This is the fifth year in a row we have held our Regional User Groups for New Zealand customers. So far this year we have held three out of four user groups and have had some fantastic engagement and feedback at our Christchurch, Palmerston North, and Hamilton events, with customers attending from all over the South Island, lower North Island, and the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Our marketing team sat down with David Long, General Manager New Zealand, to hear his take on the events.
Whereas the National Conferences provide a more strategic view, the Regional User Groups have a more operational and tactical focus, and target the day-to-day challenges our customers have in their roles. The topics we cover are driven by the needs of the attendees, so it’s very user focused: everyone attending can nominate the topics they want to discuss.
There are two key benefits of the Regional User Groups: building regional customer networks, and sharing knowledge. Our customers are some of the leading asset management professionals in Australasia. Many have developed innovative and pragmatic solutions and responses to asset management challenges, and so there is an opportunity to share and discuss these ideas. The User Groups aren’t just about the software. Many enduring business relationships have sprung out of these events, and we’ve set up a Slack channel so our users can continue to share knowledge and have conversations, even when the events are over. The idea is that we use Slack as a way to continue the conversations.
A number of the topics weren’t new to us, as the challenges are enduring. But while we’ve heard about these issues before, others have not, and the User Groups provide the opportunity to discuss new and emerging responses.
Once again, the biggest challenges are around data integration, dealing with deferred maintenance, and resourcing asset management activities.
Whereas the importance of asset management is gaining recognition from a wider range of organisations, resourcing is one of the biggest challenges. ISO 55000 is increasing the profile of asset management, but few organisations in New Zealand are seriously driving towards accreditation. Instead they are aligning with the principles and practices.
The regional user groups are all about sharing knowledge and experience with those from the SPM Assets user community. As a result we deal with a range of topics, like the ones I’ve just mentioned. We will be providing an update on the latest products and features we’ve delivered, including Programs and Stories. We will also provide an overview of the solution we have developed for the New York Affordable Housing sector. And we’ll finish up with a quick review of some of the key software features that are often overlooked and forgotten about.
The final NZ Regional User Group for the year is on Thursday 24 October 2019 in Auckland – you can register here. And the Auckland Annual Conference is on Thursday 19 March 2020 at the Novotel, Auckland – reserve a date in your diary now.
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