The Solutions Summit’s C-Level Only Event Successfully Delivered to Invited Industry Leaders17 Nov, 2011
Pinehurst, NC - November 9-11, 2011 - The annual Solutions Summit, a dedicated C-level invitation-only event for leaders in the office channel, was an incredibly successful event for all participants. After a well-attended golf tournament at the luxurious Pinehurst Golf Resort, followed by a hosted Welcome Reception, the following two days were filled with a series of general session presentations, one-on-one meetings with VIP attendees and sponsors, and informative case studies presented in a board room format, providing exceptional networking opportunities.
The Summit paired VIPs from top office dealerships, VARs and IT Resellers with leading technology vendors, software providers, supplies vendors and wholesalers to discuss opportunities and strategies that will help build solutions and professional services, as well as the direction of the industry and office channel.
In addition to the sponsors, Solutions Summit featured exceptional education from industry leaders, including Jon Reardon, Group Director, InfoTrends, who delivered the 'State of the Industry Address' entitled “The Changing Landscape of the Office Equipment Market.” Mr. Reardon explained how each of the major Equipment manufacturers had shifted their business in order to remain competitive. Xerox with ACS, HP with EDS, Konica Minolta with All Covered; new acquisitions that have shifted from acquiring office equipment dealers, to acquiring IT or Business Process organizations. “This change is a fundamental shift that you should pay close attention to,“ said Reardon.
The Summit focused on the competitive pressures that have made doing business in the office equipment market even more challenging. This includes direct organizations from equipment manufacturers who keep getting stronger, including buying dealerships to expand their footprint and territories. New entrants such as IT resellers and Managed Service providers who are starting to look at ways to gain entry into the lucrative supplies business. And that office equipment dealers continuously have to think strategically in order to maintain footing; understand how to compete more effectively and utilize technologies in order to remain competitive.
Reardon then went on to show the expansive footprint of many of the OEM’s channels through InfoTrends Channel Mapping database. InfoTrends’ exclusive database tracks and monitors the movement of channels and their strategies. One by one, Mr. Reardon showed the expansive channels of Ricoh, Xerox, Konica Minolta, Canon and then HP. Each one of them growing beyond the office equipment reach into new areas with IT and BPO partnerships. After the presentation Mr. Reardon was approached by many of the dealers with some saying, “I knew that the OEM’s were big, but when it is displayed in a visual presentation where I can see where each of them sit in my backyard, it is even more compelling.”
Reardon summarized by saying, “The office equipment and IT markets are continuing to blur and at the same time are becoming more competitive; moving at a rapid pace. InfoTrends and its properties through Questex Media (imageSource Magazine, Solutions Summit, and ITEX Expo) are continuing to track the trends in this space in order to make better predictions and help its customers make better decisions for the future.”
In addition, Randy Dazo, Sr. Director, Solutions and Services, Office Group, InfoTrends provided an insightful presentation on how the Office Equipment market has been through dramatic changes over the past decade with new solutions, services, business models and technologies. Today we see Managed Print Services as a way to gain new pages and revenues to our individual businesses, however MPS is only a short term solution to the long term challenges we will continue to face in an ever shrinking paper based output market. What does our future hold?
“As an output industry we have to look at new areas of expansion to where the market is leading us. Forces such as new technologies, new users and the new economy are forging new pathways that we either need to be a part of, or be consumed." 'Change or Die' was a theme that Mr. Dazo used to convey the quick changes that are happening in the Office Equipment industry.
Mr. Dazo went on by describing other industries that had to change the way they conducted business or they too died, “The Micrographics industry was faced with a very harsh reality when these hardware devices essentially went away, leaving these dealers to make very quick decisions to either go digital, move into the Document Management industry, or die altogether,” explained Dazo. “We have also seen many technologies and great companies lose their edge because they could not move fast enough in their quickly changing markets; Polaroid, Kodak, Borders Book Stores are just a few examples.”
'Moving Beyond the Box' was another theme used at the event, where dealers need to understand their future is not just selling boxes but the total solution of hardware, supplies, software and services that bring better unprecedented value to the customer engagement. At the same time dealers need to look at adjacent technologies that help them to expand and move beyond MPS and into Managed Services.
“If you look at the success of Apple and its recent products such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, they were not new innovative hardware technologies to the industry,” said Dazo. “It was the ecosystem of simple hardware, services – the iTunes service and software – the expansive content within iTunes, which fundamentally changed or is changing the music, mobile phone and mobile content industries.”
Additional highlights included a quality presentation by Jim Philips of Digital Gateway, in which he discussed “How we build the new ‘Standard of Performance’ in the office equipment industry.” In addition, Christopher DiReda of OKI Data Americas presented a compelling session on Addressing the Challenges of Managed Services Expansion, a theme that seemed to penetrate throughout the 2 ½ day event and which led to many hours of invigorated conversation.
Attendees at the Solutions Summit commented:
“The 1:1 meeting format was a great opportunity to get individual attention to issues that are important to us. Coupled with the boardroom presentations, I don’t know how you could set up a better format. It was extremely useful and I would highly recommend attending this event.”
-Gary Johnson, President, Laser Systems
“This was a great event to get an unbiased look into our future. It opened my eyes to lots of ways to grow and expand either with new offerings or forming strategic partnerships. The two days of meetings was the most packed and intense focus at a meeting I have been to in a long time. It is always great to rub shoulders with other people in the industry.”
-Mike Ehlers, President, Yost Business Systems
The lineup of industry-leading sponsors included: Platinum Sponsors: Digital Gateway and OKI; Gold Sponsors: BEI Services, DocuWare, LEAF, LMI Solutions, MSE/ Micro Solutions Enterprises, PrintFleet, Printer Essentials and West Point Products; Silver Sponsor: Print Audit; and Bronze Sponsors: Diversified Computer Supplies, Inc., Drivve, GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation, and PartsNow LLC.
“The venue at the Solutions Summit was one of the best I ever attended. Being able to present your solution directly to the Owners and C-level executives really help expedite the sales cycle in a very positive manner. We will attend next year as well.”
-Bud Karakey, VP Operations, BEI Services, Inc.
To learn more about the annual Solutions Summit, and future events, please visit www.solutionssummit.net. For information on InfoTrends please visit www.infotrends.com. The Solutions Summit is produced by Questex Media Group LLC.
About Questex Media Group LLC
Solutions Summit is produced by Questex Media Group LLC, a global, diversified business-to-business media organization serving multiple industries including hotel and hospitality, travel, technology, beauty and spa, among numerous other specialty industries with its well-established, market-leading events, publications, digital and interactive media, research, and other marketing and media-related services.
The company’s combined operations include approximately 400 employees in offices throughout North America, South America, Asia and Europe. In addition to Solutions Summit, Questex also produces ITEX National Expo & Conference (www.itexshow.com), the nation’s most comprehensive event in the office channel taking place April 18-19, 2012 at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada, and imageSource Magazine (www.imagesourcemag.com), the definitive publication, website and industry resource for the office channel. For more information, visit www.questex.com.
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