I’m often asked about the “Vendor Shootout” event that appears on the TEC website and marketing calendar.
While the term ‘shootout’ may conjure up images of a Wild West scenario - vigilante cowboys taking shots at each other from the shattered windows and tumbleweed strewn, empty streets of a deserted Midwest town - a group of likeminded ERP Value Added Resellers (VARs) in the mid to south East USA are redefining it.
A little historical context:
Early 2007, TEC was approached by one of our VAR partners with a concept of a live event with the following thinking:
“I am SO confident that my product stands up against the competition that I would be willing to line it up alongside those competitors and in front of some project minded individuals to demonstrate what it can do in a controlled environment.”
“Our competitors will do the same thing and the attending audience will be allowed, without bias, to make up their own mind as to what products look good to them in terms of functionality, usability and efficiency.”
Foolhardy? Time would tell!
In order to add some impartial 3rd party muscle, TEC was invited to moderate and to assist in marketing the event.
Our VAR partner reached out to their competitors, thus creating and coining the phrase ‘VAR community’, and on November 29th 2007 at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. the doors opened to the first Annual ERP Vendor Shootout, featuring six industry leading products:
Attending, were a group of manufacturing and distribution companies, all of which were in the process of evaluating ERP software and all of whom had some preconceptions as to what they would see.
This is where being a 3rd party, impartial attendee was interesting:
How would these companies react to the event and the ability to watch the same scenario play out up to six times?
And what would they really get out of it?
After a collective nine hours of information gathering, presentations, keynote speakers and seminars, the response was overwhelmingly positive:
“The scripted presentations create a format that allows for a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison of products and functionality”
“The ERP Vendor shootout allowed my company to see a variety of ERP systems go head to head in only one day”
“I found all aspects of the ERP Vendor Shootout to be helpful in our software selection process”
In the end, while there was no ‘last man standing’ scenario, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE, from attendees, to VARs and dare I say it, even TEC) walked away with some value, whether it be a better understanding of the buying ‘public’, the state of ERP in today’s manufacturing world or the functionality available to the buyer.
Today’s ‘Shootout’ allows the project minded attendee to make their own conclusions in a pressure and bias-free environment about what works for them, given their own understanding and experience of the industry in which they work.
They have the opportunity to get close to the VARs who understand the concerns and culture of the attending companies. The same VARs who, through implementation and support, are more than the products they represent.
Building on the success of that first event, edition 2 of the ERP Vendor Shootout is set to open its doors at the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, North Carolina on May 1, 2008 with an extended line up:
Additional details can be found at http://www.erpshootout.com