Given this column is about how we can save or use time more effectively, let's look at a couple of Kiwi cloud-based booking companies making some significant inroads internationally.
Today we'll mainly focus on the company serving the educational market; the other may be a more in-depth article another day.
Anyone who runs training courses or hosts public events or webinars, sometimes in different time zones, will know that they require significant time and expense to administer. There's promotion of upcoming events to potential customers, then registration, payments, reminders, follow-up, often certificates to prove attendance, and follow-up materials to distribute. All this costs both time and money.
Arlo, a New Zealand cloud solution for training and event management, saves both time and money, as an increasing number of international organisations and educational institutions are discovering. With 65 per cent of its revenue now outside NZ, very soon the majority of their business will be the UK and the US, and yet much of their increased business is coming from word of mouth or organic web searches.
CASE STUDY 1
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri
This non-profit 195-bed paediatric teaching hospital was looking for a streamlined service to help keep track of both public and private courses they offer, many of them free. Up until then, everything had been manually driven.
• Administrators were employed full time to ensure all registrants received the correct communications and were directed to the appropriate location.
• Day-of registrations were manually taken, which had to be entered into their system after the course ended.
•Feedback responses were paper-based.
• Participants register online, and all further information is sent by the system rather than administrators.
• Registrations on the day can be processed at the door, straight into the system on a tablet. Staff can now see exactly who has been to which course.
• Feedback is automated through SurveyMonkey links sent to registrants.
It's easier for registrants since everything is able to be done online, all communication is emailed (including the previously paper-based surveys), and follow-up certificates and communications are distributed immediately. This means that course credits are applied instantly.
Registrations have more than tripled over the past two years, with far less administration cost or time.
CASE STUDY 2
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
One category of Rutgers' courses is Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT), which is the only university-wide instructional design and faculty support unit. TLT offer staff at Rutgers University access to courses to learn the various systems the university uses.
Examples are Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Canvas, Sakai, Kaltura, a video platform, and there are others.
• Various University departments would ask the IT department to run training for their staff. There was no formalised process to do this, thus communication was manual.
• Registration and communication was managed manually via Google Forms and spreadsheets. This made increasing types of workshops from 9 to 60+ unfeasible.
• Lack of an automated system meant the user interface (UI) was poor because it required manual updates when new courses were added/removed.
• The site itself required an overhaul.
TLT have centralised and automated department requests for training. This means that any new course they create automatically shows on the website; any time a registrant signs up for a course they're sent automated instructions and calendar appointments; and if TLT offers a webinar the entire signup experience maintains the University brand. This feature is not normally achievable through conventional webinar signup systems.
They've also chosen the web integration option for all their course information. This enables them to have a mobile-friendly and fully branded integration. Therefore the user experience is seamless; the registration process feels as if the user is on the university website.
Rutgers has only recently launched Arlo for their training, but has already experienced a drastic reduction in overhead administration. All communications, webinars and website-advertised courses are now automated.
Cost of entry for Arlo?
Both Cardinal Glennon Hospital (one of the first US customers) and Rutgers discovered Arlo through an organic online search. Other new users noticed the ease of use when registering for an event and tracked them down via their unobtrusive logo.
One of the common questions they get is "Where have you guys been? We've been looking for ages for this kind of product." Happy customers are the very best and least expensive form of advertising. Arlo is on track to process over $100 million of course registrations this year. Clearly this Lower Hutt company is doing something right. It will be very interesting to watch its progress.
The other Kiwi company of note, almost entirely NZ-owned, is Eventfinda. Its speciality is in the entertainment space, providing marketing and issuing tickets online. Its CEO, James McGlinn, informed me that they have over 1000 events in New Zealand listed at any one time, and growing. Its Australian site, managed from their Melbourne office, is now Australia's fastest growing ticketing and live entertainment guide. Currently they also have presence in Austria, via a licensed operator, and Singapore is serviced from New Zealand. Competing companies such as Eventbrite, Ticketek and Ticketmaster are all off-shore firms.
Go the Kiwi innovators!
Robyn Pearce (known as the Time Queen) runs an international time management and productivity business, based in New Zealand. Get your free report 'How To Master Time In Only 90 Seconds' and ongoing time tips here.