Wits University – one of only two universities in Africa ranked in two separate international rankings as a leading institution in the world – has installed the Summit Pro event management software to manage its medium and large events.
This was confirmed by Michelle Gallant, events and conference planner at Wits University, who said while the software had only recently been installed – and users had only just completed their training courses – “early indications are that the new software is going to save the university a lot in time and money”.
Gallant said Summit Pro is “already making a difference” when it comes to the more efficient organising of events and conferences. “We handle a significant number of medium to large events during the year – as well as approximately 12 conferences, catering for delegates from 70 to 500.
“We have been able to streamline our processes on Summit Pro, giving us complete control of all documentation, as well as the ability to maintain the ongoing integrity of our data – as well as enabling us to capture delegate applications online. By being able to manage this process on-line we are saving a huge amount of time, and errors have been eradicated.
“Because delegates can now book and pay on-line, all information is immediately assimilated and worrisome inaccuracies relating to the wrong spelling of names and the incorrect use of titles, are essentially a thing of the past. Summit Pro,” said Gallant, “gives us an easy-to-use forum in which to do on-line booking, as well as building up personalised information on each and every delegate – which we can access at the push of a button.
“All information captured on delegates goes straight through to the Summit Pro billing system, meaning we have an up-to-date view of our overall financial position – right down to which delegates have paid, and which have not.
The system also provides us with drilled down information on delegates, such as if they have any special preferences, like being a vegetarian or are wheelchair bound.”
Commenting further, Gallant said the software makes “mining information” effortless. “If we want to organise transport for delegates staying at a particular hotel we simply access the system and arrange the necessary transport, with the system being able to send the relevant communication to all delegates staying at the hotel in question.”
She said while she could not provide an exact Rand-based figure, overall management and financial control had been “greatly improved” since installing Summit Pro.
“Delegates are even able to tailor-make their applications when booking on-line, stating specific requirements that they may have, as well as any activities they might want to partake in. The system enables us to build up information on each delegate over time, which makes the running of each event, or conference, that much easier.Our service delivery and customer service is definitely enhanced.”
Gallant said that when university staff are planning a special event, such as a science-focused seminar, they are able to interrogate the system and find out which people on the database are likely to be interested in such an event.
“By giving us the wherewithal to slice and dice information – as well as providing us with a bird’s eye view of this information – we are able to better plan, and run, all university events and conferences,” said Gallant.