April 24, 2018

From Rolodex to Robots: Why Automation Matters In the Modern EBC

 The Evolution of the EBC Experience

We’ve explored many times—and at great length—how the digital transformation of the modern world is slowly but surely transforming the enterprise industry, or more specifically the structure of the EBC. There are many factors contributing to this change. Customers and clients now want more varied, yet highly personalized experiences. The demand for various data systems and modern platforms has grown considerably too.


These days, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly or mobile-first mindset, you’re alienating an entire install base. You must also have some kind of online or social presence, as well as the ability to merge cross-platform experiences—someone visiting your local center, for instance, should be able to have both physical, in-person and digital experiences simultaneously.


But such changes are what we would consider more visible, more obvious. What about back in your personal office, or more importantly the briefing rooms and conference areas? How are these crucial places being altered with modern technological advancements?


From the Flip of a Card and Twist of a Knob to the Tap or Swipe of a Finger

Back in the day, things were more manual, more archaic if you will. To add customers to your agenda, you’d flip or thumb through a Rolodex (remember those things?) and manually add customers to your standard sales cycle or folio. You’d do most of it from within the confines of your office, sitting behind a desk. Communication was carried out by you or your representatives directly, with little in the way of quick-access tools like IM, chats, emails, etc.


Today, that is no longer the case. For starters, you aren’t confined to a single location anymore. Thanks to mobile support you can be just about anywhere while doing work. The manual customer and sales management processes have changed completely too, as you no longer interact—or even own—a Rolodex. Instead, it’s all handled via voice commands, a simple tap, or even a swipe gesture via mobile. It can save a lot of time too. An Adestra report reveals that 74% of respondents have said that modern technology allows them to save a considerable amount of time and that it’s the largest benefit of a digital transformation.


Modern platforms offer so much more than that, however. The mobile experience in the enterprise has completely altered the way we manage, organize, and invite various parties to events or meetings.


Pre-meeting, you can use a mobile app or service to select the right content leading up to the event. You can present the involved parties with related articles, blogs, and even personal insights to prepare them for the actual sit-down.


Then, during the event you can share related content with everyone via mobile, and keep them engaged with what’s happening. You can also use mobile tools to communicate and facilitate interactions. Imagine, for instance, displaying a poll that asks attendees for their opinion or response, allowing them to answer via their own mobile device.


Post-meeting, the same system can be used to measure engagement, ROI, and even follow-up with various parties or clientele.

Every single one of these potential scenarios or actions points to a growth in transparency, as well as customer or attendee oversight. You can also use these platforms to gather and collect incredibly valuable insights about events, experiences and opinions, affording more informed future decisions and actions.


Of course, for all of this to be possible—specifically in regards to mobile—technology had to evolve over time to become more user-friendly and also better tailored for the briefing community. Retailers and marketers benefit from most of the modern platforms and support. Why shouldn’t the briefing community also be afforded the same?



From Imagination to Reality

How did it really happen in the real-world is the question? Most of the ideas explored above are nothing more than imaginative or theoretical. How has the Rolodex, for example, truly evolved to meet modern digital needs and experiences?


  • First, we had the infamous Rolodex. Most of the work was handled manually, and organization was done of your own volition. There were no alternate tools, adds-ons or tech-based plugins for support. You just used paper-based references, and good old-fashioned person-to-person communication to get things done.

  • The Rolodex gave way to digital technology, and along came spreadsheets. Everything suddenly became more organized, more focused, and more importantly more automated. While not completely autonomous, you can create algorithms to help extract various solutions and insights from data through spreadsheets. In fact, that’s why spreadsheets are still so relevant and useful today. This is also when everything was upgraded for use in a digital environment, with very little making its way into the physical world. You no longer needed to maintain paper schedules, agendas, or even memos.

  • Then came more cloud-based, and always-on web-tools. We’re talking about online document and productivity apps, and largely subscription-based setups that are more on the cloud, collaboration, automation-based benefits.

  • Naturally, the limitations of web support— you always had to be connected to a local or authorized network for access—gave rise to the demand for more portable and on-the-go experiences. That’s when apps and mobile support really came into the fray. You could now handle everything you had done before on a handheld, from anywhere, anytime.

  • Mobile has given birth to smart devices, powered by automation, machine learning and AI. While this technology is still in its infancy, it’s not too early to look ahead.

  • Which brings us to the final evolutionary step in our timeline. What’s next? We don’t really know for sure, but it’s likely something to do with completely autonomous systems and tools that require little to no human input or oversight. Imagine allowing a computer or AI-based tool handle all the necessary processes, while you kick back with your feet up on the desk?

That future scenario isn’t just a pipe dream, either. According to IDC, personal digital assistants and bots will execute a mere 1% of transactions by 2019. Alone, that seems discouraging. Yet, those same number of tools will also influence 10% of sales, driving growth among the organizations that master their use. And lest we forget, we’re a mere ½ a year away from 2019… so this will only grow 3 - 5 years from now.


Living In the Here and Now While Keeping An Eye On the Future

Basically, modern mobile platforms with remarkable and growing features have helped to optimize the planning and execution of modern communication and end-to-end meeting automation. Internal planners, event administrators, and project managers no longer have to worry about optimizing the entire stream on their own. Instead, the mobile experiences can be used alongside the customer data coming in to collect, organize, improve, and continuously deliver more impactful external and internal customer experiences and events. Ultimately, this leads to a much bigger influence than ever before.


And yet, it’s not just about you and streamlined processes for your team, it’s about your customers, as well. Many customers and clients enjoy the benefits offered by modern mobile experiences and organizational features.


88% of event attendees say that access to meeting or event schedules within an event app is extremely important for their participation and productivity. In addition, those same people will learn to love the additional support offered like open communication, better community access, scheduling and location-data—which helps them find rooms or booths within a venue.


We live in a world where we control systems, systems talk to other systems, and then they communicate back to us. Digitization benefits everyone, especially of the mobile variety. Welcome to the future folks. A world of smarter meetings, more automated interactions and communications, and a more evolved experience for all.