Sure. I have worked in the international Capture, ECM and BPM industry for over 20 years. In 2011, I founded DocVille, a networking initiative for executives from the international Information Management (IM) ecosystem (ECM, Analytics,BPM, Capture, BI and BPO).
Since 2006, I have been providing strategic, executive consulting in international GTM, expansion, innovation, turnaround/transition leadership, recruitment and investor relations to companies worldwide. From 1993 onwards, I held senior executive roles, including Vice President of European Sales at ABBYY. Prior to ABBYY, I served as Senior Vice President, Europe at the BPO company, Anacomp and also as Managing Director, Kofax EMEA, where I was the first European employee and established and grew the company’s highly successful EMEA operations, later managing sales, marketing, operations and technical support.
In addition, I earned an MBA in International Business from the European School of Business in Reutlingen as well as an engineering degree in Computer Science from the University of Applied Science, Darmstadt. I am also author of a number of whitepapers and market research documents and have also taken a lot of international speaker engagements in our market.
I have travelled abroad extensively for over 20 years during my career in our sector, and have witnessed the excellent networking habits of the vendor community in their local markets, where they compete but also collaborate and exchange knowledge about business and technology trends - ultimately, growing together in their local ecosystems. On the global stage, however, I recognized the scenario is often quite the reverse.
Through my work, responding to requests for international, partner profiling, identifying candidates for vacancies, GTM strategies and so forth, I became aware of a strong need for an internationally-focused network to represent our entire Information Management ecosystem. I believe that tremendous, untapped potential is waiting to be unleashed via collaborative relationships and productive partnerships; by eliminating boundaries and identifying commonalities between key individuals.
However, a community can only live and breathe if people meet physically. Thus, we also needed the annual DocVille community meeting where our members can meet face to face and where the majority of networking takes place as do roundtable discussions about hot topics within our industry and a lot of socializing over lunch, dinner and outings in the evening.
What benefits do DocVille members receive?
What characterises our members is that they are senior executives from the international Information Management (IM) ecosystem (Capture, ECM, BPM, BI and BPO) and that they have a strong interest in networking with their international peers.
Once our members get to know each other, many also reconnect, exchange ideas and collaborate. It is always productive to exchange information about trends in the rapidly changing IM market. Mainstream business intelligence is readily available from market-leading analysts, but vendors also like to share their own observations and predictions for the future with their peers, in a more granular way. To achieve this, our members can join and participate in DocVille's LinkedIn group and, once a year, they can also meet face to face, at our annual conference, where the majority of networking takes place as do our renowned roundtable discussions about hot topics within our industry.
Furthermore, we see that the shortage of qualified experts in the job market is an impeding factor for growth. Hence, our industry can benefit greatly if we collaborate internationally. This collaboration can take place directly between our members, but they can also access external help, both strategically and operationally, via DocVille’s recommended advisors in areas such as international expansion, collaboration, M&A, GTM strategies, project & product management, solutions design, speaking engagements, recruitment of specialist staff and executive coaching in various fields of Information Management. Document Boss is incidentally, the M&A specialist we recommend to our members.
DocVille is inspiring and connecting the people that make up our industry. After our last conference, attendees reported back to us that extensive interaction took place at both a technology and business alliance level; through their feedback, we have observed many different collaboration scenarios. For example:
Partnerships and alliances on a technological, sales and marketing level:
Many vendors serve the same market but with different, yet complementary, products; forming new partnerships on a technological, as well as on a sales and marketing level, works to their mutual benefit.
System integrator-BPO collaboration:
A system integrator specializing in DMR and AP/Invoice automation met a supplier of Document Service BPO at DocVille, who is now using his services for solution implementation and professional services. Interestingly, both parties were from the UK and didn’t know of each other before they met on a roundtable, discussing DMR at DocVille.
Strategic Vendor Alliance collaboration:
A BPM solution vendor that formed a strategic alliance with a capture solution vendor.
There have been several scenarios whereby vendors and system integrators reported that they met other technology vendors that had the technology they were looking for to incorporate into their solutions.
Joining forces to win international projects:
Two BPO organisations collaborated to win an international deal; as it was a cross boarder transaction, one BPO on its own did not have sufficient international coverage.
Entering new markets:
Vendors wishing to enter new markets making contact with representatives from a variety of countries at DocVille and enjoying meaningful discussions about the best, strategic approach to facilitate entry into specific markets.
Delegates also collaborate by exchanging ideas on best practices in new product and solution areas or simply, to compare notes on market trends and specific topics of interest such as mobility, cloud, social media, multi-channel engagements, content analytics etc. learning the pros and cons from their peers.
In addition, reports from market leading, IM industry analysts are highly informative but also rather general in nature; at our roundtables we drill down to the granular level and benefit from immediate feedback on trends and issues from a diverse range of people from the international vendor community, who willingly share their observations.
We currently have about 1200 members from 30 different countries. The majority are from Europe, closely followed by North America, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Our members come from the entire Information Management solution vendor ecosystem, including BPOs, System Integrators, Software and Hardware vendors, distributors and VARs.
Interesting that you should ask... In fact, the reality is quite the contrary. Many senior executives know each other mainly from the news or from having coincidently met at previous industry functions. The senior executives who attend our event come with the obvious intention of networking and exchanging ideas with their peers. All of them spend a major part of their lives focusing on very specific and similar issues and they are delighted to find that they are finally able to converse with others who share the same interests and issues. Since DocVille delegates come from many different countries, in the majority of cases, they are, in fact, not in competition, which would obviously not be the case if they all came from the same country.
I don’t want to say it is more beneficial. Each country has its own IM market specific issues, legislation, maturity, size, dynamics, drivers and customers and even here in Europe, these vary greatly and it is necessary in each country to exchange, compete or collaborate.
However, solution vendors within one country and domestic market are in constant competition, which is a major impediment to good dialogue and debate about market trends and strategy considerations. However, take the example of two vendors that are from (and work in) two different countries. Although they may have a similar profile and customer base, they are not in direct competition. When they meet at DocVille, they are open to discuss and confer about their observations and strategic considerations, which is a great benefit for our community.
In addition, as the IM market is more advanced and mature in technology and solution areas in some countries than in others, delegates often hear of opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from solution vendors that may still be ahead of them. To give an example, in some countries cloud adoption is much more advanced and vendors have had to deal with issues such as converting from on-premise delivery to hybrid solutions, including SaaS and the cloud , coupled with the impact of challenges such as legal issues, new pricing models, cash-flow issues, new remuneration models for their sales team, multi-tenancy on the solution platforms and so on. Insights on such subjects from peers who have the same and similar issues are extremely beneficial and typically, you just wouldn’t have such an open dialogue with peers from competing, domestic vendors - particularly since maybe your market has not yet reached this stage of maturity. As such, the discussions at DocVille can be very inspiring and can drive innovation.
To be precise, the upcoming event will take place in Brussels on Monday May 10th and commences at 11 a.m. Attendees will benefit from a great international networking opportunity and interesting discussions about the latest trends in the Capture, BPM & ECM market as it continues its rapid evolution. During the event there will be plenty of time to network during working meals, long networking breaks and round table discussions - where senior executives can discuss their topic of interest within a smaller group of peers. There will also be a relaxed dining event in the evening, where networking and conversations can continue.
In addition, there will be one Keynote Speech during the event, which will be the only presentation; the rest of the day is spent in dialogue and debate, when all participants will be asked to contribute in the roundtables. The moderators for these sessions are very experienced in their areas of expertise and are volunteers from our DocVille community. There will be different sessions running concurrently and, depending on demand, we may run certain topics more than once, in separate rooms. Attendees are free to choose which sessions they wish to attend during the event. The purpose of these sessions is to meet peers, to share and discuss opinions, visions and insights around topics of joint interest and to learn from each other, validating ideas and strategies. The sessions will close with a general Q&A discussion at 6 p.m. and attendees will then meet for the networking drinks & dinner afterwards.
In the morning session we will have presentations about IT market trends and perspectives looking forwards to 2020, including which actions solution vendors should consider when creating their future strategies in the Digital Content Market. Then, in the afternoon we break out into the roundtable sessions whereby everybody is invited to actively discuss the new trends, technologies and business models that are influencing our international IM markets over the years to come such as implications of the next Digital Transformation for the vendors, their solutions, their services, partnership relations as well as sales-marketing models. Furthermore, we will discuss evolutions and opportunities of solutions embracing Content Analytics, mobile, cloud, new pricing and compensation models. We will also look at general topics about BPO commoditization or IT Vendors Nearshoring vs Offshoring, Dark Data, SharePoint 2016 or vertical topics such as how digitization is changing the insurance industry. So, as you can see, there is a great variety of very hot and interesting topics about future trends, evolutions and opportunities for our DocVille members to choose from. I think there are about 20 roundtable topics in total. After all the sessions, we will be hosting panel discussions about the most interesting topics with our moderators as panelists. To get a clearer idea, however, and see a detailed description of all these topics I advise you having a look at our website.
Many do, some don’t. But as we all know, once a senior executive requires information or collaboration, they remember the people they met and discussed such topics with at DocVille; it is far easier to reach out to somebody you already know and also increases your chances of getting what you are seeking. In addition, DocVille members can also ask for help from our network after the event and we will do our best to connect the right people and obtain the necessary external assistance.
First of all one needs to have the right profile and attitude. Our members are all senior executives from the international Information Management (IM) ecosystem (Capture, ECM, BPM, BI and BPO) who are keen to network at an international level with their peers.
The most important thing is that interested individuals have a profile on LinkedIn. It is then very easy for each person to apply to become a member of our LinkedIn group. After approval, individuals can enjoy participating in the discussions of our LI forum and are entitled to visit our annual community meeting. Alternatively, one can also simply apply for a membership on our website.