Recapping Ekos_Con 2021

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A peek inside our virtual user conference

Ekos_Con, our annual user conference, has taken many forms over the years — from a gathering at our headquarters in Charlotte to a U.S. roadshow with events across the country. In 2021, we had no choice but to hold a virtual conference, but it turned out to be an Ekos_Con for the record books.

This year’s event featured more than 50 speakers and 24 sessions, covering thought leadership topics, training on Ekos best practices, and insights into the future of Ekos. In total, nearly 1,000 customers and partners attended at least one session — surpassing even our greatest expectations.

In case you missed this amazing event, we’re sharing our key takeaways.

Product improvements are in the works

We’ve heard our customers’ feedback: there are areas of Ekos where we need to improve. That’s why we’ve been hyper-focused on gathering input through surveys, feedback sessions, and interviews. With a clear picture of what our customers want to see, our team is hard at work to launch the next generation of Ekos. In our day two keynote, Rachel Hoppe, the new vice president of product, shared the Q2/Q3 product roadmap.

Ekos customers can click over to our Knowledge Base to watch the hour-long session which covers:

  • Recent launches, like custom brew logs and bond management improvements
  • Everything you need to know about the launch of the Ekos Boost Interface beta program
  • Upcoming improvements for our wine customers and production users
  • Insights into how our roadmap was created and an introduction to the Ekos product team

Ekos customers are resilient & innovative

It’s no secret that 2020 was a difficult year for everyone. And although there were challenges across the industry, there were also incredible stories of perseverance, hope, and success. Many Ekos customers were leaders in innovation and found ways to not only survive but even thrive in the last 15 months.

In our thought leadership track, we brought together brewery, winery, and cidery owners, managers, and employees to talk about the challenges they’ve faced, how they’ve been able to succeed, and lessons learned along the way. We got to hear about how a small brewery more than doubled its production in 2020 through ecommerce sales, how a cidery reconfigured its taproom space to get customers in the door while meeting state and federal restrictions, and how a winery embraced new packaging and messaging to reach younger customers.

While we wish there was a way to showcase the unique stories of each of our customers, we are glad that we were able to share just a few at Ekos_Con this year. We hope everyone who attended was inspired by their peers and what they’ve been able to accomplish.

Technology is essential

What’s in your tech stack? This was a hot topic of conversation at Ekos_Con 2021, as breweries, wineries, and cideries evaluate new options for technology and strive to find the right solutions for their businesses. What’s clear is that there are many options, but no single right answer.

In 2020, the Ekos team surveyed 1,500 businesses to find out what software they rely on for accounting, internal communication, CRM, ecommerce, POS, and more. While some of the findings have likely shifted due to the rise of ecommerce over the past year, this report highlights the importance of choosing the right partners and finding ways to connect technology to streamline your processes.

We know that the right technology will unlock powerful insights about your business. This is the future that Ekos is working to build, where every aspect of the craft supply chain will connect through our system. Our CEO Josh McKinney breaks down this idea in a recent blog post, and you’ll be hearing more about how we’re building this platform in the coming months.

There’s always more to learn about Ekos

Ekos is a powerful piece of software, but with so many capabilities, it’s hard to become a power user overnight. We provide our customers with many opportunities for training, including the Knowledge Base, the onboarding program, monthly webinars, and more. But Ekos_Con is a time where we can focus on giving our customers tips and tricks for getting more out of our software.

This year, we hosted 12 training sessions that covered best practices for:

  • Our core modules — production, inventory, sales, and accounting
  • Process optimization
  • DTC and POS integrations
  • Custom reporting and dashboards
  • Integrating with QuickBooks or Xero
  • Lot tracking and keg tracking

Early feedback from customers has shown that dedicating time to training, whether to refresh your memory or to learn new tricks, is vital for teams that want to grow. If you missed any of the training sessions, they are still available on Whova, so we recommend that you take the time to watch and improve your Ekos knowledge.

Community is everything

The best part about our industry is the community. Seeing our customers in person and creating opportunities for connection is one of the things that makes Ekos_Con so special. Unfortunately, we had to forgo face-to-face interaction this year, but we were blown away by the way that the community came together virtually.

The forums on our event platform were on fire throughout the two-day conference. (If you attended, make sure to go back into Whova to check out the conversations.) Ekos users connected to share recommendations for the best software, best practices for using Ekos, ideas for streamlining processes, and more. A few groups of customers even went above and beyond and hosted post-Ekos_Con get-togethers where they recapped the lessons learned from the virtual sessions.

Our team is already thinking about next year’s event and how we can keep the community aspect front and center, both in-person and online. No one knows the industry (and Ekos!) better than our customers and we want to provide opportunities for you all to learn from one another.

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Written by Elizabeth