The ITEX Conference: What’s New & Why You Should Attend27 Jan, 2016 By: Jon Reardon, InfoTrends / Buyers Lab (BLI)
The ITEX Conference has undergone several major changes this year helping to define a new, fresh, relevant and compelling event. The biggest change was foundational in nature; that is ITEX 2016 is now under the new management of InfoTrends and BLI.
From the conference (education) side of the event, our mission from the beginning was to focus on our core audience, namely, independent office equipment dealers, IT VARs and managed service providers. Our 2016 conference team conducted a series of exit interviews during the 2015 event coupled with in-depth discussions with equipment OEMS, ISVs, industry thought leaders and channel business owners… we listened, and at times, painfully so.
The end result was a comprehensive review of the conference from both a structural and content perspective… from keynotes to tracks and sessions. We were also guided by our interest in building an event platform that engenders collegiality, the exchange of ideas based on case study work, best practices and peer to peer learning while minimizing a “pay-to-play atmosphere.” Structurally, our challenge was to reduce the total number of tracks from six in 2015 to four in 2016. Fewer tracks and associated sessions, from our perspective, support a better concentration of audience and less competition across same time-slotted sessions. Of course this planning needed to be bookended by relevant, timely and actionable content coupled with great presenters… ala ITEX 2016!
Keynotes are a main feature of any conference. Keynote addresses are normally designed to set the underlying tone and summarize the core message of an event. ITEX 2016’s keynote lineup lives up to this promise by fostering a collegial exchange of research, best practices and peer-to-peer learning. However, ITEX 2016 departs from its past here as the conference features a total of five presentations. This sounds like a lot but you’ll understand why my conference team journeyed down this path.
InfoTrends and BLI industry analyst executives will deliver 2 keynotes:
Jeff Hayes, Managing Director of Content, “US Office Technology Outlook.” In his keynote session, Hayes will provide a state of the industry review of market trends and the office technology channel including insights from extensive interviews with dealers. He will provide recommendations to help you evolve your business model and engage with your customers to achieve sustained growth.
- David Ramos, Director of Channel Strategy, “State of the Independent Office Equipment Dealer Channel.” In Ramos’s keynote he will provide an in-depth breakdown of the topics driving change across the independent dealer channel landscape backed by key findings from his 2016 national dealer survey and further explore today’s leading sales and marketing practices and overall business challenges.
3 featured keynotes will be delivered by industry veteran thought-leaders:
David Laing, GM HP PageWide Enterprise X LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions, HP Inc., “Innovation for an Evolving MPS Landscape.” In Laing’s keynote address, you will learn about the MPS continuum and how on-going innovation of products, services, and partner program offerings impact the demands of today’s organizations.
Cathy Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer & EVP, 3D Systems, “Manufacturing the Future.” In Lewis’s keynote, she will address next generation 3D technologies and improved materials that are revolutionizing product strategies and business models with 3D printing in the form of mass customization and one-of-a-kind products, on demand. Cathy will assert that whether you believe 3D printing is hype or reality – she suggests you get in the game now before your competitors do, and begin to manufacture the future.
- Laura Blackmer, SVP, Sales, Sharp Imaging and Information Systems of America, “Millennials and Diversity – Building a 2020 Workforce.” In this keynote, Blackmer will address the massive shift our workforce is currently undergoing as aging baby boomers retire, more women than men graduate from college and post graduate programs, and that technology has changed how Gen Y and Millennials work and/or expect to work. Laura will answer the questions of “Why should we care?” “Can we change?” and “How?”
Two major conference themes emerged from all of our interview work: “strategies for product and services growth” and “strategies for operations improvement.” Each theme has been framed by two tracks; the former features “print and managed services” and “workflow and solutions” while the latter features “sales & marketing” and “data-driven business.” The session line-up from both a content and presenter perspective is impressive to say the least. I might add that this conference signals a return of the ITEX event to its roots; one that is vendor agnostic and neutral.
A quick glance at our “session by day” tab on the ITEX 2016 website reveals an array of sessions that include dealership principals and executives responsible for sales, marketing, technology and services. Two examples are highlighted that are representative of our overall conference. These address product diversification strategies and opportunities for the dealership. All sessions will have compelling content with outstanding presenters and panelists:
Session 1 – “The 3D Business Opportunity.” This session is led by Cathy Lewis, CMO & EVP, Marketing, 3D Systems Inc. Supporting dealer panelists will include: Nick Gondek, Director, Additive Manufacturing – The ACT Group; and Mark Gregory, President & CEO, SouthEast Office Systems and Premier 3D Systems.
This session will address an area of real growth beyond 2D printing. Most of us would like to add new technology revenue streams, services and margin to our businesses. 3D printing just might be the ticket. This breakout session will include an overview of 3D Systems, products and applications plus industry trends. You’ll also hear directly from 2D / 3D resellers on how they adopted 3D printing, what they have learned in the process, and where they see the market heading.
Session A2/3 – “Wide Format Printing the New Frontier: Print Business Expansion from Office to Industrial Solutions." This is a double session moderated by Frank Cannata, President, The CANNATA REPORT, and a distinguished panel of industry executive leaders: Frank Mallozzi, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing – EFI; Dino Pagliarello, Director, Product Marketing – Konica Minolta Business Solutions; Fabrizio Soto, GM, Wide Format Division – OKI; and John Stevens, VP, Latex Business & Channel Development – HP.
This panel on wide format will explore entry level products up to and including industrial printers. Discussed are the relative merits of each one of the major areas of concentration for inkjet wide format. In addition, the challenges and opportunities these products represent for independent dealers will be fully vetted. Many other areas will be touched on such as the rapid development of technology in this area, the growth opportunities for dealers and the desirable level of commitment in order to succeed in this area of the print world.
Spanish Only Sessions
ITEX has added three “Spanish-only sessions” to this year’s conference in recognition of the growing Latin American ITEX audience. ITEX 2015 enjoyed nearly 200 conference attendees from this region and is working to expand this base in the 2016 conference. Each of these sessions will be led by Latin American Office Technology industry business executives. Two examples include:
Session B7 – “Workflow and Document Management Opportunities in Latin America." This session will be presented by Manuel Niño, Regional Sales Director, Latin America and Carribbean – DocuWare.
As a global market, Latin America is identified by the four major regional markets: Mexico, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. In this session, Niño will discuss how these two collide; document workflow / document management and business opportunities in Latin America. Underpinning this will be a discussion about marketing, prospecting, identifying opportunities to retain your accounts for document workflow and electronic document management.
Session C8 – “Selling MPS in Latin America” will be led by Erick Martinez Gonzalez, President – PrinterNet
Erick brings a rich professional background in running Canon Mexicana Professional Services, IKON Mexico, and his current company, PrintNet. In this conference session, he will cover the key strategies and techniques needed by dealers of office equipment selling MPS in the Mexican and Latin American markets.
What strikes me most positively about this year’s conference starts with its two main themes: “strategies for product and services growth” and “strategies for operations improvement.” With fine-tuned focus on independent office equipment dealers, IT VARs and managed service providers, ITEX 2016’s commitment to building an event platform that drives the collegial exchange of ideas, case studies, research, best practices and peer-to-peer learning, ends with one of the finest line-ups in recent years; of speakers and panelists sharing compelling and actionable content that addresses a wealth of opportunity for this year and the years to come in our Office Technologies Industry.
Beyond the keynotes, sessions and learning awaits incredible opportunities to network with peers, thought leaders and successful industry veteran executives. For more on the ITEX conference visit www.itexshow.com