3 Takeaways from the Avant Special Forces Summit

We all know the scene of a large industry conference. Thousands of people, milling about a convention center, approaching tables and booths on the convention floor, mingling and making connections during happy hours, and learning from trainings, sessions, and keynote speeches. This is the usual look and feel of the Avant Special Forces Summit, the IT “industry’s only conference dedicated to sales strategies, tactics, and tools.”

 This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they took the event virtual. I had no idea what to expect. How can you possibly take all that energy from a live event and watch it on a screen? What I learned is to never second guess Avant, their team, and the people running leading technology companies who we represent. Here are 3 takeaways from the event. 

Smart and successful people pivot, and embrace what they know. 

Although moving an event online requires technology and planning, Avant managed to create a space that felt like a live conference. It was a brilliantly conceived event with virtual lounges, auditoriums, exhibit booths, training sessions, and impactful guest speakers– all possible because of the platform they developed to create as engaging an experience as they could. 

The virtual booths had people waiting in chat sessions just as if they were standing in front of the booth with videos, white papers, case studies, and other items to help us learn more about the vendors and their capabilities. We could have the type of one-on-one conversations important in our industry, if only virtually. 

While hosting in-person summits and conferences remains against health guidelines, Avant and other smart and successful business leaders have decided to build a virtual world. 

Inspiring speakers are just as inspirational in a virtual space. 

The guest speakers and panel members were really something special, and spoke directly to how we as technology professionals can help people get through this pandemic.  We listened to sessions with Marcus Luttrel and Kevin Brown about overcoming odds and the many ways to be a HERO to your customers, colleagues and loved ones.  We also listened to impactful industry discussions with CEO’s from Zoom, Vonage, Ring Central, SalesForce, and many other top executives whose companies are leading industry trends.  

I’ve been so impressed at how our industry rallied to enable the work-from-home landscape. I’m even more excited about what the future holds as our vendors work tirelessly to allow people to embrace the ever changing technology landscape. I learned we have never been in a better position to bring tremendous value to our clients due to the amazing partnerships and resources we have with my Comtel Client Services Team and with Avant as our Technology Enablement Team. 

Learning helps keep us at the top of our game. 

The trainings about what technologies are front and center and what is to come was next level. 

Our new normal has catapulted security to the top of everyone’s mind. With more people working remotely and spending time online, bad actors are becoming ever-present. We learned not only about these current challenges, but how to continue to lead the way in technology security and access. Next-gen cloud and networking technologies are helping us connect to our customers and our employees in a more impactful manner. Integrations, collaboration, and AI are improving productivity and customer experiences. Technology helped people stay relevant during the pandemic and these same companies are shaping the way business will be done in the future.

And, to incentivize participants to really embrace the training there were point values assigned to different things which out participants in drawings for fun prizes. I won an iPad for putting in the work to be better at my craft– not too shabby.

Two days flew by faster than I could have imagined, and like many businesses and organizations in the last six months, they’ve learned that a pivot can lead to learning and success in a whole new arena.