Revisiting TechConnect: Miles IT’s First Virtual Summit

John Horner
November 1, 2023
12 min read

At Miles IT, we always strive to help our customers and partners take advantage of the newest innovations in business technology.

Our recent virtual summit, TechConnect, allowed us to do just that—share actionable takeaways and best practices for ensuring success in the changing technical landscape.

Held on October 18, 2023, the event brought together Miles IT subject matter experts, industry guests, business leaders, and more for a day of learning and connecting.

Check out our session recaps below, and visit our video showcase to review the presentations in more detail. More videos are coming, so keep checking back for updates!

What is the Purpose of TechConnect?

TechConnect is Miles IT’s virtual live-stream technology event that bridges the gap between business and technology.

This summit united experts from a variety of different areas with the same goal in mind: helping organizations advance their business through the strategic use of technology.

Hosted by our Design & Multimedia Team Lead, Steven Snyder, the live event lasted the entire day. It gave participants a breadth of information regarding cyber security, AI & automation, marketing, and more.

Interactivity was encouraged and applauded; participants could enter specific questions and connect with live technical experts and strategists.

The goal of TechConnect was to share valuable information that anyone, at any level in a company, could find useful.

Keynote: Simple Strategies for Generating ROI Through Your Technology with John Horner

TechConnect kicked off with a keynote session led by John Horner, the Vice President of Software Consulting at Miles IT. With a passion for helping businesses get the most value out of their technology, John has spoken with leaders from thousands of companies and seen their challenges and successes firsthand.

His presentation focused on simple steps businesses can take to leverage technology and create a competitive advantage.

These tips include:

  • Reduce complexity within your business systems by eliminating, consolidating, standardizing, and integrating platforms
  • Build communication ground rules so IT staff and business leaders can stay on the same page and share ideas
  • Create the right focus and center efficiency initiatives on high-impact areas
  • Set the right finish line with an “Adoption is not optional” approach so team members can get the most out of new solutions

Watch John’s presentation to learn how technology should be an investment, not an expense, and the best ways it can support your business goals.

GS1 US’ Building the Web of Trust: Decentralized Identifiers and Verifiable Credentials

Curious about up-and-coming technologies that will transform our way of life?

The next TechConnect session provided an overview of an innovative technology pioneered by GS1 US.

Robert Holloran, Praveen Dhatric, and Todd Snyder led a session about decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials and what they mean for business processes and daily living.

Best known for the UPC barcode, GS1 US is a standards organization that helps businesses adopt their solutions to improve key processes.

GS1’s latest innovation is the creation of decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials. These globally unique identifiers can be used for authentication and proof of identity, like a digital driver’s license.

By helping establish trust and increase transparency with these digital solutions, GS1 US is changing how we handle digital identity and information exchange.

Cyber Security Panel, Hosted by Ray Gasnick, Michael Young, and John Graham

In the next TechConnect session, three members of the Miles IT Security Council hosted a roundtable discussion about security best practices. Participants submitted questions about cyber security, and our experts addressed them in greater detail.

Check out the questions addressed in this session and view the panel recording to hear insights from our team.

  • What are the most important things every organization should be doing right now in 2023 as far as security?
  • “I work for a small company and don’t think I am a target. Is there anything a company like mine needs to do?”
  • “If my business falls victim to a ransomware attack, what is the best first step?”
  • “Is saving passwords in my web browser okay?”
  • “What do you recommend to ensure employees are using cyber security best practices?”

Striven: Where Business Management Excellence and Growth Unite with Scott Hammer

Have you ever heard of the Kitchen Effect?

In this presentation, Scott Hammer, Striven’s Director of Sales & Marketing, shared considerations to keep in mind if you’re considering all-in-one software—and how it relates to the kitchen in your house.

Think about open-concept kitchens, which allow you to keep an eye on your kids while you’re cooking dinner.

They also help connect the different rooms in your house so you can easily move from room to room and accomplish the tasks you need to do.

Like an open-concept kitchen, all-in-one business software gives you a more holistic view of your business.

Similarly, this type of solution creates connections between the different departments in your business, reducing data and information silos.

View Scott’s presentation to hear how he explains the Kitchen Effect and his top tips for researching an all-in-one (ERP) system.

Unveiling Digital Horizons: Exploring Masterful Marketing Strategies with Carter Sprouse

With so many buzzwords and metrics, marketing can seem complicated at first glance.

At TechConnect, Carter Sprouse made marketing easy to understand. Carter, a Marketing Strategist at Miles IT, works with clients daily to help them develop marketing strategies that center on growth and success.

When creating an impactful marketing strategy, Carter described three essentials to keep in mind:

  1. Understand Yourself
  2. Understand Your Customer
  3. Create Consistency in Conversation

When it comes to understanding yourself, Carter discussed incorporating key points of difference and position so you can share why your products and services are better than the competition.

To understand your audience, Carter shared the power of creating buyer personas that dig into the background and motivations of your target audience.

Finally, Carter shared strategies for achieving consistency in conversations with your customers:

  • Make a successful appeal about why your product or service is the best
  • Establish authority and expertise with valuable resources
  • Focus on the quality, not quantity, of your marketing collateral
  • Utilize data effectively by setting and meeting benchmarks

View Carter’s full presentation to discover how to improve your marketing strategy.

How LD Davis Leveraged Business Technology for Sales & Marketing Excellence with Kelly Pepper

How do different industries leverage technology for sales and marketing success?

Our next guest answered this question by describing how her organization takes advantage of technology to improve processes and increase visibility online.

Kelly Pepper, the Technical Sales Manager at LD Davis, led this session at TechConnect and shared how her organization works with Miles IT for their software and marketing needs.

As a glue and gelatin manufacturer, LD Davis must stay at the forefront of technology to meet their goals.

Initially, their team reached out to Miles IT seeking help integrating their ERP and CRM systems. These systems needed to talk to each other and streamline processes for their sales team.

With our help, LD Davis was back up and running smoothly within a week.

After successfully completing that project, LD Davis contacted our team for help with marketing efforts.

Since then, Miles IT has helped LD Davis with many marketing initiatives, including:

  • Resolving technical errors on their website
  • Helping with keyword research and monitoring Google Ads
  • Creating blogs, email marketing campaigns, and social media campaigns

Today, Miles IT serves as an extension of the LD Davis marketing team. Because of this partnership, LD Davis can stand out as a leading educator in their industry and continue connecting with prospects thanks to well-running technology.

Watch Kelly’s session to hear about other ways LD Davis uses technology to achieve growth.

AI for Businesses: From Strategy Development to Practical Application with Ryan Beckmann and John Horner

AI is a hugely popular topic with the advent of tools like ChatGPT and Bard. However, like any other tool, it should be used wisely and in areas where it makes sense.

At TechConnect, Ryan Beckmann, Software R&D Coordinator at Miles IT, joined forces with John Horner to explore different types and uses of AI.

The presentation included information on different AI tools, including tools for image generation, chat/text, and data analysis, and how to incorporate them into your business workflows.

In addition, this session detailed tips for creating an AI strategy for your business. Ideally, you shouldn’t start with AI as the solution and force it into different business areas.

Instead, you should first identify critical business processes and areas that could benefit from improvement.

From there, you can evaluate possible solutions, including AI, to find the best tool for accomplishing your goal.

Watch the entire session to see examples of AI tools in action and hear directly from Ryan and John.

The Business Guide to Cloud Solutions with Taylor Adair

How can you think strategically when it comes to your cloud software?

Taylor Adair, Director of IT Product Management at Miles IT, set out to answer this question in his TechConnect presentation.

In this session, Taylor focused on the importance of designing and choosing cloud software that:

  • Maximizes competitive advantage
  • Manages risk
  • Manages operating costs

Competitive advantage can be defined as anything that enables you to provide goods and services that your customers prefer over those of your competition.

Taylor shared tips for identifying and creating your competitive advantage by using business software that aligns with your unique processes and goals. This software may come in the form of a pre-existing software system or a custom solution for your business.

Taylor also discussed how to minimize costs related to your cloud software and manage the level of risk at your organization.

View Taylor’s full presentation for more information on cloud software.

Automation: Key Business Processes to Automate Right Now with Tommy Croteau

Like AI, automation is another major topic in today’s business technology world.

In this presentation, Tommy Croteau, Strategic Software Consultant at Miles IT, shared an overview of business process automation and ways to begin.

Often, deciding whether to automate a business process is the most challenging place to start.

To help simplify this decision, Tommy discussed key questions you can ask to jumpstart this process. Answering these questions can help you gain an objective understanding of the value of automating a specific workflow:

  • What is the value of automating this process?
  • Is this process well-defined and consistent?
  • Are there other intangible benefits to consider?

In addition to sharing this decision-making framework, Tommy shared commonly automated processes and a simple example of an automation scenario.

Watch Tommy’s session to learn more about automation strategies for your business.

CultureWise’s Tech-Driven Evolution: A Journey of Business Transformation in Phases, Collaboration, and Innovation with David Friedman

What key considerations should CEOs keep in mind as they drive technological evolution at their business?

The next speaker at TechConnect was David Friedman, CEO of High Performing Culture. One of our industry guests, David is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and renowned public speaker.

In his presentation, David shared key technological advancements he’s made at High Performing Culture to serve his mission better and connect with customers, including building a back office system, mobile app, and web-based application.

Better known as eMinder, eBiz, CultureWise, and CultureSuite, these tools help David’s company connect with its target audience and deliver value.

David also highlighted valuable lessons he’s learned as a CEO about using technology:

  • Let the business strategy drive the technology project, not the other way around
  • When creating software, understand the importance of the Vision to Reality process and getting project specifications right
  • Understand the role of the beta version in your development process
  • Budget for both internal and external support

View David’s session to hear more about his solutions and recommendations.

Getting Started with BI: Selecting the Best Metrics & Tools with Chris Edwards and Juan Diaz

With business intelligence, you can create a more intelligent business.

We closed out our first-ever TechConnect summit with a BI presentation by Chris Edwards, Senior Business Analyst at Miles IT, and Juan Diaz, Lead Business Software Consultant at Miles IT.

In their presentation, Chris and Juan dove into how BI can be used at your company and introduced popular BI tools like Tableau and Power BI.

Juan also raised a commonly asked question: “Why should I use Power BI when I can just use Excel?”

Although there are similarities between these platforms, the key benefits of Power BI include:

  • Customizable data visualizations based on your needs
  • Interactive dashboards that add more context to specific data points
  • Scalability and ability to handle large data sets

Check out Chris and Juan’s presentation so you can gain more info on how BI solutions can improve your business’ efficiency and agility.

Moving Forward

Thanks to everyone who participated in TechConnect! We were thrilled to provide this educational opportunity and connect with many different business leaders.

Stay on the lookout for future events and opportunities to connect with our team.

Meet John Horner


John Horner has over 20 years of experience in the software industry. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has served as an adjunct professor at Drexel University and Temple University. Today, he helps customers understand the root of their business challenges and provides consultation on how to accomplish goals and create new opportunities.

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