Still Decompressing from NIWeek and Alliance Day

August 10, 2010

Well, after nearly a perfect track record of recording a blog post every week, NIWeek finally snapped my string. While it was on my mind to get something out last Tuesday, my mind was a blur with information overload (and perhaps too many drinks at the evening activities). Nonetheless, I’ve gathered enough insights from the various sessions that I should have enough fodder for this blog in the coming weeks. Here’s a quick recap of Alliance Day.

Moving Forward Together

Alex Davern, our CFO, and Pete Zogas, our Sr. VP of Sales/Marketing, did their usual great job of explaining our business strategies. Alex talked about how our strategic plan had allowed us to continue to invest in R&D and our sales organization throughout the downturn, so we are in even a better competitive position as the economy recovers.

Pete then describe how NI continues to evolve as our system-level business grows. For instance, we are creating industry and application segment teams to develop key accounts and partners. We also continue to expand our service offering (e.g. design consulting, product customization, calibration, ….) to meet the needs of our customers and partners in more demanding applications. Finally, we are expanding our partner team:

  • Group Manager – Armando Valim
  • Solution Partners – Jack Barber
  • Software Product Partners – Jeff Meisel
  • Hardware Product Partners – Robert Jackson
  • Technology Partners – Rachel Garcia
  • Regional Partner Manager – Rob Reichmeider, ….

Empowering Your Business

The rest of the day was packed with sessions designed specifically for our Alliance Partners. As mentioned in my last post, there were product sessions about you can use them to win more business and training on our latest architectures to facilitate your development.

But, given the nature of this blog (and my own interests), I’ll stick mostly to the business empowerment sessions offer insights and information on running your business, improving your marketing, and more. In the coming weeks, I’ll relay information from several of those sessions. Of course, that will pail in comparison hearing it directly. So, make plans to attend NIWeek next year!


NIWeek and Alliance Day 2010 Approaches

July 27, 2010

As always, there is a buzz around National Instruments during the final week of preparation for NIWeek.  Folks putting their final touches on their presentations and demonstrations. It is a bit of a crucible, but I find it always brings out the best of NI and our people.

Alliance Day

The week begins with Alliance Day on Monday. It’s a great chance to meet with our Alliance Partners to share business strategies before the customers arrive and NIWeek begins. During the keynote, you’ll hear from Alex Davern, our CFO, about how NI is faring in this economy; and Pete Zogas, our Sr. VP of Worldwide Sales, about how NI continues to evolve our organization to meet the demands of both our transactional and system-level business.

The rest of the day is packed with sessions designed specifically for our Alliance Partners. Our product managers will talk about our latest offering and how you can use them to win more business. Our system engineers will provide training on our latest architectures to facilitate your development. And, our business empowerment sessions offer insights and information on running your business, improving your marketing, and more.

Hope to See You There

If you are an NI Alliance Partner that is basing your business around National Instruments, there is no better place to be than NIWeek and Alliance Day. Catch me in the hallways to discuss your business. And feel free to let me know what you think of this blog – what you find useful and how it can be improved.

NIWeek 2009 – Alliance Day Keynote

August 4, 2009

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.