By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
The daylong Chicago ASCII Reseller Success Summit kicked off with some insight into the group's roadmap, provided by Jerry Koutavas, president of the organization – but only after asking everyone to get our their business cards and network. It ws simply nonnegotiable.
From there, Koutavas outlined the plans that lay ahead for ASCII Group, which is celebrating 25 years in existance. "Today, we offer more than 80 programs to lower costs and drive revenue for our members," explained Koutavas to a full-to-capacity room. Next, he talked about how ASCII is tackling problems like reducing costs for partners, educating them about what is going on in the IT industry as well as offering insight into best practices, and mediating relationships between the partners and their vendors.
The group attacks those problems systematically. It helps reduce costs by offering E&O insurance, discounted credit card processing, and help with distribution. It is currently working on deals with cloud services companies as that technology gains momentum. Community events and forums help partners learn what their successful peer members are doing, as well as providing a place to vet best practices and discuss market trends. ASCII is helping members expand their business by offering a "partner concierge" that matches members for subcontracted work necessitated by geography or tech specialty.
Koutavas also outlined new projects on the horizon, many ideas generated from the members during focus groups at each of the six success summits ASCII is hosting this year. On that list: an ASCII staffer to help with marketing and branding, SEO and lead gen assistance, and off-hours support services. "We aren't here to save you $2 on a mouse; we're hear to help you, we are building this organization to help you," Koutavas told the gathered members. "We don't want you sitting on the sidelines, we want you to win, and we want you to grow."