Thurs, July 16 at 1:00 PM ET / 10 AM PTSponsored by: TripActions
Thurs, July 23 at 11am ET / 8am PTSponsored By: American Express Global Business Travel
Tues, June 30 at 11am ET / 8am PTSponsored in part by: Cvent and The Inception Company
Virtual Event - July 29, 2020
Virtual Event - September 9-10, 2020
Hyatt Regency Boston - October 12-14, 2020
Filter in or out as many as 200 cities, as well as hotel and car rental class and meals of the day and watch as the per-diem calculator automatically adjusts per diems to your program. Drill down into cost breakdowns and export the results.
Meetings technology firm
Cvent plans to release during the third quarter several modifications to its
strategic meetings management technology solution, including a module for pharmaceutical
and life sciences companies. Since releasing its enterprise SMM solution in
January 2009, the company has signed "over 40 enterprise clients,"
including John Deere, Alcatel-Lucent and Roche, which should "dispel the
myth that Cvent is just for the midmarket," said vice president of
enterprise sales Anil Punyapu. Punyapu recently spoke with BTN's Chris Davis about the progress of SMM, the challenges of
globalization and the future of enterprise technology. An edited excerpt
Were you specifically targeting larger corporations
with the SMM product?
Absolutely. When we
started the enterprise solution, it was to go after large companies. It was
designed with the flexibility to implement for large customers multi-country,
multi-office, everything. Enterprise sales and enterprise meetings is the
fastest growing area of Cvent. We've invested quite a bit into it, and it
quickly has become over 10 percent of our business. We see it as a trend across
the marketplace. Every time there's a recession, companies contract. The minute
the recession is over, they increase productivity with the tools and the
manpower that they have, and add more manpower and tools, and increase output.
That's what we saw in 2010, and that's what we're seeing in 2011: this drive by
companies, especially large companies, to purchase and implement technology.
We're benefiting from it, and a number of companies in our space are, as well.
Considering the competition, is the pie of new
clients interested in implementing SMM big enough for everyone?
We're still very much in
fledgling stages of meetings management. The concept of SMM is not something
that applies just for the top 100 companies; it applies to the global 5,000.
We've seen quite a bit of success with large companies, but a lot of success in
the midmarket as well, those with $1 billion to $6 billion in sales. Out of
those 40 [clients], 25 to 30 came out of [the midmarket]. We're starting to see
more companies interested. It's a major area of growth, and the pie is so wide
that between all of the companies in our space, there's probably only 10
percent penetration in the marketplace.
What have been the biggest challenges to
The biggest challenge
internationally is adoption. It was about being able to provide the service and
support for the market to adopt the tool. We have a supplier response team on the
site selection and sourcing side of 30-plus people, and that team's whole goal
is to get hotels and other venues to respond to RFPs. A company would send an
RFP through the tool, and there's nobody to help them at the property
understand and adopt the system and respond to the RFP. We faced this challenge
first in the U.S. when we launched our sourcing tool in 2009, so we knew about
it going into Europe. This team calls them up and says, "You've received
an RFP, will you respond to it?" We have 85-plus percent response rates
around the world, including countries like China. The online registration tool
helped build a name for Cvent in the marketplace, but helped us learn how to
localize service and software to different countries.
Once implemented, how do you get the end user
planner overseas to actually use the tool?
We're seeing more
corporations going away from mandates and toward voluntary programs. The
culture nationally and internationally is changing. I did a presentation
recently in Chicago and asked the attendees if they had a mandate style in
their organizations, where management tells you what to do, and out of 25
people from big companies only two raised their hands. I would bet that five or
10 years ago that number would have been 15 to 20. But
more employees are remote employees, more are from the next generation, and the
idea of a corporate mandate is just not there. We're capitalizing on it by
taking away repetitive tasks.
How do you see the remainder of 2011 and 2012 developing?
One term I heard at a
recent conference was "consumerization of the enterprise." It's a
very powerful topic. There are so many companies focused on just the
enterprise, but if employees—and meetings is a very people- and
employee-centric process, just like travel is—demanded to do something a
certain way, then the corporation will have will have to adopt that into its
overall process. That's why we're focusing so much on social media, networking
internally and externally, and mobile-friendly solutions. We're focusing on
constantly simplifying the solution itself. In our next release coming out this
summer, we're focusing on simplifying the budgeting process. It's one of the
hardest things, and meeting planners do not like it. That's one of our major
goals. In our next major release, we'll also make the product more
mobile-friendly. Right now, you can register on an iPad, for example, and you
can set up and run a meeting on an iPad. But we want to help develop apps that
enhance the attendee experience as well.