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P21 CONNECT 2018 – Learnings from the conference

Karthik Chidambaram
August 27, 2018 |

P21 CONNECT – Washington, D.C. (Aug 19,-21), 2018

As you may know, we specialize in custom B2B builds for Manufacturers and Distributors – using our integration tool – DCKAP Integrator (Formerly Cloras) – and platforms such as Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify Plus. This is our second P21 CONNECT conference, and the event gets better each year. We enjoyed the opportunity to hear from hundreds of manufacturers and distributors of things such as irrigation equipment and hydraulic supplies (and many other things), who use P21 as their ERP system. We’ve seen first hand the power of open communication within a knowledgeable, committed community. And our team are happy to be here – looking to listen, learn and add some value, too!We enjoyed interacting with the P21 User Group and being exposed to the broader ecosystem.  Because the event was so well organized, our team found the use of time to be really effective. Tim Diep, our Regional Manager, and Praveen Venugopal, our Sr. Project Manager, and I attended.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

We spent a few hours setting up the booth and welcome reception was from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Look-alikes (President Trump and President Obama – Obama’s lookalike totally nailed it) were a draw. We gave away some of our Rhinos and met with a variety of people. Here’s a rendition of what we looked like on this DC evening, when the community buzzed with activity.P21 connect cartoon

Monday, August 20, 2018 & Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The day started at 6:30 am with a nice breakfast and the user group generally getting after it early. Today you could feel the conference get right to business. We had lots of activities and different sessions going on. Our session on “Magento as a Digital Sales Channel and Integration with P21 using Cloras” was at Mt. Vernon hall from 1:45 to 3:15 pm. I started us off with a high-level overview of what clients could expect from Cloras, Magento, and DCKAP. Our client talked about working with DCKAP and also his experience working with Magento. He provided insightful tips to the P21 User group, on things that worked for them and how they were using P21 – Magento on one of their specific product lines. Praveen Venugopal, PMP, drove the session – offering insights on how Magento could be used and also shared demonstration videos of Cloras (Integration platform). He talked about using Magento for B2B (distributors) and also automating the synchronization process with P21. Thankfully, the audience too interrupted and asked questions, which we took as a good sign. We’ve been getting a number of requests for our presentation. If you would like to receive a copy, please email us at (

Monday evening, we went to Smithsonian Aerospace Museum for outstanding food and networking with the P21 community. We had 4 hours to explore the museum which was filled with lots of informative stuff about everything that has to do with flight. This was an impressive experience – really unique for us and definitely added a special touch we wouldn’t forget.Tuesday we fully committed our time to interact within the community. We had a lot of distributors visit us and sharing stories with our team. More and more companies are seriously focused on a good mobile and desktop experience for their clients. We continued to learn and document more pain-points, especially in terms of integrations and front-end platforms.Once the conference ended around 4 pm, we rented bikes near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and made our way around DC. We highly recommend it, as we were able to cover lots of ground without tiring ourselves too much. We ended the night in Chinatown eating some great Chinese food.

As I reflect on the conference, here’s what I had top of mind…

Delivering a well-executed conference like this is not easy. There were remarkable improvements at the conference this year. The registration process was seamless with Cvent. The scanners made it easy for commercial attendees. The food was great (as always). A Big Shout out to Cheryl Richardson, the P21WWUG Administrator. We thank Eric Lunsford, Tim Edmunds, Ted Hoffman and Mike Chadwick of the P21 User Group and the entire P21 Community for putting together a great show. Over 650 people attended!Thank you everyone for reading our blog post. If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We are happy to give you an initial consultation and more detailed information about any of our solutions.

Karthik Chidambaram

Karthik Chidambaram is the Founder & CEO of DCKAP. He bootstrapped the company from his small apartment in Chicago, Illinois. DCKAP simplifies commerce for distributors. DCKAP was started with 2 people, 2 computers and 2 desks and is now a global and distributed team. Karthik reckons industry setbacks and renders solid & practical solutions to organizations. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. You can read more about him on his personal blog here.

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