22
Jan
2021
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Imagine that you are in the pre E-commerce era where you had to physically travel to the supermarket or to your nearest grocery store to buy stuff for your daily needs. The typical steps involved in completing the purchase, broadly involve these tasks –

1. Create a list of things that you need

2. Travel from your home to the store

3. Pickup things that you need from various shelves

4. Complete the checkout process on the counter

5. Carry the stuff back to your home

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Now, imagine someone comes to you and says that they can revolutionise your shopping experience by enabling you to digitally create a list of things you need and track as you shop (i.e. introducing some kind of digital intervention in step-1). How will that sound to you? Forget revolutionising, would you really believe that this will, in any significant way, create a better shopping experience for you?

A true revolution in your shopping experience would necessitate digital intervention across all the activities listed in the steps above. That is what companies like Flipkart, Amazon and other E-commerce firms have tried to do. They have been able to truly revolutionise the retail shopping value chain by addressing most, if not all, the activities involved.

Events and experiences is one such industry where digital intervention (or what is called ‘Event-Tech’) has been extremely narrowly defined, and unfortunately most of the industry players seem to have accepted that narrow definition unquestioningly. The industry practitioners that we spoke to, confirmed that all the processes and activities that they follow today, are almost exactly the same as they were 2 decades ago. From searching for venues to host events to reaching out to partner vendors, from payments processing to gathering data for intelligent decision making, nothing seems to have changed. Someone pointed out that the biggest change that has happened over the last 20 odd years is that the presentation format has changed from 4:3 to 16:9 format…SERIOUSLY!!!

When we did our research on the ‘revolutionary’ technology products and platforms that are available, we figured that on an average, less than 10% of the value chain of event management is addressed by these solutions. Generally speaking, Event-tech is being extremely narrowly defined to be limited to automating some of the workflows around attendee management. Rest of the (dare I say) far more important aspects of event management including venue finalisation, vendors’ eco-system management, payments risk management, and data intelligence are largely overlooked. This is the equivalent of claiming to revolutionise E-commerce by automating the shopping list creation.

If you have been associated with the Event-tech in some way, would love to hear your thoughts on this!!