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September 20, 2023

Finding the Right Venue and Event Management Solution

Technology can transform your venue and event operations by automating, streamlining and standardizing your event management processes. That said, if you’re ready to invest in new technology, but have previously relied on manual processes, you might struggle to know what you need from a venue and event management solution. And even if you know what you need, how do you go about finding the right venue and event management solution for your business? 

Taking the time to do careful research and planning will enable you to clearly define your goals and make an informed decision. In doing so, you can increase the chances the software you choose will deliver a strong return on investment and set your organization up for long-term success — provided you also develop a detailed change management plan to ensure a successful implementation.  

So, where do you start? It’s not as overwhelming as one might think. With our three-stage process you can quickly learn to analyze, evaluate and select the right venue and event management software for your business. 

Stage 1. Needs Analysis

Before buying any new software for your venue or event organization, start by identifying your current challenges. Then, outline what functionality you think you’d need from an event management system to help you overcome these challenges. This process is called a needs analysis. 

Below are some tips to help you identify your challenges and how a new venue and event management solution can help solve them: 

  1. Involve all key stakeholders: Gather a group of key stakeholders affected by the new technology to help with the needs analysis. This could include staff, customers, senior management, board members, etc. 
  2. Evaluate the current state: Review your current systems and processes and ask your stakeholders about their challenges, where they feel are the biggest opportunities for improvement and what functionality they would like in a new system.  
  3. Define your goals: Once you’ve established your organization’s key challenges and user needs, translate this information into clear goals for implementing a new software solution. 
  4. Set your budget: Understanding your budget is critical in finding the right venue and event management solution for your business. Work with senior management and finance teams to establish a budget reflecting the expected return on investment and time-savings you hope to experience following the implementation. 
  5. Functionality checklist: Create a checklist of specific functionality requirements (like a shopping list) to help you evaluate software solutions and ensure they satisfy your stakeholder’s needs.  

Stage 2. Evaluating Different Solutions

Once youve completed your needs analysis, you can start researching and evaluating systems. Most software providers will offer a tailored demonstration to guide you through key functionality and highlight the system's benefits. To make the most out of the demonstration, its essential that you: 

  1. Send the software provider your functionality checklist and ask them to tailor the demonstration to show how their solution can solve your specific pain points and challenges that you found during your needs analysis.
  2. Involve as many stakeholders as possible that were part of the needs analysis during the demonstration. 
  3. Ask questions during the demonstration. Be engaged and take notes so you can make an informed decision. 
  4. Arrange a post-demonstration meeting with your key stakeholders to highlight concerns or things they like. 

Pro Tip: If you don’t have an IT background, evaluating systems can be overwhelming because of all the technical jargon. Here are some key terms to help you understand what you're buying before signing the dotted line:  

  • Best-of-breed approach: A strategy where businesses seek the best solutions to address specific business needs rather than choosing a single platform that partially addresses all their business needs (i.e., using Outlook calendars to manage event bookings rather than a dedicated event management platform).  
  • On-Premise (on-prem) solution: Software installed within the physical location of a business (i.e., on local computers or servers) rather than in the cloud or on hosted servers in a remote facility. 
  • Cloud solution: Unlike on-premise solutions, cloud solutions are hosted at remote data centers and managed by a cloud services provider (or CSP). Cloud solutions provide on-demand access via the internet. 
  • Off-the-shelf: Off-the-self solutions are ready-made platforms. They’re designed to be easy to implement and include prescribed workflows based on best practice principles. 
  • Customizable solution: Unlike off-the-shelf solutions, customizable solutions are designed to allow businesses the flexibility to define their workflows to support their unique requirements. 
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): A software licensing and delivery model in which software is accessed online via a subscription rather than bought and installed on individual computers. 
  • API (Application Program Interface): A set of rules and protocols that allow different software programs to share data (i.e., sharing payment information between an event management software and a point-of-sale system). 
  • Integration: Integration is the process of syncing information between one software application with another, typically through APIs. 
  • Technology ecosystem: Refers to all the systems an organization uses to support various aspects of their business (i.e., point-of-sale platforms, marketing systems, human resources tools, email systems, event and venue management solutions, etc.).  
  • Data migration: Transferring data from one storage system or computing environment to another. 

Stage 3. Selecting Your Preferred Supplier

Take the opportunity to review your preferred provider’s business values, experience, contract and customer reviews before you commit to purchase. Here are some things you should understand about your chosen venue and event management solution:  

  • Who owns the company? 
  • What are their core values?  
  • How long has the company been in business? 
  • Who will be your primary point of contact during the implementation and beyond? 
  • Does the company have experience in providing software to other clients within your industry?  
  • Do you know what their product roadmap is? 
  • Is the company compliant with local data legislation and regulations? 
  • What are the contract terms? 

If you’re not confident in a potential provider’s ability to help your organization, even after a demonstration, the above criteria can help you identify any major red flags. When in doubt, speak to other vendors and see if you find someone that better fits your needs. 

Choosing the right venue and event management solution for your business

When a company experiences issues implementing a new system across the organization, it can often come down to how the analysis, evaluation and selection stages are handled. By following the three stages outlined above, you can rest assured you'll choose the right venue and event management solution for your business. Then, you can work on getting buy-in from key stakeholders to avoid any unnecessary resilience during the implementation. 

Looking for a venue management software solution you can trust? 

Contact us directly today to explore opportunities for your venue and events management. 

 

Joel Sackett

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