Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of organizers in the live event industry, and I’ve routinely asked what tools they use to organize all the details of their events. I’m sure this number has changed a bit, but overall some 85-90% of the people I’ve talked to use Spreadsheets and Email (and sticky notes) as their foundational tools for collecting and storing information about their events. The other 10% utilize Event Management Software like Planning Pod, Message Blocks or Eventuosity. A smaller percentage are using project planning or collaboration tools like Trello, Podio or Basecamp to manage this data.
I’ve often wondered WHY so many organizers have NOT adopted these newer technologies and are resistant to abandoning their spreadsheets. These newer platforms can save droves of time by automating tasks, and planners are very busy people under a lot of stress (with not a lot of time to learn new things), so what’s not to love? Do you sense the irony here?
Planners don’t want to leave their spreadsheets because they offer a rich assortment of customization, features and flexibility – pivot tables, charts, data collection, calculations, tables. Spreadsheets can be used for anything! And most planners are so well versed and know their way around a spreadsheet it would make your head spin. They LOVE their spreadsheets and would give their right arm to keep them.
But what to do about integrating your spreadsheet with your other event tech stack? The pain of having to upload spreadsheets into your software can be tedious, and also prone to error. It can lead to dirty data (oh! no!) and duplication. It can be a nightmare to track which is the right or latest version, and difficult to stay up to date on, when it’s been uploaded to your reg platform, mobile event app, CRM, or CMS. ARRGH!
I’ll confess to having promoted the idea of moving away from spreadsheets in favor of using project management software or EMS systems. And while I still think that’s a good idea, I think it’s maybe better to embrace – and enhance – what you know. So………
GOOD NEWS for SPREADSHEET JUNKIES! There are now technology platforms known as iPaaS (integration platforms as a service) that give the user the capability to integrate spreadsheets with other applications and automate workflow. Zapier, for example, is a consumer level iPaaS that allows you to integrate Google Sheets with Salesforce, Hubspot, EventBrite, and other consumer grade services. These platforms will automatically transfer data using an “IF THIS THAN THAT” workflow based on predefined triggers and actions.
But if you want a full enterprise grade iPaaS system than we recommend you consider The Event Guys iPaaS platform from Built.io Flow. This platform is unique in that it’s focused on bringing integration to the event industry and making it easier for organizers to build event tech stacks made from best-of-class event services. This platform can incorporate your Excel spreadsheets (or Google Sheets) with Event Technology, like the Swoogo registration platform, or the Hubb.me CMS, or MAP Digital, or the Eventpedia or AnyEvent App mobile event apps, We’re building a library of services that will eventually include most event tech platforms available. Pricing is subscription based, the user interface is relatively easy, and gives the end user control over how their data is managed.
Bottom line – don’t worry about quitting your spreadsheet love affair! With The Event Guys iPaaS, you can have the best of both worlds – keeping what works for you, and integrating your spreadsheet with your other event technology.
The Event Guys are system integrators and event tech geeks that love solving problems. Contact us directly if you’d like more information or a free demo on how this integration thing works.
Also published on Medium.