RSPA Today: Your Place for Partnerships

RSPA Channel Leaders Report

By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA

I’m still stoked weeks after experiencing Inspire 2023, the RSPA’s annual leadership conference, Jan. 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort. The conference set an attendance record for an RSPA event in Hawaii with over 225 registrants representing 100+ different companies, a mix of VARs, ISVs, DISDs (Direct Independent Software Developers), vendors, and distributors.

Inspire is known for its in-depth networking but what struck me this year was the simplicity of the event. If trade shows are akin to navigating a sprawling state university campus, Inspire is a charming one-room schoolhouse.

That simplicity theme carries beyond the conference, I believe. Across three days, the group wrestled with new growth strategies, market trends, and company leadership – all heady topics for sure. But a first-time Inspire attendee, an RSPA VAR member from Canada, shared with me that the solution to those challenges and more can be found in one word: partnerships. If he said it to me once, he said it to me 10 times during our conversation. Partnerships.

To grow, you need to offer best-in-class products and services and continually expand that offering. You can’t do that alone, so you’ll need to engage in more partnerships. The flurry of emerging technologies can be confusing, but there’s help for sorting through it all. Lean on your longtime trusted partners and find new partners to give you clarity. Partnerships.

The Inspire panel I moderated about channel trends touched on marketplaces, ecosystems, platforms, customer experience, automation, cybersecurity, 5G, AI, the transformation of the retail business model, and more. When I asked panelists Jon Moran of TD SYNNEX, Michel Sirois of BlueStar Canada, and analyst Jay McBain of Canalys how VARs and ISVs should navigate each of these, their answers had a common thread: Partnerships.

So, in addition to hosting Inspire, what’s the RSPA doing to help you accelerate your success through partnerships? For starters …

  • Our Member Services team of Ashley Naggy, Peggy Fry, and Nicole Greene make member-to-member warm introductions daily. This is the source of most of our “Thank you/I love you” member emails.
  • We recently hired a full-time Business Development Specialist (John Grega) whose sole job is recruiting new RSPA members for you to partner with.
  • You can find those new companies on our New Member Spotlight web page (
  • The RSPA Solution Center (, a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions, lists details on nearly 150 RSPA vendor members.
  • Our online searchable RSPA Member Directory ( puts you a couple clicks away from finding members to help meet your needs.
  • Perhaps the crown jewel of RSPA partnership possibilities is RetailNOW, the retail IT channel’s #1 trade show, education conference, and networking event. This year’s show, July 30-Aug. 1 at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, is expected to attract 1,500+ attendees – and we hope to sell out the show floor for a second straight year.

Inspire has generated strong momentum for the RSPA heading into RetailNOW. You can create your own positive momentum for 2023 and beyond through new partnerships – and we’re here to help you do that.

Jim Roddy
President & CEO, RSPA