Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

What can VARs, system integrators and other members of the reseller community expect as 2006 turns to 2007?

At the IT Channel Vision Conference, Gartner, the Stanford, Conn., research firm, hopes to spend several days discussing and dissecting trends in the channel, from new opportunities in selling business intelligence technology to what small and midsized business will spend.

The conference, which runs from Oct. 3-6, will be held in Phoenix, Ariz.

Tiffani Bova, the research director for IT Channel Sales at Gartner, said the conference will give members of the channel—VARs, vendors, distributors, system integrators—a chance to start thinking about 2007 now.

Bova will host a discussion called “Reading the Tea Leaves.”

Click here to read more about distribution growth in the third quarter of 2006.

“The theme is thinking about the opportunities that are out there and we want to provide our attendees a chance to see how the beginning stages of 2007 will shape up,” Bova said.

In addition to a number of seminars, one-on-one meetings and other networking events, Gartner will present research about the channel and how it will change in the next 12 months.

Some of the areas that will prove of interest include new opportunities in business intelligence solutions, partner-to-partner collaboration, IT outsourcing and what SMBs will spend on technology in 2007, Bova said.

There were also be panel discussions on managed service providers and how the Latin American market has developed and changed during the last 12 months and how it will respond to 2007.

Kevin Gilroy, the CEO of OnForce, will give the keynote address on Oct. 4 called “Inevitable Changes in IT Services.”

In keeping with the theme of changes and the future, Casey Hughes, the founding partner of KMunity in Malibu, Calif., will offer his thoughts on how the channel needs to change in order to survive.

Click here to read more about Gartner’s latest research into SAAS.

In his talk, “The IT Channel Isn’t What it Used to Be,” Hughes said he wants to talk about how the channel has changed from a linear model in the last 1970s to a decentralized ecosystem.

What has changed, Hughes said, is the traditional roles of vendors and VARs, and their relationship to the user.

Click here for exclusive channel research from Amazon Consulting.

“Buyers are acting like sellers and sellers look like buyers,” Hughes told Channel Insider. “I want people to start looking at the channel like a community. It’s no longer about buying and selling relationships.”

In order for customers to trust them, vendors and VARs have to alter their relationship, Hughes said.

Hughes said he wants to see vendors offer their VARs good, solid products that they can take, add value for the customer and, in turn, make a profit off the sale.

“You can’t just be out there with a channel program,” Hughes said. “Vendors have to be talking to their VARs everyday and trying to find out what’s out there and what that ecosystem is doing.”