW) is forecasting that more than 500 senior executives from across the Russia & CIS region will attend the 2010 event in Moscow from June 23-25th. Find out more in our interview with DISTREE Events CEO, Frederic Simard who explains why DITCW isthe premier annual event for vendors, resellers and retailers operating in the Russia & CIS region.

DITCW combines two separate events – Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) and Digital Business Channel (DBC) – into a single format, offering a powerful three-day agenda of one-on-one meetings, conference sessions, forums, awards and networking opportunities for delegates. Frederic Simard (FS) explains the rationale behind the event’s successful format and the innovations that maintain its position as the premier channel event for the Russia & CIS region.

Q: How do you see the prospects for the Russia & CIS region in 2010? Why, in your opinion, is DITCW an event that companies working in the channel should try to attend?

FS: The Russian IT channel has experienced a rollercoaster ride in the last two years – there have been some massive highs and also some significant lows. Now, it is all about focus and getting back to real and sustainable business in 2010. For vendors – and also for resellers and retailers – this means careful selection of the business areas that they wish to concentrate on in future and a commitment to building a strong and efficient operation.

What DITCW offers is a powerful cross-channel platform for all vendors looking to launch, build or manage channels in the Russia & CIS region – be they consumer-focused, business-focused, or even spanning both sectors. For resellers and retailers, DITCW allows them to cram a year’s worth of business development activities into just a few days. Not only can they meet senior executives from dozens of different vendors, they can also network with their peers and assess the overall market conditions and outlook.

Q: By running an event for both the business and the consumer channels, does that not mean that the focus of the event is lost? Do delegates and vendors still get as much value from attending DITCW in its new format?

FS: That’s a very insightful question. We took the decision to bring DCC and DBC together last year after careful consultation with vendors and channel partners. The consensus is that DITCW has actually combined the strengths of two events – DBC and DCC – into one unique event format. It is a situation where the sum is greater than the two parts.

Many vendors have product portfolios and operations that span both the consumer and business channels. Some resellers still run retail operations alongside a dealer business. By creating DITCW, we have built an event platform whereby all delegates can get maximum value from their participation. The reaction to the change in format has been overwhelmingly positive to date.

Q: It is easy to claim that everyone gets maximum value. What does that actually mean though?

FS: Vendors and delegates build their own agenda for the event – they play an active role in requesting and accepting one-on-one meetings. They choose the seminars and presentations that are most relevant to them. With 70-plus vendors participating in DITCW – including major names such as AMD, Dell, Nvidia and SAP – each delegate can use our web tools to create a personalised agenda of one-on-one meetings that best reflects their business needs.

A consumer-focused retailer probably does not need to meet SAP - and it is unlikely that SAP would request to meet them. In contrast, for a company like Dell, it is probably important to meet both major retailers and enterprise-focused resellers. DITCW allows them to achieve both goals within a single channel-focused event. Current forecasts indicate that there will be representatives from 130 retailers at DITCW plus senior executives from 80-plus business-focused resellers.

Q: Channel events and trade shows are normally very hectic. Meetings are missed and there is not much focus on real business? They promise a great deal and deliver very little. Are you going to tell us that DITCW is different?

FS: Yes I am. DITCW is 100% different to the situation you have described above. We make sure that the right people are united in one place at one time for a focused channel event. It is important to understand that the web tools I mentioned earlier are used by delegates before they arrive at the event to plan their one-on-one meetings and personalised agenda. This is an ‘invitation only’ event and there is strict security throughout DITCW – no one is there to collect balloons and free pens.

Over the years, DCC and DBC have resulted in hundreds of new distribution agreements in the Russia & CIS region. The event is a cost-effective business development platform for vendors and channel partners. There is even on-site support and helpdesks to immediately follow up on missed meetings.

Q: How can you be sure the right companies attend DITCW? There are many IT events in Moscow and not all of them meet expectations in terms of audience quality?

FS: DISTREE Events has been working in the Russia & CIS region for close to a decade and running events here for seven years. We pride ourselves on the quality of the channel audience, the overall organisation of the event and the satisfaction rates of delegates. Getting this right is the lifeblood of the event that helps it grow from year-to-year. We have a local team operating in the Russia & CIS region and we understand how the channel works.

Russia itself covers 10 different time zones and our job is to make sure we have the top channel partners from across the region gathered together for DITCW. It would be easy to just fill the event with Moscow-based partners but we understand that the event’s true value is intrinsically linked to our ability to attract delegates from across the entire Russia & CIS region – so we do. That’s why DITCW has become the ‘must attend’ event for all vendors and channel executives operating in the region.

Q: Are there any new initiatives planned for DITCW 2010?

FS: We’re pleased to announce the launch of the DITCW Strategy Forum in 2010. This is all about looking to the future. It is basically a small group session made up of some of the region’s most senior vendor and channel executives. The session will cover a range of topical issues such as financing in the channel, the impact of partner programmes, the use of incentives, developing effective HR strategies and the future of retail. A selection of findings and recommendations from the Strategy Forum will be circulated to all DITCW delegates as part of their post-event report.

We want to harness the power of DITCW’s position as an independent event platform to address some of the tough issues impacting channel development in the Russia & CIS region. That’s why we’re launching the Strategy Forum for 2010. This is in addition to the keynote speeches, awards and evening entertainment programme that we have in place at DITCW each year.

Q: Which vendors get the most value from attending DITCW?

FS: We always say that DITCW delivers benefits for vendors looking to launch, build or manage channels in the Russia & CIS region and this remains the case. For vendors that are new to the region, there is no better way to get up to speed with the channel landscape in just a few days and devise a tangible business development plan. These vendors can fly into Moscow Airport and be transferred to an event where they have pre-scheduled meetings with the most suitable business partners from across the entire Russia & CIS region. It doesn’t get much better than that – a year’s worth of business development packed into a few days for a fraction of the normal cost required to achieve this.

Established vendors with well-developed channel networks use DITCW as a cost-effective platform for partner review, assessment and further recruitment if necessary. Vendors that are still building out channels use the event to reach into new territories and also to understand the competitive landscape. There are benefits for vendors at every stage of channel development.

DISTREE IT Channel Week

DITCW represents the combination of two events: Digital Consumer Channel (DCC) and Digital Business Channel (DBC). DITCW operates a unique business model based on an ‘invitation only’ event format, offering a compelling mix of pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings, keynotes, awards and networking opportunities for vendors and channel executives operating in the Russia & CIS region. For more information, visit www.distree.com/ru

DITCW takes place at Le Meridien Moscow Country Club from June 23-25th 2010. To apply to attend this year’s event, please contact fsimard@distreevents.com

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