A Tale of Two Conferences: Cisco, HP Schedule Rival Global Partner Events


Archrivals Hewlett-Packard and Cisco have scheduled their annual partner conferences for the same time at locations within walking distance of each other, and the companies are actually are showing signs of cooperation as they help solution providers work out their attendance plans.

The HP Global Partner Conference 2014 is scheduled to run from March 24 to March 26 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, the Cisco Partner Summit 2014, scheduled for March 24 to March 27, is being held just 1.5 miles away at Las Vegas' Venetian Hotel.

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Having rival partner conferences held in such close proximity can actually be very convenient for partners, said Mark Gonzalez, regional vice president of sales at ePlus, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider and partner to both companies.

"The OEMs would rather have us to themselves," Gonzalez said. "But with travel funds not as readily available as in the past, we kill two birds with one stone. One trip, one travel budget."

Most companies provide a good calendar of events and breakouts for their partner conferences, letting attendees pick and choose what the want to attend, Gonzalez said.

"So there should be no problems for us," he said. "There may be an issue with the keynotes. But both vendors have partner pavilions. And both have partner parties. We can go to one on one night and the other on the second night."

Glen Jodoin, vice president of marketing and operations at GreenPages, a Kittery, Maine-based solution provider and partner to both companies, told CRN via email that his company's plan is to divide and conquer for registration and attendance.

"Because the meetings are both at the same time we can make meetings at both so it is not the worst situation. On one hand we miss general sessions. ... On the other hand we have a larger presence for strategic meetings at both."

Rather than point fingers at each other over the scheduling, HP and Cisco both told CRN they are working together to help partners who are looking to take advantage of both their partner conferences.

NEXT: Coordination, Not Finger Pointing, Between HP, Cisco