7 Questions to Ask Before Implementing Cvent

Cvent Award 2016 Finalist

Posted by Dan Tarpey | Sr. Director, Strategic Solutions

Imagine this… You have finally made the decision to invest in a sophisticated meeting management technology, you have gone through training and implementation and you Freeze! Now what? How do you maximize the investment in this dynamic solution and make it relevant to your business and workflows?

From mapping the SMM process and creating the meeting request forms to reporting and consolidation of spend; to the tactical operations of website builds, attendee management, surveys and On Arrival, there are dozens of items your team will need to tackle and even more lurking around every corner.

Here are just a few things to think about after implementation and training:

  1. How to prioritize tasks for sourcing, registration, meeting management and spend tracking?
  2. Who is part of the ongoing Cvent Admin Team to manage updates and workflow improvements?
  3. Why logic should be implemented within the tool to create the appropriate workflows?
  4. How will process forms be used to help with your workflow and assignments?
  5. What metrics and data points will be needed to track ROI on the solution?
  6. Who will manage and document workflow and process improvements internally?
  7. What is the best way to customize templates for RFPs, registration sites, budgets and reports?

A bit overwhelmed after reading these initial items to consider?

Don’t fret! M&IW knows what it takes for an organization to perform at its best and Go the Distance! M&IW was awarded Cvent Plannie Awards for Savvy Sourcing and Power of the Platform. Our certified associates have in-depth knowledge of Cvent’s capabilities and what you need to know to get the most of out of your investment.

We are offering a no-cost, no obligation consultation to address your most pressing Cvent questions. After this conversation, we guarantee you will walk away with answers and new insights; what you need to know before you implement, the best way to get started, and why it is important to demonstrate the value of Cvent to your C-suite? If this sounds of interest, simply CLICK HERE to sign up.

Posted in: Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Top 10 Reasons to Collect Relevant Data

Data, Analyses, Insight, SMM

Written by Jill Pearson | Digital Marketing Manager

Data analytics is the science of collecting and examining raw data with the purpose of drawing conclusions about the information. These analyses are used by organizations to make better business decisions, especially where change is the outcome. In Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) there is a plethora of data available for collection, analysis and reporting, however the relevance of the data depends on the questions requiring answers. Thus, answering the ‘why’ of needing the data is a great place to start. Below is a list of Top 10 Reasons to Collect Relevant Data from our expert contributors, David Sachs, Director of Analytics and Lisa Palmeri, VP of Strategic Account Solutions.

1. To support the need for a change in operations or process.

People often fear change, especially without supporting data to validate the need for it. Many times we see a need for a change in a process within our organizations but approaching policy-makers with your opinion or gut instinct will not hold much ground without concrete data to support it. In today’s metrics-driven world, data is required in order to institute change or justify a business case for it.

2. To gain visibility to the unknown.

Industry professionals are smart! Our intuition often guides us when making key decisions, however data is useful in proving our instincts right. Actionable insights add clarity to the unknown which will support or challenge a theory, both of which are invaluable in decision-making.

3. To reduce risk.

Why is it that an employee cannot purchase a stapler without following certain protocols, but they can enter into a hotel contract for a meeting with little or no scrutiny? Often, people tasked with planning meetings and events in an organization are not meeting professionals, but rather meeting planning is a part of their job responsibilities. As such, they are not experts in understanding and negotiating the terms of a meeting contract and sign agreements that may not support the best interests of their company. This practice exposes both the individual signing the agreement as well as the organization to risk should an issue arise with the contract, or in the event the meeting cancels and penalties are assessed. There are also terms that, if not properly addressed or omitted, could jeopardize the safety or well-being of attendees of that meeting. Having historical bid data or analytics that identify suppliers with whom it’s safe to do business, or to support professional procurement practices, can reduce or eliminate this risk all together.

4. To demonstrate compliance with regulations.

No one wants to be called out for non-compliance. Whether it’s following company policies, regulatory guidelines, accounting principles, or laws, being compliant is key to job security. This is especially critical to health care and life sciences organizations who need to demonstrate compliance to Health Care Professional (HCP) transfer of value transparency laws. It’s not enough to have regimented processes for transparency, government entities want to see that the data is reported in such a way that it meets the letter of the law(s). That is why at M&IW we have a dedicated HCP reporting department whose sole job is to support the compliance needs of our clients.

5. For Executive Management support of a new idea.

Executive management, especially in publicly held companies, are being tasked with ensuring that all the decisions they make support quarterly earnings! It’s fun to be the initiator of a new idea with the potential to dramatically streamline a process, improve the bottom line and increase those earnings. Many such opportunities exist when implementing a Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP). As mentioned in point #1, suggesting new concepts may be admirable, but they won’t go very far without analytics to support them. It’s not enough to illustrate historical evidence that the innovation could improve the bottom line. Often predictive analytics are necessary to project how that idea will benefit the organization going forward. Leverage data to build a business case for specific elements of an SMMP that will yield the highest ROI or provide other tangible benefits to the organization.

6. To build stronger partnerships with key suppliers.

Knowing what you spend and with whom is the first step in establishing preferred or strategic supplier partnerships. These relationships work best when they provide a win-win for both parties. Suppliers are looking for increased market share (a larger piece of the pie as compared to their competitors) in exchange for discounts and other financial incentives. This leads us to a common failure with SMM implementation. Most SMMPs go in with a consolidation approach that is challenging, especially in today’s suppliers’ market, to build compliance around. While it’s good in theory, management also doesn’t want to micro-manage or otherwise mandate the use of suppliers. A better approach is to align with partners with whom your organization naturally gravitates towards, whether because they provide a level of service meeting managers and attendees can depend on, they are geographically well-positioned, and/or they offer financial benefits already that may be improved upon as market share increases. Regardless of the approach in selecting key suppliers with whom to partner, having the data that supports who to approach in the first place is a critical success factor.

7. To leverage greater amounts of spend in order to put into place spend controls.

How do you determine spend controls or thresholds? Establishing spending baselines can be challenging if you are limited to using industry benchmarks simply because there aren’t many meetings-related benchmarks available to reference. Reviewing your organization’s spend data on common elements such as guest room rates, meeting space rental and meals, by city and/or time of year, can lead to spend limits or controls that make sense.

8. To validate cost avoidance and savings.

Cost savings and avoidance are often cited as the number one reason organizations will deploy a managed meetings program. Unless you have a consistently applied methodology to track and report in these areas, you may be challenged in understanding if real savings is being achieved. Data validates your cost savings and avoidance efforts and can serve to identify trends and opportunities for more strategic negotiations or cost-cutting measures. When it comes to saving money, knowledge is power.

9. To validate ROI.

As previously mentioned, measuring the performance and success of a managed meetings program includes the ability to report out on Return on Investment. ROI can be measured in several different contexts. Starting at a high level, measuring an SMMP’s overall program ROI based on the cost to run the program as compared to the savings and cost avoidance delivered. Often, companies deploying meeting management software are tasked with validating the ROI on technology expenditures versus efficiency gains. At a more granular level, ROI may be measured for certain types of meetings in which a financial benefit is an expected outcome. This is commonly measured in sales and marketing related meetings and events, where increased sales and revenue are compared to the cost to operate the meeting.

10. Drives innovation in event attendee experiences.

Collecting data from an attendee level is a must to the success of future events. Today’s meeting attendees expect to engage with their fellow attendees before, during and after an event. They expect to connect using social media, to be recognized and to experience some degree of personalized service while at the meeting. Event apps are becoming very sophisticated and are able to offer many innovative solutions. With the massive amount of data apps are capable of collecting; event professionals can gain valuable insight into attendee’s preferences and drive new innovative initiatives. Data drives attendee satisfaction thus supporting your events’ ROI.

Download our Collecting Relevant Data to Affect Change handout to learn more. It features the top 10 list along with SMM scenarios for capturing data and the best practices of successful organizations. Interested in receiving additional resources and updates to your inbox? Simply click the Subscribe Today button below.

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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WiFi 101: Have Enough Bandwidth for your Event?

Technology WiFi Bandwidth

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

Next week, our very own Tim LaFleur, is presenting at MPI-WEC on the very engaging topic of WiFi and what planners need to know to really understand it and tips on how to negotiate it with venues, hotel partners, and suppliers. Speaking with Tim about WiFi is seriously as exciting as it would be to talk to Steve Jobs about the iPhone. As Director of Mobile Strategy, Tim lives, breathes, eats and sleeps technology, and lucky for us, he is always willing to share his vast knowledge on the topic with our audience. Here are a few things Tim and I discussed.

Some of the key points he made are…

Personal experience with WiFi doesn’t always translate into WiFi experience at events.

WiFi is all around us in our daily lives. The majority of us have personal networks at home and are very used to going into the nearest coffee shop, restaurant and sometimes even outdoor park to pick up a free and reliable WiFi network. Mobility has blurred the line between personal and professional environments, so it is easy to understand why it is a common misconception that the WiFi at a meeting or event is easily accessible, ready-to-use, fast, and even free.

What used to ruin a meeting quicker than anything else is bad food. Now it is bad food and bad WiFi.

Free isn’t always free.

If the WiFi doesn’t provide enough bandwidth, network strength or throughput to support the participants, the meeting or event experience is in serious jeopardy. The cost of free WiFi can be an expensive opportunity cost.

But we have enough bandwidth, right?

Bandwidth is such a commonly used termed, even to typically describe one’s ability to complete their workload, that the question begs to be asked, ‘do we really understand what bandwidth is?’ Upload speeds, download speeds; sure we get the basic concept. A planner doesn’t need to know everything about how a network works. However, they do need to understand enough of the terms and technology to have an intelligent conversation to know what they are getting. A good WiFi experience isn’t simply about bandwidth. It is also about network strength, throughput, latency, bandwidth and how it is partitioned. All too often, a planner who is speaking with a venue technician doesn’t have a full understanding of what they are receiving and the venue technician doesn’t necessarily understand the dynamics of the meeting needs. It is critical for the success of the event that we continue to close this gap or our programs may suffer as a result from slowed networks and a lack of connectivity.

Bandwidth, throughput, partitioning – please explain.

The simplest way to explain bandwidth is to relate it to the size of a water hose. There is only so much water that can fit through the limited size of the hose. When the water that comes through the hose is sectioned off and allocated toward people that is the same thing as using some of the bandwidth of the network.

Throughput, on the other hand, is how much data can actually transmit through an access point or the hardware that transmits the internet signal.Throughput is limited by how many people can connect to a certain access point.Typically, each access point allows for 75-100 connections at a time. If too many devices are trying to connect to the same access point, users can experience a DOS (denial of service) and not be allowed into the network.

We have all experienced a slow network or the inability to access the WiFi when the person sitting next to us is not experiencing any issues.This is a result of a common occurrence when the network hasn’t been designed properly to allow for enough bandwidth or throughput or is just experiencing a high volume of traffic or is noisy due to old or outdated hardware.

It is also important to note that mobile devices don’t ever really go idle when WiFi is enabled. There are always apps running in the background that are utilizing the bandwidth and connecting to an access point.So if you have a room of 1000 people connected to a couple access points and transmitting a little bit of data, it can take up significant bandwidth and throughput.

Finally, partitioning is also a key term and idea to understand. A facility may give you an overall figure for the total bandwidth. However, asking how the bandwidth is partitioned between meeting space, hotel staff and guest rooms, for instance, is extremely important to understand to be able to design a network to support the event needs. Additionally, it is important to recognize if the partition is flexible and if it can be changed to be able to allocate additional bandwidth to specific areas.

Plan and design your event network just as you would design your food & beverage needs.

The biggest mistake planners make is to simply base the needs of the network off the number of attendees.In-depth conversations regarding the program needs are imperative to the success of the network. Are we talking about basic internet surfing, downloading, polling, and/or streaming? What types of apps will be used? Where will users be located (all in one room in separate spaces)? These are all key questions to consider and to discuss with the facility or supplier partner to ensure the network is designed to meet the event’s needs. Just as a planner wouldn’t simply tell the CSM that they need food for 500 people without explaining how many at each meal function and any special food sensitivities nor should a planner skip over such important details of the WiFi needs.

Breaking down the cost of WiFi

The conversation regarding the cost and WiFi services provided needs to begin during the RFP, sourcing, and contracting process.There are two basic methods for the pricing of WiFi. It is typically either the total amount of bandwidth allocated across unlimited users or based on the total number of concurrent connections.There are pros and cons to each method, however the number of connections tends to be easier to plan around. Having these conversations up-front will go a long way to keeping costs under control while providing planners with the appropriate network needs.

People tend to look at internet and events in two ways, either a cost of doing business or a profit center. Planners tend to think that it should be a cost of doing business and properties tend to think it should be a profit center and this is where negotiating becomes important. All conversations around the network should be addressed at the time of contract signing.

A final note

WiFi is now the fourth utility. There is power, water, heat/AC and now you have WiFi. Planners wouldn’t put on an event without the other three critical utilities so don’t skip out on the fourth one.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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WiFi 101: Do You have Enough Bandwidth for your Event?

Technology WiFi Bandwidth

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

Next week, our very own Tim LaFleur, will be presenting at MPI-WEC on the very engaging topic of WiFi and what planners need to know to really understand it and tips on how to negotiate it with venues, hotel partners, and suppliers. Speaking with Tim about WiFi is seriously as exciting as it would be to talk to Steve Jobs about the iPhone. As M&IW’s Director of Mobile Strategy, Tim lives, breathes, eats and sleeps technology, and lucky for us, he is always willing to share his vast knowledge on the topic with our audience. Here are a few things Tim and I discussed.

Some of the key points he made are…

Personal experience with WiFi doesn’t always translate into WiFi experience at events.

WiFi is all around us in our daily lives. The majority of us have personal networks at home and are very used to going into the nearest coffee shop, restaurant and sometimes even outdoor park to pick up a free and reliable WiFi network. Mobility has blurred the line between personal and professional environments, so it is easy to understand why it is a common misconception that the WiFi at a meeting or event is easily accessible, ready-to-use, fast, and even free.

What used to ruin a meeting quicker than anything else is bad food. Now it is bad food and bad WiFi.

Free isn’t always free. If the WiFi doesn’t provide enough bandwidth, network strength or throughput to support the participants, the meeting or event experience is in serious jeopardy. The cost of free WiFi can be an expensive opportunity cost.

But we have enough bandwidth, right?

Bandwidth is such a commonly used termed, even to typically describe one’s ability to complete their workload, that the question begs to be asked, ‘do we really understand what bandwidth is?’ Upload speeds, download speeds; sure we get the basic concept. A planner doesn’t need to know everything about how a network works. However, they do need to understand enough of the terms and technology to have an intelligent conversation to know what they are getting. A good WiFi experience isn’t simply about bandwidth. It is also about network strength, throughput, latency, bandwidth and how it is partitioned. All too often, a planner who is speaking with a venue technician doesn’t have a full understanding of what they are receiving and the venue technician doesn’t necessarily understand the dynamics of the meeting needs. It is critical for the success of the event that we continue to close this gap or our programs may suffer as a result from slowed networks and a lack of connectivity.

Bandwidth, throughput, partitioning – please explain.

The simplest way to explain bandwidth is to relate it to the size of a water hose. There is only so much water that can fit through the limited size of the hose. When the water that comes through the hose is sectioned off and allocated toward people that is the same thing as using some of the bandwidth of the network.

Throughput, on the other hand, is how much data can actually transmit through an access point or the hardware that transmits the internet signal. Throughput is limited by how many people can connect to a certain access point. Typically, each access point allows for 75-100 connections at a time. If too many devices are trying to connect to the same access point, users can experience a DOS (denial of service) and not be allowed into the network.

We have all experienced a slow network or the inability to access the WiFi when the person sitting next to us is not experiencing any issues. This is a result of a common occurrence when the network hasn’t been designed properly to allow for enough bandwidth or throughput or is just experiencing a high volume of traffic or is noisy due to old or outdated hardware.

It is also important to note that mobile devices don’t ever really go idle when WiFi is enabled. There are always apps running in the background that are utilizing the bandwidth and connecting to an access point. So if you have a room of 1000 people connected to a couple access points and transmitting a little bit of data, it can take up significant bandwidth and throughput.

Finally, partitioning is also a key term and idea to understand. A facility may give you an overall figure for the total bandwidth. However, asking how the bandwidth is partitioned between meeting space, hotel staff and guest rooms, for instance, is extremely important to understand to be able to design a network to support the event needs. Additionally, it is important to recognize if the partition is flexible and if it can be changed to be able to allocate additional bandwidth to specific areas.

Plan and design your event network just as you would design your food & beverage needs.

The biggest mistake planners make is to simply base the needs of the network off the number of attendees. In-depth conversations regarding the program needs are imperative to the success of the network. Are we talking about basic internet surfing, downloading, polling, and/or streaming? What types of apps will be used? Where will users be located (all in one room in separate spaces)? These are all key questions to consider and to discuss with the facility or supplier partner to ensure the network is designed to meet the event’s needs. Just as a planner wouldn’t simply tell the CSM that they need food for 500 people without explaining how many at each meal function and any special food sensitivities nor should a planner skip over such important details of the WiFi needs.

Breaking down the cost of WiFi

The conversation regarding the cost and WiFi services provided needs to begin during the RFP, sourcing, and contracting process. There are two basic methods for the pricing of WiFi. It is typically either the total amount of bandwidth allocated across unlimited users or based on the total number of concurrent connections. There are pros and cons to each method, however the number of connections tends to be easier to plan around. Having these conversations up-front will go a long way to keeping costs under control while providing planners with the appropriate network needs.

People tend to look at internet and events in two ways, either a cost of doing business or a profit center. Planners tend to think that it should be a cost of doing business and properties tend to think it should be a profit center and this is where negotiating becomes important. All conversations around the network should be addressed at the time of contract signing.

A final note

WiFi is now the fourth utility. There is power, water, heat/AC and now you have WiFi. Planners wouldn’t put on an event without the other three critical utilities so don’t skip out on the fourth one. Interested in learning more about this hot topic or receiving a complimentary copy of our Internet Health Checklist, sign up to receive news, invite and updates from M&IW.

Posted in: Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting, Upcoming Events

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Welcome to our New Blog — M&IW Industry Insights!!

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director of Marketing and Strategic Development

We are thrilled to introduce you to our new blog — M&IW Industry Insights. This is the place where we’ll share our thoughts on ideas that will shape your business and disrupt the industry. Look forward to fresh, timely, and relevant content on our latest news, happenings, activities, and emerging trends from M&IW thought leaders.

At M&IW, we bring people together for successful outcomes. But more importantly, we believe live meetings and events transform organizations. We also know success is best achieved in true collaboration with our valued clients, talented associates and industry partners. As part of that philosophy, we are creating more opportunities for you to interact with us. Stay tuned for upcoming events, free webinars, and valuable resources.

To make sure you are always up-to-date on M&IW, we invite you to join our email list. Not ready to commit? That’s okay. Simply explore all of the great information on our website, watch our brand essence video, or connect with us on social media.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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