Activant's on-site Technology Center gathers customers and experts to share ideas, ask questions, and try out new solutions.

Activant, a developer of comprehensive enterprise software solutions, held its annual Summit Conference in Las Vegas, March 21-24. The annual event, strictly for wholesale distribution customers, encouraged networking opportunities among different distributors to share ideas on how to improve their business. A schedule of classes also provided a time for breakout sessions, which included demonstrations on Activant Prophet 21™ (formerly CommerceCenter), B2B Seller, wireless warehouse and online idea exchanges. Throughout the Summit, attendees were also invited to interact with a variety of software options and services directly on-site at Activant's Technology Center.

Steve McLaughlin, senior vice president and general manager of Activant's wholesale distribution group, welcomed more than 1,200 guests at the general session. McLaughlin told SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES he's excited to be working with such a dynamic group. “It's been non-stop, going out and visiting customers in all the different market segments. I hear and watch things happen business-wise on the warehouse side, and it's huge. We've sold a lot of warehouse management units. In fact we're demo-ing the Wireless Warehouse Management Solution here at the Tech Center.”

A Show Within A Conference

The Tech Center stayed open throughout the event, almost as a show within the conference. It offered a place to try the latest version of one's current software solution or to test drive another one, view demonstrations, and take free computer-based and Web-based training courses. “Each software platform has a product manager in attendance in charge of directing the development of the product. So, they are meeting with customers to give them insight on where the product is going, and asking how they want to see the product modified or further used,” said McLaughlin. “There could be several wholesalers from different distribution markets such as HVAC, plumbing or electrical, using the same platform. But the idea is to get them all together in this type of setting to meet industry experts and other types of businesses and companies using the same system to share ideas.”

Online Idea Exchange

Activant has developed an online idea exchange, which originated from its technology conference and the opportunities it created for its customers. Online idea exchanges continue that networking ability after the Summit with topics ranging from ways to increase employees' use of software to better management tactics. Fellow distributors participate in these sessions at no cost and are hosted by Activant over the Internet. To register for a free session with other wholesale distributors, visit