In your ongoing effort to improve your business and customer experience it is inevitable that you will come across naysayers when you start to look into adding a new software system. As we indicated in our last post having a cross-functional team is an important early step in the process because it takes into account a variety of viewpoints and operational needs. We also find it helps with building up support for this type of project. However, trying to appease a formal or informal committee can be very challenging since humans are preprogrammed to find comfort and security with a familiar working structure. Any “threat” or proposed change to their current work environment can create push back, delay your progress, or, even worse, sabotage your plans. Knowing this we’ve collected the most common road block excuses you will encounter as you move to build a coalition of change at your venue. We have also provided the best ways to handle each excuse so you have a response you can use in the event you come across these situations.
“This is how we’ve always done it” – Just because your office hasn’t made any changes in a long time doesn’t mean you should continue to keep things status quo. The old adage you don’t know what you don’t know seems appropriate and may be a good one to use when you get this excuse. We can appreciate the successes of the past, but don’t let them keep you from reaching your future potential.
“There is too much red tape”– I find larger organizations or institutions can be very bureaucratic and tends to require following certain established rules. However, by doing some legwork and getting buy in from key players at your venue you can avoid any delays that maybe caused by red, green, purple, yellow or blue tape for that matter.
“We are doing fine with what we are currently using” – I will admit that this statement does have some merit, but it doesn’t take into account how much better things could be by implementing a new software system. Change is scary and many people will sacrifice progress for complacency. As your competitors continue to steal your business and clients, it’s no time to become complacent. Consider doing an internal assessment and see where you could be managing things more efficiently. Once you nail down specific things in your business that need some attention you will have a much better sense of what needs to be changed.
“We don’t have the resources to make the switch” – With cut backs and what upper-management like to call lean working strategies these days, the resources of yesterday have either dried up or moved onto greener pastures. You may no longer have a team of IT experts at your beck and call to assist with implementing a new system. Fortunately, thanks to technological advancements and the cloud this is no longer a prerequisite. Most SAAS systems are set up for rapid deployment and since they are stored off site the resources that used to be needed to back up the system or provide support are no longer necessary. You may not have the resources you once did, but that is no longer an issue as companies like Event Guru Software have been able to adapt to the changing working landscape by providing a cloud based product that is budget friendly.
Psst did you know that all software systems are not created equal and that is what makes finding the right software system a challenge especially for conference and event professionals. However, if you follow some simple rules the experience of searching for a system should be more productive and, even better, you will eventually get a system that is going to fit your specific business needs. Here are some important things to consider as you set off on the journey to find a software system:
Create a cross-functional team and do an internal assessment of what systems you are currently using and list the good, the bad and the ugly about a particular system
Survey your staff to find out what things related to their jobs they feel could be improved or streamlined and identify what content and processes you want to manage more efficiently
Create a wish list of features and functionality and categorize them as requirements, desirable, or nice to haves
Investigate whether or not there is a special requisition process when it comes to making an investment in software ie need to go through a bid or RFP
Meet with in-house IT resources (if you are lucky to have this type of resource) and identify any potential limitations that might exist with the current infrastructure
Call up a few colleagues within your professional circle and find out what system they use and what they like about it
After researching via a vendor website narrow a target list of no more than 3 possible vendors to be considered
Schedule a time that works for your team to participate in a product demo – Be sure to provide the vendor with a few specific scenarios to follow making it more relevant to your day to day operations
Choose a solution that has the most potential for your short and long term business goals
Finally, work together with the vendor to create a realistic schedule for the implementation making sure it does not conflict with other previously scheduled projects as you will need resources to dedicate to this phase of the project
If you follow these few basic steps it will help to make for a positive experience for you and maybe get you some brownie points with your boss.
Like a mime that goes to the trusty trapped in an invisible box skit, the feeling like the walls are closing in on you is common especially for many users of server based commercial and home-grown software systems. The key to avoiding your business from being trapped in a software’s confined area is scalability. Wikipedia defines scalability as the capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work, or its potential to be enlarged in order to accommodate that growth. For example, it can refer to the capability of a system to increase its total output under an increased load when resources are added. The fact is that your venue will likely change over the next few months. You will add new inventory or resources to your facility. The catering manager will add a dish to your menu guide or you will acquire more audio visual equipment. Change is going to occur so having a system that can easily adapt will ensure you can efficiently manage this growth. Without a system that can scale you will quickly find that your venue may start to feel the pressure of creating work-arounds that could impact the integrity of your data. The most important thing to ask when looking at software is will this system be able to accommodate my growing business. Don’t become the mime that gets trapped in an invisible box and free your business from the constraints of a software system that will not keep up with your evolving operational needs.
In this day and age where your operational budget continues to shrink, but demand to deliver the highest level of customer service continues to grow many conference professionals are looking for ways to do their job better and reduce costs. SAAS or software as a service has become a great option since it provides a lot of benefits other server based software cannot. Here are a few reasons you should consider switching to a cloud based tool at your venue:
1.The cost to implement a SAAS solution is low because the company accepts the burden of keeping the software up and running so you can focus on other priorities. Plus, your IT wizards will thank you since this set up requires very little if any support from in-house resources.
2.The days of week long training and implementations are over. Most SAAS include a rapid deployment strategy to get the system working as quickly as possible. The faster you can start using a system the sooner you can start seeing results and an ROI.
3.Access to your information from anywhere means you can put out more fires making even Smokey the Bear jealous of your skills. Mobile devices makes a cloud based tool the best option for the worker that is on the go 24/7.
The agile platform for SAAS means your entire team has the latest version of the software allowing you to take advantage of new features immediately.
No long term commitments mean you have control over your financial future and can more accurately manage your expenses. You will find many cloud based systems provide a variety of pricing options to accommodate your needs.