New research unveiled at Event Tech Live 2019 shows growing technology skills gap in events industry

47% of event planners say they don’t have the right skills to make informed decisions on event technology

A new research study has found that 47% of event planners say they have limited skills to make confident, informed decisions around their event tech investments, despite holding responsibility for it in the majority of organisations. The survey also found that an overwhelming 91% of organisers say event tech is an important aspect of their job, but only 48% consider themselves to be tech-savvy.

The research study, titled Are Event Planners Struggling with Event Technology was conducted by Eventsforce in October and is based on the views of 145+ event professionals based in the US and the UK, representing corporates, associations, government and educational institutions, PCOs and event management agencies.

Importance of event tech in event planning

One of the main objectives of the study was to investigate the importance of event tech in the role of the event planner and identify some of the challenges they face when managing event technology. The findings show that 46% of those surveyed say event tech plays a very important part in their work as an event planner, while 68% believe being a tech expert is key for job success.  Another 30% believe that event tech skills are essential for their career progression.

Despite the importance of event tech, however, only 48% of organisers see themselves as tech-savvy. Another 75% also struggle to keep up with trends and new products in the market.  The results show that conversations with peers and colleagues is the most popular way event professionals try to keep up with event tech (78%), followed by industry blogs/news sites (50%) and trade shows and conferences (48%).

Challenges of managing event tech

The Eventsforce study looked at some of the challenges event planners currently face when managing event tech for their organisations.  The biggest issue for 65% of organisers is the time it takes to complete the procurement, implementation and integration process of their event technology systems.  Other challenges include getting people to use the tech across their organisation (54%), limited skills to make confident investment decisions (47%) and managing the migration process from one system to another (42%).

The survey also looked at which event technology tools organisers most struggle with.   Data management topped the list at 47%, followed by live-streaming (34%), event apps (32%) and event management software (30%).

“The challenges of managing event tech are not going to go away for organisers – especially when you look at things like data management, reporting and analytics and the increasing use of tech tools that help them collect an enormous amount of data on their events and attendees,” commented George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce. 

“Our research shows, however, that organisers don’t necessarily have the time nor skills to tackle this head on – paving the way for a new ‘event technologist’ role in our industry:  An event professional whose job is to focus exclusively on all things event tech. Though the requirement of this role can vary from one event organisation to another, it is something we are starting to see more of – particularly across agencies and corporate organisations.”

The future of event tech

The Eventsforce study found that 56% of event planners see the emergence of a new ‘event technologist’ role in the industry – though 82% claim that organisers should be the ones to hold responsibility and accountability for their organisation’s event tech investments.  The results also show that only 22% of organisers are confident that the next generation of event professionals (ex. fresh graduates) have the tech skills they need in the job.

The research study also looked at some of the new emerging tech that organisers are keen to use around their events in the future. Mixed reality platforms like AR and VR topped the list at 50%, followed by AI-enabled solutions that promote more personalised attendee experiences like chatbots and networking tools (43%).  Others include smart wearables, facial recognition, 5G connectivity and holograms.

Panel session at Event Tech Live 2019

The findings of the research study will be debated by industry experts on the second day of the Event Tech Live show. The panel session, titled ‘Are Event Planners Struggling with Event Technology?’, will be moderated by Michelle Bruno, US-based event technology journalist and president of Bruno Group Signature Services and bring together a broad spectrum of event professionals across the industry, including Eventsforce, British Council, Coventry University and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). The panellists will discuss what organisers and tech providers should do to address the challenges of event technology and the emerging role of the ‘event technologist’.

The session will take place on Thursday 7th November, 10:00-10:30, at the Expo and Engage stage. For more information on Event Tech Live, please visit: www.eventtechlive.com/

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