October 14th through 17th saw around 1,400 people descending on the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta for the 2018 MRI User Conference. The IUC combined with the Atlanta Pride Parade,the Falcons game and the Oktoberfest Beer festival meant that Atlanta was a buzz with energy!
The welcome drinks on Sunday evening showed the sheer size of the partner “ecosystem” space and proved that MRI is continuing to play by Pat’s word of maintaining an open platform.
The MRI IUC trend? Self-service and personalized reporting
Monday’s general session saw the usual “fun” approach to introducing new products and features. This year saw a focus on showing how MRI’s “Platform X” allows users across multiple business users to benefit from the interconnected product suite. After the session, and mandatory coffee break, the MRI user and prospect group tried to cram themselves into the various education sessions. The attendance at some sessions was so high that the hotel’s fire code meant that rooms had to have people removed and duplicate sessions scheduled. A firm favorite session was the “Introduction to SpreadSheet server”. The number of people attending this session provides further confirmation of a trend we at Open Box continue to see. The trend? Self-service and personalized reporting. Customized reporting is nothing new to MRI, but tools SpreadSheet server, as well as combing the MRI API (MIX) toolkit and PowerBI, allows users to access their data in ways they want, and more importantly in a far more visual way. This is such a growing trend that Open Box is looking to double down on our SpreadSheet server and MIX capabilities. If you’re constantly faced by report customization queries, now may be a good time to chat to us about how to utilize self-service reporting.
We’re working with our clients to use RPA to orchestrate the communication between MRI and their treasury platform
AI, ML and RPA remain buzz words as well. I tried, through my education session,to show the already available and real power of combining AI (in the form of an Amazon Echo) and RPA (in the form of Open Box’s automation engine) by conducting a live demo of logging a tenant work order with your voice and then allowing a “bot” to schedule the maintenance in an Outlook calendar. If you were not able to attend feel free to reach out and I will be more than happy to set up some time to give you your own live demo.
Another interesting trend was companies looking to implement treasury systems.It seems several clients have seen huge growth in the number of banks they contract with. I assume this is due to companies continually looking to find the best deal in order to cut costs. Irrespective of the reason behind the change, AP departments are busier than ever. We’re actively working with multiple clients to either use our Automation Engine to orchestrate the communication between MRI and their treasury platform or simply using the MRI tools (custom reports or MIX APIs). In the same “cost saving” vein many companies are also looking at how MRI’s JobCost module can help keep new builds and TI costs in check. MRI v10.5.1 takes the JobCost functionality even further as it looks to integrate directly with your Budgeting and Forecasting data. Combine this with Honest Building’s PM and bid leveling product, and direct MRI integration, and you have end to end planning and management of small or large jobs.
I could not write a summary of an MRI event without mentioning the focus on “fun”. Jameston’s Ponce City Market rooftop provided an amazing venue for the “Extravaganza”.The Extravaganza always provides a great opportunity for us to catch up with all our current and future clients!
Looking forward to 2019 in Anaheim.