Customer Engagement Strategies, Innovation Insights and Presidential Politics Highlight Agenda at CompTIA Breakaway 2012

Aug 01, 2012, 11:03 ET from CompTIA

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Information technology (IT) channel leaders attending CompTIA Breakaway 2012 here this week heard new strategies for engaging customers, thought-provoking ideas on how innovation occurs and a preview of the U.S. presidential election and its potential impact on the IT industry as the annual conference moved into full gear Tuesday.

In his conference keynote speech, CompTIA President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Thibodeaux said the association is committed to helping its members and the broader IT industry to develop strategies to better engage with their customers.

"The rate of new business development is slowing, so the amount of business you need to drive from existing customers will be more important," he said. "But you will need more innovative ways to do so."

This will require IT channel firms to enhance their ability to look at their customers' business and determine how technology can help them to be more successful. The industry must also come up with new strategies and tactics for recruiting the next-gen IT workforce.

"Your ability to understand how to maximize their capabilities in your environment is the key to your success," Thibodeaux said. "Not only will they be your customers, but they will be your staff."

Working through its Creating IT Futures Foundation, Thibodeaux said CompTIA will explore new programs to reach kids as early as the ninth grade to get them interested in technology careers.

Creative Thinking and Innovation

In the conference's business keynote address, best-selling author Steven Berlin Johnson shared his intriguing insights on the history of innovation and what pushes people and organizations to more creative thinking. More often than not in the history of disruptive ideas, the "eureka moment" is a myth, according to Johnson.

"These ideas often stay in hunch form for months, years and even decades until they crystalize into action," he said.

The best ideas are often "cobbled together from the spare parts of other ideas," Johnson added, and are the result of "diverse environments and diverse thinking."

"Look at what your customers and users are doing with the technology you provided them," he advised attendees. "Let you users do the innovation for you."

Presidential Politics and the IT Industry

Noted political pollster John Zogby also spoke Tuesday at Breakaway 2012, reporting on the results of a new national survey commissioned by CompTIA.

The survey of 300 IT industry executives finds that two out three have deep concerns about losing the nation's edge as a global leader in IT. There also is a sense of disengagement with the current political process and a significant plurality is undecided with respect to which presidential candidate would address various IT issues more effectively.

"On one hand the industry is clear," Zogby said. "There is a crisis. The United States is at risk of losing its technology leadership edge and that is a significant risk to the nation's future. What isn't clear is a statement from the industry on what should be done."

Zogby encouraged the industry to set aside differences between conservatives and liberals, or those who want more or less government involvement, "to hammer out something in a bipartisan way... the clarity has got to come from you to give clear direction to both campaigns."

As for the presidential election, Zogby said the race is essential a dead heat with less than 100 days to go before Election Day. Governor Romney leads by one point in terms of national average, but President Obama has a "borderline acceptable" job approval rating good enough to win re-election.

Educational Programs

Education and training sessions are on the agenda at Breakaway 2012. The CompTIA Executive Certificate program was introduced here this week. This new training program is designed to help business and technology executives expand their knowledge and skill sets in fast-growing solutions and markets, such as cloud computing, mobility and business continuity and disaster recovery.

Attendees also participated in sessions on audiovisual integration opportunities; strategies for entering new vertical markets, how technology vendors can help their channel partners transform to cloud solution providers; and partnerships opportunities for telecom agents and IT solution providers.

The Breakaway 2012 Technology Vendor Fair continued on Tuesday. More than 125 of the industry's top product and solution vendors are exhibiting at this year's conference, which continues through Thursday, Aug. 2. Visit CompTIA Events to learn more about Breakaway 2012, the IT channel's premier education event.

About CompTIA

CompTIA is the voice of the world's information technology (IT) industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and public policy advocacy. For more information, visit or follow CompTIA at and