My fellow Channel Development Manager, Gabi Morales, and I spent a few days last month in lovely St Petersburg, FL attending the ITA (Information Technology Alliance) Spring Collaborative. If you’re not familiar with ITA, it’s an independent organization that holds two events a year and draws attendees from the top CPA firms, VARs, ISVs, and ERP publishers. As much as we enjoy hanging out together when we’re both in the same city, we both had a lot going on, and each of us had our own unique conference experience at the Spring Collaborative. We sat down together to review our thoughts.
What was your favorite session or speaker?
DB: I can never choose just one! The content committee did an excellent job of coming up with topics and speakers, as always. They covered all the cool acronyms – BI, AI, ISVs, VDI – and much more. Frank Abagnale (of “Catch Me if you Can” fame) was fascinating to me, just hearing his story from his perspective. Although it was a little scary when you think about the evolution of fraud that has come with technology since his time as a young criminal. Regardless, whether it’s cutting up your debit card, changing your social media profile, or just hugging your family more, I think most people in the audience left with at least one action item!
GM: This collaborative featured the return of ITA Ignite!, a forum where ITA members give brief five-minute presentations about something personal or professional that they are passionate about. The concept is to “enlighten us, but make it quick!” This was my first time witnessing an ITA Ignite session, and I loved it! I think many of us went home and tried Lissa’s binder clips tricks too.
What was the best part about this particular collaborative?
DB: Selfishly for me, it was the opportunity to not only represent CIMcloud by Website Pipeline (shameless plug), but to also represent Enterprise Software Podcast (wow, two shameless plugs in one sentence!) with my co-hosts, Bob McAdam and Todd McDaniel. I’ve been raving to them about ITA for years now so it was great for them to finally see what all the hype is about, and the podcast table was a great conversation starter that allowed me to talk with a lot of people I may not have otherwise met!
GM: This meeting is already special to me because it was my first time attending as a CIMcloud employee. It was valuable to be able to share with partners in person the ways we can support and expand their customer base as well as what lies ahead for our company. And even though I experience this each event, I am almost always surprised by how warmly attendees are welcomed by fellow members, including the women and men who run ITA.
Name one interesting person you met this year that you didn’t previously know.
DB: Although he’s very well-known in the Sage community, I’d never met Tom Miller with Net@Work before. It was fun to get to know him a little. Also, I had never met Kerry and Jess Mann with Mantralogix. Very nice people, and I enjoyed learning about them and their business.
GM: Both Alan Clark (Eide Bailly LLP) and Lisa Kianoff offered great advice on how to be a strong leader in this industry. I’d never had the opportunity to speak with either in person before so I’m grateful that this collaborative afforded me that chance. And – while I felt like I already knew them (from listening to the podcast) – I finally met Bob McAdam and Todd McDaniel in person.
What is your favorite thing about ITA in general?
DB: It’s a toss-up between the networking and the learning. ITA provides enough value in either area alone to make it worthwhile for me, but even better that both are in one place!
GM: Agreed! Plus, at some other conferences, more attendees skip sessions than attend; you basically must choose between learning and spending time with peers. ITA is a unique event in that I know I’ll get valuable networking time in the sessions.
Any funny or memorable moments to share?
DB: I loved when we got a picture of Bob McAdam surrounded by Sage executives at the Sage-sponsored Social Gathering. Bob was there in his capacity as my co-host at Enterprise Software Podcast, but his main job is Program Director of GPUG, the Microsoft Dynamics GP (fka Great Plains) user group. It’s always so fun seeing people from different worlds like that come together at ITA.
GM: Speaking of worlds colliding – I’m happy that The Salvador Dali Museum was just down the street from our hotel! I’m still excited that I could spend time in an art museum like that while in town for a technology conference. Thank you ITA for choosing such neat event locations.
What did you learn at ITA that you can bring back to CIMcloud?
DB: Hearing Jeff Roth (Southeast Computer Solutions), Kelly Hummel (Net@Work), and John Hendrickson (InterDyn BMI, a Columbus Company) on the ISV Ecosystem panel gave me some great insights from a large partners’ perspective on how to make sure we’re working in lockstep with our partners to offer great solutions to their customers.
GM: Kim Austin (Intuit) and Kelleigh Tegels Nelson (Avalara) shared tips on how to use social media to amplify my personal brand to benefit me as an individual and benefit the company I work at. Some rather frightening facts on social media (by Erik Qualman) that stood out are that the attention span of a goldfish is 8 seconds while our human attention span is 7 seconds, and more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush?!
After ITA what do you think are the big technology trends we’ll be seeing more of in the next 2-5 years?
DB: Bots and AI are hot buzzwords. It’ll be interesting to see where we’re at with that technology as it pertains to the ERP space over the next couple years.
GM: Automation in general is always a hot topic in our industry, but Inspector Gadget reminded me just how much our daily lives will see change too. And now for another plug: CIMcloud by Website Pipeline (yes, we’ve reinvented ourselves) has unveiled a whole new software category with an automated solution to serve the customers, employees, managers, and applications of B2B companies. You can check out www.cimcloud.com to learn more.
And of course, since 1,000 more words will be too many for a blog article like this, here are some pictures we took to commemorate the event! (Do not attempt to adjust your speakers, there is no sound, but if you're in an audible sort of mood, see below.)
You can also check out Enterprise Software Podcast's recap of the event, including interviews with some A-list attendees, here:
To learn more about ITA, contact ITA President Stan Mork:
To see where we'll be next, be sure to visit our Road Show Schedule page!