IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Windy City Hosts ASCII Success Summit

Chicago is the fourth stop on the ASCII Group's year-long, multicity educational and networking tour. By Colleen Frye and Joel Zaidspiner

The ASCII Group’s 2015 IT SMB Success Summit Series this week hits Chicago, the fourth city in the year-long tour. The Success Summit, being held May 27 to 28 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, provides an opportunity for attendees to obtain education, hear industry presentations, browse the vendor solutions pavilion, attend an ASCII member meeting, and network with peers.

The pre-day activities on Thursday included lunch and business card exchange, followed by a presentation from Jim Roddy, president of Jameson Publishing. In his talk, “Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer,” he told the audience that after a cancer diagnosis and being forced to step away from his business, was when he truly realized that the people you hire make or break your organization. He covered hiring principles and best practices that can be implemented now.

Vendor-sponsored sessions covered topics such as business continuity, building a cloud strategy, quoting and e-commerce solutions, adding security service to an MSP practice, simple website changes that make a difference, using IT assessments to grow business, and simplified business management. A welcome reception caps off the pre-day events.

The main day agenda on Thursday starts with a networking breakfast followed by the Success Summit kickoff and peer card exchange.

Guest speakers include ASCII member C.J. Ezell, founder and CEO of PointClear Networks, a healthcare systems integrator and managed services provider based in Fairhope, Ala. Ezell is speaking with attendees about “Adding Dental Integration to Your Managed Services Practice.”

ASCII member Charles Tholen, president and CTO, Cognoscape LLC, is presenting “Successfully Winning in The Legal Market With Managed Services.” And ASCII member, Eugene Tawiah, a certified Ethical Hacker, is speaking about “Proven Triggers to Help SMB Customers Focus on Cybersecurity.”

The special guest speaker is Joe Navarro, best-selling author and former FBI counterintelligence officer recognized as the leading expert on nonverbal behavior. In his presentation, “Sales and Speed Reading—Renowned FBI Analyst Tells All,” he explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. He will also explain how your body language can influence prospects, clients, and personal acquaintances and what strangers think of you.

Vendor presentation topics include positioning your data protection strategy, being a perpetually valuable MSP, disaster recovery, the converging markets of telecom and technology, and more.

In the Executive MSP Market Summaries session attendees will learn about opportunities for MSPs to tack on additional recurring revenue. And in the ASCII Community—Building Business Together session, attendees will hear how the next wave of services will be further built leveraging the ASCII community and helping take IT providers’ businesses forward.

Attendees also have the opportunity to browse the solutions pavilion, meet ASCII staff, and vote on vendor awards.

The day ends with a closing awards ceremony and giveaways, followed by an ASCII member meeting. The following awards were bestowed on sponsors:

Pre-Day Awards

Best Education: Vertical Axion

Best Technical Demo: CNET

Best IT Workshop: Vertical Axion

Main Day Awards

Best Rapid Pitch: OpenDNS

Best Software Solution: StorageCraft

Best Hardware Solution: Lenovo

Best New Product: Solana Networks

Best Cloud Solution: Datto

Best Revenue Generator: Datto

Best Channel Incentives: Lenovo

Best Channel Programs: TBI

Best Partner Commitment: LogicNow

Best Customer Support: Vertical Axion

Best Keynote Presentation: StorageCraft

Best Distribution Sales Support: ASI

Best Partner Involvement: Datto

Best of Show: Datto


The Summit Series is designed for qualified industry IT professionals and managed service providers, and is targeted toward those who are looking to increase revenue and enhance their current business model. ASCII members receive free admission to the event.

The ASCII Group is a membership-based community of independent MSPs, VARs and solution providers. Next stop on this year’s eight-city tour is June 24 to 25 in the New Jersey/New York area.

For more information go to

ChannelPro SMB Magazine

Get an edge on the competition

With each issue packed full of powerful news, reviews, analysis, and advice targeting IT channel professionals, ChannelPro-SMB will help you cultivate your SMB customers and run your business more profitably.