There were at least 175 CIOs, IT directors and other IT professionals that didn’t show up in their offices on Wednesday, November 18.
Instead, they filed into Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., not to watch the reigning Super Bowl champs prepare for a divisional matchup but to sit in the Cross Insurance Pavilion & Business Center and listen to what their trusted technology advisor has to say.
Atrion, a Warwick, R.I.-based IT-centric integration firm, gathered its clients for its AlwaysOn Technology Symposium at which it essentially leads a discussion about how workplace and personal technology—not just IT technology—are evolving and how they can evolve with it.
Try to picture that.
For integration firms, one of the overarching goals should be to establish thought-leadership with clients. For AV integrators, assuming that trusted advisor role has been particularly challenging when it comes to clients’ IT departments. Meanwhile, nearly a third of integrators say an IT director or professional is their most common point person and decision maker within a clients’ organization far outpacing other choices in our 2016 State of the Industry survey.
IT-centric Atrion had no problem gathering its integration clients’ IT professionals.
Atrion hosted 175 of its customers IT professionals at its AlwaysOn Technology Symposium at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
It’s noteworthy that the integrator used the platform to make very few references to Atrion as a product seller or even service provider. It chose to play a role in helping to educate and advise its customers, an approach that runs parallel to how Atrion CEO Chris Poe describes the relationship between companies and technology.
“How businesses are evolving are very much rooted in technology,” he said, adding that technologies aren’t “there for their own sake.” Instead, they’re there to “accelerate” what the company is trying to do.
Poe did a nice job of tapping into challenges that IT professionals face. He contended that in today’s business environment, the role of the IT department goes far beyond computers and requires skillsets including technology, leadership, finance, business, people and sales.
In the sales scenario IT professionals need to sell to their customers—their organizations—and make them understand the benefits of technology solutions. Poe emphasized how important it is for IT professionals to step up and educate their organizations about technology. After all, as we enter 2016 nobody has “better visibility” within their businesses than IT departments, he said.
Poe asked the IT professionals in the audience how many get a chance to go in front of their companies’ board members and teach them about technology and estimated that about 5 percent indicated that they do. “I’m shocked at the number of hands that don’t go up.”
Just as Atrion encouraged the IT professionals in its audience to assume more influence on their companies’ tech purchasing decisions, it asserts more influence on them. Atrion’s Kevin McCarron, solutions area director for unified communications and Josh Cliff, director of applications, led a discussion on collaboration.
“We know we can make modern collaboration happen today with Microsoft Office360,” said McCarron. “Not six months out. It’s here.”
Also there at the Atrion event was Microsoft. Eric Zarski, general manager, managed partners East region, also discussed modern collaboration. “The way we do meetings and create content is evolving,” he said, alluding to Microsoft’s Surface Hub.
The Microsoft message seemed to resonate with the crowd of IT professionals. They want collaboration solutions. Other AV integrators might say that collaboration not only can happen today but has been happening for some time with solutions well beyond Microsoft.
Those IT professionals will not hear that message. They want leadership when it comes to collaboration technology. When it comes to the IT professionals in the audience, Atrion and Microsoft are the only ones doing the talking.
How will you reach your customers’ IT departments?