NIWeek 2009 – Alliance Day Keynote

Well, I’m taking the week off of my typically blogging about the business practices of our system integrators – to spend time with those system integrators at NIWeek, our annual conference. It’s always a great chance to catch up and share information. Yesterday (August 3), we started the week with Alliance Day, which is specifically reserved for our Alliance Partners and brings us together to collaborate for increased customer success and greater business opportunities.

Back on the Main Stage

For the last couple of years, we have combined this Alliance Day with the last day of the sales conference. But in an effort to keep our expenses down in the current economic climate, we significantly scaled back the attendance of our field organization.  So, for the first time in several years (2003), I took the stage. It was interesting to look back and see how far our Alliance Business has come in the last few years. In Q3 of 2008, we nearly reached our goal of doubling the percent of NI’s business through our partner channel before the recession took hold.

Bring on the Experts

Not being an economic expert, I turned the keynote over to our Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and IT Operations , Alex Davern. He has a very straightfoward way of presenting our financial outlook. I know he is an Alliance Day favorite. Alex gave his opinion on the current situation, it’s impact on our industry, and the prospects on recovery.

Then, Pete Zogas, our Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, talked about how we are continuing to go after the business we can find now – as well as position ourselves for the recovery. Bottomline – for the Alliance Partners that can endure and emerge on the other side with us, we will again see the opportunities associated with our growth of our system-level business.

The Menu for Today

I took the stage again and laid out the agenda for the day. Our Product Tracks demonstrated the latest technological innovations from NI in automated test, industrial and embedded design, RF, and software. Technical Empowerment Tracks, led by our NI system engineers showed attendees how to use the latest reference designs to speed application development and implement architectures to solve new applications with our newest products. And our Business Empowerment Track discussed how to enhance your business skills.

Parting Thoughts

At the end of the keynote, I emphasized that, for National Instruments, its about building stronger partners to help our customers solve the challenges of today. It’s not only been my job, but my personal passion for the last 15 years. As I travel around giving Alliance Day presentations and providing one-on-one business consultations, it has been a privilege to learn about your businesses and share what I have learned. I’ve been inspired by those of you who have embraced the challenge to work ‘on’ your business, not just ‘in’ your business. I’ve even started this blog to foster best business practices.

But,  I’m not the only one passionate about our partner business. Just a few weeks ago, I was giving a presentation about the importance of partners as part of our Leadership Development Series – a continuing education course for our NI management. So, I asked my co-present and perhaps our partners’ biggest advocate at National Instruments, our president and CEO, Dr. James Truchard, to share a few thoughts. It was great to have the head man, himself, to directly to our Alliance Partners about the critical role they play in our success and the success of our customers.

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