This is a duplicate of an article in The Cannata Report, written by Frank G. Cannata and CJ Cannata


Big Names to Cover Today’s Trending Topics at Independent Summit

ValleyHotel650x400-300x300One of the things that particularly concerns us today is that dealers do not have many options for true independent educational forums. Manufacturer dealer meetings run the gamut from good to very good in that they allow the dealers carrying those lines to stay current with products and technology while allowing them to network with their fellow dealers who do not directly compete with them. However, the educational sessions at these meetings are controlled by the manufacturer and do not necessarily address some of the most critical issues dealers are facing. This issue is top of mind right now, especially as CJ and I have just returned from the CDA CEO meeting on Mackinac Island. John Lowery, the dealer group’s current President, did a first-rate job of putting the educational agenda together. The comprehensive sessions included: a leadership discussion by a University of Michigan economics professor; a print overview by Angele Boyd of IDC; and a presentation unveiling the results of a CDA member survey conducted by John Hey and Tod Johnson, which revealed some particularly interesting performance standards and benchmarks for this group. We added a presentation about our own trip to Japan that explored the overall direction of the Japanese “Big Six” manufacturers, which plays an important role in dealers’ businesses. In addition to these highlights, there were many other timely and valuable sessions. The bottom line here is that the agenda was created for dealers by dealers and we think that’s as good as it gets.

The good news is that other individuals, companies and organizations are developing more forums that are vendor and machine agnostic. In January 2013, we attended such a meeting hosted by MWAi and Technology United. In our February 2013 issue, the review of this meeting described it as a real and substantive opportunity for dealers to gain information about some of the day’s more pressing issues. The meeting stoked a universal discussion that applies to every dealer in the business, regardless of what lines they carry or the directions they have identified for expansion into the future.

So it was with great pleasure that we recently received an invitation to MWAi’s 3rd Executive Connection Summit from October 27–30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Without hesitation, we replied with an enthusiastic yes to this meeting.

The meeting agenda is packed with solutions that challenge dealers today. For example, there will be a presentation on an ERP (SAP) that could be a strong fit for independent dealers. In our annual surveys, we all too frequently hear that dealers cannot accurately determine what percentage of their revenue is attributed to MPS. Rather than hard numbers, we receive approximations with comments such as, “I cannot break out that information. Our system counts clicks and does not differentiate.” That may seem like an unimportant consequence of the ERP they are currently employing. However, we believe it is extremely important. Monitoring results and accurately monetizing the services end of the business is essential, and I don’t know how dealers can manage their businesses if their data is based on estimates.

The summit’s agenda is well-balanced. It incorporates a broad base of widely recognized industry executives — Doug Albregts of Sharp; Tod Pike of Samsung; James Robinson of Intel, Joe Pinto of Cisco, Kevin Gilroy of SAP, Chip Miceli of DPOE, John Swalwell of PERRY proTECH, and many more. In addition, the agenda will include some of today’s and tomorrow’s key services and solutions providers such as Intellinetics, ESP, GreatAmerica Financial Services, Green Hill Software, Intel, LMI and others that are part of Technology United. These individuals and companies represent a reservoir of knowledge addressing current issues such as breaking into and making money in managed services, understanding 3D printing and how it can change your current business, Internet of Things (IoT) and beyond, and the importance of a cloud-based solution, especially when it comes to your ERP.

While MWAi is not a dealer, the company’s FORZA solution, which was developed for the print imaging industry on SAP’s Business One platform, has been specifically developed to improve an independent dealer’s business. Moreover, we feel that what MWAi and this Annual Executive Connection Summit have to offer is extremely relevant to virtually all dealer principals.

The demands on a dealer’s time makes it challenging for them to attend these types of conferences. A viable alternative is to send key personnel. However, we at THE CANNATA REPORT cannot stress strongly enough that dealers should want to take part in these events — whether it is BPCA, BTA, CDA, SDG or MWAi’s Executive Connection Summit. For example, if dealers add Graph Expo to their hit list, along with their regularly scheduled dealer group meetings and the MWAi Summit, they will have really opened themselves up to the best opportunities to stay current in today’s ever-evolving industry environment.

Today, the business of dealers is to best serve their existing and prospective clients by providing their workplaces with state-of-the-art hardware, software and managed services. These services span from installing a single MFP to providing disaster relief for a client’s network and everything in between. Figuring out how to best serve clients in today’s market is a constantly changing puzzle. However, the MWAi 3rd Annual Executive Connection Summit can provide dealers with one piece of that puzzle by delivering some of the necessary knowledge to keep your business vibrant, current and most importantly, profitable.

Contact: Jenna Mammoser, VP, Marketing and Client Services
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