Back at home after the first annual Diebold Nixdorf TAGxPIX event in Las Vegas. As I mentioned in the blog last week, the Diebold TAG User Group has been meeting for 40 years and the PIX partner group has been around for more than 20 years, but this was the first time that Diebold put the two groups together in the same place at the same time.
Having been to more conferences through the years than I can count, I have to say the results were excellent. I met some new friends, renewed some old acquaintances and learned a lot.
Chad Lynch from America First Credit Union (who was attending his 23rd consecutive TAG event) described the value of the event as helping people to “connect, communicate and collaborate.”
Many technology related user groups (customer groups) have formed through the years. Often around the need for the customers to band together in order to drive a dialogue with a large, and perhaps myopic, supplier. There are also many partner programs that exist, though many are focused solely at distributors and re-sellers.
As a multi-billion dollar corporation, Diebold Nixdorf is under no obligation really to support either type program. The investment in both money and resources is not trivial. It definitely takes a significant commitment to do these sorts of things and there are many large players in the financial services domain that have neither type of program.
So it is to DN’s credit that they take the time and effort to support both an active User Group and a Partner program. Also noteworthy is that the DN team works closely with both groups to make connections.
This is a key point. There was a lot of dialogue this week from all the participants about how broad and complex the payments ecosystem has become. Think hardware, software, networking, security and all the other component pieces required to run a financial services operation today. It is simply not possible for any one organization to supply the total needs.
So what does that mean? It means we need to work together. So once we have made the connections, we need to communicate.
As you might imagine, we talked about many things during the TAGxPIX event. There were 3 full days of discussion, with a combination of “main tent” key notes and focused breakout sessions.
This is not in any way and exhaustive list of the topics we covered:
Agility, AI, automation, APIs, blockchain, bitcoin, biometrics, bandwidth and business models, customer experience, competition, connectivity, cardless, contactless, compliance, cash and costs, data, distribution, disruptors, digital transformation, features, functions, fintechs, fraud detection and protection, infrastructure, integration, innovation, IoT, journeys, jackpotting, loyalty, legacy, machines, models, mobile, monitoring and management, opportunities, options, on-boarding, optimization, people, processes, performance, payments, privacy, personalization and profitability, revenue, requirements, redundancy, risks and rewards, strategy, security, settlement, SaaS, scale, skimming and services, touchpoints, transactions, transformation, transparency, trust...
Yes, it is a lot of topics to discuss, but the size of the list illustrates the amount of change taking place across the industry.
The key point here is that the people who need to work together to make things happen were in direct dialogue about what they see, what they think and what they are doing.
All three groups (vendor, customers and partners) were able to give and get direct input and feedback and hear all of it firsthand. What a novel concept.
I do want to point out one other great example of communication.
As many of you are aware, DN recently had a bit of financial trouble. As we read about things like this in the press, it is natural to wonder about what exactly has happened, how it impacts your business partner and your relationship, etc. During the closing portion of the program, DN brought the senior execs for the Americas region up on the stage for the final event wrap-up. Octavio Marquez, the Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Americas was asked to address this issue. He gave a very clear, concise and candid update on the situation that was heard directly and uncensored by customers, partners and staff alike, all at the same time. It was very well done. I overheard several other attendees comment very positively on these remarks that I am sure they helped to assuage any concerns that any of the TAG or PIX members may have had about the health and well-being of Diebold Nixdorf.
This is why (and how) we communicate.
Now that we have connected and communicated, we then must work together to solve problems, develop new ideas, build new products. We must collaborate to keep the industry moving forward.
Why is that important to Paragon? As with any new "thing" from the topic list above that gets developed, it's crucial that it's tested. Any process that gets changed, needs to be tested.
As a supplier to both Diebold’s customers and other partners it is imperative that we understand what they are thinking, where they are going, what they are doing so that we can have the right testing tools ready and available when they are required.
While the DN TAGxPIX event is recent and fresh in my mind, and it serves to emphasize the value of engaging with customers and partners, there are certainly other good examples of collaborative efforts in the marketplace:
- The ATMIA Next Gen ATM committee
- The US Payments forum has numerous working groups comprised of cross industry participants
- Visa has their Payment Technology Partner (PTP) program
I understand that there is cost associated with these various programs, yet there really is no downside to connecting, communicating and collaborating.
Clearly, no one company is going to provide all of the products and services required to propel the ATM industry into the digital age. This is simply not possible. There is too much complexity, too much technology involved, too much change and too little time.
All of us within the industry have a vested interest in making sure that we do the right things – together – to ensure that we remain relevant, competitive and profitable into the future. And, that means working together.
So let’s talk.