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12 Nov 2021

How unlocking data silos can unleash a raft of benefits for event organisers

Sophie Holt
Originally created for Event Industry News

Following Event Tech LiveSophie Holt, director at VSef, explains how joining-up audience data will allow event organisers to create strategically vital competitive differentiators for their organisations.


“The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again” – Justin Trudeau, Davos, 2018


Research from McKinsey has revealed that both hyperscale-tech companies as well as non-digital native companies have invested heavily in new digital strategies since the start of the pandemic.

Digital interaction with customers has accelerated by three to four years, while the share of digitally enabled products in the portfolios of executives has increased by seven years.

Organisations from a range of industries have invested heavily in tools and technologies to help them understand their customers, realising that when used effectively, they can lead to significant competitive advantages. Remarkably, funding for digital initiatives has increased more than anything else, since early 2020. (How Covid has pushed companies over the technology tipping point, Oct 2020)

For event organisers, there is a massive opportunity to join-up the vastly expanded amount of data they now collect in order to pioneer a better approach to creating events. And as brands develop their 360 programmes across live and virtual events platforms, this newly data rich environment will allow businesses to understand their audiences’ experiences in greater depth.

Thanks to this digital acceleration, companies now have access to a broad array of data sets on their customers, from social media activity to customer profiles and sentiment data. In the events industry collecting audience data is now ubiquitous, from registration through to post-event surveys, and the world of insight generation has been transformed with impressive developments in the ways it is generated, aggregate and analysed.

Using data also allows organisations to better measure and manage their audiences’ experience, informing and improving strategic decision making. However, in many organisations, poor infrastructure has not been prepared for the rapid changes in the external environment and the plethora of ways in which data is collected has resulted in silos of information being created, hampering development.

But by freeing-up data across tech platforms and solutions, both exhibitors and visitors will derive greater value from their event experiences, as free-flowing data leads to greater insights.

Organisers with advanced systems will create substantial value through a wide array of applications and strategic planning, leading to real-time customer engagement. Standardising data across the organisation will lead to better decision making and more agility within the events industry, something that can only benefit organisations and audiences alike.

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  • “The silver lining in the pivot to digital has been the data-rich environment we organisers now find ourselves in. But, we have a huge standardisation job at hand if we’re to benefit from this newly found trove of data. VSef/RSDE has been designed to solve this problem; to provide a single standard. I for one am looking forward to receiving data from different platforms in one format!”
    Dr Bariş Onay
    Chair of VSef
  • “As the global trade association for our sector, we know about the importance of unified and aligned data sets, and we are working to promote globally accepted metrics and terminologies. We recommend that every business events association joins us in supporting and promoting VSef/RSDE to their members as a collaborative way forward for our industry.”
    Anbu Varathan
    President, UFI
  • "At Grip, data democratization is at the core of our strategy in supporting organisers to move markets forward faster and providing greater value to exhibitors and visitors. We’re excited about being part of the VSef/RSDE initiative from the very beginning and making it easier for organisers to move data between solutions in the event technology stack will be crucial for gaining greater insight into events and their success."
    Warith Nassor
    Product Owner - Data, Integrations and Insight. Grip
  • "Data is the key to growth in the event industry. It helps organizers better serve their communities, create brand loyalty and create logical, long-term strategies. VSef/RSDE will make it much easier for organizers to collect the data used in making critical decisions without having to sacrifice customer experience and their technology stack."
    Robyn Duda
    Founder, RDC
  • "Our position on data is and always has been that it should be accessible, freely available, and owned by organisers, which is reflected in our Data Manifesto. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Mark and the wider Explori team and we are proud to be early adopters of the VSef/RSDE initiative, which is an important step in standardising metrics and in allowing organisers to easily compare these metrics across platforms."
    Mykyta Fastovets
    CTO, Expoplatform
  • "We reside at an inflection point in the global events industry. Our immediate embrace of normalized data is going to decide the extent to which we define our value and fuel our growth. VSef/RSDE is an ambitious project that deserves universal support across platforms, organizers, and industry organizations. We are pleased to take these first steps with the VSef team and their growing partner community."
    Tony Lorenz
    SVP Strategy, Intrado
  • "The need to unite event data has been a topic of conversation at Event Tech Live and within the community for many years. It's fantastic to see the experts and advisors behind VSef/RSDE taking the mantle and moving this forward for the benefit of the whole industry. I am proud for Event Tech Live to be a founding member and look forward to helping drive this initiative too."
    Adam Parry
    Co-founder, Event Tech Live
  • "Data is a crucial issue in digital events and setting a framework for data standardisation and industry collaboration is key to future industry success. We are excited to be partnering with VSef/RSDE on this important initiative."
    Sophie Ahmed
    CEO and Co-Founder, Virtual Events Institute
  • “Now more than ever it is important to collaborate, share and connects minds for a better future of the exhibition industry. VSef/RSDE is a perfect example of collaborative knowledge!”
    Enrico Gallorini
    CEO, GRS Research & Strategy