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Continuum Navigate Conference: WOW!

7 Oct, 2015 By: Mitch Morgan, Growth Achievement Partners

Most of us have been to our share of industry conferences.  Whether it is manufacturer/supplier sponsored or a trade association, the drill is often the same.  You look forward to some of the conference sessions, others not so much.  The crowd tends to thin out in the afternoon a bit. Especially in a city like Las Vegas, where there are plenty of distractions.  In a three-day conference, the outside activities take their toll, and many conferences limp to the finish line with thinning attendance, and a decidedly less than enthusiastic audience.

Not last week at Continuum’s Navigate Conference.  From the opening bell to the end of the final keynote, this conference had the most highly engaged participants I have ever seen.  I have never had the opportunity to attend epic industry events like the annual Dreamforce conclave by SalesForce, Oracle’s Open World conference, Amazon’s re: Invent, or even Apple’s annual lovefest known as its World Wide Developer Conference. After attending Navigate, I understand why these events are the highlight of the year for the attendees.

The key ingredients to Navigate included a solid combination of industry experts, peer presentations, structured and unstructured interaction by attendees and friends of Michael George (CEO of Continuum) who just happen to be the mayor of Las Vegas or an internationally acclaimed author and business leader.

PHOTO: "Mayor Carolyn Goodman & Continuum CEO Michael George"

Where was the pope, by the way? I heard he was in the country, and I expected him to be onstage at the next general session. Business improvement support from the Grow Your Business Genius Bar throughout each day and first class venues for evening entertainment added the finishing touches.

Outstanding content and a world class show from a world class marketing team, led by Jeanne Hopkins, are big reasons for the success of the event. But that's not the only reason our clients and the attendees became even more raving fans last week. This includes a talented and highly approachable executive team, a company that wants to actively listen to its customers and is committed to improvement, and a set of services that are intertwined with their Managed Services Provider (MSP) partners. Continuum and its MSPs are highly dependent on each other for business success; the offerings for each group are intertwined, resulting in a high level of reliance and trust.

We had the pleasure of interacting with our Office Equipment Dealer clients at Navigate, affirming their selection of Continuum as the “only choice” as a provider of NOC/Help Desk and related services. With three of the seven Partner Awards provided to Office Equipment companies that are either consulting or training clients of our firm, this channel is gaining a significant foothold in the MSP market.  We expect this trend to continue.

For us at Growth Achievement Partners, we had the pleasure of teaming up with Zygoquest, the industry’s foremost authority on mergers and acquisitions.  Mike Dudek and Rich Wisniewski are dealmakers, having consummated nearly 500 of these transactions, small and large. Their expertise and perspective are unprecedented within this channel. Together, we provided insight to a packed session titled, “M&A Discussion: For Buyers and Sellers.” Our observations of the MSP channel at this point in time include:

  • We see a highly entrepreneurial and fragmented industry that is in the beginning stages of consolidation. Some industry analysts predict 1/3 fewer MSPs in the next five years through merger and acquisition activity.
  • There is a strong contingent of strategic buyers that are adjacent to the space and see acquisitions as a way to accelerate entry into the market.
  • As the business model around managed services continues to firm up, these businesses are more understandable, and more attractive, to these strategic buyers.
  • any MSPs will seek to acquire other MSPs to achieve needed scale.
  • While there is uncertainty about the future of these services as cloud offerings continue to be developed, local market presence will be important, and the ability for these firms to build (or plug into) a sales organization will be critical.

The strategic alliance formed earlier this year between Growth Achievement Partners and Zygoquest follows a nearly 20-year business history between its founders. Through this alliance, we have an ongoing commitment to advising parties on M&A activities and providing quality representation during this exciting time in the industry.  Whether you are considering being a buyer or a seller, we are open for business.

If you didn’t make it to Navigate, you missed an outstanding event.  Put Navigate 2016 on your calendar now. It promises to be another “can’t miss” event.

PHOTO: "Mitch and Verne at Navigate 2015"

Blog Author/Mitch Morgan, GAP

Growth Achievement Partners is the recognized leader in providing strategic sales and operational consulting within both the traditional and emerging markets exclusively to growth oriented companies throughout the country. Mitch Morgan is Co-principal of the company with Chris Ryne. 

Morgan founded the Connectivity Dealer Program from NIA in 1991. After his businesses were acquired by IKON Office Solutions in 1996, he led their Technology Services division. In 2001, he formed the Professional Services division for IKON. Morgan has been consulting with CEOs on strategy, operations, organizational development and sales since 2005.

About the Author: Mitch Morgan

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