By Jim Roddy, VP of Marketing, RSPA
RSPA Inspire, the association’s annual leadership conference held this year Jan. 26-29 at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas, traditionally provides executive-level education from the stage. But one question a panel or speaker can’t fully answer is “Who are the new solution providers?” that will backfill for retail IT resellers who are retiring, merging, or selling. The answer to that question can be found in the audience – the new faces that are engaging with the retail IT channel.
When RSPA Chairperson Chelsey Paulson of VAR North Country Business Products opened Inspire 2020 asking first- or second-time attendees to raise a hand, I wasn’t sure how many would go up. But many did; I would estimate 15-20% of the nearly 200 in attendance were Inspire neophytes. I have anecdotal evidence as well. During the Welcome Reception I introduced to Inspire regulars executives from FastSensor, advertised as the first AI-powered customer behavior tracking solution, and Up n’ go Pay, a product that allows guests to pay at the table using their phone without downloading an app. When Paulson asked veteran Inspire attendees to take a selfie with first-timers, I connected with Andrew Faulkner of Staley Technologies, a VAR that goes well beyond POS to offer hosted solutions, digital signage, drive-thru ordering, firewalls, online ordering, menu management, inventory management, automated email marketing services, and managed services to the hospitality and retail verticals. And as I’m typing this blog post (at 7:00 AM prior to an Inspire education session) Travis Hare of VAR DCR in Nashville stopped to chat with me and shared that he’s not only educating himself through industry events – showing up early and asking questions – but he’s also pursuing his MBA at Bethel University (Tenn.).
Those, my friends, are the leading edge, high-initiative solution providers of 2020 and beyond. Get to know them, understand how they tick, partner with them, and move your organization forward.