Oct 7, 2013
BTA East District Grand Slam Event in Baltimore, MD September 26-27 was insightful, intriguing and had a key message from one of the industry and worlds most aggressive company’s. However, before I cover details on the event, I want to share information that I feel should be communicated to the independent channel regarding the Business Technology Association. Founded in 1926, the Business Technology Association (BTA) serves office and information technology dealerships, resellers, manufacturers, distributors and services companies. Its core members — office technology dealerships — consult, provide services and sell hardware, software and supplies with the goal of helping businesses maximize their investment in devices and technology. The association’s offers a variety of services to its members:
- Educational programs
- Industry analyst information and research
- Legal services
- Publications and guidance
- Peer groups
- District events (East, West, Southeast and Midwest)
BTA member dealerships are positioned to be the premier source of the office and information technology used by businesses throughout the United States every day. If you are an independent channel dealership or services company, you should absolutely research and strongly consider joining this industry focused association. The cost benefit analysis as to whether to become a member is literally a “no brainer.”
The highlight of the two days (in my opinion) was the keynote provided by Tod Pike, Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics America. His topic “The Future of the BTA Dealer” was well received by the attendees and his message consisted of the following three topics and corresponding sub-content:
- Why Dealers Are Great
o Customer Orientation
o Best of Breed
o Local, Adaptable
o Nice People/Long-term Employees
- How Dealers Will Stay Great
o Marketing and Emphasizing Current Greatness
o MPS (and the evolution of MPS)
o Managed Image Services (or something)
o Be Trendy (cloud, security, virtual office, BYOD, vertically focused, mobility), Shift Inside (buying process change, cost effectiveness, website, demand generation, social media, CRM, and manufacturer alignment)
o Power Disruption (disruption creates opportunity)
- How Samsung Might Help
o Technology portfolio
o R&D leader
o World’s largest IT company by revenue
o Top 10 Global Brand,
o Focused on delivering New Business Experience
o Why Samsung?
- Brand, Technology, Partnership, Success
Mr. Pike’s message of commitment and focus to the channel and independent dealer community was emphasized repeatedly. I am going to share another opinion. I attend A LOT of industry events, and unfortunately, there are occasions all too frequently when the presenter’s message is all about them and more deserves a spot in the “Infomercial/ Advertising Hall of Fame” than commanding a stage in front of business owners looking for business insight. Mr. Pike’s and subsequently, Samsung’s message wasn’t about him, his well respected company or their array of “widgets/services.” The message delivered was to communicate his acute awareness of the channel, the independent companies that make up the channel, along with challenges they are facing all while dispersing business related advice as to their continued future success in business. It was a very effective way to present his company’s message.
Unless you don’t own a television, smart phone, and/or tablet (or are currently living under a bridge), you are probably aware that the South Korea-based Samsung comprises a variety of businesses spanning advanced technology, semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, and hotels. Its flagship company, Samsung Electronics, leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. They have a total of 196 subsidiaries around the world and their vision for the new decade is to “Inspire the World, Create the Future.” As part of this new vision, Samsung has mapped out a plan of reaching $400 billion in revenue and becoming one of the world’s top five brands by 2020 and to become a top ten multinational company. Samsung, the company has established three strategic approaches in its management to achieve this goal—creativity, partnerships, and talent. Other points of shared during the session:
- Samsung Electronics NA spent $11 billion in research and development in 2012, and is ranked the #2 top patent holders in the U.S. with 5,000 patents a year.
- Samsung Electronics’ North American growth trajectory is targeted at $50 billion in total sales by 2016.
- Samsung’s B2B strategy includes the “interoperability” of products across platform and vertical solutions.
In addition to the keynote there were five educational sessions presented by industry leaders and a dealer panel, “Our Industry is Changing! Where Do We Go From Here?” moderated by Frank Cannata. The panel format is always a highly rated event by the attendees at the BTA District Events due to the real world, field relevant data/information shared by dealer principals who are facing the same competitive and evolving landscapes as the audience participants. Mr. Cannata and the panel did a great job of sharing insights and best practices relative to our industry. Also, Bob Goldberg, General Counsel for the BTA did an admirable job during his session. He has been one of the BTA’s most appreciated speakers the past few years with the myriad of issues we have faced from hard drive security to patent trolls. Goldberg speaks/works with dealers on a daily basis and has done so for more than 30 years. He knows the current industry issues we are all facing, the errors many dealers have committed in the past and also truly understands the means to avoid them. Another value-add benefit of membership in the BTA is that members have access to Mr. Goldberg and his industry specific legal and business expertise.
“Keeping with the primary goals of all of BTA’s district events, this year’s BTA East Grand Slam event provided dealer attendees a great opportunity to learn from office technology industry experts, network with fellow dealers, and gather new ideas and strategies,” said BTA Executive Director Brent Hoskins. “I am pleased to report that the reviews of the event have been very positive. The BTA East dealer volunteer leaders worked hard to select speakers who would provide the insight and guidance dealers need to help ensure the continued success and growth of their dealerships.”
I hope to see you at future BTA district events, so you and your company can take advantage of the opportunities to interact with other dealers and gain insights from key industry players.
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