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A newly released survey conducted with a leading provider of event management software asked UK based event managers what was their preferred tool for managing and planning their events. The most common tool certainly was event management software with 67% in the votes. Coming second and third were spreadsheets and ‘other’ respectively.

Spreadsheets are a proven method of managing events - they’re able to track budgets, monitor resources and could be an ideal way of making and managing lists. The advantage of spreadsheets as an event management tool will be the affordable linked to them. Virtually all event managers have accessibility to spreadsheets and they are generally a widely accepted document format.

However, there is a high number of drawbacks if event managers decide to use spreadsheets as his or her main event management tool. Common issues include:

Poor efficiency: Using spreadsheets is very little very efficient technique of managing each of the areas of a conference. It’s likely that event managers will likely be using a number of spreadsheets, all with many tabs, holding plenty of data. Managing this all data within spreadsheets can be confusing for an outsider, and time intensive for those users.

Lost data: Spreadsheets are only as safe because the server/system they take a seat on. Should they be kept on a pc harddrive, there’s a risk that all the info will be lost if anything goes wrong with that laptop or computer. Spreadsheets are also prone to freezing/stalling and unless the big event manager is acquainted with saving on a regular basis, there’s a high-risk that data and work will likely be lost.

Trouble keeping data up-to-date: Many events have multiple event managers, all using the same spreadsheets to organise and plan various areas. Problems arise when managers update spreadsheets without informing the opposite event mangers that the spreadsheet changed. If event managers please take a copy of the master spreadsheet and work with that, the proprietor soon becomes obsolete. In addition there are issues when multiple event manger must access the spreadsheet as well. Only 1 editable copy could be opened, creating the others being ‘read only’ - taking out the ability to make updates.

Tough to create reports to measure success: A key part of event management is the ability to analyse event success. It is important to offer the ability to determine what is really a particular event successful along with what needs to be measured in order to analyse event performance. Using spreadsheets makes mtss is a trial. Although creating graphs and charts might be easy on spreadsheets, the amalgamation and sorting with the data is definitely an extremely complicated and time consuming task. It’s very often necessity that whenever using spreadsheets, the experience of measuring event performance is forgotten or dismissed.

Lack of management information: Much like the difficulty in creating reports to analyse performance, there is also a lack of management information overall. For businesses organising many events per year it is advisable to have the ability to have a very clear picture of the events as a whole; understanding delegate numbers, budgets along with other KPI’s across all events may help shape event strategy in the foreseeable future.

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