As the digital landscape rapidly evolves across the industry, event professionals must be more mindful of their tech than ever before. With new business software and event solutions emerging regularly, there’s no room for companies that fall below market expectations.
A comprehensive tech audit helps future-proof event companies by keeping internal and external systems ahead of the curve. If your business could use a refresher, now is the perfect time to get your tech in shape to hit the ground running in the new year.
The need for a tech audit
Outdated technology has no place in a modern business. With today’s consumers expecting a seamless digital experience, performing regular audits is vital to ensure your business measures up. Something as seemingly trivial as an overlooked update on your CRM can allow competitors to close the gap and stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Letting your tech go stale can also lead to a loss of efficiency, as you and your team work extra hard to complete tasks that could otherwise be streamlined or automated. In uncertain times, you can’t afford to fall behind industry standards.
A tech audit provides an opportunity to focus on your systems, identify areas for improvement, and ensure you have a solid foundation to continue growing your business.
Five steps of a tech audit
When you’re ready to do a tech audit, set aside a block of uninterrupted time to avoid distractions. Two to three hours is ideal; you don’t want to rush through this process. Then, follow these steps to evaluate your digital environment and create a plan to future-proof your tech.
1. Assess your current tech stack.
Start your tech audit by outlining your current digital infrastructure. Create a list of all paid and free programs you use, even if you don’t access them frequently. This can include your CRM, invoicing software, social media scheduler, project management tool, website host, etc.
Once you’ve created an exhaustive list, evaluate the importance of each. What is essential to your business? Are there apps that cause more trouble than they’re worth? Are you aware of the features of each subscription, and are you maximizing them to the full extent?
It can help to sort your tech tools into three categories: must have, nice to have, and don’t need. Cancel or remove any unneeded programs from your tech stack immediately. Less is more!
2. Test compatibility between tools.
Automation has become essential to business efficiency, with plenty of tasks you no longer need to do manually. With so much software at your disposal, it’s critical to consider how well your systems “talk” to each other.
Many programs can connect to each other natively, so start there. For example, can you automate a workflow between your email marketing platform and CRM? Or can you connect your invoicing software with your bookkeeping portal? Dig into your tech programs to figure out how to link them together.
Alternatively, Zapier is an excellent solution for integrating web applications that don’t offer built-in connections. For instance, you can link your contract-signing program to your cloud storage drive to automate file-saving for new clients.
3. Evaluate your cybersecurity protection.
Cybercrime continues to rise in the digital landscape, threatening businesses of all sizes. Now is the time to implement preventive measures to increase security and protect your business’s interests.
Hiring a cybersecurity expert to safeguard your tech is ideal, but if you’re new to the game, here is some low-hanging fruit to up your digital safety right away:
- Set up a secured password vault.
- Stay up-to-date with the most common phishing scams.
- Upgrade to a safer cloud storage system and schedule regular backups (we like Backblaze).
- Confirm that you’re using a trustworthy payment processor.
- Develop a risk management plan to address potential data breaches.
4. Collect and review user feedback.
You’re not the only one using your company’s tech, so make sure to ask for input from other users. For internal systems, ask your team for insight. Do they notice any opportunities to enhance productivity? Are there redundancies that you’ve overlooked?
Likewise, connect with your clients to discuss the end-user experience of your client-facing software. Is your CRM easy to use? Are there unnecessary steps in your invoicing process? Look for ways to improve the client experience based on their feedback.
5. Consider future needs.
Take a step back and set your sights on the future. What are your goals for 2024, and what do you need to do to meet them? For instance, if you want to break into the luxury market, you may need to enhance your automated workflows to provide a sleek, high-end client experience.
Consider how well your current tech environment can scale with your business. Are you confident your digital infrastructure can handle it if you double your client load next year? Can you launch new offerings without needing to overhaul your entire setup? If you plan to hire, is it easy to train employees to use your systems as they stand?
In addition to your business goals, determine whether you need to upgrade your tech to align with industry trends. Tune into the market to learn what’s on the horizon for the event industry and make a plan to implement accordingly.
After wrapping up your audit, you should have a list of action steps to optimize your tech. But before diving in too deep, take a moment to develop a phased implementation plan that slowly introduces updates. Changing too much at once can lead to overwhelm, and a measured approach will ensure minimal disruption during the transition.
To achieve long-term success, you must embrace change—it is inevitable in business and life. Regular tech audits future-proof your business by signaling you to efficiency gaps before they become problems, boosting productivity and profitability. When you approach technology proactively, you’ll stay ahead of the competition and meet market expectations. Follow the steps outlined here to perform your own tech audit as you prep your business for a successful 2024!
Nora Sheils @ The Special Event
See Nora Sheils LIVE at Catersource + The Special Event in Austin, TX this February!