The Best Way to Attend TUG Connects: ‘Travel as a Pack’

tug2015-666A long-time TUG Connects! participant and Special Interest Group leader has some important advice for anyone who’s planning a major ERP upgrade:

The best way to attend’s annual conference is to travel as a pack.

Judi Jardine, who’s leading the SX.e upgrade at St. Louis-based Huttig Building Products, won’t just be attending TUG Connects! 2017 by herself. She’s bringing her SX.e Upgrade Core Team Leaders, including order entry, operations, purchasing, production, and finance, some of them “people who’ve never been to a conference of any kind,” she says. “They’ve never had exposure to a bunch of SX.e users. They’ll be able to just sit around, talk about it, and see that people use the software differently. That’ll be fascinating for them, and it will help them see how they can step outside the box they’re in.”

So when you see a cluster of people from the same company making their way through the halls of the Marriott Orlando World Center February 22-25, you’ll want to remember Jardine’s words:

“We’ll be there, and we’ll be traveling as a pack, I’m sure.”

TUG: It’s (Still) About User-to-User Connections

The value Jardine attaches to a TUG conference hearkens back to the days when the annual gathering was titled U2U: User to User. While the organized sessions at TUG Connects! deliver as much information and insight as anyone could possibly take away in 40 to 60 minutes, she says she attends for the hallway conversations and networking opportunities.

“It’s having lunch with someone who’s in a similar business situation, who’s passionate about how you write cheques in SX.e, and they’re there,” she says. “It’s building those relationships and making up a list of people who want to talk to you, so you can feel comfortable putting things out on the forum and following up with your new contacts after you get home.”

That networking will be particularly important for members of the Huttig team who may not have seen process changes in a decade or more. Huttig relies heavily on the RBC module, and as that was never moved into the GUI version of SX.e, Huttig has never moved to GUI. The company is on a current release of SX.e, but remains on the CHUI interface.

“We haven’t seen many new features or functionality since 2004. We haven’t changed the way we do things in most areas since then, because our CHUI version hasn’t changed,” she says. So “the networking, just having the people they can ask questions of,” will deliver fantastic value back to the entire team.

Upgrading SX.e: It Takes a Village

Jardine is satisfied that SX.e is the ERP her company needs. But to get through an upgrade of this magnitude, it takes a village—or at least a knowledgeable, supportive community of people with similar business interests and software experience.

“SX.e is a good product for distributors,” Jardine says. “We’ve looked around, and it’s the best one out there.”

But the ERP as a whole hasn’t stopped evolving. “There’s all kinds of new functionality that has been released over the past 10-plus years in GUI that we have never seen. In addition to the WebUI upgrade, my team will be evaluating all of the features and functionality that has been previously released in GUI to see if it should be part of Huttig’s processes and procedures. It’s like putting in a whole new ERP system. We really are starting with a blank slate, and we aren’t opposed to changing any of the processes we have in place today.”

Jardine says the company has just started a transition that is expected to run through the fourth quarter of 2018. Which means the timing of TUG Connects! 2017 couldn’t be better for her purposes.

“I have our initial WebUI training scheduled for a week in January and a week in February, then a week later, we come to TUG,” she says. “So it will be perfect for the team to see what they’ve just learned in action.”

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Jardine and her team while you’re travelling the halls with your own pack!

Register today for TUG Connects! 2017, February 22-25, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.