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  • October 10, 2018 12:27 PM | Mark Grice (Administrator)

    IBPI VIP Event Series

    NA Trading and Technology

    October 2018

    IBPI and NA Trading and Technology (NATT), located in Minneapolis, recently organized a joint event for several IBPI Members who are Sharp dealers.  We kicked off the event with a delicious dinner Wednesday night near the Mall of the America. 

    Following breakfast on Thursday morning, we were transported over to the NATT offices in nearby Bloomington, MN.  After a few short presentations, Ted Johnson, General Manager at NATT, gave us a tour of their facility.  We visited their administrative, warehouse and shipping areas, but the real eye-opener was their testing labs.  This company has several engineers on staff and it really shows through their processes.  We saw first-hand the careful and methodical testing that is conducted by NATT before a new product is brought to market.  Regardless of whether this process takes years or months, NATT adheres to high standards, as they analyze the success and failure rates for all of their products.  Their current average success rate across all products is 99.74% and across all Sharp products, the success rate is 99.83%! 

    NATT is also committed to recycling electronic waste.  They pay for your shipping, so it doesn’t cost Members a dime to recycle old drums and cartridges to reduce landfill waste. 

    After the facility tour, the weather cooperated, and we were treated to a cookout lunch complete with hamburgers, brats and Spam sliders.  Yes, I said Spam sliders...they were delicious and considered to be a local “delicacy”.  We also had plenty of sides, some made by NATT employees.  It was a great time to enjoy the sunny Fall day and get to know everyone a little better. 

    After lunch, we had a real treat!  Jerry Mathwig visited with our group.  Jerry started in this business in 1965 and has a wealth of knowledge.  He briefly shared his personal industry history followed by a great discussion about where we all felt the industry was going.  

    We wrapped up the event at the NATT facility and drove about 45 minutes north to Lake Minnetonka.  There, we boarded a beautiful boat and had a wonderful dinner cruise on the lake.  The leaves were just beginning to get a little color and the homes on the lake were spectacular.   Our captain pointed out the largest home on the lake, which was just over 65,000 square feet.

    This was a great event for all attendees.  If you ever have the chance to visit the NATT facilities, don’t pass it up.  I know they would be glad to host you!

  • October 01, 2018 3:07 PM | Mark Grice (Administrator)

    Top Row:  Continuum CEO Michael George and me; IBPI Member ImageNet Consulting (OK) was the big winner in the MSP Shark Tank competition; Middle Row: MSP Shark Tank "Sharks"; 2 pictures of the Continuum Studios; Bottom Row: Always glad to see my home airport in the window; Continuum Cyber Attack Simulator; Navigate 2018 was very well attended

    What a great week in Boston! The weather was not perfect, but the Continuum Navigate event was one of the best events I have ever attended. As you know, IBPI has added 2 new Partners this year: Taylor Business Group and Continuum, Both of these Partners are in the Managed Services space. Members, if you do not read anything else in this post beyond these next few words, please read this:  

    All IBPI Members need to be in the Managed Services space.

    There are some folks in our industry that discourage dealers from getting involved in Managed Services. There are some dealers who have tried and failed. But IBPI has set you up with 2 great Partners that will allow you have have a very profitable Managed Services Offering!

    The big theme of the week was Security. I heard it over and over again what a huge issue IT Security is for every business, but especially those in the SMB arena. I heard example after example of all types of businesses that have had ransomware attacks and are forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get access to their data.

    Earlier this year, Continuum purchased the IT security company CARVIR and they have now folded their offering into the wide breadth of products offered. Continuum now has a Security Operations Center (SOC) near Atlanta and their partners leverage that SOC to provide a tremendous security offering to their own customers.

    There was a Cyber Attack Simulator booth at Navigate that was a huge eye opener for me. It showed how an attack happens, how it affects a business and how it is resolved. The group of Managed Service Providers (MSP) were asked how many of their own customers had experienced a ransomware attack. Almost every hand went up. This is a very real threat.

    Continuum also provides many other basic IT services including Backup and Disaster Recovery, Remote Monitoring and Management, Help Desk and a Network Operations Center (NOC).

    IBPI was well represented at Navigate. I met folks from Thermocopy (TN), Capital (NE), Prosource (OH), ImageNet (OK). There were also other IBPI members present that I did not get a chance to visit with.

    One of the keynotes delivered at Navigate was by real estate investor and Shark Tank star, Barbara Corcoran. She was full of energy and she inspired us all with her story. After her keynote, she participated in a Shark Tank style session where 4 Continuum partners pitched 4 “Sharks”, including Barbara, on a new offering they wanted to launch at their own company. I am very proud to say that our own IBPI Member, ImageNet Consulting, won the $15,000 first prize! Congratulations Juan!

    NOW is the time to provide a Managed Services offering at your dealership. Taylor Business Group can provide you with the metrics and coaching necessary to make sure you have a profitable offering. Continuum has the tools necessary for you to have a Managed Services division that you will be proud to offer to your own customer base.

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