There are some digital initiatives being reported in the exhibition industry lately: IT departments are growing almost everywhere, budgets are increasing and job titles that are quite new to the trade fair business are emerging. A “Chief Digital Officer” and a team with a start-up attitude seem to be a must-have. And it is also a must-do to talk about all these efforts, especially with the board.
At the UFI Global Congress in November 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gunnar Heinrich (CEO adventics & Scan2Lead) gave a presentation on “Digital Disruption” together with his colleagues from the Digital Innovation Committee Stephan Forseilles (easyfairs) and Matthias Tesi Baur (MBB-Media). Various controversial and thought-provoking topics were presented to the audience, stimulating a lively debate on the pros and cons of each topic.
During the presentation in Johannesburg, some arguments were heard that support the thesis that this is a real threat to the trade fair industry:
- Many organisers (and especially those in state hands) are too slow to bring truly innovative solutions to the market.
- We need a different corporate culture. We are not used to making mistakes. Agility is something different. We need the right organisation with the right attitude from top management.
- They bring in modern technologies but forget the corresponding business model.
- Simply buying a new CRM system and then taking five years for the basic implementation is not really digitising the business.
- We can’t work with Big Data because we don’t even understand our “Small Data”.
- Many approaches are quite old-fashioned and have nothing to do with Industry 4.0 and modern digital business.
Interestingly, the entire audience saw it the same way. The vast majority (approx. 95 %) stated that they agree or even strongly agree that the exhibition industry is currently engaged in pseudo-digitisation. Nevertheless, it was also discussed that there are a few promising exceptions in the market that are really leading the industry in terms of dealing with modern technologies and business models.
Join our LinkedIn group (“UFI Digital Innovation Group” or http://www.ufidigital.com) or follow us on Twitter (@UFIDigital). Join your fellow experts in the events industry, become part of the community and shape the future of events together.
Come to the next Focus Meeting of the Digital Innovation Group: Once a year, we invite CIOs, marketing managers, IT specialists and anyone interested in the digital transformation in our event industry to a Focus Meeting. In addition to interesting talks and presentations, the three finalists for the UFI Digital Innovation Award also present their solutions at the Focus Meeting. Take part and vote for the winner.
Munich, 11 July 2018, © adventics GmbH