When It’s Not Working

Signs of an Ineffective / Inefficient Strategic Meetings Management Program

atx event systems, austin, texas, events, weddings, conferences, brand activations, corporate meetings, incentivesWe’ve talked at length about how to get your Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) up and running. The initial process involves a lot of data mining, process documentation, and promoting to internal stakeholders. Once your plan has been approved by the executive team, it’s time to discover the appropriate technology stack for your program. We discussed the key items to keep in mind as you search for the right technology for your needs.

While all of that information is helpful for those who are starting a program from scratch, it doesn’t address the needs of those who are current running SMMPs, but still find inefficiencies in their programs. The first step to fixing inefficiencies within an SMMP is to actually identify that it is inefficient.

If you’ve been using a specific program for a long period of time or are just getting started, it can be difficult to see inefficiencies. Either because you are too close to the project or because it’s in its infancy and you view the inefficiencies as growing pains rather than systemic issues.

If half the battle is identifying your program is inefficient, then it’s an important piece of the puzzle. Before you can address the issues with potential fixes (or by scrapping it and starting over from the beginning), you have to identify where the problems are coming from. There’s nothing worse than throwing fixes at a problem only to have them be a temporary fix or a fix for the wrong issue. It costs valuable time and money to address problems within your SMMP, so it’s important to go at the right issues from the outset.

Let’s take the guesswork out of identifying the inefficiencies of your SMMP. Here are some potential issues that are causing inefficiencies in your program.

Common Problems with SMMPs

  • Many enterprise level organizations have an SMMP  in place, but in many cases, it simply  means selecting a global vendor across regions and using its services. This approach can help you achieve scale and drive down costs, but it doesn’t always deliver the desired result from both user experience and ease of implementation. Using vendors that don’t suit all of your meeting and event needs can cause temporary fixes to be put in place or to create workarounds. All of which cost valuable time and money.
  • Many vendor arrangements use a one-size-fits-all approach where processes, standards, and service-level agreements (SLAs) are put in place by the corporate headquarters and the various regions are expected to run their programs based on them. We can all agree that while this seems like a good idea – to standardize the process – it doesn’t always work out in reality. Many offices and regions have their own quirks and unique needs that can lead to a poor experience for all involved. This type of issue is one that makes it easier for people to ignore the standards than to follow them. What’s the point of having a program in place if no one wants to follow it?
  • The blanket approach to service agreements – meaning that it covers wide swaths of people and regions – can cause inefficiencies because they are essentially try to please everyone in the organization, which leads to please no one. When organizations take this approach, they have to create agreements that are overly complex and account for many variations. Many times, the requirements are poorly understood and the effectiveness of the meetings don’t live up to your set standards because of this.

To avoid these inefficiencies, it’s critical that organizations look at it from a strategic perspective rather than simply cost savings or for the sake of having a plan in place. A good SMMP leverages the economies of global arrangements along with ensuring that local and regional considerations are accounted for. The effective SMMP not only increases transparency, drives down costs, and uses technology to scale, it also helps organizations bring custom solutions to each corner of its services and branches. It can also greatly help with streamlining processes, meeting compliance standards, and creating a culture of exceptional meetings and events.