In order to provide customers and potential customers with a glimpse “behind the scenes” here at Data Connect, we will be publishing a series of interviews with our executive team. These interviews will provide insight into the high-level decision-making that takes place here, as well as introduce you to the personalities that lead our organization.
Our second interview is with Micheal Center, our EVP, who will discuss his history with the company, his thoughts on where the company stands today, and his ideas on where we’re headed.
Howdy Micheal! How long have you been with Data Connect?
I have been with DCC for five-and-half years.
What does your role consist of today?
Primarily I am finding new markets for Data Connect to enter and leading the development of new products from the sales side of the business. I am also part of the Marketing team, which allows me to help develop new media ideas and ways to communicate with our customers and prospects.
How have you seen Data Connect change over time?
In the last five years we have had over 117% growth in the company; we have gone from a small business to a major player with our Show Expert Systems trade show software in the order entry and data services marketplace. Our growth has fueled many changes in our processes and procedures to help us to serve our customers better.
We now have more staff dedicated to customer support and sales. I really like the teams we are building and how they work together for the customer.
How have the products and services improved over time?
Managing data for distributors in different business verticals is a complex process. Each vertical, whether it is pharmaceuticals or food service has its own set of business rules that dictate how they run their events. We have put more into our internal systems to make things run more smoothly.
This year we will begin using the new third-generation networking gear at our clients’ shows. We have upgraded the system entirely, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a dynamic networking system that can handle the rigors of today’s exhibition centers, with their multi-channel networks and internet connections.
How do you see the product development department adapting as the company grows and the market evolves?
Developing new products to meet market demand is the life blood of any technology company. Our goal is to create services and software that are part of the essential business process of our customers. Time-to-market today is often measured in days, so using an agile process is imperative to keeping on top of our strategic plan for product development.
Rapid business analytics will play a significant role in the development new products. You don’t want to put your effort into product lines with too short a life cycle or limited revenue potential. Strategic analysis of a market prior to committing our resources will play a very important role going forward.
We know that new data delivery methods via the web and cell devices are just around the corner for our customers. Our goal is to be ready to meet this change and have products in the field this year that will be game changers for our customers.
What sorts of things are you looking forward to seeing at Data Connect in the next 5 years?
With our current growth trajectory so positive, I see us moving beyond our core USA market into more international business. I have always had the belief that you have to establish yourself in one line of business before you can expand to the next. At Data Connect we have become the preeminent supplier of trade show software and services for the food distribution industry. Now we see many of these services fitting both the general trade show marketplace, as well as the food distribution channel in other countries.
I am really excited about the solutions we have in the pipeline and what that will mean for the company’s growth.
Any words of wisdom for show hosts and event planners out there?
Keep it simple. The more complex the system, the harder it is for your target customer to use it. Great marketing ideas are always simple for the prospect to engage in even if the processes behind them are very complex.