The Best of the Best of Kentico Partners
On July 14th
2016, some of the “Best of the Best” Kentico Partners gathered in Carmel, Indiana at Bitwise Solutions
. Each quarter, thought leaders from some of the best Kentico
partners in the US come together. They come to exchange ideas and learn from each other. Their Goal is to learn, provide better services, rally the Kentico community, and make our collective businesses better.
Ron Brumbarger, CEO of Bitwise, was a most gracious host. Representatives of 12 partners gathered for two days of learning and camaraderie. In attendance were BizStream
, BitWise Solutions
, Competitive Innovations
, Code Summit
, Refactored Media
, 3Seed Marketing
, The Story Sketcher
, Kehren Development
, Brick Digital
, Alliance Financial Services
, and of course from the Mother Ship: Kentico Software
. They came from as far away as Toronto, Denver, Washington DC, and the Panhandle of Florida. The collective amount of knowledge and talent made the event well worth the travel.
Day 1 – July 14th
Kentico Enterprise Marketing Solution Deep Dive and Debauchery
On day one as partners arrived, the unity, camaraderie, and mutual respect were omnipresent. As vested members of the Kentico Community greeted each other, you could feel the electricity in the air. For many years we all have supported the "little CMS that could" and this year, Kentico may have finally reached the summit. Rumors abound that Kentico is poised to make the Gartner Magic Quadrant
. The anticipation of this announcement has generated much excitement in the partner community.
Continuing on day one was Micheal Garvin, Kentico Territory Manager. Michael did a deep dive on Kentico EMS
and provided essential training. During the training, Michael imparted his first-hand experiences with customers and gave us deep insight into the trends he is uncovering in the sales cycle. Additionally, he covered the key features resonating with customers while discussing competitive encounters in the market. Partners shared, compared, and contrasted their experiences in the United States and Canadian markets with Michael’s.
The day ended with a night of breaking bread together at Matt the Miller’s Tavern at the City Center in downtown Carmel. Dinner was followed by some late night debauchery at the local Irish Pub: Brockway Public House.
Day 2 – July 15th
Kicking off day two, Ron Brumbarger of Bitwise Solutions led a presentation and discussion what it means to be a good partner, or as Ron terms it “partnerability.” At the core, being a partner is to be deemed honorable and genuine by a network of peers and is reflective of their character. Having character is a requirement for partnerability. Ron believes that bad company corrupts good character and in today’s world character matters; it is the last bastion of civility. With that he gave us a guide for recognizing good and bad partnerability it contains 11 traits in total. Within the Kentico community, the network knows everyone and reputation of character travel faster than technology. Collectively, as the Kentico community, we are stronger because we work together. I think it is the consensus of partners that while we sometimes compete there is plenty of the pie for all; and working together we can achieve better success for our customers who use the Kentico platform. Recognizing the good and the bad using Ron’s partnerability guide will go a long way in helping our community stay strong and self-regulating.
Following Ron, was Dennis Dunn of Alliance Financial Services (AFS) who provides merchant services such as credit card processing. Dennis gave the group a brief on their Giving Back Program. In this program, AFS pledges a portion of their proceeds to their clients’ favorite non-profits. The partners in the Kentico Community support a lot of non-profit organizations, and giving back is a core value for many of the partners.
I was asked to speak as well and presented a case study on the Mapex MyDentity
project that Bit-Wizards did for KHS America
partnered with Bit-Wizards to build an interactive web application to allow consumers to build a custom drum kit. The system is based on Kentico, deployed into Windows Azure
, and integrated with Dynamics AX ERP System. My presentation included a video case study
showcasing the solution. One of the key points to the success of this project was that Bit-Wizards seeks to understand the business need first before the application of technology. All technology partners should seek to understand the business model first, get the why and the what, and leave the how to the end.
Jim MacDonald, the Managing Partner of 3Seed Marketing, presented a case study on the digital transformation of Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC). 3Seed Marketing in partnership with LCCC transforms how today’s students, who are digital natives, as well as their parents, interact and engage with the college. The key point to a successful outcome for a project of this type is to focus the first conversation of the personas and understand what each persona is trying to accomplish. 3Seed Marketing utilizes online tools to promote greater interaction between LCCC and students. One of the largest issues facing the success of this project was the migration of content and getting all the content editors using the same tool. To succeed with this, they used Kentico Draft, combined with an awareness campaign that utilized both digital and traditional media. At the core of this project was a new interactive website built on the Kentico Platform. Jim attributes their success to being able to communicate the digital transformation process to their customer in a way that was easily understood. As part of his presentation, Jim shared a very clear graphic that illustrates the entire process in a single image.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2016
Lastly, the partners busted off into groups to discuss The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of 2016. Below is a general list of items that were heavy on the minds of the partner community.
- Acquisition of talent
- Affordable Care Act
- Pilfering of talent/Mobility of talent
- US election concerns
- Employee transitions/losses
- Longer sales cycles
- Managing growth
- Projects executed poorly by sub-par partners, reflecting poorly on the Platform
- Customers not taking time to learn the platform and use it properly to deliver value
- IT and Marketing in organizations are still at odds with each other
- Partners are growing in size and revenue (Business is good!)
- Growth worldwide for Kentico – It is a record-making year
- Millennials & students right out of school are turning out to be great team members
- More customers focused on measurable results
- More customers focused on marketing automation
- More customers adopting the cloud for Kentico
On the whole, all the Kentico partners present were tepidly optimistic about the market and the general business environment. While most partners are growing, they face a real challenge concerning talent acquisition and retention. Most partners are harnessing and training interns and students and establishing a pipeline of candidates with their local institutions. However, the mobility of that talent is making it difficult to investment in training them. All of the partners were focused on the culture of their organizations to win and influence talent to stay. Everyone was optimistic about the Kentico Platform and the opportunities for growth.
Make a Client a Champion
At the end of the day, every partner said that a focus on our customers is the main key for continued success. This general feeling was apropos in that the meeting room we were in at Bitwise Solutions holds a reminder similar to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. A large flag hangs in their conference room, and it says: “Make a Client a Champion Today.” As we said our goodbyes and closed out the day, that sentiment reminded us of the obligation we have to our customers as part of the Kentico Community. This time at the partner summit was beneficial as we took all we learned back to our respective companies to make ourselves and our clients better. We look forward to next quarter when we meet again in Minneapolis on September 23rd
You’re Invited to the Next Kentico Partner Summit
Join us for the Q3 2016 Kentico Partner Summit meeting on September 23, 2016. Our hosts will be Kentico Gold Partner, High Monkey, at their new offices amidst the asphalt jungle of Minneapolis. The final agenda is coming together, and we’re looking forward to a very collaborative event.
Get details on this event and join us!