First of all, a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who attended our first Client Connection Forum last week. Although we already knew this, it was a nice reminder of what a great client base we have. You all showed extreme dedication and a true desire to build your knowledge and help Avionté build a better product for the future of your companies. The turnout far exceeded our expectations and feedback at the close of the event was amazing. Thank you again for taking the time out of your very busy schedules to allow us get to know you better and gain a stronger pulse on your technology needs.
For those of you that made it to Client Connection 2010…you can attest to the learning, networking and fun that was had by all! For those of you that were not able to join us (we hope to see you next year!) I thought I would share a few of the highlights. With so much information packed into three days, you may not be able to remember all the highlights… so you can use this information to share with your co-workers as to what really went on!
Most of our guests arrived without incident. However, we did have a few victims of the thunderstorms that visited Minneapolis. For those unlucky few (including one of our team members) they missed the opening sessions, but most were able to make it to the end of the day networking event. We opened the afternoon with highlights from v2010 including:
- Portals, portals and more portals
- Mass Mail
It was great to have our Corporate Trainer Laura, and our Chief Software Architect Samar available to answer questions and explain the new features. Samar also covered many of the new web portal features available with v2010 including the Spanish on-line application and the re-vamped Applicant, Employee, Customer and Vendor portals. A new Admin portal was also created to allow Administrators to quickly add, edit and manage the data, permission and interface of all the portals.
The opening session was followed with two breakout sessions for Front Office and Back Office users. Those that attended my Front Office session will remember the technical difficult with the baby projector (amazing how small they are getting!). Even with the setback, we managed to have a great discussion on AutoMatch along with other advanced front office feature.
After five we all headed to the Mall of America to get our food and drink on at Crave. It was great opportunity to relax, network and most importantly, get caught up on the personal lives of all or clients. Since many of our customers are in different markets, so much sharing of information took place all night. A few stepped out to experience the mall for a bit, but most stayed and closed the place down. I promised I wouldn’t mention names, but one of my faithful blog readers decided they needed a little more fun for the night and headed down to the next night spot in the mall. It must have been pretty uneventful as no stories followed the next morning.
Our day was started with CEO John Long’s comments about Avionté and the direction we are heading (the right one!). Audience participation was greatly encouraged with the giving of free hours of development. So if you sent one of your employees and they didn’t come back with one, well they were a little shy about talking in front of the group.
Next Samar spoke about some of the additional developments in our latest version v2010. I am sure that I am a bit biased, but there is some pretty cool stuff our development team has come out with! If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our webinars highlighting the new features.
The breakout sessions called…”Design an Avionté feature” and “What’s working for you” were big hits! The only problem with all the sessions, is that there was never enough time.
John and Laura got the group thinking when presenting Staffing and Software best practices. Many of our customers want to know how they compare in regards to order filled per user, revenue generated per user/branch or other statistics based on the size of their company. John unveiled the project he is currently working on that will allow our users to do just that. They can view monthly statistics compiled from other companies that are comparable to theirs.
Cory showed the group how photogenic he is and garnered a few ohhs and ahhs with some of his cool technology including the “friend maker”.
He discussed the direction that staffing is taking, automated. The more applicants, employees and customers can do the better. By allowing applicants to fill out their application on line, you are offering your service 24/7, not just your physical business hours. The same applies for your employees and customers. They can log in to your web portals and take care of their information when it’s most convenient for them.
Roundtable sessions followed covering topics such as management/operations, 3rd party integrations, sales/recruiting and back office. Our users had great ideas to share how they are using Avionté to boost production and profitability in these areas.
After the final session everyone loaded up to head out for a dinner cruise on Lake Minnetonka. Although the skies looked a bit ominous, the feeling within the group was one of high spirits ready to have some fun! Our cruise lasted about an hour before the lights went out and we had to turn back to port and wait out the storm. A few people on the boat (I’m told) didn’t notice we had headed back or that our engine didn’t sound quite right. After an hour in port we headed back out to the open waters to enjoy the last bit of our cruise. Despite the weather and mechanical issues, it was a fantastic evening with great food, drink and conversation. The night was ended with a fantastic little dance performed by one of our favorite customer’s (they are all favorites) IT people. “There ain’t no party like an Avionté party!”
I had the privilege of driving one of the groups back. Some of you may know that I live in Montana.. contrary to popular belief we do have paved roads, stop lights and the internet. Sadly, we also have a speed limit, which is slightly higher than the one in MN. Our group returned back to the hotel first.. us Montanans know how to drive. Thanks to my group for making the drive home a fun one. Well at least to the people in the first two rows; I have no idea who was in the back three rows.
Friday arrived, much to the sorrow of many. It was almost like we were at camp. Camp with really good food and comfy beds. Everyone was invited back to the Avionté office to meet other team members and have a chance to chat and discuss any topic they wanted. It was a great opportunity for many of our customers to have some good face time with our four partners. I did learn something interesting while involved in one of the conversations. “You don’t know what you don’t know” Hmm.. I’m going to ponder that one for a while.
At 11:30 part of the group went out for a little golf; which luckily didn’t get rained out. The rest of the group slowly departed throughout the day. Hugs and well wishes where shared as people left for the airport to return home and share all they had learned.
For our first effort, I think it was pretty amazing. Brenda and Briana can’t be thanked enough for the hours and hours they spent making sure that every detail was taken care of. I would love to hear some comments from those who attended.. and for those of you who couldn’t make it this year – we would love to see you next year!