Most people in the venue-and-event-management industry don’t have the expertise or bandwidth to get into the weeds when examining the tech stack of their software provider. That’s understandable but unfortunate because software that’s reliant on legacy or generic technology (as opposed to a cutting-edge tech stack built from the ground up) is inefficient, difficult to update and expensive.
The perils of kicking the can down the road
When the cloud started taking off around a decade ago, industry incumbents – in all industries – faced a difficult choice. One option was to retire their existing tech stack and embrace the cloud with all the expense and disruption that would entail. Another option was to kick the digital transformation can down the road for the next CEO to deal with and graft a bit of modern tech onto the legacy tech stack where necessary then hope for the best.
Guess which option CEOs with an eye on the next set of quarterly results (and their yearly bonus) were most inclined to choose?
There isn’t space to detail all the drawbacks of attempting to soldier on with a mishmash of legacy tech overlaid with a patina of cloud-computing technology, so let me just explore three of the big ones.
- A lack of continuous innovation and continuous development (CI/CD)
Not so long ago, even cutting-edge business technology moved at a leisurely pace. For example, business owners would buy Microsoft 2010 – on a set of disks! – then use that software until they went out and bought Microsoft 2013 three years later. Likewise, a mid-sized or large business might only update its internal systems once every six months.
Once organisations moved from having technology on their premises to having it in the cloud, it was much easier for software providers to offer constant updates. Long story short, CI/CD – continuous integration, continuous development – became best practice.
Rather than making improvements to software once or twice a year, the more forward-thinking software development teams began updating it once or twice a day. This had a raft of upsides, one of the most obvious being that it made life more difficult for cybercriminals. companies like Stripe/Slack are known to update their “stack” up to 15 times per day.
The CI/CD future is here but unevenly distributed. Companies like Microsoft long ago moved to a SaaS model that facilitated continuous improvements to its software. (Microsoft 365, then known as Office 365, was introduced over a decade ago.)
Microsoft is an enthusiastic proponent of CI/CD, both for its software development teams and those of its customers. That’s one of the reasons Microsoft’s customers are satisfied. Or at least satisfied enough not to want to switch to competitors such as Google Workspace Essentials, LibreOffice, or Apache OpenOffice.
If your venue-and-event-management SaaS provider isn’t yet in the CI/CD camp, that should be a big red flag.
CI/CD is directly related to competitive advantage and “consumer delight” Saas companies listen and learn from their customers and change – quickly as required.
- High overheads (that flow into high prices)
In the ‘cloud era’ it’s possible, indeed common, for a handful of developers working in a garage to create game-changing software that ends up being used by billions of people. A classic example is WhatsApp, created by two former Yahoo employees in 2009. It only had around 50 employees when it was acquired in 2014 by Microsoft (now Meta) for US$19 billion. Despite most of its users not paying a cent to use it (the business does charge for its Business API product and takes a small cut of WhatsApp Pay transactions), WhatsApp reportedly generated almost $9 billion in revenue for Meta in 2021.
The moral of the story is that if a business is cloud-native, it can keep headcount and other costs to a minimum and pass the savings on to its customers.
Ask your current software provider what their headcount is and how many are involved in actual value creation as opposed to “overhead”.
Event Hub remains a small team of approximately ten and there is only one (highly technical) overhead. Scott Hyde.
- B-grade tech, B-grade talent
Imagine you’re a top-notch automotive engineer who can work for any car company that takes your fancy. Are you going to want to join the team responsible for designing Tesla’s Cybertruck, or are you going to take a job at the Honda Accord factory?
The top talent in any industry gravitates to companies creating, or at least leveraging the latest and greatest technology. If your venue-and-event-management SaaS provider is an old-fashioned ‘lifter and shifter’, it’s unlikely to have any truly innovative developers on staff.
Further – think about Modals like AWS where truly best in planet thinking is available – by leveraging SAAS you leverage that thinking – fractionally.
What’s all this got to do with my venue-and-event management software choices?
When it comes to the venue-and-event-management industry, both the long-in-the-tooth incumbents and the fresh-faced new entrants have their drawbacks.
The industry’s biggest player, Ungerboeck, was founded 35 years ago. It still functions much in the way you would expect a 20th-century company to. It employs hundreds of staff and maintains a network of bricks-and-mortar offices in pricey locations across the globe. I’ve got no doubt Ungerboeck spends a lot of money on its technology stack. I have no doubt it’s done a great job supporting many venues for many years. Recently, however, Its strategy seems to be to pay top dollar to acquire cloud-native startups. I don’t understand whether these are helping or not. I wonder if they are fully integrated? Nonetheless, its headcount and pricing suggest it’s yet to adapt to the cloud-native way of doing things.
Even though it was founded almost two decades ago, Engage RM can be placed in the ‘disruptor’ category, at least in relation to Ungerboeck. I expect that Engage RM’s tech stack is considerably more modern and its overheads likely lower than Ungerboeck’s.
Engage RM, has taken the CMS approach and has bolted its software onto Microsoft’s Dynamics365 platform, which places constraints on what its solution can do and leads to a pricey user-based model.
Event Hub sees a lot of clients who invested in a CMS like salesforce.com and ask what is the next best step for them,
All I can suggest is – “Don’t let your business be held back by sunk cost.”
**You know I never bother to look that hard at EH’s competitors – our obsessive focus is on our own product – and how good it can be.
How Event Hub ticks the boxes
Event Hub was born cloud native. The Event Hub team did the hard work of building a CRM-CMS-ERP platform from the ground up as well as developing software specifically designed for the venue-and-events industry. As a result, the solution provided by Event Hub ticks all the boxes – a legacy-tech-free and bespoke technology stack, a small but talented workforce, low overheads and prices, constant innovation, all the tools needed to cover all mission-critical processes – rather than only some of them.
Event Hub connects hirers, agents, venues, guests, sponsors and now members with a minimum of friction. Event Hub has partnered with the following forward-thinking sporting bodies, venues and companies: The NRL, the Sydney Kings, the Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne United, Cricket Victoria, the Parramatta Eels, the Canberra Raiders, the Canberra Brumbies, the Waratahs, the Western Sydney Warriors, the SCG, Alliance Stadium, Accor Stadium, Qudos Bank Arena, CommBank Stadium, McDonald Jones Stadium, ICC Sydney, Optus Stadium, GIO Stadium Canberra, Telstra, DHL, CUB, Coke, Accor and Venues NSW.
Book here now to experience what Event Hub has to offer.