21 Mar 2018

Why Your First Technology Decision Will Be Wrong



Considering different pathways

The first decision event organizers make when launching a data-capture project is whether it will be “owned” by business management or IT management. There are good arguments to be made for each, but don’t stress: Whichever one you choose will be wrong.

How can that be? Michael Clapperton can explain. Clapperton has been involved in data-capture projects for three major events organizations, and today he’s the chief technical officer for Informa Global Exhibitions [a division of MeetingsNet’s parent company]. He has identified three major pitfalls of data projects and their solutions. Deciding which department will “own” the project tops his list.

On the one hand, the business side should not own the data capture project because it lacks the deep technical knowledge to plan and create a complicated, well-integrated, and effective system. The way your organization runs events may work well, but it is not necessarily the best way. If the existing processes are not so good, automating them will deliver not-so-good results.

That does not mean IT is the right choice. Clapperton knows from hard-won experience that IT lacks the intimate knowledge of event industry best practices. He says, “IT knows how it has been running existing systems but not exactly how they should be run.” The outcome is the same: Automation of poor processes.

Ready to throw up your hands in frustration? Wait, Clapperton has an eleven-step co-ownership solution in which each side brings strengths to compensate for the other’s weaknesses. He will unveil process on May 30 at ECEF 2018 in Washington, D.C., and also present practical solutions to project pitfalls—buying software that “does it all” and putting an integrator in charge.

While we can’t cover an entire co-ownership solution in a post, at least we warned you about that first big mistake.

Lippman’s Takeaway: There is a growing need for technology and non-tech executives to step out of their respective silos. The best IT executives will learn about every aspect of the events business.