Commercial Integrator Evaluating CRM Strategy After CI Summit

Boardroom presentations and conversations with other guests led CCI Solution’s Duke DeJong to take another look at his company’s CRM software plan.

In two years of attending the CI Summit, Duke DeJong, the VP of systems integration for CCI Solutions of Olympia, Wash., has found value in the connections he has been able to make at the event. And, that has led to new product solutions and even a potential adjustment in business processes.

CCI Solutions focuses mainly on integration in performance venues and houses of worship. In meeting with other commercial integrators from around the country, he finds there is an opportunity to share secrets and help each other because they are not direct competitors, even if what they are doing does not directly line up with his own company’s work.

“It definitely requires a little bit of interpretation and how it can fit our context, but I think that’s true with anybody, even if it’s just market-to-market,” DeJong says. “If I’m talking to somebody who’s doing the same thing as I am, but I’m on the West Coast and they’re on the East Coast, you’re still going to have to do some of that because the markets are different.”

CCI Solutions VP of systems integration Duke DeJong
CCI Solutions VP of systems integration Duke DeJong

Sometimes, though, there are solutions that transcend markets. DeJong discovered one of those during a boardroom session with ConnectWise, in part because of a fellow integrator.

Company representatives had been delivering their presentation to the group of integrators, and many were very interested in their offerings. But, there was one guest in the room with whom that presentation truly struck a chord.

“Toward the end of the presentation, one of the guys said, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but everybody, we just spent $2 million over the last two years developing our own system and we’re idiots. This would have been way better. Buy this,’” DeJong recalls. “Then, four of us were talking about it for the next half hour on our breaks asking questions. Why are you an idiot for building your own? Why would you never do that again?

“Those brief little moments of ‘Guys we did this, it was terrible. Do it this way, it’s better,’ were meaningful. Even those comments in the middle of a boardroom presentation spurred a half hour worth of conversation afterward and was very applicable for us.”

It was particularly applicable for DeJong and CCI because they recently had begun developing some CRM software of their own. This presentation, that guest’s comments and the following discussions gave him some relevant information to consider, which they still are doing.

This was not the first time a boardroom presentation had proved fruitful for him. A year earlier, during his first CI Summit, he found himself in a meeting with a company with whom he was familiar. But, as so often happens at the event, he learned there was much more to their business, which helped him solve a problem that often was a pain point.

“We had a boardroom presentation with ADI, who we’d known as a distributor,” DeJong explains. “We do some work with them, but they really got my attention on their OEM flat panel display. So, we got a chance to dig in with them more during the one-on-one meeting and over the last year, we’ve done at least a few dozen of those displays that we didn’t even know existed before that event.”

DeJong says one of his primary goals in attending the CI Summit each year is to learn how to bring better and more cost-effective solutions to his clients. With these boardroom presentations and collaboration with other guests, he feels he’s done that.