When you’re hot, you’re hot, as they say … and this year’s Best of Breed Conference sizzles with a very hot lineup of keynote interviews and speakers.
Scheduled for Oct. 24-25 in Atlanta, the 2016 conference will feature an interview with the leader of today’s largest tech supplier—none other than Marius Haas of the newly minted Dell EMC—and one-on-ones with the CEOs of major disrupters in storage and security.
We will also be hosting the CEO of one of the largest strategic service providers in the IT channel; a leading economist and former presidential adviser; and one of today’s foremost thought leaders in buyer behavior.
I look forward to engaging each of these guests in in-depth discussions and getting our audience members’ questions and perspectives.
With the recent completion of Dell’s acquisition of EMC, Marius Haas, the president and chief commercial officer of Dell EMC, will be sitting down with me for a wide-ranging, on-stage interview at the BoB Conference. I have so many questions for Haas that I doubt we will cover them all, but I will definitely be asking him how he sees the channel benefiting from the Dell-EMC merger, whether or not the EMC hard deck will survive, and how partners should be thinking about the future of dealing with a larger company. I also really want to hear how he intends to engage with the new community of strategic solution providers.
NetApp CEO George Kurian will also be taking a seat on the interview couch to answer questions about the company’s competitive set, which includes Dell EMC and a host of startups taking aim at the storage space. I will be asking him about the pressures around hyper-converged infrastructure, solid state storage and other areas. My other questions for Kurian will include the nature of NetApp’s new channel strategy and what it’s like sharing the limelight with his successful twin brother.
Rounding out the keynoters is Mark McLaughlin, CEO of security powerhouse Palo Alto Networks. One of the subjects I plan to raise with him is the company’s recent push to build out its cloud security and managed security services for partners. I also plan on asking him about IoT and how that trend is shaping his security solution strategy. And, given that one of my favorite topics is politics, I might also ask McLaughlin about his work on President Obama’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
These three high-profile executives aren’t shy—and neither are we—so expect some tough questions and honest answers when they take the stage on Oct. 25.
I am also looking forward to a lively discussion with economist Doug Holtz-Eakin, who has served as an advisor to presidents and leading political figures. Could there be a better time to have Holtz-Eakin attend with the election just a few days after the event?
In addition, Presidio CEO Bob Cagnazzi—yet another “Bob” at BoB—will be taking the stage to offer his thoughts on the solution provider market today and his insight into what will fuel the industry’s growth in the years to come. I will be asking Cagnazzi about his thoughts on IoT and how he is transforming Presidio as a strategic service provider.
Also on stage will be a thought leader in studying buyer behavior, Forrester Principal Analyst Bobby Cameron. Cameron will be discussing how strategic service providers can meet the current and future demands of their customers, and I will be asking him for his thoughts on transformative technology as well as his work analyzing business technology trends.
I won’t be the only one asking questions on stage, however. BoB board members Ron Dupler, CEO of GreenPages, and Bob Venero, president and CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, will be interviewing leading vendor executives to draw out their value to the partner community.
The BoB Conference shows no signs of cooling down, given the major issues the channel is facing and the role it plays in bringing leaders together in a vendor- and platform-neutral environment. It’s safe to say we can expect an exciting and revealing series of discussions in Atlanta.