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This past week I had the opportunity to attend Vistas2013, the annual Vistex user group meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel Chicago O’Hare. I wanted to jot down a few observations and share some of the content that I came across while I was there.

First of all, the conference was much bigger than I expected.  I don’t know exactly how many attendees were there, but it was at least a few hundred.  All of the general session events and keynotes filled the ballroom and the breakout sessions all had plenty of attendees.  Some were even standing room only.

 

I started the conference on Tuesday with few sessions about Vistex suite of solutions.  Their message is they help their customers with their Go To Market.  This includes:

What do you buy and sell?

                Products, services, and rights.

Who do you buy and sell to?

                Customers, vendors, channel partners

How do you price what you buy and sell?

                Pricing, deals

How do you drive revenue and control spend?

                Contracts, promotions, royalties, market development funds

How do you drive behavior?

                Rebates, brokerages, commissions

I have been aware and engaged with Vistex solutions for a long time, but this way of communicating their strategy and their portfolio of solutions really seems to make a lot of sense to me.

 

The second day of the conference kicked off with a keynote by Vistex founder and CEO, Sanjay Shah.  I have always found Sanjay to be an engaging speaker and this keynote did not change my opinion in the least.  The best part of the keynote – from my point of view- was Sanjay’s discussion of what’s new in the Vistex offering.  Three items really stood out for me.

1)      1) HANA, Cloud:  Vistex solutions are now available for use on the HANA Enterprise Cloud.

2)      2) Marketplace: Sanjay announced a new cloud based virtual community for Go to Market collaboration that promises to simplify the business to business communication and eliminate rework.

3)      3) Stand Alone Vistex:  For years, Vistex has been available stand-alone (without SAP ERP), but the message here is that there are some changes in the works that would greatly simplify the landscape – AND – be available in the cloud.  In my opinion, this could be game changing.

 

The rest of the second day I spent in breakout sessions.  This was a nice treat for me as I got to meet with a number of wholesale distribution customers on the same day.

I met with the folks from convenience store wholesaler Eby Brown about their deployment of HANA.  I heard from my friend Mark from Summit Electric Supply about mobility trends in the industry.  I had a chance to hear the experts from Animal Health about their innovative solutions in the area of pricing.  I spoke with Avnet about their commissions process.

 

The final day of the conference kicked off with an entertaining show by “The Passing Zone” and finished up with a few more breakout sessions before finishing up at lunchtime.

 

I have always been a fan of user group meetings.  I think the opportunity to network and learn is fantastic.  Since this was my first Vistas conference, I wasn’t sure what to expect, though.  As it turns out, it was time very well spent and I recommend other companies that might have an interest in SAP or Vistex to carve out some time on their calendar to attend.

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