Dave Hill is an Event Technology Consultant working with a variety of events from large conferences to smaller forums globally. I asked him to sit down with me to chat about the 5 most significant areas where he sees opportunities to streamline the technology at an event.
- What is the most significant area you find for improvement? The need to get both engineering teams on the same page-
In many events, event managers are dealing with multiple technologies from multiple vendors. They ultimately want them to talk to each other and integrate. The problem that I have run into is the typical project of two separate pieces of technology from two independent vendors wanting to blend together and the time and effort it takes to integrate them. Successful integrations happen when engineers on both sides can talk it through. They both know their technology and can come up with technology solutions faster and more efficiently. They speak the same language. If you have a Project Manager taking down notes and trying to explain it to the developer, there is inevitably some disconnect.
Key Action- Get the developers to talk when integrating technology.
- Documentation, sharing existing docs and then documenting what exactly has been done in the past.
Not all vendors view their integration documentation the same. Usually, one side comes to the table with well thought out integration documentation. The other party may have old integration documents or none at all. When a developer can review at the documentation, there tends to be a quicker learning curve and less time wasted. Documents that highlight the current version of the product and the ideal way to integrate are the best way to handle the integration
Key Action- Ask for and review the documentation. Get current documentation.
- The scope is too broad- There are a lot of vendors pushing a lot of technology platforms onto event managers today. I see many event managers trying to implement too many technologies at the same time, and it does not come off well.
So what do you recommend Dave? Don’t do everything the first year. See what works and add more features each year. The problem is either they want everything now or are being pushed to implement everything today. Don’t do everything now; it is better to do 2-3 things well than do 10 things mediocre.
Key Action- Don’t try to do too much. Look to add a feature(s) that gives you the best return and can be properly implemented.
- Not enough QA or lead time for a successful implementation-
The event planner brings in another vendor, and they have to get it integrated and do not put enough time into QA. An event manager will tell me they plan to have the platform done a week before the show so we should be fine. It does not leave the proper time to test and fine tune. In most cases of an integration we have run do an iteration and test another iteration and another test. They are unaware the level of QA it takes to integrate platforms and to get it cleared. They do not understand the development lifecycle.
Key Action- Always dd more time to make sure there is enough time to properly set up the QA on the technology.
- Importance of Data Privacy/GDPR requirements. –
Data privacy is a concern. I find myself asking some event managers, do you understand the severity of the penalties for not being compliant? When they collect personal data, they do not understand the requirements of being compliant as it pertains to laws that are in place. They integrate with a new startup, but the company is so focused on getting the product out, have they done the steps necessary to have adequate security and privacy setups? They can miss that critical step. Ask questions and then ask more. Is the data encrypted? Where is it housed? Do they have a policy and procedure for data privacy? Can you review it? Have they had an outside company review and audit against their privacy and procedures?
Key Action- Learn what you can and cannot do under Privacy laws. I can recommend a few if you need insight