Education, Engagement and Innovation; Three Pillars of the 2018 Solimar User Conference

May 29, 2018
2018 User Conference Recap

It is hard to believe that one of our favorite events every year is already closed and put in the memory books for 2018. Our Solimar User Conference is an event we look forward to every May because it embodies the values that Solimar Systems has been built on for the last 27 years—strong relationships. If you haven’t attended one of our user conferences, as a client or partner, we suggest you block out some time for next year’s conference. Why? Here is a look back at the event and the key takeaways.

The 2018 Solimar User Conference, or #SolimarUC18 on Social Media, was a little different this year as compared to the past. For 2018, our conference days were held on May 8-10. A major shift from previous years, we held an optional full day of hands-on technical training on the first day to make sure we could educate our attendees prior to the full conference agenda. Then, for the benefit of our expanded Customer Advisory Council (CAC) we ran a concurrent full-day session with our members to brief them on new innovations and get their direct feedback. The changes were a direct result of feedback we received from attendees last year—resulting in our attendees being ready for the two days of conference information they were about to receive.

Solimar Customer Advisory Council, Solimar Systems, Customer Communications, PDF, Transactional Print, Workflow Management, Workflow Automation, Xerox, Konica Minolta, Canon, Oce, Digital Print, EFI, Crawford, San Diego, Augmented reality, Mary Ann Rowan, Mailer, Industry Association, Jamie Walsh, Paul Abdool, Jonathan McGrew, Screen, Riso, Ricoh, Transactional Printing, Print, Printing, Xplor, RealityBlu, Xploration, Ligia Mora, Customer Advisory Council, Padres

An important note about the CAC; this year we expanded our membership to double-digit members. The goal is to keep our pulse on a quickly changing market with a variety of perspectives from different verticals that we serve. Our 2018 CAC has provided an environment of candid feedback, uncovered market needs and is helping us drive the right solutions in our roadmap for the future. We thank every one of the CAC companies and their Executive members that have committed time to our Solimar Executive team and are willing to participate in meeting multiple times a year.

Pat McGrew
keypoint infotrends

Another change this year was kicking off the first full day of the user conference with an outside keynote speaker. We were pleased to be able to book for our attendees Pat McGrew, Director of Workflow Advisory Services at Keypoint Intelligence. Pat’s presentation, “The Workflow Revolution: Are You Onboard?,” took our participants on a journey from the past and Industrial 1.0 to the ultimate future of Smart Print Manufacturing—and beyond—in Industrial 4.0. Throughout her presentation we learned about the areas you should be looking at in your print and digital production workflows. And through audience participation with Sli.do, we were able to get live results on a number of areas.

These surveys showed us that nearly 70% of our attendees are still trying to fully map and document their workflows and dealing with a high number of small jobs, customer onboarding and increasing throughput in their environment are just a few of the top bottlenecks in their organization. Plus, we were able to share how our Solimar team could help with these issues through our strategic client meetings, assessments and new software innovations coming out in 2018 and into the future. Pat even wrote about her perspective of the conference on the Keypoint Intelligence blog, which you can check out here.

Speaking of client assessments, most of our users said that they had done an assessment of their environment. However, most of these assessments were done 2 or more years ago; which, as Pat pointed out, is just not often enough due to the speed the industry and technology are changing. The mapped and documented workflow should be a living document that you update at least once if not a couple times a year at regular intervals.

Tim Cooper, Enterprise Architect, Information Technology, Harland Clarke Holdings Company, Solimar Systems, Customer Communications, PDF, Transactional Print, Workflow Management, Workflow Automation, Xerox, Konica Minolta, Canon, Oce, Digital Print, EFI, Crawford, San Diego, Augmented reality, Mary Ann Rowan, Mailer, Industry Association, Jamie Walsh, Paul Abdool, Jonathan McGrew, Screen, Riso, Ricoh, Transactional Printing, Print, Printing, Xplor, RealityBlu, Xploration, Ligia Mora, Customer Advisory Council, Padres
Harland Clarke

A big thank you also goes out to our Day 2 Keynote presenter, Tim Cooper from Harland Clarke. Tim’s presentation on Facts Don’t Count was a serious look at workflow situations that we all encounter…but was sprinkled with a little bit of humor that we have come to love Tim for when he presents. Ultimately, the presentation talked about the importance of protecting yourself from confirmation (my side) bias, weeding out the disconnects and misrepresented facts and the importance of testing your commonly held beliefs to make sure they are true. A presentation that really got the audience thinking…and participating in the conversation.

While our conference was a busy few days, the feedback from clients and partners was not only important but very positive. Partners were able to make short presentations to the group, our CEO, Drew Sprague, shared our roadmap and future developments and we talked through our social media and digital communications outreach programs. We even had some fun too!

We have to thank our Director of Support, John Flynn, and his band for playing during the reception on the training day. It was a lot of fun and the patio on the marina of the Sheraton was the perfect backdrop! Then there was the Padres game and networking event. An event made that much sweeter for our San Diego natives by the Padres winning the game against the Nationals.

Looking back on the conference and at the survey results rolling in from our attendees, we are proud that we have such an amazing client community and have suggestions we are working to include into next year’s Solimar User Conference. It will be in May 2019 in San Diego, so we invite you to block some space on your calendar and stay tuned for the “Save the Date” information that will come out shortly after the New Year.

Until next year, be sure to sign up for our Solimar University Online (SUO), available to all current clients on a maintenance program, so that you can access this year’s user conference materials and much more educational content.

For more information, call the Solimar Sales Team at +1.619.849.2800.