Well, you know I’m going to retire so maybe you think that title means that I’m starting the process. No, not yet. But for the year 2015 we are starting to wrap things up.

We just published the last major report of the year: The annual Compensation Survey which covers salaries and incentives for more than 70 different positions spanning management, field sales and service, technical marketing and sales support, product design and development, manufacturing engineering and software programming. I’ll be studying those results and publishing an overview of what I glean from the report. This year we did separate data reported by our channel partners and show them as a separate line in each job category and we are anticipating asking for some job description clarification from the HR representatives to make sure we are keeping up with current job classifications. If you missed the invitation to participate in this study, you can always submit your company’s data and obtain the report (members get it free, others must pay for the privilege).

Thirty of our member companies saved a considerable amount of money going through MCAA for a group purchase on licenses to use the D&B Hoover’s business database. An individual company would purchase a minimum of 3 licenses directly through D&B for nearly $4,700. Most companies don’t need three licenses and MCAA can provide just a single license for just $725. So the apples to apples comparisonwould be $3,200 vs. $1,065 (single license with export credits). There is a tremendous advantage in the group option. You might want to put that on your calendar to participate when we do renewals next July-August.

Our final program of the year—the Customer Satisfaction Survey—is getting ramped up. If you’ve not used this cost-effective way to survey your own customers to get feedback on your performance, I encourage you to contact us and ask how it works. Its very effective, inexpensive and provides you with a benchmark against others in our industry to put that feedback into perspective. It does take some time to build your database, scrub it so that you don’t waste time sending a survey to someone whose mailbox is closed and prepare any custom questions that you might want to insert that relate just to your own business practices.

The Board of Directors will be presented with a draft budget at its October meeting and approve it and any dues changes in November. New Officers and Directors will be nominated and presented to the membership for a vote in December. Additionally, they will be presented with some slight modifications to the Association’s ByLaws which will combine all channel partner and systems integrators firms into a single membership category (with a single, flat-fee dues rate which is lower than the current rates) as well as combine all consultant and industry-related members into a single “Associate” membership category with a single flat-rate dues rate that, again, will be lower (for most) than the current rates.

Its been a busy and successful year and we’re not done yet. We’ll start to gear up for 2016 with all new programs in marketing statistics, operating benchmarks and, of course, the Industry Forum networking and eduation in the spring. Look for my thoughts about the Forum next month.