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Connect, Learn, Share – The ACI Exchange 2017 Round UP!

Connect, Learn, Share – The ACI Exchange 2017 Round UP!

If you’ve never experienced “dry heat” (which is much like actual “heat”)—you haven’t lived! Stepping off the plane in Phoenix last month for ACI’s Annual User Exchange, the mercury was literally jumping out of the thermostat at 116 degrees Fahrenheit…and it was unlike anything this New Englander has ever experienced. I mention the weather here because it’s the important backdrop to talk about Exchange itself; you could say that the heat was required to properly bake this event to perfection over the four-day agenda and fully deliver on this year’s theme of connect, learn, share.

From the main stage panels and presentations to the breakout meetings and informal huddles in the hallway, this year’s conference had a bit of a different feel from years past. From the design of the show to the execution, the event successfully connected with ACI, our sponsors and other companies in attendance.  The ‘fireside chat’ (read: air conditioned conference rooms) with ACI leaders provided a cross pollination of ideas coming from a wide spectrum of merchants, eCommerce players, billers, retail banks, commercial banks and financial institutions.  My fireside chat sparked a great discussion on the “New Payments Ecosystem.” We honed in on the emerging roles for Financial Institutions and merchants—and the importance of placing the customer at the center of the payments experience.

Bringing these groups together in the desert gave us a chance to really take the time to learn from one another, discussing exciting and interesting topics from Blockchain to new Fraud risks to Open APIs to “what is innovation” (and even celebrating a 50-year-old machine) and marrying those with discussions around the ACI offerings and how our clients are using them. The agenda was jam-packed and often during the event I found myself having to make a split decision in the hallway as to which breakout I should attend, thankfully all the material from the event has been shared so I have had time to pick through the presentations I had to miss.

On our main stage, Wharton professor David Robertson shared his insights on innovation—using the LEGO company case-study as a fascinating (and fun) way to learn about the staying power of the brand through its innovate strategies. I may never look at my kids’ LEGOs the same way.

But the best part of the conference was how willing everyone was to share their experiences, ideas and use cases to help the broader group understand how they are looking at the ecosystem and market—and how their peers are looking at the same threats and opportunities. We discussed the New Payments Ecosystem and (at least from my perspective) the best way to move forward is to roll up our sleeves, play with new technology, partner and share our experiences to help move the industry forward.

As a bonus, and in keeping with the Southwestern theme, I got to try on some cowboy boots and chaps, but that’s all that needs to be said there! I hope all of you enjoyed Exchange as much as I did—and I look forward to seeing everyone next year in the Mile High City. Until then, I hope you all continue to connect, learn and share those experiences with us!