Discuss, debate and exchange ideas on latest trends and opportunities in the Business Process Management (BPM) landscape. Deliberate on adding “business value” to clients, vendors, employees and various other stakeholders to enhance customer satisfaction and sustain long term partnerships.

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October 27, 2017

Evolving Automation in Meetings & Events

Apart from traditional business functions, automation is making waves in the Meetings & Events space and has already revolutionized some of the processes.  Is this the next step into automated events?

There has been a lot of technological developments in business travel over the past decade, enabling corporations to automate the end-to-end process. But what about Meetings & Events? M&E related sourcing process is automated for some time with many dedicated sourcing platforms but there are clear signs that the Meetings & Events space is attracting investors who are pouring money into technological developments. But where are the gaps in automation and what areas are currently under focus?

Data gathering used to be massive pain point for majority of the travel managers, who had to spend a lot of time in manually pulling out relevant data from various sources, in order to keep a good view of what is going on. Currently there are multiple solutions enabling systematic data collection across multiple events. This enables companies to compare and analyze multiple events together and against each other. And we are not talking only about traditional M&E sourcing-related metrics such as savings against the first offer, average price per attendee, contracting history etc. Marketing departments are keen to see what people do at their events, who they interact with, which sessions they attend, which booths they visit and how long they stay. This should ideally be linked with the sales pipeline enabling proper event ROI calculations. 

Measurement of on ground attendee experience and engagement has started with polls and other gamification distributed via meeting apps. The drawback is that these solutions do not provide a full picture as not all participants would download and use the meeting app. Later on, meeting-specific content, started to appear on the social media platforms, which had a positive effect on the visibility. But good results were achieved only after introduction of smart badges and RFID-enabled floor mats. These technologies enable organizers to see the real time data with heat maps and hang times, using which - they can influence attendee experience. E.g. automated distribution of session materials, in case attendee registered for the session has missed the same, modification of F&B arrangements in case a session goes longer and so on.

Another area where recent automation contributed to massive reduction of cycle times is registration. Registration, traditionally manual, is going digital with tablets and experience is not much different from an airline or hotel check-in kiosks. 

As you can see the developments are massive and fast-paced and I am curious to see what I am going to experience at my next event.

October 24, 2017

It is not when it starts, it is how it finishes

The current status of Brexit and its potential impact on European procurement laws...

It is no secret that the UK is leaving the European Union. We voted for the same over a year ago and the official negotiations have now commenced between London and Brussels. It is still a question of when the process would be completed though. Also, how the trade relationships would continue after the breakup. There is a divorce bill to be paid as well - apparently to the tune of €50 billion.

The last 44 years of EU membership has no doubt changed the trade and commercial landscape of the UK. Many European laws have been introduced to the UK legislations, especially in public procurement. Most of them were introduced to improve governance and transparency of the procurement process and also to provide a fair opportunity for suppliers in Europe irrespective of their domicile. OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) procedure is one such mandatory requirement in the current UK public sector procurement. Many have seen these as adding further bureaucracy to the process. However they have been in operation for a couple of decades. Maybe some of us were happy about the UK leaving the EU, meaning all these additional procurement laws would not have effect immediately. Should we?

Brexit negotiation is a complicated process. More than 200 staff are working full time in the UK since the referendum, combing through all legislation, processes, procedures, court precedents and impact on EU immigration. The official negotiations are expected to take at least 2 years. In recent weeks, there have been different views on whether the UK should be asking the EU to let them stay in the single market and the customs union. Some of this noise is coming from political parties but what matters is the official stance of the UK government. 

Amidst all the speculations and the political agendas, one thing is very clear. It would take more than 5 - 10 years for the UK to be 'completely' out of the European Union if she wishes for that clean of an outcome. However, a more practical approach would be in learning to live with some of the EU characteristics. This will be true for procurement laws as well. Whilst there have been criticism on practises such as OJEU, they have served well in areas of governance and transparency.  The best result one could hope for would be the agreement among the UK procurement fraternity to 'cherry-pick' the good laws they want to continue with but with a greater degree of simplification and making them more user friendly and accessible. 

Only time will tell if Brexit is a 'win-win' for both parties. As the UK minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis once said "It is not when it starts, it is how it finishes". 

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