How to Stay Cost Effective in Your Event Technology Selection

Nishita Jain, senior director of digital marketing, a2z, Inc.

In recent years, smart technology has enabled event organizers to automate transactions, scale processes, and simplify interactions with participants.

With significant reduction in manual effort, as well as in duplication of work, they can now centralize and analyze data more efficiently.

In fact, technology has become an indispensable part of an event management team’s operations. A larger range organizations are looking to replicate the same success for their nascent events as well.

However, picking the best possible options while remaining cost effective can seem like a daunting process.  If you are about to launch the evaluation process, here are some tips to help you optimize the selection process while still staying within the planned budget.

1.       Consider Your Options Carefully
Once the need for a technology system has been recognized, it is important to pledge adequate resources to thoroughly compare and contrast different solutions. Bypassing the due diligence process often ends up jeopardizing the entire adoption process. It is critical to be aware of the full range and depth of the features as well as the support provided by each potential supplier.

Keeping the long-term objectives as a top priority is also extremely important. Cutting costs in the short run may end up costing you much more in the long run. Invest in a solution that’ll cover at least 80-90% of your key requirements and integrate with other small scale solutions to meet the rest of your objective, if needed. Prioritize the implementation of functionality that can help the majority of your users as early as possible.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that the overhead costs of maintaining multiple solutions that don’t ‘talk’ to each other can be prohibitive to your organization’s rapid growth.

In addition, a single provider offering a large range of modules may be able to give you multiple options for identifying the best package possible, including some features at zero cost, profit sharing or introductory pricing levels.

2.       Cut Down on the Customizations
Technology solutions that are highly customized are both expensive and difficult to maintain. Apart from the initial cost that you’ll be incurring to get the customizations made, there may be additional costs later just to maintain or improve the customized features.

In many cases, as the organizational processes change or evolve, customized systems start becoming outdated faster and more complex to manage. If your technology solution provider has an agile development program in place, your highly customized system may be deprived of the benefits of smart enhancements made during the scrum cycles.

In the first one or two years, it may be more advantageous to make incremental changes to your internal processes and use the system as it is instead of getting into a ‘scope-creep’ scenario. Once you have a better insight into the inherent strengths of a solution, then you can revisit which features absolutely needs to be customized to match your business objectives. It may also be beneficial to ask other users in your industry how they are using the same solution for their events without having their systems heavily customized. Adopting a new solution without customizing it considerably may actually provide you with the opportunity to streamline your team’s processes.

3.Make the Most of Built-in Support Programs
Encourage your team to make the most of every learning opportunity provided by the technology solution provider. Numerous research studies have reported that trained users tend to be more satisfied with new technologies than those who have not been adequately trained. Always make the most of the learning resources provided by the solution provider including user group meetings, webinars, onsite training as well as dedicated product experts. Needless to say, a well-trained team can adopt best practices much better and faster than an untrained one. Such a team can also complete more tasks at its own level without consuming additional organizational resources.

The level of set up support and ongoing training services provided by the solution provider should be an integral part of your selection criteria. It’s best to stay away from solution providers who either do not provide or charge you repeatedly for availing these services. Initial and continued learning support should not make your technology adoption process an expensive proposition.

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