Bull`s Eye Awards: Channel Community of the Year

  • By

    Lawrence Walsh

    | Posted 2009-12-21



HTG Peer Groups
HTG Peer Groups, the brainchild of solution provider and Iowa farmer Arlin Sorensen, is without question the most vibrant, engaged and productive peer-to-peer community in the channel today. There was no doubt that HTG deserved the Community of the Year Award and probably deserves the honor for the whole decade.

Founded in 2000 by Sorensen, HTG Peer Groups has perfected the model for what community-based peer collaboration means and how it should work in practical terms. Its elegant organization of peer groups of 12 noncompetitive members means that participating solution providers never feel threatened about speaking their minds, sharing resources or giving tips on how to run their businesses better. The success that members enjoy as a result of this collaboration has enabled HTG to grow to more than 240 member organizations across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and, soon, Australia.

Sorensen is a devout believer in the "Go-Giver" philosophy, or that you’ll get rewards in return for the good you give to others. HTG imposes this value on its members, and many report getting the rewards they reap for volunteering to help fellow members with training, marketing and business development. It’s hardly unusual to hear a HTG member talk about how they’re flying halfway across the country to help a fellow member through a new initiative or a tough challenge.

But another key factor in the HTG success model is its friendly meritocracy. HTG drives best practices, key performance indicators and objective analytics into heads of its members. Sharing best practices is nice, but HTG wants to see results. HTG’s brilliance is the subdivision of the working groups; the performance of each is measured and compared to other groups. Since no group wants to sit on the bottom of the pile, they’re constantly working toward improving their individual performance to raise the collective results of their group. As a result, each group is constantly striving to improve itself and develop a bond with its fellow group members.

The value of HTG to its members cannot be understated. As one HTG member said: "HTG also makes a big difference in the personal and business lives of its membership. It is different than other vendor-sponsored communities as it is truly built by peers for peers. And in small groups, there is amazing personal and business growth happening."

HTG Peer Groups has caught the attention of many vendor and industry associations that are looking to replicate its model. Few have done so successfully, since many try to create the same model as a profit center; one of the secrets behind HTG is that Sorensen and his team are doing it as an altruistic endeavor—it’s a labor of love.

HTG has created the standard for community-based collaboration and development. Its model is second to none, and so is the value it returns to its members. For quality and superior performance, HTG Peer Groups has earned the Channel Insider Champion Bull’s Eye Award for Channel Community of the Year.

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Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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