The Importance of Integrated Software in Event Planning (II)
Apr 02, 2010

Your workflows determine your efficiency, and as a result, your productivity and ROI as a company. Event planning is a complex process composed of up to hundreds of sub-processes that need to be coordinated and well-fitted. Your technological workspace and support systems need to support this coordination, which is why choosing the right software tools can make a difference of hundreds of hours and up to thousands of dollars saved per event.


Integration today refers to many things, but here we will talk about integrating your work spaces and applications so that less energy is occupied transferring information from one space/application to another. For example, the classic use case in event planning is transferring attendee information from one database to another, or from database formats such as Excel or Filemaker into their final products (confirmation letters, name badges, tickets, etc.)


When we talk about software's role in these transfers of information, we are talking about using multiple applications or software packages to complete a single process.


In the example above, information might first be entered into one format, such as a registration form, using Microsoft Word.

This form is then mailed or emailed out to potential attendees, who then fax or mail back their registrations.

The data is then inputted into Filemaker, only to be exported to various Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for different purposes (mailing, printing, emailing, etc.)

From Excel it might be additionally exported into Word or another formatting application to be turned into its final product (name badges, tickets, or certificates). In the end 3-4 (and sometimes more) different applications must be used in order to complete the various processes embedded in planning a relatively simple event.


When you think about the resources required to purchase, upgrade, and transfer all this information from one format to another, you might be adding anywhere from 5-15% additional staff time and thousands of dollars in software purchases and upgrades per year.


Today's cloud computing, hosted applications, and integrated business solutions make it possible to accomplish all of these tasks in one centralized workspace where you simply use a composite of hosted, online applications that are paid for on a monthly or per-usage basis.


In Event Management, instead of transferring data from one application interface to another, you simply navigate from one window to another using a variety of paths that connect all the functions required to organize your event in one single system.


For example, in DW Event, you would enter or initially upload your contacts into the CRM. From there simply choose what you want to do with them: select a group (speakers, exhibitors, potential attendees) to send a mass email or mailing; or click a button to populate your confirmation letters with content; or export automatically to PDF name-badges that you design within the system...the possibilities are endless, but you never leave the single, centralized DW Event site.


In addition, the fact that this is hosted means that you can accomplish these tasks from home, from the office, or from any internet connection in the world. You're no longer chained to hard-copy files or office computer networks in order to do a great quantity of organizational and data-management work.


To summarize: take an honest inventory of all the steps that you need to complete in order to plan your event. Then take inventory of all the applications that you use to complete these steps. If you're using more than 1 or 2, you should consider making the switch to an integrated, hosted, constantly-upgraded central event planning and business management system such as DW Event.


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