Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management Technology
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Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management Technology

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This report aims to assist event professionals across the globe in building an effective business case for leveraging technology within their strategic meetings management programs.

This report aims to assist event professionals across the globe in building an effective business case for leveraging technology within their strategic meetings management programs.

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    Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management Technology Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management Technology Document Transcript

    • July 2012 Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyThe complex spend category of strategic meetings and events management Analyst Insightencompasses 9% of the average organization’s total budget. Within the next Aberdeen’s Insights provide thetwo years, that figure is expected to increase by nearly 20%, reinforcing the analysts perspective on theneed for organizations to leverage modern strategies for controlling research as drawn from anspending on corporate events, driving visibility into several aspects of aggregated view of researchmeetings management and ultimately driving more value out of strategic surveys, interviews, andmeetings and events. This Analyst Insight aims to assist organizations across data analysisthe globe in building an effective business case for leveraging technologywithin their strategic meetings management programs.A Contemporary View of Meetings and EventsManagementNearly 70% of organizations view strategic meetings management as amoderate-to-high priority function, proving that an enterprise’s events havea direct link in achieving corporate business goals and objectives. With asignificant chunk of organizational finances spent on this category, it isincumbent on internal stakeholders to leverage modern strategies andsolutions to better control the multifaceted nature of this function. Asdetailed in Figure 1 (below), there are myriad priorities for the averageorganization in managing their strategic meetings and events.Figure 1: Current Priorities for Strategic Meetings Management Source: Aberdeen Group, June 2012This document is the result of primary research performed by Aberdeen Group. Aberdeen Groups methodologies provide for objective fact-based research andrepresent the best analysis available at the time of publication. Unless otherwise noted, the entire contents of this publication are copyrighted by Aberdeen Group, Inc.and may not be reproduced, distributed, archived, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent by Aberdeen Group, Inc.
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 2The majority of organizations (58%) view the reduction of costs andimprovement of cost savings as their top priority in 2012 for strategicmeetings management. This aspect comes as no significant surprise; withfinances allocated for corporate events expected to rise considerably overthe next two years, companies are focused on instituting strategies tobetter control events-related spending.Also on the radar of organizations this year in regards to meetingsmanagement is the improvement of visibility into all facets of events Best-in-Class Criteriamanagement (52%). As the meetings category has evolved over time, The following aspects were usedcompanies are under pressure to maintain a proper level of visibility into to determine Best-in-Classnot only spending, but also suppliers, marketing performance, attendee- organizations in Aberdeen’srelated information, social media outreach and other significant factors 2012 Strategic Meetingswithin the meetings and events management program. Management benchmark report, with top-performers achievingThe Best-in-Class Strategic Meetings Management impressive results in:Program  Compliance to internal events management policiesTop-performing enterprises in the Strategic Meetings Management researchstudy were noted for their superior performance across a series of key  Meetings and events spendmetrics within the meetings and events management space. Best-in-Class under managemententerprises have driven:  Frequency of events meeting  A 48% higher rate of compliance to internal meetings / events or exceeding goals / management policies and guidelines than all other organizations objectives  A 44% higher rate of meetings and events spend under management  Frequency of meetings executed on or below budget  A 44% higher frequency of meetings and events meeting or exceeding goals and objectives, and; Best-in-Class: Top 20% of aggregate performance scorers  A nearly 30% higher frequency of meetings and events executed on or below corporate budgets. Industry Average: Middle 50% of aggregate performance scorersThe Best-in-Class strategic meetings management program (SMMP) involves Laggard: Bottom 30% ofa series of basic, intermediate and advanced attributes that span the scope aggregate performance scorersof social media, analytics / reporting, design / creative aspects and strategicsourcing principles. However, the most crucial aspect of the Best-in-ClassSMMP is the technology core that links all of these processes and supportsefficient events management. As detailed in Figure 2, Best-in-Classorganizations are relying on a multitude of technology solutions to supporttheir SMMP.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 3Figure 2: Best-in-Class Technology Attributes for StrategicMeetings and Events Management Source: Aberdeen Group, June 2012End-to-end strategic meetings management solutions, in place in 40% moreBest-in-Class organizations than all others, are the main technology offeringsleveraged by top-performing organizations. These systems present a fully-automated platform that streamlines a variety of key meetings managementprocesses and aspects, such as:  Registration and registration management  Marketing and communications  Social media support and outreach  Analytical dashboards and real-time reporting  Event-planning and on-site management  Supplier network and supplier management  Travel managementLinking back to the top current priority in meetings and eventsmanagement, it is interesting to note that Best-in-Class organizations, withheavy reliance on end-to-end meetings management solutions, have driven73% higher realized and implemented cost savings than all other companies.SMM Technology: Challenges, Opportunities andOutcomesThe following sections of this Analyst Insight will present a three-partbusiness case for implementing technology for strategic meetings© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 4management. However, before tackling the complex nature of the businesscase for making an educated decision in leveraging technology, let’s firstdiscuss the challenges, opportunities and outcomes in relation to strategicmeetings management technology.ChallengesSimilar to any technology decision, any organization will face some level ofscrutiny from the executive office when they present an intention topurchase a new automated solution. In addition to this aspect, there are avariety of challenges in SMM technology implementation:  Business requirements. Will the new solution meet our complex requirements for meetings and events management?  Integration. Is the new technology capable of integrating with existing systems, such as ERP, CRM, and expense management? Will we be able to access multi-dimensional data from the new system?  Risks? Are there any inherent risks in implementing a new solution? Will the eventual rollout and implementation phases adversely affect the planning and development of events already on our corporate calendar?  Technology lifecycle and financial alignment. What level of maintenance and corporate responsibility is required to support our SMMP over an extended period of time? Does this new solution align with our financial requirements for the future?OpportunitiesThe implementation of strategic meetings management technology presentsthe average organization with a series of opportunities for streamliningprocesses related to events management and driving value from thestrategic meetings management program, as well as the following items:  Spend optimization. Strategic meetings management technology can help program execs more effectively plan, develop and execute corporate meetings. This aspect can improve the optimization of meetings spending and ensure that the vast majority of events do not exceed corporate budgets.  Higher quality meetings and events. With a technology solution enhancing and streamlining key processes (such as registration and development), the strategic meetings management program can devote more time to improving the attendee experience.  Link to the next generation of events management. It’s no surprise that the “next generation” of strategic meetings management is directly linked to the utilization of technology. Aspects such as social media and mobile applications are critical in taking events management into the future.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 5OutcomesOrganizations that leverage strategic meetings management technologyexperience a variety of benefits that are directly linked to leveraging thesesolutions, including:  Time and cost savings. Automation via technology solutions simplifies the attributes of the modern SMMP, including registration, sourcing / procurement, planning, expense management and marketing. This simplification will produce significant time savings due to the eradication of manual intervention, as well improve cost savings with automated supplier development.  Improvement of event ROI. One major aspect of modern events management is the move to “engagement management” and looking to emotional aspects in addition to revenue gleaned from corporate meetings. Technology solutions can provide an automated platform for linking social media and attendee engagement processes and help SMMP execs track, measure and quantify the return-on-investment of meetings and events.  Enhanced visibility into all facets of strategic meetings management. Visibility is a prime concern for any executive tasked with managing a high-profile spend category such as meetings / events. Strategic meetings management technology solutions provide dashboard and analytics for gaining valuable intelligence into myriad aspects of events management, including spending against budget, supplier performance, attendee profile information and ROI of events.The Business Case, Part I: Benefits UnboundThe first item that needs to be considered in building a robust business casefor making a technology decision in regards to strategic meetingsmanagement solutions is the level of performance improvement thatautomation can bring to an organization. Aberdeen research has historicallylinked utilization of strategic meetings management technology to significantupticks in organizational performance.Information culled from the Strategic Meetings Management dataset hasdiscovered that users of end-to-end strategic meetings and eventsmanagement solutions have achieved the following benefits:  60% higher rate of realized and implemented cost savings than companies not currently utilizing end-to-end technology  Nearly 40% higher rate of compliance to corporate policies and guidelines concerning meetings and events management  35% higher frequency of events meeting or exceeding goals and objectives, and;  Nearly 30% higher frequency of meetings / events executed on or below corporate budgets.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 6Utilization of end-to-end meetings management technology directlyalleviates the highest priorities within the modern organization’s purview ofcorporate event management.The Time FactorAberdeen research has also discovered that strategic meetings managementtechnology can assist in improving time savings in regards to processesacross the scope of the modern strategic meetings management program.The following time savings have been achieved by organizations currentlyleveraging technology:  The average technology user saves 55% of productivity time in regards to reporting within events management. SMM technology solutions offer automated analytical dashboards that can provide any program executive with relevant intelligence in a quick manner.  Technology users have achieved 43% time savings for budgeting for current and future events. End-to-end solutions can arm any SMMP with information that can be linked to the corporate office; this intelligence can then be utilized in financial forecasting, budgeting and planning (helping to optimize SMM spending within the content of organizational finances).  Organizations currently leveraging SMM technology have achieved 32% time savings in relation to managing travel and lodging logistics. Automated meetings management solutions integrate both event- and travel-related information into a single system and can help meeting planners better manage travel-booking processes (which, in turn, will improve compliance to corporate travel policies and guidelines).The Business Case, Part II: Enablement of SpecificEvents Management Capabilities and CompetenciesAlthough the performance benefits that can be linked to technologyutilization are often the “headliners” of a business case, there must be aclear path to those benefits via the enablement of core internal processes,capabilities and competencies. As detailed in Figure 3, enterprises currently-leveraging end-to-end strategic meetings management technology solutionsare much more likely than non-technology users to have specific attributesin place within their SMMPs and events management programs.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 7Figure 3: Meetings Management Capabilities Enabled byTechnology Source: Aberdeen Group, June 2012Organizations currently leveraging end-to-end SMM technology are enabledwith a series of core capabilities that support overall events managementobjectives. Consistent sourcing processes (in place in 64% more technologyusers than non-users) ensure that meeting and event planners leverageexisting and ideal supplier relationships to maximize cost savings (and keepevent costs down), while the ability to leverage attendee information forfuture planning (in place in 74% more technology users) can assist inboosting the value of forthcoming events through more effective agendasbased on attendee profile intelligence (as well as information culled frompost-event surveys and questionnaires).The most critical of capabilities, however, revolves around the visibilityafforded to technology users:  Technology users are 70% more likely to hold real-time visibility into an enterprise-wide calendar of events, which can give event planners and other stakeholders visibility into which locations are utilized and the timing of those events, helping to avoid scenarios that would cause overspending or schedule conflicts.  Technology users are 76% more likely to hold real-time visibility into events spending against the corporate budget. With a large portion of enterprise finances allocated for meetings, it is crucial for© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 8 organizations to evade events that are executed over budget. Also, this type of visibility can allow executives to alter future events based on current budgeting standing (reduce the number of days, scale back on entertainment, outright cancel meetings, etc.).  Real-time visibility into strategic meetings management data (a capability in place in 76% more technology users than non-users) enables event planners and related stakeholders to understand the effectiveness of meetings, associated supplier information, the return-on-investment of events, and other next-generation attributes that can help drive more value out of corporate meetings.The Business Case, Part III: Technology as a Link to the“Future of Events Management”The final aspect to the business case involves the link between technologyutilization and taking events management into the future. The strategicmeetings management category is continually evolving, and technology isone means of carrying this function into the next generation.Aberdeen research has found that users of end-to-end meetingsmanagement technology are actively enabled with attributes within thescope of social media, mobile applications and other next-generationcapabilities for contemporary events management:  Technology users are 61% more likely than organizations without meetings technology to have abilities to persistently-engage audiences and attendees beyond simple registration. This aspect supports the new notion of “engagement management” and improves the attendee event experience.  Technology users are 57% more likely than non-users to utilize mobile applications and portals to support the overall management of corporate meetings. Mobile apps can optimize agendas for attendees (based on profile information) and even assist event planners with on-site management aspects (such as communication with team members and status of specific items).  Users of strategic meetings management technology are nearly 50% more likely than companies without technology to consistently leverage social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) to engage with attendees and support marketing initiatives (such as promotional activities).Key TakeawaysThis Analyst Insight study is meant to be utilized as a foundation fororganizations looking to build a business case for making a technologydecision in regards to meetings and events management. The following aresome key takeaways from this research study:© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 9  The reduction of costs and improvement of cost savings are the top events management priorities for organizations in 2012  Best-in-Class organizations, known for their prowess and performance across a series of key events management metrics, are heavily-leveraging end-to-end strategic meetings management technology offerings  End-to-end technology enables a series of core meetings management capabilities and competencies, including real-time visibility and consistent sourcing processes, and;  Users of end-to-end technology solutions are equipped to take meetings and events management into the future via social media and mobile attributes.Research MethodologyBetween May and June 2012, Aberdeen examined the use, the experiences,and the intentions of more than 167 enterprises in a diverse set oforganizations in regards to meetings and events management. Respondingenterprises included the following:  Job title: The research sample included respondents with the following job titles: manager (31%); director (23%); C-level (21%); EVP / VP / SVP (10%); and others.  Department / function: The research sample included respondents from the following departments or functions: procurement and supply chain (21%); corporate management (18%); business development / sales (16%); meetings / events management or SMMP (13%); finance (10%); IT (6%); human resources (6%); operations (4%); and others.  Industry: The research sample included respondents from the following industries: manufacturing (12%); finance (10%); education (7%); public sector (6%); telecommunications (5%); pharmaceutical manufacturing (5%); software (5%); and 25 others.  Geography: The majority of respondents (63%) were from North America. Remaining respondents were from the EMEA (22%), Asia- Pacific (13%) and South / Central America (2%) regions.  Company size: Thirty-five percent (35%) of respondents were from large enterprises (annual revenues above US $1 billion); 25% were from midsize enterprises (annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion); and 40% of respondents were from small businesses (annual revenues of $50 million or less).  Headcount: Forty-three percent (43%) of respondents were from large enterprises (headcount greater than 1,000 employees); 27% were from midsize enterprises (headcount between 100 and 999 employees); and 30% of respondents were from small businesses (headcount between 1 and 99 employees).© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
    • Building a Business Case for Strategic Meetings Management TechnologyPage 10 Related Research Strategic Meetings Management: A Strategic Meetings Management: The Handbook of Emerging Strategies for the Evolution of the Modern SMMP; April Next Generation of Meetings and Events 2010 Management; July 2012 Strategic Meetings Management: Save the Strategic Meetings Management: A View Date, Save Your Budget; August 2009 into the Best-in-Class SMMP; June 2011 Author: Christopher J. Dwyer, Senior Research Analyst, Global Supply Management (chris.dwyer@aberdeen.com)For more than two decades, Aberdeens research has been helping corporations worldwide become Best-in-Class.Having benchmarked the performance of more than 644,000 companies, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to provideorganizations with the facts that matter — the facts that enable companies to get ahead and drive results. Thats whyour research is relied on by more than 2.5 million readers in over 40 countries, 90% of the Fortune 1,000, and 93% ofthe Technology 500.As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen’s research provides insight and analysis to the Harte-Hanks community oflocal, regional, national and international marketing executives. Combined, we help our customers leverage the powerof insight to deliver innovative multichannel marketing programs that drive business-changing results. For additionalinformation, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call(800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.This document is the result of primary research performed by Aberdeen Group. Aberdeen Groups methodologiesprovide for objective fact-based research and represent the best analysis available at the time of publication. Unlessotherwise noted, the entire contents of this publication are copyrighted by Aberdeen Group, Inc. and may not bereproduced, distributed, archived, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent byAberdeen Group, Inc. (2012a)© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897