Each month we’ll be highlighting a ‘Techspert’ from our team and taking a closer look at their background and experience in the events industry. This month we’re focusing on our Client Services Manager Paul Harris…
What is your area of expertise at Eventsforce?
I manage the new team responsible for on-boarding new clients. Buying the right software solution can be tough, and we know that historically some customers face difficulties and challenges with their initial configuration. They then get used to operating in this sub-optimum way and either fester with their frustrations or blindly tolerate mediocrity – but it shouldn’t be like this. My team’s job is to help the client understand the options available to them and make our features and tools work as hard as possible, allowing them to deliver the best results and get the job done efficiently. In the on-boarding team we do this by investigating the customers’ own processes to help them understand how these help them achieve their business goals.
I also look after a range of other services, including the Event Build service, helping busy Event Managers reduce their event build stress, and the custom template delivery service for customers that want to specify their own look and feel, to match a corporate website. Finally, I also manage our database integration projects and client/internal change requests.
Tell us a little about your background in the events industry?
I bought Eventsforce as a client to run my own events. I came from an AV Production Manager background and while loading a truck in the rain saw my client stepping into a taxi with clean hands heading for the airport, knowing I still had two more trucks to load and a three hour drive to the next venue: I was ready for a change.
I landed myself a job as a Conference Organiser for a large membership association. Very quickly I realised that I didn’t have the patience to administer hundreds of abstracts arriving via email or even fax… in 2006! I needed to find a better way to administer registrations and abstract submissions. I bought Eventsforce.
With a trusting manager who was open to change, we quickly got up and running and the software allowed us to administer more events more efficiently and open new income streams. The flexibility of the system allowed the department to add new functions (awards, full papers, invoicing) as we needed them and then scale up our licence in busy years when we pitched and landed the bumper international congresses. My mistakes were forgiven by my superiors and remembered by me. It’s this insight into running events using our product that helps me see things from the customer’s point of view.
Which tech development do you think has impacted the industry most recently?
Being able to consume data on the go allows the world to turn. Receiving an invitation to an event, viewing the event webpages, registering, making selections and reviewing the confirmation email whilst waiting for that train that’s inevitably delayed is marvellous. I am so proud that Eventsforce events can be fully optimised for mobile. When used with token password free login, the experience for known, invited attendees is effortless.
What are your predictions for the future of event technology?
Overtime everyone’s expectation rises. Attendees, Committees, Stakeholders – accepting the same process done the same way is surely no longer acceptable. We must learn from the past and use it to build a better future, offer sponsors more value next year than they received last year, be smarter, faster, brighter, broader, exceed their expectations and they will happily pay more for it.
I also think it will become increasingly important to complete your data eco-system. In other words, having a finance, CRM and events system that are not fully integrated falls short of the mark. Data in silos is wasted, outdated and expensive. Allowing your systems to talk to each other so information circulates across all areas of your business will help it cross pollinate and grow. Break down barriers. You don’t need to know how to do it to know how to get it done.