In Fueldog's comments yesterday on the EXPO survey, they made a good point about how technology shouldn't be viewed as expense as much as it should be viewed an opportunity to accelerate growth. At least that's how I interpreted it.
The common thread throughout these comments is getting control of data. Just as event companies have been loathe to sacrifice those meaty margins for technology upgrades (including consolidated databases, integrated systems, elimination of spreadsheets, functioning CRM and vendor management tools, modern reporting tools, etc.), they are turning their backs on the very tools that would allow them to solve these and other key strategic management problems.
EXPO did a great profile of Advanstar's Joe Loggia a few months back that outlined the process of developing and managing an integrated sales management system. I don't know if it has all the bells and whistles of FuelDog's Javelin or Ungerboeck's EBMS, but seems to have worked wonders for Advanstar to the tune of $10.5 million in increased productivity.
Hanley-Wood had even developed a proprietary SFA solution it felt was so good they took it to market a couple of years ago to sell it to other organizers.
I haven't seen Javelin or EBMS in action. I imagine the latter must be pretty comprehensive, considering they've been at it forever (now in release 13.1!). But their web copy is off the charts on the BullFighter. Javelin is the new kid and their web site is in English. Score a point for them. So why not start there? (Although skip the bullet for brand management... can't do that with software).
I know many of you have been burned on technology investments before. Heck, there's even a company that built their new business fixing problems on an application sold by their old business . We know some scars haven't even healed yet. But time has passed and (some) companies really do understand how to write code and integrate to other applications. Happens all the time.
So take another look at your mess of standalone applications and non-functional databases and do something about it. Take the financial hit this year, you'll probably make it back in spades next year.
Then people like me who ask questions like, "what was your renewal rate for the past three years" don't have to sit around nursing cold coffee while you're digging up the answer.
P.S. Regarding the headline... Ungerboeck + FuelDog = Ungerdog. Don't you wish for this merger to happen?