Technology has become so integral to events that many event professionals have added event technologist to their job description too – finding, sourcing, and vetting platforms to determine which are the best for their needs.
And between the rapid acceleration to virtual over the last year and the addition of hybrid event elements, identifying and assessing new technology has become even more critical to a successful event.
To help you vet event tech platforms and find a platform to meet your needs, start with this list of 26 questions.
1. How did your company/technology begin?
2. What is your solution’s “sweet spot”? In other words, what kinds of events and use cases is the platform best suited for – and which ones are not a good fit?
3. How does the platform integrate with other platforms, tools, or partners?
For example, if you’re evaluating an audience engagement platform, does it integrate with popular platforms like Zoom, Webex, or Microsoft Teams? Get the perspective from any partners too. Ask how they like working with the company.
4. Does the platform require additional downloads or software installations?
5. Does the solution work on mobile and desktop, or is it optimized for a single type of device?
6. If the technology works on mobile, is it native to both iOS and Android?
7. Can I take a test drive?
“Screenshots aren’t enough,” said Dahlia El Gazzar, tech evangelist and owner, DAHLIA+ Agency. “Ask for an invite to an upcoming event – which doesn’t have to be similar to yours – but includes the core platform capabilities you are looking for.” She added, “go through the journey of all the different roles using the technology during your event – experience the platform from the perspectives of an attendee, a speaker, and exhibitors so you get a sense of what the experience will be like for all of those involved in the event.”
8. What enhancements and new features are under development?
El Gazzar advised to get clarification during demos about what features are live now, what is in development, and any beta features that will be ready in time for your event.
9. What production support or services are included in the contract?
10. How is the platform priced – per event, for a designated amount of time, by the number of users, or something else?
11. Are there fees or add-ons? If so, what isn’t included in the base price?
12. What audience engagement, collaboration, or brainstorming features does your platform include? For example, does the platform include Q&A, polls/quizzes, or live document collaboration?
13. What kind of training or onboarding is available to get acquainted with the platform? If more training is needed, is there an additional cost?
14. What kind of support do you provide leading up to, during, and post-event? Is there 24/7 live support? Chat? FAQs? Other?
15. Will we have a dedicated customer support manager? If not, how is the customer relationship managed?
16. How big is the customer support team?
“This is where tech companies that are in hypergrowth are challenged the most,” said El Gazzar. “Ask if they outsource their support, what is their workload during your event, and what is their average response rate time. And most importantly, ask these questions before you sign, not after.”
17. What opportunities are there to integrate my branding or other design elements?
18. Can I integrate branding elements on my own, or will I require assistance from a programmer or your team?
19. What was the platform uptime for last year?
20. What backup plans are in place in case there is an outage or service issue?
21. How do you keep collected information or data safe and secure?
22. What kind of analytics and reporting are included? Is information available in real-time to provide the ability to make adjustments on the fly?
23. Can you provide sample reports?
El Gazzar also recommended asking if there is someone who will help with insight analysis. “Sheets and sheets of data can be overwhelming. You also want reports that include actionable insights to level up your next event.”
24. If applicable, what data import/export capabilities do your platform support?
25. Do you provide recommendations or suggestions on how to gain more revenue opportunities?
“By asking the platform provider to take a proactive seat at the table and help you think strategically and long-term, your technology provider will be more invested in your success,” said El Gazzar.
26. Ask the provider(s) what is on the horizon for them to develop. Do they have cool new features that are in Beta? Will they be ready in time for your event? Be exceptionally clear during any demos what is live now, and what is in development.
When it comes to finding the right event technology, taking the time to get these answers helps understand if the provider solves their needs both now and as your events evolve.
See how ConnexMe combines interactivity and collaboration in one end-to-end platform for virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.