At Crystal, we understand that event technology can seem daunting, covering a far broader spectrum than ever before, particularly if you don’t consider yourself “techie”.
Last week a post I made on LinkedIn looking at the above question, and gathered a fair amount of feedback. It was clear that none of us shared a common definition for what event tech encompassed, nor did we agree whether it was or wasn’t the responsibility of event managers to own and deliver event tech.
Five years ago, registration may have been used by teams for a large event and they may have even included a venue sourcing system. Fast-forward to today; event technology is almost a requirement to ensure a company is innovative and up-to-date. Companies that previously used event apps for 1-3 marquee events a year are now using the technology regularly. Event managers can be overseeing 20,000 registrations and 25-30 apps within one company’s annual programme.
Five years ago, event tech did its job if it just provided novelty, slickness or a “wow”; it now needs to deliver more. Event managers are using event technology to ensure safety, security and duty of care, as well as reporting, and measuring outcomes, meaning Event Managers must use technology in a more sophisticated way.
While event technology is now more mission critical, it is also now much broader than previously. These days event tech might include CRM integration (pre- and post-event), event marketing automation, venue selection/RFP, registration, event app, universal lead retrieval, badging (using on-demand printing, smart badging, facial recognition), audience engagement apps, voting/ collaboration systems, live stream or virtual participation, social media management and budgeting/ reporting. You get the point.
These technologies individually save time once operational, but the setup (researching, selecting, learning and supporting colleagues) is where the bulk of the work takes place.
So, where do Event Managers go to get the task done? Do they add event tech to their own to-do list, relying on software providers for guidance? Or do they appoint a specialist, either as a new hire, or an outsourced role? It probably depends on how big the task is. I spoke to one Event Manager client who is considering how to support her colleagues using event tech for the first time. She works for a "large" company (23,000 employees) which has 80 part-time Event Managers on staff. The task to onboard and support this many people using new technology is vast. Another client’s firm receives 30-40 requests for event app support per year from colleagues all over Europe. Unfortunately, this additional task is often bolted-on to the core events team remit, adding pressure to an already heaped workload.
Hiring the right technology company to guide from platform building to deployment is essential to combat this overwhelm. Expert support can make all the difference.