For 13 years now, Milestone Systems has gathered dealers and partners at the annual Milestone Integration Platform Symposium (MIPS) to look at both key technologies for the industry and how Milestone will support its community moving forward. Below is an overview of the 2018 event, held in February, from some of the conversations with Security Systems News Managing Editor Spencer Ives.
What’s On the Horizon
If you take a look at our main stage presentations, we are really geared at helping people see what exists out there, something that might not be in their purview. The AI business, the machine learning, the big data discussion is one that can give people some heads up as to what’s coming from an industry perspective. MIPS has always done a good job of showcasing what’s on the horizon. – Eric Moe, Milestone’s director of sales operations for the Americas
The majority of attendees to MIPS is made up of Milestone resellers, Moe noted, and as a result, the company “can actually craft our message in a pretty direct way.”
While the keynote sessions at MIPS covered high-level industry trends and road mapping for Milestone, the breakout sessions cover more specific takeaways for the company’s channel partners. MIPS 2018 hosted three different tracks of education, each with six sessions available—a technology track, a business track and an integration partner track.
Manage the Customer Experience
The business education track at MIPS 2018 started with “Managing the End-Customer Experience and its Effect on Long Term Profitability,” presented by Moe. He opened by pointing out that there is a connection between profitability and user experience.
One aspect in profitability is the balance between gaining new customers and managing existing customers. Sixty percent of the orders Milestone receives are not new business, Moe noted, but customers adding on to the systems they have. Milestone has built its business on scalable software, he said.
But, you can’t have a base of existing customers without gaining new customers, Moe added. He addressed some of the tools that dealers have available to them, such as the MyMilestone portal, Customer Dashboard, Care upgrade mapping and a new Best Practices Guide for deploying solutions.
Best Practice Makes Perfect
Greg Willmarth, Milestone’s director of learning and performance, told SSN that the guide will walk installers through a step-by-step process, which can be checked off and initialed by the installing technician, and includes space for notes.
At the end of the deployment, they have proof that they can provide to their customers that they’re following the manufacturer’s best practice for deployment. This is something we’re getting a lot of buzz [about]. – Greg Willmarth
Willmarth presented the last business-focused presentation at MIPS 2018, “Increase Profitability with Faster Installs.” The main premise is that companies should make the most of Milestone’s tools and training because a poor installation is bad for business. If a technician needs to call technical support, it wastes company time and looks bad in front of the customer, he pointed out.
Milestone offers a variety of education opportunities, including 47 elearning courses, instructor-led classes and certifications. They are also going to create more video content on YouTube which will have subtitles that leverage Google Translate, for Milestone dealers and users around the world.
Performance support is a goal for Milestone in training. “At the end of the day we’re about enabling job performance. Pre-performance training is good; it can help build knowledge, but if we can build better tools like this new deployment best practice, that’s really where we’re focused,” Willmarth said.
As of the MIPS conference, January of 2018 was the company’s biggest month for elearning course completions—more than 5,200 courses completed in the month—and that does not include the courses Milestone offers to end users, Willmarth said.
Milestone is a canvas, and the community makes the paints, the brushes, brings the artists. Milestone makes some paints, too—we’ve got some really nice paints. But, if you don’t have a solid canvas that can take the paint, that can last, that can be durable, you’re not going to keep your artwork for very long. That’s really the way I see us as the platform; … that we’re the canvas and the community is going to create the masterpieces. – Greg Willmarth, Director of Learning & Performance, Milestone Systems
By Spencer Ives, Managing Editor, SecuritySystemsNews.com
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