90 Minds Sponsor

Smaller Summit, Bigger Response – Why regional events may make more sense for our market.

By Darcy Boerio

Sage unexpectedly changed just about everything about Sage Summit this year. It all started when they broke from tradition and didn’t announce the location for the 2017 event at the end of the 2016 event. At that point, the murmurs began.

Things settled down eventually, and Sage gradually released details on the regional events they were holding all around the world, as Sage Summit evolved into the “Sage Summit Tour”. The Tour’s path first took them through Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, Spain, and of course, the mothership’s UK, before heading to North America for events in Atlanta and Toronto.

The main difference on the surface this year was that Sage pivoted from their focus (yes, I said “focus”) in recent years on hosting one large global event to holding many smaller regional events. Last year, the Chicago event was, billed as, “the world’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs and business builders”, claiming 15,000 in attendance. During the 2016 keynote, they drew attention to the global reach by announcing the various countries in attendance. I had to wonder which products these attendees were using and how much content there would be for them to travel to another continent, but that seemed to be the idea – Sage knocking down geographic barriers and taking its place as a leading global software provider.

This year, the geographic focus for the Atlanta event was narrowed to North America, or even US-based, with the upcoming Toronto event providing a place for the Canadian constituents. The target for Atlanta was 5,000, less than 1/3 of the goal for last year. One might wonder how the numbers could drop so dramatically from one year to the next. Wouldn’t all the Sage partners and customers in the US that go every year still attend? The answer is still unclear to me, but I will say that the ones who didn’t attend were the multitude of “Exploring Sage” or “New to Sage” aka “I got a free pass, and I’m just here to see the Sharks and get swag and waste your time at your booth that you paid dearly for”. I think I counted two of those in the roughly 15 hours I spent at the CIMcloud booth. As opposed to last year when it was more like two per hour!

“I think Summit overall was a positive experience for us. Having the smaller event gave us more time and attention to the people who came to the booth whereas with the “global” events that we had in the past we probably felt more rushed with each person.” – Nicole Ronchetti, Director of DSD Enhancements at DSD Business Systems

Agreed, Nicole! By not pedaling free passes to the general public or inviting international customers who couldn’t use our localized products, Sage provided for more focused and relevant expo hall conversations. High attendance numbers are great for signing on exhibitors, but any exhibitor would tell you they’d rather have a smaller number of attendees who are in their target audience than masses of people where half of them aren’t potential customers.

Also notably absent were the big names. Not having the star-studded lineup this year may have disappointed some, but those of us that were there for the learning and networking barely noticed the absence. Maybe it’s just me, but can’t we can go online anytime and watch Ashton Kutcher give a speech?

While Sage One, Sage Live, and the new Sage People were given prominent billing in the keynotes, the US event’s session catalog didn’t necessarily reflect a preference for content on these products. In fact, I vaguely remember complaining one year that attendees’ badges didn’t prominently display which Sage product they used. This year I didn’t even notice if they did because it just seemed like everyone I spoke to was using one of the mid-market ERPs that CIMcloud integrates with.

Taking the narrower focus even further, the upcoming Toronto stop’s agenda appears to include no Sage 100-specific content (there are three sessions listed as applicable for Sage 100 users, but none are unique to Sage 100). There’s a fair amount of Sage 300-specific content (which you’d expect since Sage 300 has such a large Canadian presence), quite a bit of Sage 50 content, and I daresay a disproportionate amount of X3 sessions.

Clearly, the smaller events allow Sage to draw the crowds they want in the regions where they want them. Exhibitors, too, can hone in on their target audiences. For example, many ISVs who only integrate with Sage 100 will be passing on the Toronto event. Conversely, those with global reach were given access to overseas Sage users that may not have attended Sage Summit had it been held only in the States.

SMB Jumpstreet reported that Sage also announced a series of “Sage Sessions” stops, which are single-day events even more micro than the Tour Stops. They appear to be already underway in Europe, but scant information is available online for the proposed 8 North America locations, except the Halifax event that took place in March. I just saw a notice that the Orange County event that was scheduled for June 6 has been postponed until mid-August or September.

It’s hard to say if the announcement of these local events caused some would-be attendees to stay home. If you’re in LA, and you hear that there’s a local Sage Summit event coming later this year, how likely are you to hop on a plane to Atlanta? And is that a bad thing? If the goal is to reach as many customers as possible with as much relevant content and personal interaction with the Sage team as possible, could Sage be onto something with these smaller events?

I love Sage Summit, so while every year has its quirks, I’ve never regretted attending, and this year is no different. It was much smaller and with much less fanfare, but it was still a well-run event with lots of relevant content and contacts for mid-market ERP customers.

If Sage can reset expectations early on for 2018 and be clear about which events are intended for which audiences, the smaller events could be just what we need.

Just don’t ever make me choose between Sage Summit and Meeting of the Minds!

For other opinions, here are some good Summit recaps:

Sage Summit 2017 wrap-up: On honesty and being yourself by Amanda Lamela, Practical Software

Sage Summit 2017 Daily Recaps by SMB Jumpstreet

Enterprise Software Podcast Episode 63 – Sage Summit Atlanta Recap

The Ultimate Sage Summit Swag Recap on Periscope

The Five People You Meet at 90 Minds Meeting of the Minds (and One You Won’t)

By Darcy Boerio, Website Pipeline

  1. Peers

Hear presentations from other Sage partners on topics that can make your practice more efficient and successful. Meet other partners that you can collaborate with throughout the year to help you better serve your customers. Considering merging with another partner? You just may find your match.

My first year at 90 Minds, I met a lot of new people. In my second year, it felt like a family reunion because I’d been keeping in touch with my new connections and partnering throughout the year. Face time at MOTM establishes the foundation for ongoing relationships.

  1. Sage Representatives.

Speaking of new faces, Sage has seen its share lately. Sage has sent several people including the VP of Channel Sales the past two years (Deshaies and Erickson), and last year Connie Certusi joined us. I don’t know who will join us from Sage this year, but I’m pretty sure there will be someone new for us to connect with!

Sage will also present a Sage 100 Road Ahead. This “Town Hall” style meeting is always a lively dialog. Let’s just say the 90 Minds members aren’t shy about sharing their feedback on the product direction.

Wondering what Sage Live is all about? MOTM has a presentation on that, too.

  1. Expert Speakers.

This year’s conference will feature a presentation by Ted Phlegar, Partner of Riebling IP. He’ll be providing legal advice on topics including:

  • Pitfalls and Landmines – Protecting Yourself (e.g., firm structure, exposure, trademarks/brand)
  • Agreements – the Good and the Bad (e.g., access level agreements, software licenses, NDA)
  • My client’s been sued, what now?
  1. ISVs and other (non-Sage) software publishers.

The ISV community is full of innovation. Think you know the latest with all the add-on products out there? You might be surprised. At Website Pipeline, we always have partners come up to us after our presentation at MOTM and say, “Wow, I didn’t know you guys did that, too!”. Who knows? That solution your biggest customer or prospect has been asking for may already be out there.

And since this is an independent organization (i.e. not hosted by Sage), every year we see more and more publishers represented. This year’s agenda includes presentations on xTuple, Acumatica, Dynamics 365, and SalesForce.

You can see a complete list of Vendor Members here: http://www.90minds.com/vendor-member-directory/

5. Friends

Not to date ourselves, but many of us have been in the ERP community since the 80’s and 90’s. Some of us have known each other since day one. MOTM gives us an opportunity to make new friends and connect with old ones. You know the old song, “…one is silver and the other gold” (kind of like Business Care!).

While it’s certainly not all fun and games, MOTM sets aside time for socializing in the form of evening events. We’re all busy (or as Ed Kless would say, “productive”). But during MOTM, members put down their devices and connect with each other.

…And the one person you won’t meet? Customers.

Unlike Sage Summit or other customer facing events, MOTM is not a user event. The content is all designed specifically for you to help you learn ideas to build, grow, and strengthen your practice. All of which will make you even more equipped to help the next time you are with your customers.

90 Minds members are dedicated to ethical and responsible consulting for their customers and software partners. This group is made up of individuals who have the best interest of their customer at heart. If that describes you, then I hope you’ll be one of the people I meet at MOTM!

EDI For Sage 100, 500, ERP X3 – Communicate, Translate, Integrate

warehouse_forklift_1000

 

Whether a company has an in-house, outsourced, or cloud-based EDI system, there exist three essential components that executives must consider: Communication, Translation, and Integration.

EDI Communication Basics

Communication is perhaps the most misunderstood piece of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) puzzle. Communication is the transmission of EDI documents to and from your trading partners over a secure network.

Each partner may require a different type of network, such as a glorified e-mailbox called a Value Added Network (VAN), or a direct connection (AS2 or FTP). VAN mailboxes are generally charged per usage on a monthly basis, while direct connections only require an upfront fee and, sometimes, yearly maintenance.

Some companies choose to implement a combination of networks to support trading-partner requirements while keeping monthly costs down. Increasingly though, companies seek to combine all communication within an outsourced partner’s network. This tactic can be a bit more expensive as a monthly cost, but it does clear your company of the complexities that come from handling multiple communication sources. At the communication level, all documents are in EDI-standard form, which is raw, unreadable data—that is where the translation software comes into play.

[Read more…]

Has your business been affected by the recent outages of Applianz?

iSySair_header

 The following post is sponsored by  90 Minds Vendor Member – iSySair who offer a dedicated cloud environment for hosting business applications such as ERP, CRM, HR and other IT service applications.  Contact them at 1-844-iSySair (1.844.478.7247) or email info@iSySair.com to learn more.

If so, you are not alone.

Consider switching to iSySair Cloud Services for Sage, a secure, reliable cloud service with more features and better response – for a better price.

Your environment in the cloud

iSySair Cloud services for Sage allow you to transfer your existing Sage licenses into your own dedicated virtual environment. Your entire environment, complete with enhancements, reports, and any 3rd party add-ons can be easily migrated. This is your cloud – built to your needs.

 

[Read more…]