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CONNECT2017 User Conference a massive hit

In all, over 130 delegates from 70 companies attended the event. In addition to representatives from Finance and IT, we were very pleased to see so many attend this year from Commercial, Procurement, Estimating, Contracts and HR.

The event took place on 18th/19th October at Stadium MK, home of MK Dons FC. The new venue certainly got the thumbs up from delegates, as did the format – a rich mix of presentations, hands-on sessions, Special Interest Groups, Learning Lab, keynote speakers, guest speakers from third party organisations and, for the first time this year, customers sharing their own experience of the system.

Phil Kent, RedSky MD, opened the event, which is now in its 28th year. He said: “We know our customers love to learn what they can do with their key business systems, as well as what other customers have been doing with theirs. We’re really pleased to continue supporting this event.” Jim MacFarlane, CEO of JDM Technology Group and owner of RedSky, provided an update on the Group including information on the latest acquisitions.

Sessions were divided into three streams:

  • Executive – an overview of high-level concepts.
  • Best Practice – ‘In conversation’ pieces with users and advice from RedSky experts on how to get the best out of certain parts of the system, like Drawing Management, Accounts Payable and the Invoice Register.
  • Technical – ‘under the hood’ sessions for advanced business users, on topics like Mobile Forms, Business Analytics and Cost Value Reconciliation.

Keynote presentations were delivered by KPMG’s Oliver Geidt who provided an insight into the likely impact of Brexit on the Construction industry and Liz Bridge, Secretary to the Joint Taxation Committee, who spoke about proposed tax changes: Reverse Charging VAT and Making Tax Digital.

The User Group Committee invited external speakers whose presentations were very well received:

  • Authentic’s Graham Knight-Whiddett talked about cyber threats and how to protect businesses from attacks.
  • Lorna Anderson of Continuity2 gave a talk on business continuity and how companies might prepare for the unexpected.
  • Celine McGeown & Karen Sharp of T4C introduced delegates to the availability of grant funding to support growth.

As this was very much a user-driven event, we thought it would be fitting to describe it through the eyes of the users. Here’s just a small selection of the many comments we received:

Michelle Malone, Malone Roofing, on being inspired by other users:
“I’ve never been to one of these events before, because taking time out of work isn’t something I do (…) but there was a talk by Chris Foulkes from Neville Construction who recently migrated to Summit and I thought ‘Let’s go along. Let’s listen to somebody else who has actually done it.’ Chris she spoke so well about it as a result we are now considering our options. – for me it really has made a difference.”

Alex Stewart, Dyer & Butler, on a Special Interest Group:
“I’ve just been to the Special Interest Group on the financial aspects of Summit. It was interesting to hear the problems that other people have and the solutions they’ve come up with – and the things that RedSky have done to improve Summit and what they’re planning on doing in the future.”

Sue Smith, Ashe Construction, on networking:
“I find that the User Group meetings are very good and useful for networking, speaking to people and finding out how they use their systems.”

Phil Griffiths, M Lambe Construction Ltd, on Business Analytics and the Learning Lab:
“I’ve learnt an awful lot about the system itself and about the functionality, especially Business Analytics and how we can use that to identify trends and patterns, and then things hopefully that we can focus on that will drive efficiencies. That’s been brilliant. A few of my colleagues used the Learning Lab and said it was exceptional.”

Michelle Boyle, MAC Interiors NI Limited, on the Hints and Tips session and the “buzz” in the air:
“The most useful thing for me has been the ‘Hints and Tips’ – it’s been fantastic. We’ve identified functionality that is available but not switched on within our system and is most useful to the future development of MAC. I think there was a great buzz today about the future and a lot of excitement about the Invoice Register. All round, it was extremely positive.”

RedSky will return to Stadium Milton Keynes for CONNECT2018. The event takes place 10th and 11th October 2018.

If you would like more information on RedSky and our product options please click here or telephone +44 (0)20 3002 8700.