Success Story: IBM Transforms Meeting and Event Strategy to Drive Client Savings and Supplier Visibility
If you enjoyed Eric Olson’s post on the The next big thing in SMMP: The unlikely marriage of event marketers and procurement, you may be interested to learn about IBM’s Success with its Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP), through which it successfully streamlined its global meeting and event sourcing process and tackled meeting spend head on.
IBM is a big spender on meetings globally but recognized the need for a better way to manage those meetings and control spend.
To do this, IBM decided to focus on its smaller meetings (less than 150 delegates) initially, and roll out a global meetings and event sourcing process. The project was led by Paul Wakelin, Strategic Sourcing Specialist at IBM who set out seven key objectives for the project and has exceeded expectations with the results.
As a first step Wakelin set about sourcing the right technology partner to bring the project into fruition, and after exploring several options signed with Active Network | StarCite. With Wakelin’s objectives clearly laid out, StarCite was able to develop a customized meeting request portal to meet IBM’s specific requirements. This included an easy to use single sign on system, for which over 200 IBM staff received training.
Speaking of the success of the SMMP, Wakelin comments
“We now have greater compliance that drives client savings, supplier visibility and opportunities, we’ve improved data collection and been able to define a global process and reporting mechanisms,”
The results have been so impressive that the company has been slowly rolling out the new system around the world and, in mid-2008, the IBM and StarCite teams launched full global deployment of the system.
“It transformed IBM’s strategy and approach to meetings and events, it provided a centralised framework to manage the meetings and events (M&E) process, captured key data for analysis into the company’s M&E spend, enhanced visibility of that M&E spend, offering opportunities to drive and develop key supplier relationships, and delivered process efficiencies and cost savings through IBM agreements.” - Paul Wakelin,Strategic Sourcing Specialist at IBM
Wakelin lists the following points as the key rewards of strategic meetings management technology:
• Standardised, automated processes to identify and source requests globally
• Visibility into company-wide request activity – when, where, what, who and how much
• Capability to leverage meeting volumes and associated spend to a preferred consolidated supply base
• Capability to highlight preferred suppliers for improved utilization
• Consistent RFP formats and reports on spend and savings
• Convenient access to thousands of suppliers globally
• A solution familiar to and welcomed by suppliers globally
• Improved efficiency and productivity for clients and for procurement
For more on how IBM controls meetings spend click here to access the full article and success story as featured in The Business Travel Magazine