5 Things I Learned at the 2016 MWAi Executive Connection Summit

By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS

With the coming of spring one thing we all know is that event season is upon us.  Personally I have a fully booked calendar through the middle of June with many exciting opportunities for learning and brainstorming.  The first event of the season for me was MWAi’s 5th annual ECS (Executive Connections Summit) held at the incredible Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale Arizona on February 17th through 19th, 2016. What a great location and event to get the season started!  Here are 5 lessons I learned at ECS:

1. Navy Seals & Business Mix Very Well:  The keynote presentation by a couple of decorated Navy Seals was the best I’ve ever seen.  A quote in the introduction said “You think you are a badass until you actually meet one” and we were fortunate enough to meet two!  They had a powerful message about how we can do a better job of running our businesses by paying attention to the lessons learned in the theatre of combat.  Jocko Willink & Leif Babin delivered a powerhouse hour and it’s a keynote I’ll never forget. To learn more you about Jocko & Leif and “Extreme Ownership” you can visit theEchelon Front website.

2. Team FORZA Unleashed:  MWAi has been working hard on FORZA and it looks like all that hard work is going to keep them very busy in the coming year.  Rick Taylor, the President & COO of KMBS, announced their support and commitment to helping add bench strength as FORZA takes fire.  I personally met with a customer at ECS who signed up with MWAi for FORZA during the Summit.  The reason: With the convergence of MITS (Managed IT Services) and MPS (Managed Print Services) they needed a system to run their businesses that the current “purpose built” systems simply aren’t ready to support. To learn more about FORZA visit the MWAi website to get in touch.

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3. OEM Excitement for 2016: KMBS & SHARP America both spoke about how excited they were for their own initiatives and their dealer channels for 2016.  Rick Taylor had some exciting personal news as we all discovered he had been promoted to President & COO of KMBS.  As well, he shared some exciting innovations and diversification efforts for the coming year.  The President of SHARP Americas, Doug Albregts, introduced some eye opening innovations in their portfolio that prove they aren’t slowing down one bit and that they are committed to helping their dealers to grow.  Both OEMs showcased some of the cool ways they are using Big Data to bring more value to the channel than ever before.

4. Big Data & IOT Is Here and Now:  A couple of sessions I found extremely interesting were those presented by INTEL and SAP.  They both spoke about the incredible impact that the digital economy is starting to have in our space and how they can help us not just to navigate the new challenges but to thrive.  Luke Goldberg of CIG (Clover Imaging Group) also spoke to the efforts that his organization will take in 2016 to make sure “Big Data” is doing “Big Things” for their customers.  The talk from everybody centered around the fact that in 2016 we’ll stop just talking about Big Data and start taking action with it.

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5. SBB (Seat Based Billing) Is Ready For Primetime: I had the pleasure of speaking with Luke Goldberg about using multiple data streams to enhance current business models for managed print to carry us into the future.  Clover announced a partnership with Print Audit to deliver an SBB program which dealers can use to offer more value for their managed print programs.  The partnership is a big announcement as CIG will take the perceived risks of SBB away from the dealer channel by offering them a “wholesale” SBB platform to deal with uncertainty.  Luke Goldberg also presented some eye opening statistics around the kinds of data we now have at our fingertips to do a better job of providing more predictive service and supply delivery for our customers.  If you are interested in SBB and would like to know more, you can download the free primer entitled “The Essential Guide To Seat Based Billing For Managed Print” HERE.

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If you missed out on the 2016 ECS you missed something truly great.  Attendance was high and energized and the spirit of excitement for the year ahead was palpable.  Mike Stramaglio continues to take bold steps towards helping the imaging channel to adapt to the changing world of copy and print and ECS illustrated just how ready the market is to be part of that change.  Hats off to MWAi and team FORZA, the year ahead is looking bright!