Digital has changed the way the business events industry operates, but it should not be a replacement of human synergy and face-to-face interaction.

JANET TAN-COLLIS
SACEOS
PRESIDENT

Digital tools are driving an engagement revolution that has changed the way we do business. But long before ‘engagement’ became so fashionable, it has been the secret ingredient of successful team power in the MICE industry.

This is why: the very complexity of any MICE event and the exacting precision by which they have to be executed have driven companies in the industry to break down barriers and work together. We cannot operate alone.
Engagement facilitates a tried and tested business working model: teamwork. We are always sourcing, identifying, contacting, relating, negotiating and persuading because we simply need each other.
It is often a motley combination that comes together into the MICE laboratory to orchestrate the most ingenious outcomes. The single point of any MICE event ripples out to involve a disparate community of designers, printers, trades and crafts experts, performing artistes, technicians, lighting and audio engineers, chefs, journalists, translators, merchandisers. To succeed in this business, people engagement is mandatory.
This tried and tested model was executed to a fine art for the Singapore MICE Forum in July, when so many companies pulled together under a shared objective: to make this another record-breaking year.

Managing a complex supply chain and translating this into the value output must always and will always be the determining factor behind sustainable success.
Digital tools change engagement methods, and should be integrated into our value chains to drive higher ROIs. As tools, they depend on our ingenuity to translate their strengths into economic outcomes for our companies and for our clients. The problem is when people replace personal relationships with digital engagement and leave it at that. To be fully effective, we have to come out of cyberspace to the material space and see and speak with each other.
Digital tools cannot replace human relationships. These tools do not negotiate, persuade or pacify. They catalyse, facilitate and automate. They enable multi-lateral engagement and force higher degrees of transparency – and so they have forced us to become more attentive.
But they do not replace team work.

The building of a team and the ability to continually inspire and energise a team of disparate expertise, interests and objectives will remain an individual attitude that makes the difference between what is excellent and what is just good.
In Singapore, SACEOS aims to be the nerve centre of driving this engagement, sourcing new partners and creating a business microcosm as a perpetual business resource for our members. We advocate people engagement and value the cyberspace conversations to translate these into operational manuals and workable strategies.

That, to SACEOS, is the essential role of a professional enterprise and association.
For more information on the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) and how to be involved, visit www.saceos.org.sg or join the discussion on SACEOS’ LinkedIn group.