Whether you are a PCO working to an incredibly tight budget or a first time volunteer event organiser, everybody has a budget they need to work to.
Deciding how much of that budget to dedicate to conference software is a tricky task. Here are some things to look for:
Value for money.
This is simple. You should be paying the least possible for the most available. Too many companies these days attempt to fix the cost to match your budget. It's a bit like walking in to a car dealership and being asked "How much can you afford to pay".
Of course, there may be reasons why you may need to pay a little more - perhaps you have a very specific request that no one else can meet. Those bespoke requirements are usually what make other providers say "No". Be prepared to pay a little more to get exactly what you want.
The right features.
It has to have everything you need. At the very least.
The features you need also need to be configurable so that you can "have it your way". Don't get fooled into the normal trap of fitting into the software's capabilities (or lack of them) - you should be dictating.
An easy learning curve.
Intuitive software makes your job so much easier - that goes without saying. Its no good using software that saves you time if you then spend that time working out how the software works.
There will be new features, things you have never seen before, and a certain amount of complexity - probably the complexity you need to deliver your event the way you want to. Some complexity is to be expected otherwise you wouldn't have powerful and flexible software. Keeping things easy to use is still a your provider’s responsibility and its your responsibility not to settle for anything less.
Accessible and knowledgeable support.
Have you ever contacted support and they didn't know how to help you? Or the opposite, a clever technician but you can never get hold of them? You will only know how frustrating this is once it is too late.
Find a product that comes with an easy to get hold of support team, lots of great support measures in place (instant chat, helpdesk, online guides etc.) and make sure you know who to deal with. For some, nothing resolves an issue like a quick phone call – it can work better than a hundred emails and who's got time for that anyway?
In the end, this all boils down to saving you time, which saves you money (not to mention effort). Time is the most important factor here, especially for you event organisers who seem to have less than anyone else.
If this sounds like you, it sounds like you need Firebird.
Intuitive software, easy learning curves, fully featured and flexible software, with the best support around - how can you go wrong?
To find out more, visit Firebird's blog here.