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Meet Sam Miles, Venues Industry Expert


Sam-M

How long have you worked in the industry?

I have been in and out of the industry in ICT and Project Management roles, spending approximately 9 years in various events organizations.

What are you most excited or passionate about? What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work?

I’m all about continuous improvement, and that doesn’t have to mean embarking on a digital transformation every 5 years because you didn’t do anything in the 4 years leading up it. There is always innovation, both in industry and technology. I want people to have the best tools at their disposal, and ensure that your processes are helping you get the best out of them.

I want to understand how and why you ended up working in the events industry. What were you doing before you came here? What attracted you to work in this business?

I started down a finance path but quickly moved into technology. And it sure is more fun using my technology background to develop the systems and infrastructure that supports AFL matches, concerts, comedy shows, and beer festivals than it is, for example, working in the banking or insurance sector. Because like most people I enjoy AFL matches, concerts, comedy shows and beer festivals. Does anybody really like insurance companies or banks?

Is there a specific project you’ve worked on in your career that you’re most proud of? Tell me the details and why it means so much to you.

I was very proud to work on the ICT implementation at Optus Stadium during the final stage of construction and its first year of opening. If you have been to the stadium you would easily expect that anyone afforded the opportunity to be involved would be proud - its world class! Specifically though I was very proud to work within the tight timelines, complexities of a greenfield site, and to my manager’s (Mike Stephenson) high expectations, to get the POS system implemented and its hardware deployed, along with the base integrations with Ungerboeck stood up in time for our soft opening.

What have been the lessons you’ve learned in the events industry?

Keep the Executive Chef on side.

What relationships have meant the most to you over your career?

Anybody who pushed themselves or their team to go above and beyond and/or anyone who enjoys a pint of IPA.

Tell me a bit about what you like most about working for Ungerboeck?

Well it has only been one month, but so far I would have to say it’s nice to see an organization as a whole take such a customer-centric approach to everything it does, and embrace its position as a true partner to the industry.

What are 3 words to describe Ungerboeck?

Pre-Eminent, Unified, Agile

What’s on your Wish List for the next 10 years at Ungerboeck?

There has been so much innovation at Ungerboeck over the last few years to empower the venue’s customers and prospective customers to book and manage their own event through the various public facing portals on offer. Gone are the old days of thinking Ungerboeck as being only ‘back-end’ software, but with so much real time transaction functionality, whether its Suite Management or the Online Space Booking portal, this front end functionality is all about pre and post event transactions and reconciliation. I wonder how far the jump is to facilitate ‘in event’ transactions? I am not saying Ungerboeck should become a Point of Sale (POS) provider, but it is an interesting thought – especially when we already do inventory so well. I might be getting ahead of myself though, maybe some kiosk functionality first.

When you think of the future of the events industry, what do you think will be the “next thing(s)” we are all talking about? What should we be concerned or worried about?

If I wrote this 6 months ago it would have been a very different answer, but obviously we are now all thinking about how COVID-19 has impacted our industry and when ‘normal’ will return. Many of us are being forced to rethink how we deliver events and experiences to people, from councils moving community courses to digital platforms, to theatres hosting a show via video conference, or matches being played to empty stadiums. While here at Ungerboeck we have moved quickly to support these changes, I think we are all worried about how long we will need to operate like this. For some it might not be sustainable to operate like this, others might find that a hybrid approach to deliver events is going to open a new market. Either way, there is rightly some cause for concern – now is the time for innovation.

What advice would you have for someone going into the events industry?

It is often harder than you think it will be, and you will almost always feel as though you are under resourced, especially operationally. It is why it is so important to have the right systems and processes in place to help you and your team pull off your event. So, if you find the same mistakes are happening, or that you are constantly drowning in changing, moving and unknown requirements – do not work yourself to death, call it out to the system and process owners. Work smarter, not harder!

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

During my many travels I have spent a lot of time volunteering with NGOs (non-government organizations), for the most part being involved in the construction of homes for those in need as well as various structures used in the education sector. On top of being able to give something back it has been fun to be able to ‘stay on the tools’ as it is something I don’t get the opportunity to do at home, as well as travelling and living in a setting that is more customary to the local population.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?

California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas