Why Success Is Determined By Venue Management System Adoption
There is one single thing that can be used as a universal determining factor for whether or not a venue management system is a success or a failure. It's something that is at the very core of every use case, process, and business objective that an event venue has. That thing is the user's adoption of the system.
This principle is not exclusive to venue management systems, almost all enterprise management systems require comprehensive user adoption to achieve their desired outcomes. However, there are few sectors that must operate with the same agility and flexibility as the events industry. Venue professionals know how vital each step in the sales, management, coordination, billing and reporting process can be in determining the clients satisfaction with their event, and the overall profitability of the relationship. That's why user adoption of venue management systems is so important; however, it is often overlooked.
Making it simple and easy to understand
One thing we know about human nature is that people are creative, and when they have a problem, they'll typically find a way to solve it. This is a good thing. We want individuals working around us that can solve their own problems and provide solutions in the face of tight deadlines and stressful environments. Unfortunately, this same creativity can work against many venues that have users who are working outside of the systems and processes that have been put in place by the business itself.
Users who have difficulty with the system, don't understand how it operates — or simply find it unfriendly — will develop their own systems to operate with more personal efficiency. The problem with these little one-off processes is that they can rarely be duplicated, and are typically not scalable. Over time, these can become large risks to the business. As turnover occurs, understanding how these employees operated using these little one-off processes can be a real challenge. Documentation and historical records are typically scarce; thus training someone else to use the same methodology becomes impossible. Even if this is just one employee using their own "system," the risks of operating outside of best practices leave businesses vulnerable to major financial errors, scheduling mistakes and other significant issues. This is why it's s important that the entire organization adopt a single set of best practices.
The key to making a venue management system easy to adopt is having something that is user-friendly, intuitive and simple to understand and learn. I see too many systems that include multiple disconnected spreadsheets. Complex systems like this are extremely hard to unify across the organization. This makes documenting and training others hard to do. Typically, venues that have a simplified system — with a single database — have a much easier time providing documentation around how processes should work, and can provide better training to new users. This creates a legacy of adoption for the system.
Eliminating one-off venue management system processes
The formula for creating a system that users will never adopt is to have a system that is difficult to use, hard to understand, provides no knowledge base, and can not be easily taught to others. Conversely, you want the opposite of that if you want to encourage adoption.
To eliminate all the little one-off processes that people will ultimately discover, you need to have a system that is first and foremost user-friendly. Having a single interface is helpful, but it needs to be intuitive as well. Software is a great example of something that can have a single interface, but can also be grossly unintuitive. Businesses must seek to make the system both easy to use and easy to understand, and by selecting software that can support this, an organization can better expect best practices to be adhered to by users.
Second, venues will want to ensure that there is a solid knowledge base where users can go and find answers for themselves. There is nothing more disheartening than to be stuck inside of a system with a problem and nowhere to turn. A comprehensive knowledge base can be an invaluable tool to venues that may experience high turnover or are often asked to perform complex tasks.
Lastly, it's important that the systems in place can use the terminology that you use inside of your business already. Some businesses call it "scheduling," others call it "booking" or "reservations." These words mean something to the users who operate within your events business. If your system uses terms that are outside of their professional vernacular, things can get jumbled pretty quickly. That's why it's important to have a system that is specific to your venue and your business; rather than a generic system that requires training around terminology just to operate it.
The big takeaway
User adoption of your venue management processes are the foundation for system success. Every improvement and change that you make in the future to improve efficiency will be voided immediately if your users are already not using the system correctly. This means that venues must properly implement a system that is easy to use, intuitive and fluent in the terminology that they already understand.
What else you should read:
- The art of managing venue management technology
- How venues can start building more event business online
Venue Management Software Adoption