Virtual Meeting Support
You would think finding a virtual meeting provider in this new environment is easy. And it is, to some degree.
You can very easily find providers (maybe too easily). Most of which have pivoted with the rise of virtual meetings/av production to meet the demand.
And that is where the problem lies.
Everybody and I mean everybody who has some type of event management or meeting / virtual meeting support is pivoting to meet this huge increase in demand.
So you have to be extra diligent in sourcing a new supplier.
Virtual Meeting Providers List
Virtual Meeting Providers Strengths/Weaknesses Using Harvey Balls
I recently went through an RFP and found the level of support varied greatly when it came to different providers. So I thought it would be useful to create a visual that reflected what I saw in their responses as a strength/core competency vs. a potential weakness / no support.
Full – Best in Class Provider/Core Strength
3/4 – Can provide, but not the best in class/Strength
1/2 – Can provide but not a core competency
1/4 – Might be new competency/Potential Weakness
Empty – Does not provide/Weakness
Please note that some of these are dependant upon company size. Smaller companies typically lack more of the competencies, whereas larger ones may have them due to scale.
Providers – Additional Insight
- Help with creative support and brand consistency and efficiency is a strength
- Project management is a strength but will be overpriced in comparison to competitors
- Typically outsource production capabilities, but some do provide in-house services (Holding Companies)
Event / Meeting Management Companies
- Project Management and Creative Support are core strengths
- Outsourcing production or a/v capabilities
- Software or technical support is seen as a weakness if they have just pivoted to providing blended meetings (live/virtual at the same time)
- Training providers are middle of the road type providers (Can provide the majority of support, but not core competency)
- Although they have experience running virtual meetings/training, I wouldn’t consider them to be at the top of the list unless you were utilizing them for a product launch
- These will be the primary providers in the space (and should typically win the majority of business)
- Although the leader, they will be more expensive due to their experience
- Not all production agencies may provide IT or Creative Support
- Strength is proprietary software that allows the ability to scale for extremely large events (breakouts, information, downloads, etc.)
- You must be careful in assessment, as some of these providers are new to space and may not have all of the IT issues resolved / IT support ironed out
- A major weakness may be hidden if they lack creative support
Live A/V Providers
- These are the majority of providers who originally provided live production, but now must pivot to keep their businesses afloat (be careful in your selection) to almost all virtual
- Strength is that they may have previous blended production experience
- Dependant on the size, they may be unlikely to provide any type of creative services (especially if small)
- Software/IT support will be all over the map based on their previous experiences
Layered Software Support Companies
- Focus is on providing a service across different (and sometimes proprietary) platforms
- IT support should be a strength but have seen this turn into a weakness if they misinterpret your needs
- Cost-effective alternative to Production Agencies
DIY – Software Providers
- Technical/IT support and Quality should be amazing when working with the provider directly
- They clearly lack creative, project management, and other competencies needed to fully outsource
- Should be only used if you can DIY or have an internal team to support all of the core tasks needed
Virtual Meeting Sourcing / Procurement Tips
Depending on whether you need full-service support or special support like creative, will change the primary providers you should look at.
But, if you need something that is all-encompassing, I’ve given the rankings of the top 5 types of providers to including in any RFx event.
- Production Agencies
- Meeting / Event Management Companies
- Layered Software Providers
- Conference/Congress Providers (conference software)
- A/V Providers
Additionally, if you are looking to separate out the competition, I’ve come up with a list of questions you could use for an RFI in this space. What you will want to look out for is any provider saying they only have <1-2 years or less of the blended or virtual meeting experience.
Last, if you need suggestions for providers, feel free to contact me through email or LinkedIn. I’m more than happy to help. Or you could leverage a software solution like tealbook (LINK) to narrow down your list of potential providers and their key strengths/weaknesses.
RFI Questions to ask:
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