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I remember 12 years ago when I was working at Reed Exhibitions the company was transitioning from using paper coupons for event registration to online registration. Yes, millennials, you read that right – paper coupons! Since then, the entire event life cycle, including most of the onsite components, have migrated to the digital world. Technology surrounds so many facets of events.
Can (and should) technology (e.g. project management, budget, registration, sourcing, planning, mobile, and tracking) work within a comprehensive and well-designed ecosystem?
Imagine you are booking a hotel room, but instead of just paying for the room and what comes standard, you have all these extras. You have to pay the energy bill for the electricity you will use, rent the bed sheets, take care of the laundry, and go to a locksmith to get an extra set of keys made. Maybe you will get the best sheets, the cheapest electricity provider and the greatest smart key ever, but will that process make your experience or your life better? Obviously not.
What can we learn from that scenario? When it comes to sourcing technology for your event, although some pinpoint solutions are very attractive, the challenge will be for you to deal with the integration of these solutions and the risks that they bring. They may offer different user experiences (and sometimes logins) across the board, to the point where it becomes a burden and doesn’t solve what it should like augmenting your productivity, your experience and your ability to leverage the technology to boost your business.
Nowadays, an API integration becomes standard, making it easier for vendors to sync their data and offer a robust workflow to clients. Innovative and cutting edge technology companies are investing in the event space, offering excellent features and user experiences with their tools. However, they continue to remain point solutions.
How do you find the right balance?
First, identify your goals. If a global solution covers 75% of your needs, go for it. You’ll get a far better return than trying to assemble 4 or 5 components that individually match 90%. You also want to prioritize and consider other aspects: What is the company’s value? How agile and flexible are they? What is the level of support and engagement you’ll get?
Over the past 10 years, the event software industry has been very dynamic to the point where consolidation becomes the only viable option as the technology fragmentation will not allow the point solutions to survive the long term.
However, consolidation is challenging. Recently, Cvent announced a repackaged version of their platform. This is an important move, but also very difficult given their size which results in several years of effort. The bigger your company gets, the more pressure you have to remain on top of your game while you keep growing and innovating. The message that Cvent delivered with this announcement was somehow already dated as it’s more of a commodity move rather than a disruptive one. With their possible merger with Lanyon, other challenges will arise, like how to migrate customers and what technology should be merged or not. And as Laurence Coburn from DoubleDutch recently said, this may paralyze their innovation.
Fig 1. Example of new generation tools: event performance measured thanks
to integrated end to end event management ecosystem
At etouches, there is a big responsibility and challenge to being the only enterprise alternative to Cvent. With a comparable set of features, covering the entire life cycle from sourcing to mobile, engagement to onsite, logistics and more, we have the opportunity to balance between growing our solution and acquiring solutions that can be redesigned and integrated to not compromise with the user experience. So what differentiates etouches? I believe it is our vision. The vision that software plays a strong role in helping customers to improve their business. Commodities (registration, planning, mobile apps) are certainly important from an execution standpoint, but our transformation goes even deeper. We focus on how to best leverage this ecosystem to provide comprehensive insights on event actions to our clients that are spending millions on their events, so they can constantly improve their events’ performance. Our latest, integrated event ROI and performance tool is the climax to that statement.
To quote Samsung, the “next big thing” in software, especially event software, will be a focus on delivering business intel. This is the value of integrated ecosystems, the ability to capture, customize, transform, and improve.
Our customers are spending lot of resources and money into events, planners are sweating every day and striving to bring a better event experience. They don’t just deserve tools to execute, they deserve tools that provide and improve performance.
Many point solutions are fantastic, but five different software will always “outegrate”. Make sure in this context, most of the core features are integrated within a single environment.
Finally, as events enter the data era, I am very proud as a marketer to declare that etouches is no longer a global event management software, it is an event performance solution.
About Nicola Rossetti
Nicola joined etouches in November 2011 as the Vice President of Strategy, and in 2013 was appointed Vice President of Global Marketing, leading the company’s growth with innovative and metric-oriented marketing, concentrating on a global user experience. His focus is on establishing etouches as an industry thought leader – continuing to build on the company’s phenomenal growth.
Follow me @nicorosstweet