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5 Technology Terms All #eventprofs Should Know

Event professionals use tons of acronyms like BEO, A/V, DMC, RFP, and, of course, NACE! However, many #eventprofs do not know nearly as many acronyms when it comes to the world of technology.

Like all industries, technology has a ton of acronyms that people throw around. This can make understanding technology and also shopping for technology really difficult. Decoding some of these specialty terms can help you better understand what the heck tech people mean, and empower you to be a more informed shopper when you’re seeking new event software.

CRM:

Customer Relationship Management. People often misuse this, thinking that a “CRM” just means a business software. In fact, this is a term that means a digital rolodex or a place where you can store data about your clients. A full-scale CRM would be something like Salesforce or Hubspot, where you can fully communicate with all your clients from marketing, through sales, then existing client relationships. However, a lot of other industry-specific tools incorporate some CRM tools. For example, they allow you to track order history and client communications, but might not provide an included marketing piece. Instead of searching for a “CRM” to start, you should write down what functions you need from a software to best manage your clients (storing payment methods? Files history? Company vs. client data?) then search for those specific use cases.

SaaS:

Software as a Service. This is also referred to as subscription software or cloud-based software. The notion here is that you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to access software that’s cloud-based, or on a remote server. Think of this like having a subscription to Netflix instead of owning a DVD. Much like that, you get access to more features for cheaper (because lots of people are buying in) and you significantly reduce any chance of your program breaking (nobody would come to fix your scratched DVD, but Netflix is sure going to fix any service issue when it affects their millions of subscribers!)

API:

Application Programming Interface. You may hear your IT guy ask about software: “Do they have an API?” or “Is it open API?” What they are trying to ask is whether or not there are opportunities for the program to interface with other tools. Think of this like when you travel to a foreign country and they use a different electrical socket system. Your hair dryer won’t plug in unless there’s a converter that translates the voltage. Here’s the thing with APIs, though. Just like you can’t search Amazon for “hair dryer converters” and find the right one you need, you can’t just blanket ask a company “do you have an API?” You should ask Amazon “Converter from X voltage to Y voltage” and similarly you need to ask a software company “Do you have an API that would allow me to push X data into Y program to achieve Z”. For example, there’s a big difference in asking a software if it can push your email contacts to a marketing program vs. asking if it can translate all your taxes to an accounting program. You want to be specific in what you’re looking to achieve to get the most honest answer.

SEO:

Search Engine Optimization. This is the concept of optimizing your website to help you appear further up in the search engine results (which of course means more leads landing on your site!) A common misconception here is that SEO is some magical out-of-the-box thing you can purchase. You often see website providers promising that “SEO is included”. SEO is actually achieved by a wide variety of factors including backlinks, keyword optimization, content strategy, and more. Large companies have entire departments devoted to SEO, so the idea that you can pay a flat fee for an out of the box SEO tool is a bit misleading, especially because the formula for maximizing SEO is constantly changing as Google adjusts their algorithms. While there are some basic ways to immediately boost your SEO, be wary of anyone who promises the moon and the stars via a basic plugin, because the truth is that it’s sort of like promising you’ll lose weight by taking a diet pill. We all know that the best route to weight loss is a combination of factors including diet and exercise, and that any quick fix is likely not your best or sole solution. Similarly, SEO can be improved with some “quick tricks” but is best achieved via a long term, evergreen, multifaceted strategy.

UI/UX:

User Interface/User Experience. User Interface refers to the design or aesthetics of a website or platform. User Experience is a little more analytical, and refers more to the experience a user has when they are navigating a site or software. The two are very closely associated and often referred to together, as they each rely on the other for the best result. A lot of folks reference the success of Apple when describing these fields, because Apple proved that people a) want more beautiful products and b) want products that are easy to navigate. It’s the reason my 99 year-old grandma can use an ipad: the products are so intuitive that the least tech-savvy folks just instinctively can guess where to click to accomplish what they desire. Software platforms with great UI/UX tend to be known as easy-to-use and shouldn’t require a lot of training.

Now that you have a few more technology acronyms in your toolbelt, hopefully, you can decipher the code of the tech talk around you, particularly when it comes to choosing your own business tools. Remember: if you’re not clear on what a tech acronym means, you should always ask! Even if the acronym sounds confusing, the explanation of what it means is often quite simple.

This is a sponsored post from Goodshuffle Pro, a NACE National Partner.

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Karen Gordon

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