I recently had the unique opportunity to attend and be a part of the “Total Tech Summit” in Pittsburg, PA. This conference co-locates and integrates the annual CE Pro Summit, Commercial Integrator Summit, and the Security Sales & Integration Summit. The uniquely powerful hosted-style event drives extraordinary progress in the custom, commercial and security integration industries. It hosts 400+ business leaders from the nation’s largest and most progressive integration companies, allowing them to work on growing and improving their already superb organizations.
I had the privilege of being a guest panelist during the summit and discussed Unified Technology Systems’ unique approach to choosing vendors. The discussion emphasized the importance of creating a true partnership with our manufacturers/vendors, not just going with the lowest price. We all agreed that having Preferred Manufacturers or Vendors allows the integrator to specify superior products with top-level service offerings. This partnership leads to system designs that have the highest confidence levels for our staff and our customers.
The second topic focused on proposal preparation and the concept of utilizing a collaborative approach that includes a cross-section of team members working together to deliver a comprehensive package for the client. Unified uses the phrase “Chalk Talk” to represent our style of teamwork and brainstorming to gather all the necessary information from all departments or divisions. These meetings may take place on a video call or in the conference room at a whiteboard. I explained how this method has helped Unified be more efficient than the traditional way of trading emails and waiting for information to trickle in slowly.
The session concluded with an audience-participation, Q&A segment allowing panelists to answer any questions and provide ideas to improve upon the topics that were discussed. Many of these ideas were based on past experiences and provided the entire group several different perspectives.
The summit included multiple breakout sessions to meet with manufacturers in small groups to discuss their products and offerings. This valuable networking experience provided the attendees an opportunity to get more one-on-one time with the reps to answer any questions they might have in more detail. These sessions also allowed the attendees to spend more time with each other to compare best practices and create relationships that will continue after the summit is over.
It was extremely helpful to me to listen to other people’s ideas and experiences. Simultaneously, the experience assured me that most integrators are dealing with similar challenges and needs. It’s these types of conversations that make this event worth the time and investment to attend. Our small groups stayed together throughout the multiple breakout sessions, and we were all able to see things through the different perspectives of the people in our group. We concluded these sessions with our group recapping the summit. We compared our top takeaways, along with our top initiatives we would focus on upon our return, based on what we learned at the summit.
Between keynote speakers, breakout sessions and the showroom floor with all the manufacturers/vendors, it was a packed two days. It was a privilege to attend the summit and an honor to be a guest panelist representing Unified Technology Systems.
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