Industry Solutions: A Focus on Healthcare, Retail, and Manufacturing

Travis Cook

There are numerous technology solution providers in the market today, many of which have some level of industry specialization, be it healthcare, retail, manufacturing, or another of the many vertical markets. This focused approach makes sense. Customers today are looking for IT partners who have deep expertise and a broad solution portfolio, coupled with a fluency in the unique language of that industry.

For Connection, building our industry expertise required considerable time, effort, and energy (passion)—and some large financial investments. From our perspective, the development of a successful industry practice necessitates listening attentively to customers, actively participating in industry organizations and events, and carefully crafting technology solutions that solve real business challenges. Those industry solutions are a mix of market-specific solutions (think shopper engagement in retail), as well as generalized IT offerings (notebooks, printers, peripherals, and more) that need to be oriented correctly to meet the needs of the industry being served.

Over a decade ago, Connection recognized a need to develop healthcare-specific resources, training, and industry partnerships to ensure that we’d be well positioned to meet the needs of our healthcare customers who found themselves in a changing market, but had not yet faced the enormous pressures that HITECH Act (2009) and Meaningful Use (2010) would later apply. Our early foray into healthcare required tremendous focus, determination, and grit. The learning curve was steep, but we persevered and now we have a robust healthcare practice with an experienced team that we are incredibly proud of. The lessons learned over the years have served us well. We’ve continuously improved our healthcare practice and developed a repeatable framework that allows us to rapidly develop presence and expertise in other industries.

Our Director of Retail Strategy, Brian Gallagher, who spent 20 years in various roles in retail, recently said he wishes he had a nickel for every time he told an employee to “treat customers as you would want to be treated.” He went on to say that phrase no longer holds true. It’s now critical that retailers “treat customers as THEY want to be treated.” This means customizing the experience and selling to them in a personalized way. Advancements in technology, such as mobile marketing tools with Wi-Fi analytics and machine learning, are helping progressive retailers identify location and in-store shopping behavior information that enables them to customize shopping experiences, ensures content relevancy, and ultimately captures more customer spend.

Earlier this year, after careful consideration and planning, we added a strategic focus on manufacturing. Given the large number of customers in this industry, and the technological transformation occurring with our clients in this space, the development of a specialized practice was a logical move for us. In the coming months, we’ll continue to make investments in our manufacturing practice with solution development, resources, and employee training. In keeping with our history of hiring for industry-specific experience, we brought on Ryan Spurr to lead the charge—an industry veteran with over 15 years of manufacturing experience. We’re leveraging Ryan’s expertise in manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, and quality to transform the way we engage with and bring value to our manufacturing clients.

This is an incredible time to work in technology. Innovation is disrupting entire industries and there is gigantic potential for our clients to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and transform customer experience. Capitalizing on technology’s potential requires partnering with a solution provider who “speaks the language” and has experts on staff who have line of sight into industry best practices.

At Connection, our Industry Solutions Group has that expertise, and we’re working tirelessly to keep a pulse on healthcare, retail, and manufacturing so we can deliver an experience that will exceed customer expectations. We hope you can be part of the conversation we’re having in these industries, whether it be at a partner meeting, customer event, or at an industry meetup. We’re passionate about these vertical markets, and we know you are too.

Travis Cook is Director of Industry Solutions Group at Connection, with over 20 years of technology industry experience, including positions in sales, sales management, and operations. Travis is passionate about the application of IT within the retail, manufacturing and finance vertical markets, and he has particular interest and experience in the healthcare industry.