With a large 3,000-attendee conference only weeks away, a wise meeting planner saved time and her sanity by using meeting management technology to automate many of her tasks. This wasn’t the first time she used the tool but it was the biggest meeting she ever planned.
In the same company but in a different division, another meeting planner contracted with a different meeting management technology so that she too could automate many of the tasks such as sending invitations to attendees, tracking their responses, managing the budget and evaluating the hotel RFP responses.
Recently, a new meetings director was appointed to oversee all meetings and events for this organization. When the director asked to view historic reports for all meetings, she was surprised to find that the organization used three different meeting management technologies, all with different capabilities and reporting functionality. Imagine her frustration when she had to search for the data that resided in numerous technologies.
Is there a difference between a) meeting planners wanting to use technology to automate their tasks and b) meeting directors wanting to use a technology to automate the meeting tasks AND manage their strategic meetings management program?
ABSOLUTELY. Unfortunately, without governance and oversight, an organization may be using multiple technologies because meeting planners may satisfy their automation needs without consideration for the whole organization’s requirements.
Few meeting management technology companies offer end-to-end strategic meetings management functionality as well as meeting planning functionality. A meeting management technology should offer the functionality that a planner needs as well as what the director wants to oversee the whole program.
Does your technology provide an end-to-end solution for strategic meetings management? Does your technology provide ALL of the functionality needed or does it partner with suppliers to perform these tasks? If one technology company partners with another company, is it a seamless integration for you, the director or planner? Does the technology offer these services?
a. Forecast meetings
b. Resource management
c. Contract/document management
d. Meeting registration
e. Enterprise-wide meetings calendar
f. Approval routing
g. Database of suppliers
h. Sourcing / evaluation functionality
i. Attendee management including all communications, rooming lists, etc.
j. Survey / return on investment
k. Payment and reconciliation (payment to suppliers; accept payments from attendees; payment to speakers, etc.)
l. Enterprise wide data reporting (across all meetings, all sourcing, all attendees, all surveys, etc.)
m. Small meeting solution
n. Virtual meeting management
o. Compliance tracking if applicable
p. Multiple language capabilities
q. Ability to pull reports from ancillary meetings into one consolidated report
r. Determine if the tool has an integrated or linkage to business intelligence reporting tool (e.g. Crystal reporting, Cognos, etc.)
s. Ability to integrate seamlessly with CRM, OBT, ERP, ECM, LMS, BI tools, compliance databases, etc.
t. Ability to house historic data as far back in history as needed (e.g. 5-7-10 years)
We will be discussing how Meeting Management Technology can improve your Return on Investment at the upcoming Meetings Technology Expo in New York City at 8:00 a.m. on May 25. For more information, see the website: http://www.meetingstechexpo.com/. If you would like to use my template to calculate your technology ROI potential, please see the attached document for 30 KEY ROI Opportunities and if you have any questions, please ask me.
VERY FEW technologies offer all of the functionality mentioned above. One such company that offers end-to-end functionality is StarCite who just reported 52% growth in corporate meeting requests flowing through its Global Online Marketplace for the first quarter of the year. One of my favorite features of StarCite is their ability to manage insourced and outsourced resource hours through their Productivity and Workload Tracking component. When I was at PwC, I asked all of the meeting sourcers and planners to track their time in a Lotus Notes database. This information was valuable to forecast and request more resources as needed.
I love that StarCite has the resource management functionality incorporated into their end-to-end SMM technology. This allows for managing the volume, spend, risk, processes and resources in a seamless technology environment. Never should a Meetings Director have to search through two or more technologies in the middle of a crisis to search for a meeting location, a crisis plan, attendee names and emergency contact information, or assigned meeting planners’ contact information.
Recently, StarCite announced that its platform is moving to Nexus, which will allow for ease of use and improved flexibility. This means that customers can use the services they need. What is nice about this model is that it mirrors my SMM Maturity Model. At the beginning of an SMM, an organization can use minimal technology and as the program matures, the technology can be used for all of the functionality needed without ever compromising its enterprise-wide reporting requirements.
For information on StarCite’s growth, see this article:
For information on StarCite’s new platform, see this article:
If you want help with your meeting management technology needs, please contact me.
Visit me at one of my upcoming speaking engagements:
Topics vary per conference
Some sessions include components of SMM Bootcamp© and/or SMM Challenge©
May 25 – Meetings Technology Expo (early morning, 8:00 a.m.)
May 25 – Financial and Insurance Meeting Planners Conference (late morning)
June 21 - Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition
June 30 – EMC Venue’s MEET
August 2 – Georgia BTA
August 21 - 24 - GBTA Convention
Sept 7 – HSMAI Affordable Meetings
December 1 – EMC Venue’s MEET
Thank you for visiting the T&E Plus Blog on expense management, travel management, business meetings, events, incentives, strategic meetings management, entertainment, virtual meetings, tickets, hotels, airlines, ground transportation, T&E policy, plus more...
Debi Scholar, GLP, CMM, CMP, CTE, CTT, Six Sigma Green Belt
- Meetings Management Mover and Shaker as selected by Corporate and Incentive Travel Magazine (2010)
- Top 20 Changemaker who influenced the meetings management industry by Corporate Meetings and Incentives (2008)
- Best Meeting Practitioner as selected by Business Travel News (2007)
The Scholar Consulting Group LLC
Benchmark your Strategic Meetings Management Program: http://www.smmbenchmark.com
Debi has the following designations:
- Wharton Aresty Executive Education/National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Global Leadership Professional (GLP)
- Meeting Professionals International Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM)
- Convention Industry Council Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
- NBTA Corporate Travel Expert (CTE)
- Six Sigma Green Belt
- Chauncey Certified Technical Trainer (CTT)