Many companies are relying on inefficient meetings and events practices rather than embracing the newest tools available, according to a new report released by a management software company.

The report, issued by Chicago-based Eved, details ways in which the world’s largest companies can still improve. One of the key findings was that by not implementing new tools, the companies are not generating the confidence and financial growth that they look to generate in every other aspect of business.

Breaking a company’s finances down into their individual parts, William Sterling, former vice president of BMS and one of the authors of the report, stated, “The meetings and events category is very far behind other industries when it comes to spend management.”

At the core of the report is a call for more automation, process-wide transparency and the use of real-time data tools when managing an event. That way, event owners would not only understand exactly what’s happening, but can also put that information to use in strategizing and adapting on the fly.

Key Findings

Built from surveys and analysis within 20 Fortune 500 companies, Eved’s report illustrates the wide range of practices and results currently accepted as the norm when managing an event. Some companies claimed it took up to 60 days following an event to receive the full financial picture of how it went. Fifty-seven percent said it took at least 30 days. And, turning to third-parties to manually input the data, nearly half of the report’s respondents said they were less than 80 percent confident of the data’s accuracy once they received it.

In terms of the budget for events, only 50 percent of the companies track and manage the budget after the initial approval process. And 50 percent of event planners are forced to manage the budget by constantly upgrading spreadsheets and sharing them manually through email. This slows the process down because companies have less control over their meetings and events, and planners have less time to devote to what they do best.

The handful of companies that are already making changes and optimizing their processes with suppliers, planners and customers are saving from 13 to 25 percent on their events. They also are continuing to refine the goals and budgets for the next event, with as little delay as possible.

Changes to Come

Growing out of an event services and destination management company, and launched in 2010, Eved develops software to deal with the very inefficiencies the report points out. The report is just the first of many: Eved hopes that each report will be a starting point for further discussion of the industry and how it can continue to develop.