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Protector User Group Meeting: A Tradition of Excellence

By David West
October 27, 2014

In just a few weeks we are hosting our annual Protector User Group Meeting for the 16th straight year. This gathering is always one of the highlights of the year for me. As we finalize all the details and get ready to host dozens of customers from the U.S. and abroad, it seems like a good time to enumerate all the things I love about the User Group Meeting.

  • Seeing Old Friends—this year is no exception as we will be joined by customers that have been with Equinox for ten, twenty, or (in at least once case) almost thirty years.
  • Making New Friends—as in years past, several of our newest customers will be joining us.
  • Recapping New Features and Functions—after introductions are made, the first order of business is a presentation recapping every enhancement we’ve made to Protector over the past year. These features are included in response to customer requests and are distributed for free as part of our maintenance plan.
  • Learning from Case Study Presentations—most attendees come with at least one recent case study to present. These presentations give users a chance to interact with each other and learn more about emerging fraud technics and how other carriers use Protector to combat them.
  • Discussing Wish List Items—each attendee is specifically encouraged to bring their “wish list” of new features and functions. With every stakeholder in the room (product users, support, sales, development, documentation, implementation, and the owners of Equinox), we collaboratively develop the roadmap for Protector for the coming year.
  • Getting to Know Our Customers—whether chatting about our children during the van ride to the hotel, enjoying a great dinner at the end of productive day, or heading out into the Nashville night life, all of us at Equinox enjoy the opportunity to get to know our customers better.
  • Seeing the Equinox Team Shine—at the first Protector User Group Meeting in the late 90s, I spent a lot of time talking, which I know is not anyone’s idea of a good time! Over the years, it has brought me great pleasure to see other members of our team take on responsibility for the meeting and do it better than I ever could. This includes:
    • Lesa Grubbs who organizes, administers, and coordinates every detail of the meeting space, meals, hotels, etc.
    • Christi Vanoye who leads all the training sessions and the gives the overview of new features and functions along with Senior Developer Derek Drake.
    • Amy Oldham who creates all of the communications for the meeting and thoroughly documents all the new enhancements
    • Matt Lowe who coordinates all of the case studies and user-provided content.

As you can see, there are a lot of things I really like about the User Group Meeting. But, that doesn’t mean there is not room for improvement. Most years we make a few minor tweaks, but this year we have two significant changes.

The first is to the training workshop on Wednesday. Two years ago, the training workshop was a last minute addition. Last year we promoted it in advance as an optional session, and a few folks chose to attend. This year, almost everyone has chosen to arrive a day early to take advantage of this opportunity to brush up on their Protector knowledge, learn the latest application tips, and get assistance with their specific Protector questions. Based on this response, this session will likely become a more formal and permanent addition to the meeting.

The second big change this year is our venue. In the past we have always hosted the meeting at our office. Based on the record turnout for this year’s meeting, we’ve decided to move off-site to the gorgeous new Music City Center in the heart of downtown Nashville. We’re very pleased that so many customers are joining us and look forward to showing off our hometown.

About the Author: David West is Executive Vice President of Equinox Information Systems. David oversees the company’s sales and marketing team, develops the company’s long-term strategic plan, and works directly with the company’s hundreds of customers across the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. When he is not helping Equinox achieve record growth, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, and serving his community through his efforts at Salvation Army of Middle Tennessee and St. Bartholomew's Church. To learn more, visit www.equinoxis.com or call (615) 612-1200.