Is getting “certified” in event software actually just a relic of the days of dial-up internet and clunky user-interfaces? If your venue software provider is touting a certification for their platform in 2020, could that signal it’s more complex and difficult to learn than it needs to be? Steve Mackenzie, President of EventBooking, discusses below.
In a meeting the other day, we were discussing the idea of creating certain levels of “certifications” to award our clients as they progress in the knowledge of our software. A coworker and I—both about the same age—were discussing the potential merits of this when a younger team member chimed in, “But is the software so hard to master that we need to have formal certifications for it? VenueOps is so intuitive.” It made us pause and consider: should obtaining a “certification” in event software be a relic of the days of dial-up internet and clunky user-interfaces? If a SaaS tool has an intuitive design and is so easy to use, would a certification actually mean much? How relevant is it in this day and age?
For industry dinosaurs like myself who have been around event technology for a long time, the idea of getting “certified” in a tool has always seemed like a pretty logical idea. Back in the day, if you were a system administrator you collected certifications for networking, database management, and other grossly complex products. After all, the management of these systems required specialized skill, and you didn’t want just anyone overseeing the processes without having many hours of training and an official “certificate” on their wall to prove they were an expert.
This might have been relevant decades ago for certain event software as well—after all, these programs required pretty in-depth technical knowledge and months of training to understand and maintain.
But what year are we living in?
Event technology is all cloud-based, your provider looks after the technical stuff, your IT team keeps your internet connection stable, and they look after security and privacy (and they probably have a degree or certification in these complex areas of expertise)!
So that just leaves the systems you interact with on a day-to-day basis—your email inbox, your budgeting app, your company’s instant messaging tool, your venue management software, etc. Unless one of these platforms is highly complex and a technical beast to tame, what benefit or purpose is there in being “certified” in it?
There’s a reason you’ve never heard of someone being G-mail certified or Slack certified. If you need a certification in your event software, or the provider is touting it, the platform is likely more complex and difficult to learn than it needs to be.
Today’s event workforce is composed of people who are time-poor and service-focused, and their goal is to make an event the best it can be. The software they use must be widely accessible, flexible, and most importantly—quick to learn. In this industry, casual staff need easy access to the software on event days, and new staff are being hired all the time. They should be able to pick up the use of the tool quickly.
Of course, enterprise-wide software tools such as VenueOps are not as simple as a mobile app or even other software applications with a single function. But that doesn’t mean we should expect venue software to be so complex that it takes weeks of formal certification training. A staff member should be able to perform their role within a day or so of learning the basics.
When we internally refer to clients as “super users,” we simply mean that they’ve personally set out to hone their skills in the software and “dig in” independent of the support we’ve made available to them. Although we offer and encourage the use of our resources to novices and seasoned users alike, the tool is intuitive enough that it’s users can be as self-reliant as they want to be in the learning process, and still get their job done. No certification course needed.
Venue management software certifications may have been relevant to include on resumés in the past. At most, it could evidence your mastery of a highly technical platform. At the very least, it could serve as a nice embellishment.
In 2020, however, we should come to venue software platforms with the expectation that it will be fairly straightforward to learn. And it will be…if it’s a modern, intuitive application. Rather than asking you to spend your valuable time working towards a certification, we’d much prefer if you spent your time focusing on what you do best—making every event as great and as smooth as it can be.
Steve Mackenzie is President at EventBooking, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that specializes in online booking and venue management for arenas, stadiums, convention centers, and performing arts centers. EventBooking takes pride in their clients, who oversee the many moving parts that make a concert, conference, or sporting event possible. EventBooking serves over 1,000 venues worldwide with a 99% customer satisfaction rating.