CompTIA AMM, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the CompTIA Annual Member Meeting. Although we’ve been a member of CompTIA and sponsored their events for years, we’ve never participated materially in the organization, so with a little time on my hands I decided to see how I could help. So the following is my impression. The good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good: CompTIA is our industry’s largest association. It features the largest user group community with over dozen individual focus groups on which service providers and vendor representatives alike work together on a wide range of issues from industry trends to educational resources. This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of the organization – talk to your peers and find some common ground to bounce off of. This approach works great for HTG Peer Groups and CompTIA certainly has the edge in terms of both the size and scope. It’s reach and therefore it’s access to tons of data that isn’t skewed by any particular vendor/sponsor is immensely valuable.

The Bad: Due to it’s size and the variety of community participants, everyone doesn’t share lots of common concerns. Service providers are concerned about competition from vendors. Vendors are concerned about being able to better filter service providers by a set of assessments (CompTIA Trustmarks). While this can tend to some lively meetings, in particular the MSP Partner Community, progress is still being made.

The Ugly: This is not as much a criticism of CompTIA as much as it’s the folly of the industry as a whole – innovation is outpacing the ability of the community to gain much consensus. With the smaller subset of extremely efficient and effective companies and partners, companies that wait on the sidelines for the best practices and research to be published will ultimately be far less successful than the rest.

So what do you do as a service provider – wait for the consensus, best practices and key performance indicators and be left behind like so many have with the cloud? Or do you jump into every fad head first and end up with a huge investment in a business model like health care IT that is far less than what was predicted?

Ultimately it comes down to the level of risk. Larger companies can afford to explore emerging markets and new specialties while the smaller companies have to stick to the proven solutions with lots of support and demand.

In the end, large or small, all solution providers stand to gain more from deeper involvement in the community and access to better tools, better research and more effective partnerships. If you haven’t given CompTIA a look in a while (or HTG or Taylor Business Groups or any other peer system for that matter) now would be a great time!

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