This year I was only able to go to the show for one day, as a day trip. This year was my 24th show in a row. I understand next year the show will be back in DC, which will be a treat since that’s where I live. ARMA 2011 is also going to be in DC, Oct. 16 – 19.
I was able to walk the show floor and a few things come to mind:
There is a new collection of vendor professionals in the industry. For many years at the AIIM show I would see the same faces, old friends that were often working for a new company. We often joked that “the only reason that have this show is so we can get together once a year.” This year, booth after booth, I did not recognize most of the vendors working the booth. I think this is a good trend, new blood in the industry means that it is alive and well. Of course we old stalwarts were there, but we are not as prevalent as we once were.
The acquisition trend is still continuing. While there are still specialized forms processing vendors that are still independent, many capture vendors have been acquired by larger firms. The same is true for other niche players. I’m not sure this trend is good for the industry or for end users. It seems like the product or solution offered by the niche players are much better and focused than what ends up in the conglomerate. The customers of those products often are left with undesirable options once that happens.
The economy seems to be on the rise again. It seemed like there were more attendees (at least the day I was there) and more activity in the booths than the last couple of years, which were real downers. This year everyone seemed to be more upbeat, and there was a positive buzz.
AIIM Training is viewed as a really valuable asset. The courses offered by AIIM are really useful, and they appear to be in high demand. The training works for vendors, who constantly are hiring new salespeople, business developers, marketers, and even developers who need to learn about the industry, as well as end users and consultants.
AIIM Chapters are still vibrant and relevant, and are the place to go in your region to connect with like-minded folks. At the AIIM Awards Dinner, tributes to key chapter leaders and industry leaders showed that there is lots of activity across the country, and that networking and activities at the local level still matter.
What did you see at the show?
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