June 17, 2011
By Mamush Heayie

After a hectic Day 1 session that delivered all that was scheduled, the MSPs and partners of Asigra (http://www.asigra.com), entered into the spirit of the Asigra Fourth Annual Summit (Day 2) session proceedings with a lot of excitement and anticipation. The sessions were structured as in the preceding day. The morning sessions were common while the afternoon sessions were elective.

MC Tracy Staniland, Asigra’s Sr. Director, Corporate Marketing, opened the conference with a number of exciting announcements. While the conference has an even mix of sessions focusing on marketing and technology, Asigra was intent on providing entertainment for attending partners as well. This included a networking event in downtown Toronto, with casino tables, billiards and other games. With partner networking a key theme, the partners were kept engaged with contests and giveaways at the end of the evening.

Philanthropy was not forgotten. Asigra promised to donate $10 to Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto for every subscription made to BackupHeroes.com. To assist those who did not know what Backupheroes.com was, tables had been set up to provide the necessary information and assistance. Partners were urged to join in for the cause.

The Day 2 proceedings can be broadly classified as Business track sessions and technical sessions. The business track was intensely focused on marketing and sales strategies, while the technical tracks provided the necessary support and product usage information. The highlights of the business sessions were the discourses by Tracy Staniland and Josh Bernoff.

Tracy Staniland pointed out that business success is all about “identifying, defining, maintaining, developing and owning markets”. The markets may be specialized markets and marketers must display “expertise” if they need to convey a “core business message”; gain credibility and leverage technology for customer advantage. Staniland yielded place to Josh Bernoff, Senior Vice President, Idea Development, Forrester, who took the discussion to a deeper level and focused attention on how to empower employees and customers for business advantage. Bernoff illustrated the points he was making drawing from experience and various reports on industry best practices. This was followed by an interactive panel discussion moderated by David Smith, Sr. Director, Partner Development, Asigra.

The OutMarket track was a number of discourses on marketing strategies with Tracy Staniland and Josh Bernoff contributing their bit in the pre-lunch sessions and delving deeper into the topics they had handled in the common sessions. Their discourse was followed by sessions with Dave Chape, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group; Eran Frajuan, Executive Vice President, Asigra; Stephanie Heathcote, Marketing Programs Manager, Asigra and Samantha Morris, Digital Marketing Manager, Asigra. Each of them concentrated on a different dimension of the marketing strategy.

The OutSell track was characterized by a mix of discourses and interactive sessions. David Smith talked on features and functions of Asigra latest generation software in context, was followed by a talk by Mike Colesante, Backup Technology about sales tactics. The afternoon sessions were concerned with business positioning, BURR and selling tactics and strategies for Europe.

Mark Hayford, took the stage first for the OutSmart track and spoke at length about Netapp and Asigra integration. With Asigra Cloud Backup v11 Asigra is now tightly integrated with NetApp and features API-level integration with NetApp FAS devices. The advantage for MSP using this combination of technologies is accelerated performance and recovery for maximum, allowing cloud backup providers to deliver higher value to end-user organizations.

This year’s Asigra summit maintained a strong focus on marketing, in addition to technology. Asigra reasons that its technology is the best in the industry. This claim is supported by the MSPs I had a chance to speak with during the conference. Participating MSPs agree with Asigra that the technology is the best in the space – otherwise they “wouldn’t have continued to be partners”; MSPs needed to participate in the summit to gain some wisdom from the invited speakers, Asigra executives, and fellow MSPs. I must say that MSPs have accomplished what they came for. Congratulations to Asigra for organizing such a successful summit.

Finally, after dinner, Asigra provided a number of buses to transport all attendees to a fun packed downtown Toronto to visit Academy of Spherical Arts, where everyone had lots of fun and many BackupHeroes (Asigra cloud backup service provider partners) posed for pictures.

Look for more detailed posts in the coming days.

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