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2016: A Year of Growth and Innovation

- Blog

Nancy HammervikBy Nancy Hammervik

2016 was a tremendous year for the channel. The areas of the industry that we expected to do well are thriving, including cloud and IT security, and solution-provider business models continue to expand and strengthen. But while cloud has presented opportunities, it has also presented some competitive challenges around SaaS transformation. Thanks to the support and resources of industry advocates like Channel Partners and CompTIA, they are meeting those challenges and prospering.

CompTIA had a very strong year, realizing increased visibility and engagement both inside and outside the channel, reflective of the IT ecosystem drawing closer together. The things we do and contribute to that lead to the success of our members and the industry. Seeing folks become more engaged in their IT industry trade association, and realizing value, is extremely rewarding. Some areas of growth for us included:

1. CompTIA Communities

More than 3,500 IT professionals joined our rosters in 2016, a 61 percent increase! Our webinar offerings significantly expanded with a corresponding 413 percent boost in attendance, while LinkedIn group membership grew by 37 percent.

  • Our Advancing Women in Technology Community reached over 10,000 people with its Dream IT message (presentations showing why IT is a great place for women and girls), and expanded its programs globally. They also conducted a major makeover of their Career Resource Center (CRC).
  • Members of the Managed Services Community created a valuable, interactive online tool that helps providers identify and strengthen all seven phases of their relationships with clients, from recruitment, onboarding and upselling — to end of life.
  • Our IT Security Community designed a series of short videos to help members engage in more productive and profitable IT security discussions with their end-clients.
  • The Future Leaders Community developed a mentorship video series to highlight the dynamics of successful mentor/mentee relationships.
  • Our IT Services & Support Community created a compensation chart that details the earnings potential and entry qualifications for all phases of an IT career life cycle.
  • Cloud Community members created a Cloud Partner Ecosystem Chart including profiles for eight different types of cloud players in the IT space.

2. Advisory Councils

2016 was a year of accomplishment for CompTIA’s ACs.  Our new Public Sector Councils, charged with improving procurement and driving technology innovation in our state and local government, human services, and space enterprise markets, experienced increased engagement and saw great results.  We also started to build a Business Applications Advisory Council. This group is comprised of experts in line-of-business SaaS applications such as finance, sales, marketing and human resources. Part of their mission is to explore vertical market solutions in health care, retail and professional services, and to educate CompTIA staff, volunteer leaders and members of the “traditional" IT industry on the “shadow channel." Our goal is to uncover ways CompTIA can build relevance and serve this parallel community.

Our Vendor Advisory Council produced a four part, Hybrid VAR video series and our End User Council offered a thought-leadership blog series depicting the dynamic changes facing our industry (from end-users’ perspectives).

3. IT Careers

CompTIA remains deeply focused on addressing the IT skills gap. With so many technical positions to fill, we developed several programs to attract and train the industry’s future workforce. Our Creating IT Futures Foundation piloted two new career training courses in 2016 while building on its flagship IT Ready program (for underemployed adults) and its strong work-based learning curricula for high schoolers. They paved a path for future software developers by partnering with the Techtonic Academy to launch a pre-apprentice boot camp for coders, (DevPrep). Their team also debuted PrepareU, a series of interactive classroom lessons to help new IT pros gain soft skills in communication and conflict resolution.

Our team worked very hard at addressing the gender gap in 2016, too. Members of CompTIA’s Advancing Women in IT Community focused on education and awareness, and launched a multitude of career development and outreach programs to chamI saw tpion their cause. CompTIA adopted a familiar historical icon to bring the message to an international audience with its Rosie the Riveter #maketechherstory campaign. That program has gone viral, inspiring and encouraging women and girls to consider careers in technology. Our members also worked on forming a Diversity Community that will have its official launch at our Annual Member Meeting in March. With our industry facing millions of open positions in the coming five years, tapping into women and minorities to narrow the skills gap is critical.

Industry Outreach

Engagement is a crucial component of CompTIA’s success and we use a variety of metrics to measure our success. The 2016 results validate that we are indeed focusing on the things that tech professionals truly care about — achieving our core mission. Since launching our “Open Access Membership Model," more than 100,000 individuals have opted to engage and utilize our resources. 

Nearly 1 million unique users visited our website this year and we reached more than 800,000 via social media. We hit a milestone with 100,000 “likes" of our CompTIA Facebook page and more than 100,000 pieces of education or research were downloaded for future reference and sharing — compared to 10,000 in 2013! The industry is active and growing every day. New players are entering the market and legacy channel professionals are striving to remain relevant and capture their share of the opportunities. Walls are coming down in the former “direct vs indirect" world and the order of the day is choice and collaboration. Folks across the ecosystem, from vendor to user to the multitude of provider business models connecting them, seek to stay informed and provide value.

As we head into 2017, CompTIA is committed to providing the entire technology industry with the intelligence, advocacy and resources it needs to maximize its contribution to our economy and society. Are you ready to join the conversation and leverage the benefits? You can sign up for one of our CompTIA Communities or become a Registered User for free today, or visit CompTIA.org to learn about more ways to engage with your IT Trade Association. We are here for you and look forward to doing great things together in the coming year!  

Nancy Hammervik is senior vice president of industry relations at CompTIA.

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