Recently, trade fair and conference management consultancy firm, JWC, conducted a study investigating the factors that are most important to players in the exhibition industry, in terms of sustaining and improving competitive positions. It is confirmed that when it comes to staging events, the employees, the effort to attract quality talent, and the focus to retain that talent rank highest on the priority list.
However, there was a surprising difference between top level management and event managers when it came to how well each perceives the technology solutions they’ve invested in to address these key issues are performing. Tellingly, 26% of C-level respondents believe that everything is coming up roses in this regard, whereas zero show managers surveyed agreed. So, what’s with the disconnect?
I suspect you could sum it up like this: The parties most heavily involved in the procurement process (execs) are not the parties most heavily involved in its day-to-day use (managers). That could be causing problems in two ways. First, executive level employees may not have the best grip on what is really needed to help accommodate the day-to-day functions of the organisation. Second, their use of the chosen solution is likely much more limited than management level employees.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take in the procurement process to ensure that business technology decisions are more reflective of the company’s needs as a whole—bridging the “technology gap” between executives and management once and for all.
It starts with involving employees from all levels of the organisation in the procurement process, from beginning to end. Not only is this a guard against a technology solution that ends up being a bad fit for the most critical needs and users, it also helps later down the line with buy-in—creating “platform advocates” from each department who feel like they have a good understanding of the new technology solution, as well as, an important sense of ownership for having been part of the decision making process.
This critical sense of ownership is furthered by the next step which is to put a premium on software solutions and providers who encourage this kind of involvement at every level. This takes the form of an onboarding process that places a major emphasis on learning the processes of each business unit, taking care to incorporate them into implementation and training.
Finally, too often I see clients go to great lengths to address these first two steps only to mess up the end-game. Don’t make the mistake of selecting the “perfect” technology solution and successfully completing the onboarding process and then never give any of it a second thought again. Be sure to set a date on the calendar ahead of time to review the effectiveness of your technology solutions. Check-in with employees at every level to assess utilisation and satisfaction, making sure to address what’s changed in your business processes over time, if anything, and whether your technology is responding accordingly.
For what it’s worth, your technology provider should be able to assist in this process as well. At Ungerboeck, business process optimisation analysis is a service we provide on a regular basis to new and longstanding clients, alike.