barely ;ind a software package that actually comes in a package. I
think we can expect this trend to continue, and in a very few years
most, if not all, applications will be delivered and served up in the
cloud (or whatever we call it then).
HOW CAN MEETING PROFESSIONALS GET OVER THEIR
FEARS ABOUT THE CLOUD?
As a profession, we have to take a collective deep breath and accept
that technology is going to continue to drive many of our actions. But
as humans, we have the upper hand. By studying a little and understanding technological advances, and then carefully assessing how
we can intelligently implement them for our best uses, we make applications work for us instead of us chasing rainbows. Let’s face it,
whether cloud-based or not, we are hit by gales of promises that this
or that technology is going to change our lives. Well-de;ined needs
and fully understood processes will always conquer technological
ARE MEETING PROFESSIONALS FALLING BEHIND IN
EFFEC TIVE CLOUD COMPU TING USAGE?
Just as Toto pulled the curtain aside to expose the Wizard of Oz as
a regular guy, we can reveal the real solutions and distinguish them
from the apps du jour. We have a reputation as meeting professionals
for being a bit behind the curve on tech usage, but I feel this is unfair.
My experience shows we are always searching for the best solutions
and doing our best to adopt the good ones. Sometimes, however, it is
simply beyond our control. We want to move to cloud-based event
management solutions, mobile applications and accounting systems,
but our IT departments or CFOs just don’t see it. These are tough,
but winnable battles. A little research into ef;iciencies and savings
of moving to the cloud and a detailed report can win over the bean
counters. IT will be focused on data security and privacy, so be prepared with documentation of your vendors’ answers to these questions. They all have them, trust me.
WHICH JOB FUNCTIONS WI THIN THE MEETING INDUSTRY
CAN MAKE THE GREATEST ADVANCEMEN TS UPON
EMBRACING THE CLOUD?
So once you’ve gone down the Yellow Brick Road and bought into
the whole cloud thing, how can you best work it to your advantage?
Speaking from experience, if you can talk tech with any con;idence
HO W CAN CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES ENHANCE
at all, you can move your agenda. Take a look at the functions you
focus on and how technology can help. Or better yet, think about the
systems that will impact where you want to go and really get to un-
derstand them. Study and embrace them. De;ine how these systems
can increase your ef;iciencies, collaboration, savings, data integration
and growth. We’ve talked for years about getting a seat at the table,
and this is the language of leadership.
We have been successful in implementing cloud-based technologies
especially, both in our company and for our clients, on these ideas:
ef;iciency, effectiveness, savings, integration and, most of all, collaboration. Shared, or cloud, computing offers exceptional collaboration
in real time. Need to work together on a document? No problem, and
no multiple versions or crazy change tracking. Need to get face-to-face, but working remotely? No problem, there are great options for
web conferencing. Need to have multiple teams with appropriate access to their ;iles and folders, always up-to-date and accessible from
CAN YOU SHARE AN EXAMPLE OF A CLIEN T OR COLLEAGUE
WHO SUCCESSFULLY EMBRACED THE CLOUD?
We were able as chapter administrators for the MPI Texas Hill Country Chapter to bring our board together in a truly collaborative software environment for the ;irst time with Google Apps for Work. We
could do a whole article on how this was accomplished and what the
bene;its have been, but for zero ;inancial outlay the chapter has a
Google account, emails for all board members, shared ;iles and folders, shared calendars and a way to meet online in real time. As boards
change, the records of the chapter stay intact. One board member replaces another, but the history of their work stays in one place. This
simply never happened before. The chapter history was on multiple
computers, CDs, ;lash drives or just lost. Thanks to the cloud, we can
;inally control and manage our legacy. You can do the same, I assure
you. I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. ■
Don’t miss Jeff Rasco’s session, “Let Your Meetings Soar Into
the Cloud,” at MPI’s World Education Congress ( WEC), June
11-14 in Atlantic City, N.J. You’ll learn why cloud computing
makes sense for busy meeting professionals and how it can
help you increase efficiency, save money and improve collaboration. Learn more about WEC at www.mpiweb.org/wec16.