Transitioning to a new event management software (EMS) solution can be an exciting, but also an overwhelming experience for event planners. Check out these tips to make your EMS migration a smooth one.
If you’re an event planner, there inevitably comes a time to move on from your current event management software or tools. As exciting as it sounds to find the new, perfect solution, the prospect can be daunting.
Not only are there many different solutions on the market to consider, but vetting them can be a long and tedious process. Along with discovering a high-tech platform that fits you and your organization’s needs, the pressure is on from management and staff to have an easy-to-use, better-than-what-you-have-now solution.
Take a deep breath, step back and consider these tips for a successful EMS migration.
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When It’s Time to Consider New Event Management Software
If you are in the market for a new EMS provider, you’re liking coming from one of two different circumstances; your organization is relying on manual processes done on Excel or Google spreadsheets and/or you use various unintegrated tools; or you are currently using software that simply no longer meets your needs.
Maybe you’ve outgrown them, or your tools are no longer working together. Maybe you’re not satisfied with their current offerings or customer service. Or perhaps you simply just want a more high-tech or budget-friendly solution. Whatever the reason, you’ve found a reasonable cause to look for a better solution and begin the migration process.
At this stage of the game, it’s important to become a champion of your cause to get your manager or other stakeholders on board for a potential migration. Not only should you understand the issues you are having to find your next solution, but you should take the time to fully explore your options, especially the top solution you want migrate to. It may take several months or up to a year of research and discussions to become and expert and make a decision, but it will be worth it when it comes time to present to management.
Before You Sign Off
Now that you’ve shopped around and have found one or two solutions that fit your needs, there are several important items you should ask yourself before striking a deal and signing a contract.
- Functionality: Right off the bat, does your potential new EMS have all the tools you need (registration, marketing emails, surveys, mobile apps, event ROI tools, etc.)? Does it work together seamlessly? Does the software integrate with other tools, like CRM software, that you use? List out your priorities when it comes to the product itself and see which one checks off most (or hopefully all) of your boxes.
- Scalability: As mentioned earlier, you’re probably seeking a new solution because you’ve outgrown your current tools one way or another. Ensure that the EMS you’re considering can evolve alongside your organization’s growth, as well as with industry needs. Whether it’s being able to add in new features, it being able to handle any size events or can shift into a global audience, scalability is crucial when finding a long-term partnership with your software.
- Security: Protecting your organization’s data, as well attendee records should be on the forefront of every event planner’s mind. Examine the steps that an EMS provider has taken to protect all event data and meet government regulations. If they consistently make data security a priority, your provider will ease the mind of you and your attendees’ alike.
- Customer service: Another thing to not overlook when selecting an EMS provider is their customer service options and response times. At some point, you will need help with your software and it’s important to know your provider is quick and reliable, whether you’re setting up registration or have an emergency onsite.
- Company goals and culture: Finally, don’t forget to ask about your potential provider’s overall outlook and philosophy. Discuss company culture, along with their game plan for the future (developing new tools, making acquisitions, general growth, etc.). Aligning on these big picture issues will ensure a long, healthy relationship and investment with your EMS.
Training Your Staff Effectively
Now that you’ve selected an EMS, it’s time to start migrating. Perhaps the most critical step at this point is training your staff. It’s important to get this right as it sets the tone for your migration and will help ensure a smooth transition for clients and attendees. Plus, if your staff are experts at the software from the very beginning, you event planning will succeed in the long run.
- Find the training method right for your team: Depending on the size of your team and the scope of your software package, your training can be done in a variety of ways. It may be enough to attend online webinars and demos in their own time, or in-person training sessions may be required. Consult with your provider to see if they can develop a personalized plan for your organization.
- Utilize customization/template options: Don’t be afraid to go outside the standard templates your EMS provides. If you plan the same events over and over again with the standard details not changing much, build templates to make registration, website and email creation easy for your team. Not only will there be less to learn, but event planning will already become much more efficient.
- Take your time: This may be obvious, but don’t rush through the training process. Make sure there’s enough time in between selecting your software and flipping the switch so that you and your team have thorough training session and get all their important questions answered. Along with helping determine what type of training you need, work with your provider to develop a proper training timeline.
Overall, migrating to new software doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you take the time to cultivate a detailed plan from beginning to end. By taking migration steps one at time, you’ll not only select the best platform for you, but you’ll make the transition seamless for all those involved.