You and I know it (but not a lot of other people) that managing events is more than project management. Managing events involves project management work AND creative design, collaboration, budget and expense management, procurement, negotiations, marketing, logistics, and lot more.
This is why common-purpose project management solutions fall way short of event management needs and most event planners don’t find them useful enough. In our experience, fewer than 5% of event planners seriously adopt generic-purpose project management tools. This is not surprising at all if you pause and consider how much broader your job as an event manager is!
So, what’s different, and what’s needed for event planning purposes? Here’s a top-10 list. (Note that this list excludes applications that handle attendee-facing interactions like event websites, registration portals, attendee mobile apps, attendee marketing, etc.)
- Event Program / Agenda Design: Design and manage event program and agenda. Having a defined event agenda establishes the foundation for all further planning and execution
- Detailed Activity Management: Plan and manage minute details of everything from your Venue, A/V and seating, to food & bev orders, to accommodation planning and booking, speaker, sponsor recruitment, etc., etc.
- Project timelines / tasks / resource management: Similar to any other project management, there are several time-bound activities and resources (staffers, planners) to be managed
- Financial Estimators: A big reason events lose money is the not-so-obvious gotchas – like the service charges, taxes, mandatory gratuities, union fees, shipping and storage fees, etc.
- Detailed Budget and Expense Management: Depending on how much money you have available, you have to allocate money to different activities and programs and closely track expenses and vendor spend
- Revenue / Cash Flow / Forecasting Management: If your events generate revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships, etc., having a way to track them and forecast revenue and cash flow
- Document Management: With every event, there are tons of documents to deal with – contracts, design docs, presentations, check lists, media files, etc.
- Contextual Collaboration: You have to collaborate with a lot of teams, internal and external to your organization, to get things done – in the context of the event you are running
- Logistics / Production Schedules: A lot of detailed time and location-based planning for the days of the event is key to ensuring everything is set up properly to give guests the best experience
- Event Performance / ROI Analysis: Event-related data tends to reside is several places like registration, CRM, Marketing, Accounting software, etc. Ability to bring all relevant information together for analysis and reporting will save lots of time and hassle
There are dozens of apps in the market for generic project management (Basecamp, Trello, Microsoft Planner, etc.) and for attendee-facing applications like event websites, registration/ticketing, attendee mobile apps, email marketing, etc. (e.g. Cvent, ActiveRegonline, Eventbrite, DoubleDutch, Marketo, Eloqua/Oracle, MailChimp, etc.)
The category for event planning apps is new and just emerging. Goombal is one of the first most comprehensive Cloud and Mobile-based software application for event planning.