When Cvent filed for an initial public offering last July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s cloud-based event management platform represented 70 percent of its annual revenue, which is projected to be about $110 million in 2013. Some pretty big numbers for a technology that is still evolving. Below is a quick snapshot of how the cloud works and how the meeting planner industry can leverage it.

cloudcomputingWhat is cloud computing, anyway?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) states cloud computing refers to the on-demand delivery of IT resources via the Internet. The cloud is used to centralize computing resources so you can provision, scale up or down, and migrate services on an as-needed basis. AWS is an example of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which offers storage devices and servers which offer the storage devices and servers required to deliver network services. Data storage and network usage are metered and charged back to the customer on a pay-as-you-go basis.

What are the benefits?

If your organization adopts a cloud-based event management application, you won’t have to invest a lot of capital in IT resources, hardware and software up front. You can subscribe to the infrastructure, platform and software applications as services. The pay-as-you-go pricing is more affordable and adjustable to meet fluctuating demands.

Cloud-based services can also be more reliable, since the provider has built-in fail-safes paid for by the collective cloud users. Cloud vendors’ Service Level Agreements (SLAs) can promise 99.95 percent uptime for their services and, since the services are scalable, they can handle peak volumes of activity that might crash your own servers.

Why planners go to the cloud

 

Like visiting a web site or event portal, you can access cloud-based event management applications from any Internet-connected device. You can also give secure access to specific features and functions so that employees, contractors, suppliers and event participants can perform specialized tasks.

Shifting the management process to the cloud allows for increased integration of functions that are often carried out in departmental silos, and also permits the automation of manual tasks to eliminate redundancy and improve efficiency.

Moving event management to the cloud can also save a lot of money. Cloud service Priava, a developer of cloud-based venue and event management solutions, claims its booking-centric customers can reduce costs by 50 percent while being 60 percent more productive.

Who’s there already?

 

I’ve discovered there are already several options for cloud-based event management thriving in our industry today, including:

a2zShow Exposition and Conference Management Software Solution for the Trade Show and Events Industry, a cloud-based solution that powers 42 percent of the Trade Show Executive Gold 100.

Cvent, the technology platform that covers the entire meeting lifecycle: sourcing, marketing, management.

EventDay, cloud-based and mobile software for management before, during and after events, with CRM product integration.

SMART EVENTS Cloud, ACTIVE Network’s integration of Strategic Meetings Management and event marketing technologies to provide a 360-degree view.

Are you planning to migrate to the cloud? If you have already, what is the most helpful piece of advice you can offer those taking the leap?