What’s Happenin’ at BTA Austin

By Andy Slawetsky – BTA held their Gateway to Success conference in Austin TX June 13 – 14 and I had the pleasure of attending.

The meeting was held at the new Fairmont, a nice venue and a perfect location for the event, being within walking distance to some fun bars and restaurants.

After a few announcements and introductions to kick things off, we opened with a speaker who talked to us about leadership and creating a work environment that employees won’t want to leave. It was a good topic for a room full of business owners and senior executives.

Between speakers, the nearly 100 attendees had the opportunity to walk around the outside area of the ballroom visiting the 30+ event sponsors. I love this format where we don’t have to go to a separate  areas or locations to meet with the vendors; it’s all right there.

There were plenty of great companies on that floor, including Continuum who had a nice booth. And, I finally got to spend some time with VP John Schweizer, who was at the event looking to meet dealers that are moving into or are already in the MSP arena.

Muratec, OKILexmark, and Xerox all exhibited, as did GreatAmerica who was there in force with Tawnya Stone giving out MPSA awards and Sally Brause presenting on HR, a nice tie-in to GreatAmerica’s PathShare program.

NEXERA, formerly BEI was there as well and Bud Karakey was on the floor chatting with dealers about their data-driven solutions and benchmarking programs.

A couple booths down was ESP were Georgann Gelsi was showcasing their power protection technology and how it increases dealer service margins.

Epson had a booth as well, talking to dealers about their A3 inkjet, scanners and other hardware and solutions. Epson has a lot to offer dealers and they’re making a strong push into this channel.

Panasonic and Cranel were at another booth, discussing their strong scanning and capture solutions. Cranel offers a host of products that tie-in nicely to Panasonic’s scanners.

BTA had other really interesting presenters including a panel on Managed Print Services (MPS) by Clover’s Sarah Henderson where John Dodge of Advanced Business Systems, Don Duvall of Impact Networking and Kevin Morris of OneDOC discussed their very different approaches to selling in this ever-changing market.

Earlier in the event, John Hey spoke about acquisitions and buying/selling. With the current landscape in our industry, this was more relevant than ever and John’s perspective after buying his dad’s company, building it up, selling to IKON, etc. is fascinating.

Dealer Chip Miceli of Pulse Technology, fresh off their name change from DPOE presented the second day. talking to attendees about the importance of re-branding, especially when acquiring other companies and integrating them into your own company.

After my session on Whats’ Happenin’ in the Industry, Jamie Bsales from Keypoint Intelligence talked about security and IoT, followed by Luis Gonzalez, founder of SalesScoreKeeper, an automated commission system. I enjoyed all of the speakers and the panel that I sat through. They were what makes these meetings so worthwhile.

Beyond the sponsors there were plenty of other industry people there, like BTA general counsel Bob “The Judge” Goldberg, Mark Grice of IBPI, Adam Rosenthal of All Covered and many others. BTA events are an excellent place to come see “everyone.”

I always enjoy these BTA conferences. There are so many great dealers at the shows and some attendees have become almost as much of a fixture at these events than Executive Director Brent Hoskins, who pretty much brought BTA back from the abyss when the industry changed years ago and the big shows went away. Luckily, BTA is as relevant today as ever, helping dealers through their educational programs, ongoing regional conferences and free legal help* (*talk to Brent for details).

I appreciate the opportunity to present to this crowd and for being included in such a nice event. It was great seeing so many old friends and making a few new ones. See you all at the next one!

SOURCE Industry Analysts