September 10, 2019
Over the last couple of years, there has been an explosion of new cloud applications in both event tech, and in martech in general. An all-in-one software solution has traditionally covered an event’s requirements however, this “one-platform-fits-all” approach is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, event organisers are starting to adopt a “best-of-breed” approach, selecting the right tool for job and building the event technology stack..
This new approach means organisers no longer need to rely on the features that are available within the one software application. Instead, when encountering a particular challenge, organisers seek to find the right tool to help resolve the issue or capitalise on an opportunity. The benefits to this method include:
Choosing the right tool for the right job has obvious benefits, it also has a major potential drawback – the risk of data silos.
Let’s take an EMS (Event Management System) and a mobile app as an example. If you choose two different vendors, you risk attendee information is not automatically synchronized from the EMS to the mobile app.
If one of the involved platforms has an out-of-the-box integration with the other, you should be fine. On the other hand, if the so-called “native integration” is not available, you’ll need to find an alternative solution.
Some will solve this issue with manual data exports from one tool, importing into another. This is cumbersome, prone to errors and very time-consuming.
Another solution is to work with an IT company and employ custom development to create integrations between two or more tools. This is done by using the API of each platform. If the word API is new to you: an API is an interface that allows developers to access an application from code. For example, an API of a registration platform can be used to read all attendees, but it can also be used to update attendees, e.g. to change their status.
Custom development unfortunately, has a few major drawbacks; it’s very expensive, inflexible, and you typically look at a long development lead time.
The good news is that there is alternative solution: an integration platform. Zapier is a well-known tool for “trigger-based integrations” or for more robust and reliable integrations, you will need an iPaaS platform, such as Blendr.io. Integration platforms reduce the time needed to integrate tools and they allow users to easily make changes to an integration.
Let’s look at a small example: You introduce a new registration category for your conference, and attendees in this category need to see other information in your mobile app. An integration platform makes it straightforward to add this logic on your registration form which automatically feeds into the event app.
Keeping in mind that you want to avoid “data silos” as you build your technology stack, make sure that each tool you select adheres to the following criteria:
The number of tools organisers use to support events is only set to increase. Integrations are a critical part of the success of your event technology stack and improving the event experience for your attendees.