By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA
The RSPA team is often asked by our members about our long-term vision for the retail IT channel and for the association. That question was posed to us like never before during our recent online Town Hall to preview July’s RetailNOW 2022: “WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF RSPA, NOT JUST BULL CRAP, BUT REALLY WHAT IS THE FUTURE?”
I’m happy to offer here a turd-free explanation showing how the RSPA has adapted and where we see the road ahead:
Unprecedented Stability & Growth
The RSPA fiscal year concluded April 30, and during those twelve months, we experienced an unprecedented combination of stability and growth. Our community added 147 new member companies while at the same time attaining a 98.9% member-retention rate. Our members are growing and staying loyal to the retail IT channel. Lapsed members are returning, and new players are expanding our community IQ. We’re nearing 700 member organizations, ranging from the Fortune 500 to SMBs to startups.
VARs Remain Heart of RSPA
The vast majority of our new members are VARs plus organizations we consider the “new VAR” – Direct Independent Software Developers. DISDs are independently owned and operated SMB solution providers who develop and directly sell their own software (plus hardware and services) to merchants. SMBs are and will continue to be the heart of the RSPA. Our team is laser-focused on attracting and retaining growth-oriented retail IT solution providers to the RSPA community and our events.
ISVs Value the Channel
There was a time I could recite by name and count on my fingers every RSPA-member software company. Today nearly 20% of RSPA membership is classified as an ISV; that’s close to 150 companies, a massive increase from the I-know-every-ISV-member-and-have-fingers-left-over days. About half the RetailNOW 2022 show floor will feature ISV exhibitors, building on the record 230+ software developer executives who attended last year. ISVs value the channel, and they’ve found a home in the RSPA.
The RSPA has embraced remote work in a big way, with our nine employees operating in five different states. We recently listed our Charlotte headquarters for sale and will operate as a 100% virtual organization. That presents a few challenges but also significant savings we can reinvest in our members’ success.
Raving Fans Today & Tomorrow
The RSPA’s mission is to “accelerate the success of our members in the retail technology ecosystem by providing knowledge and connections.” The results of our 2022 member survey say you give us two thumbs up in those areas (actually, it was more like 200 thumbs up). Our Net Promoter Score was a world-class 76, with 4-in-5 members rating the association a 9/10 or 10/10.
Status Quo is Not an Option
I recently had an hour-long phone conversation with a decades-long RSPA reseller member worried about our future. He’s witnessed the demise of many local dealers. He’s seen his friends sell their businesses or close their doors due to market forces, not lack of effort. I shared with him much of what I just detailed above, and he was buoyed by what he heard. Startups, niche players, and high-initiative solution providers are injecting new energy into our community, and they’re collaborating with longtime members to help everyone grow faster. Our industry is shifting for sure, but the RSPA is adapting just as fast. Our team holds a bullish view on the future of our channel, and we’ll keep striving every day to serve as your trusted advisor to navigate our changing world.
I’m looking forward to seeing you at RetailNOW 2022 in Orlando!
President & CEO, RSPA