IFS Best Use of Technology ICEAWARDSIFS Best Use of Technology ICEAWARDS


Category: Best Use of Technology Event

Sponsor: Cvent

Winner: IFS

Event: IFS World Conference

Location: Boston, MA, USA

IFS World Conference is a four day event, attended by over 1,500 worldwide attendees. It includes live streamed keynotes, over 70 breakouts, dedicated content for Partners and Influencers, an exhibition with bespoke industry zones and a concert party with famous acts. 

The Objectives
IFS is amid a substantial transformation of its product to drive disruptive capabilities including remote assistance, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) further into customers’ businesses through their enterprise software suite. One of the main objectives of the event were to demonstrate the benefits of this transformation and use of the new technologies in a real-life and compelling way to drive enthusiasm and adoption among established customers.

Other objectives included increasing the total reach of the in-person event through live streaming without cannibalising attendance, deliver a cohesive, engaging customer experience by ensuring attendees receive the right information onsite and post event in a seamless automated manner and to improve brand awareness and competitive advantage by increasing quantity of customer product reviews.

The other overarching objective was to make the conference the most customer centric event yet, which spurred them to use customers on stage during every segment, demonstrating and speaking, using customer products as refreshments.

Open, frequent and two-way communication was also essential to maintain IFS’s 90% customer satisfaction rate as the attendees use the event to update and build relationships with key analysts and journalists. 

The Technology
IFS produced a live, main stage demonstration of remote assistance featuring a robot controlled by IFS software. The technical requirements included connecting the operators iPad to the back-stage operator’s remote assistance software and managing the screen split to show three feeds at the same time; back-stage, on-stage and iPad. 

The team were required to integrate the Cvent registration and OnDemand Badge System, the Crowd Compass App and Marketo. The App automatically contained the attendee’s personal agenda and once their badge was scanned, attendees received follow up information specific to their session, which was personalised through Marketo. The information attendees received was relevant to their location, product, industry and relationship with IFS. Due to changes in timings and speakers, this had to be done in real time on the day. The content was previously prepared, but they relied heavily on the various CRM systems integrating seamlessly with each other. 

IFS was one of the first beta testers of the LinkedIn Live video broadcast platform and drove the live feed to Twitter, Facebook, its internal Workplace community and to a full homepage roadblock on the corporate website. Creating the content for the stream required the main hall production company to add two people to assemble what amounted to a broadcast-quality television show, assembling the various camera feeds into a cohesive program. This was challenging given that one of the main camera feeds had a very wide aspect ratio that spanned the entire width of the stage. 

The live broadcast consisted of main hall sessions of broad interest. But IFS marketing technologists also created a long tail marketing program by capturing video of the 70 small breakout sessions, turning them into gated content that was released in phases. 

IFS messaging on-site drove attendees to computer kiosks to enter their reviews of IFS software on Gartner Peer Insights – a platform for ratings and reviews of enterprise technology solutions by end-user professionals for end-user professionals. The booths were overwhelmed at first, with attendees standing 30 deep in line. The team wanted the experience to be seamless and to maximise attendees time spent engaging with their content, so IFS’s IT team quickly increased the number of workstations from four to ten to maximise throughput and improve the overall attendee experience. 

One of the product developers from Sri Lanka who had personally programmed the robots for the IFS customer Cheer Pack (who joined IFS on the main stage for the demonstration) attended the event. He controlled the robot on the main stage, and in the exhibition. He was also available for customers and potential customers to speak to throughout the event and delivered many 1:1 demonstrations, pioneering the solution. 

To extend the impact post event, the team live-streamed the main stage sessions and shared recordings of over 70 break-out sessions. 

The Challenges
The team produced a live, main stage demonstration of remote assistance featuring a robot controlled by IFS software. Real-life demos always have some risk and the demo of the remote assistance on the main stage was no exception. The team encountered a few brief foibles with the networking connection during the demo and one of the biggest challenges was getting the robot onto the stage! The ramp presented too steep for the robot to handle and four men had to manually lift the robot onto the stage and into place. 

To demonstrate the robots controlled by IFS software in the Exhibition was a challenge. All wireless connection points had to be relocated in order to ensure the robots could successfully connect as they navigated through the event floor. This involved re-organisation and extensive testing before the event.

The team required three camera feeds to execute their plan. One filming the off-stage engineer controlling the robot, one showing the view of the iPad (the controller) and one filming the whole main stage to be shown on the side screens. 

Integrating four systems to manage the flow of information from registration through to app, badges and eventually marketing follow up was particularly challenging. Some last-minute changes to sessions (onsite) required instant adjustments to ensure the correct flow of information. The Cvent registration system is very comprehensive, but the integration in live time between the platform, CRM and Marketo was complicated. It was absolutely essential that the information was kept up to date in real time, whilst ensuring GDPR compliance. Each change made, whether it be timings or names of speakers, was an update to the user’s information so had to be handled sensitively.

The Results
IFS’s demonstration of robotics integrated with enterprise software prepared the customer base for new products built around artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. This led to a number of subsequent high-value leads, one of which closed shortly after the event with another currently in the pilot phase. 

They had 690 views of the break-out sessions and 222 views of the main hall live-streamed sessions. Total reach was 910, increasing event attendance by 50%. Social engagement was also exceptionally high with a total of 21.3 million impressions, doubling 2018’s 8.9 million as well as 66,000 engagements. Following the event, they also achieved 54 articles in technology and corporate media with a total reach of 139 billion. 

IFS sent 2,410 automated emails in a very successful post event marketing campaign. 1,400 emails opened (58%) with an 18% click through rate.

IFS set a goal of securing 60 reviews on the third-party comparison portal, Gartner Peer Insights.  Event visitors submitted 270 reviews, with 190 of them validated by the portal and pushed live on their Website. This was an impressive 316% of target! 

The sheer increased reach of the event over previous years, and the way content on-site was captured by video and packaged as lead generation assets, has made this the most impactful IFS World Conference to date. 

The feedback from Partners and customers through Gartner Peer Insights demonstrates its success. The captivating visual appeal of a robotic demonstration on stage will cement the event in the minds of attendees for years to come and IFS has set important precedents in terms of how technology can support and extend the value of its major global annual event. 

Judges Comments
The winning entry decision was unanimous among the judges. They all agreed that The IFS World Conference demonstrated the use of technology completely in line with the event brief and the technology was not only used in the event management but also in the content in an innovative way.  It was not without challenges, which were openly shared in the submission and also clearly overcome.  The event had a strong premise and measurable goals which we could see were achieved.  It was the delivery against objective that really put this entry ahead of others.

 The runners up, New Frontiers and World Energy Congress, were very close.  Although the events and executions were very different.  The sheer range and variety of technology used in the World Energy Congress was very impressive and well executed.  New Frontiers demonstrated how technology can be used to overcome physical restraints as well as engaging an audience.