Does Your Company Need a Technology Refresh?

Sheryne Glicksman
Oct 17, 2017

After missing Print17 and BTA in Philadelphia because of Hurricane Irma, I was more than thrilled to travel out of my home state of Florida to attend Loffler’s Tech Fest 2017 in St Paul, Minnesota this past month!  Tech Fest is a one-day annual event that Loffler hosts bringing partners and companies together to learn about the latest technology trends and tools. Their focus on educating the audience about a technology refresh, message of helping customers and giving back to the community was clear throughout the entire day. If you haven’t heard of Loffler, you might want to check them out at https://www.loffler.com/. They started their business in a garage in 1986 and have grown to become one of the mega-dealers in the United States.

As quoted by James Loffler, Vice President – IT Solutions Group, “At Loffler Companies, helping our customers succeed is the “Why” behind what we do.  Tech Fest is an example of that commitment.  The day is spent sharing best practices, educating on the latest technology and leadership trends and strengthening customer relationships.”

Here are three best practices I would recommend for anyone considering their own Tech Fest:

Start with Having a Panel Discussion

Loffler’s Tech Fest started with a panel of four local business leaders representing the retail, legal, healthcare and hospitality markets. Discussion around top IT Security and Business Continuity concerns was kicked off by James Loffler and hosted by Jeff King. Security, industry regulation, more educated customers and IT governance came up during the panel discussions. It was noted that augmented reality will drive future sales in retail with the new iPhone coming out allowing shoppers to scan store aisles for specials.  It was also stated that small incremental changes based on needs are the best approach with technology. Most of the panel experts said we should pay attention to artificial intelligence and look at data around value based outcomes. Of course, security was top of mind for everyone who stated that companies like Loffler are key to helping businesses with specific strategies related to security needs. It’s ok to outsource some of your IT work to free up your own internal IT staff. What are you doing to leverage IT strategies and protect your business?

Highlight your Vendor Support and Do Breakout Sessions

Loffler partners with key vendors in the digital imaging channel and they have their own business units of expertise.  Scattered between the vendors, they set up their own specialty booths highlighting their experience in Managed IT, Managed Print Services and Loffler Consulting and Management Services. This company walks the talk of being more than just a copier company! I was pleased to see some familiar vendor partners such as Square 9, Xerox, Perceptive Solutions, Quest and networked with vendors I haven’t met such as Biscom, FR Secure, Artic Wolf, Communication Systems Specialists, Zerto and many more. I would suggest continuing to leverage your partnerships with key vendors and industry analysts, we can help drive business leads your way!

I found that Loffler’s Tech Fest breakout sessions were extremely educational. They prompted additional dialogues throughout the day around leadership, careers in technology, the importance of continued learning and the fact that we all need to be comfortable being uncomfortable with the pace of change in technology happening so quickly. Attendees were interested in how they can get more information on industry trends and blogs and they were also interested in learning more about how technology tools will help them solve their business problems. (I may have helped Loffler sell Square 9, not that they need my help).

They talked about the importance of IT. That it can no longer be considered a tactical part of business. That applications dictate our business processes and good data is important so we can mine it and make intelligent business decisions with it. Today, companies still lack the data they need or they must pull it from many places. What are you doing to streamline your applications and data to be more efficient?

It was noted that Shadow IT in an emerging challenge to pay attention to. Shadow IT is a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organization without explicit organizational approval. It is happening when departments choose to deploy their own solutions without involving IT.  The IT department must be at the table with the business units so everyone is on the same page aligning the business with the technology. I believe it’s one of the first steps in crafting a technology refresh for your company.

Commit to Partnerships, Culture and Diversity

Everyone has a mission statement and culture description on their website however how many of you really believe in this mission and support the culture you represent online? It was exciting to see that Loffler’s online persona and in person presence matched with their core values.

At Loffler, they believe in blending together voices from all types of people to move forward with one shared purpose of exceeding the expectations of their clients, employees, partners and community. Diversity in IT matters. This was even more apparent when key note speaker took the stage.

Their long-term partnership with the Minnesota Vikings and key note speaker Kevin Warren hit home for me. Mr. Warren spoke from the heart, showed passion for what he represents and does for a living. He spoke highly of the true partnership that Loffler has with the Vikings. He spoke about how important it is to evolve as a company, support diversity and streamline efforts on the business side to grow. I was blown away by the new interactive campus they are building in Egan. He showed us the new U.S. Bank Stadium where Super Bowl 2018 will be hosted. (I’m currently available to attend)!

Technology Refresh

In closing, it’s been noted that 3% – 7% of a company’s revenue will be spent on IT. Have you thought about your own Tech Fest? How are you leveraging your vendor partners? Have you looked at your own website lately to make sure it represents who you are today?  Are you having dialogue with your customers to understand their business challenges and prepare for growth while aligning the technology tools to help them? Do your sales reps know what challenges technology can solve? If so, you are on your way to building a technology refresh for yourself and your customers.

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