8 tips for successfully deploying a new technology platform in your business

8 tips for successfully deploying a new technology platform in your business

So you’ve gotten through the budget approval process and executive review on adopting a brand new innovative technology platform that is going to transform your business. The real journey is now just beginning. Leading all the right internal stakeholders through the implementation phase is one of the most important pieces of this process. Communication is key during this phase, and getting everyone literate and comfortable with the new technology can be tricky and labor intensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a thoughtful plan.

Through our work and experience in the trenches with leading sports and entertainment brands like the San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Vikings, New York Yankees, Churchill Downs and more, together we’ve learned some of the best practices for a smooth and successful implementation.


Begin with the end in mind

Identify and agree upon goals, priorities and a timeline at the onset of the project. Think about what most excites the team about the platform and will have the biggest impact on customers and the business. Prioritizing features that align with your goals will help you achieve those goals better than trying to tackle too many features at one time.

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Context is crucial

Provide in context examples of how the technology solves a problem. A presentation to hundreds of people is a good scene setter, but there’s nothing like having employees be able to relate how the technology will be used in the context of their daily activities. Making sure your staff sees it in action in your business is essential for them to understand, and feel comfortable with, using the technology.


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Building internal excitement

Work with your internal communications to help build excitement about how this new technology will make a difference to your business and fans— especially around customer experiences. When your employees are excited about it, chances of success are higher. For example, hosting a dry-run with employees to test the technology can be a fun way to show how it works during a low stakes simulation. Also, be aware of how the new technology will affect other parties in the venue. Building excitement with venue vendors, or other groups that will be involved in making it successful, is also important.


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Easy to follow guides

Share simple How To videos, screenshots of the technology in use, training courses, easy-to-use documentation and referral pieces from the technology vendor to help your employees understand how to use the technology that aren’t complicated makes formal initiatives less intimidating. For example, videos may help cashiers walk through how to use an order management system. Technology vendors can make a portal for customers to access all of these materials in one place — like a login for customers on a technology vendor’s website to access these materials. Additionally, it helps to identify an internal team member who understands the technology well to provide support to other employees when needed.


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Start easy and build up from there

Be sure not to overwhelm functional leaders. Build up knowledge through practicing the basics first, and adding additional complexity from there. VenueNext likes to be onsite with clients when the customer is beginning to test and implement the technology, but the ultimate goal for us is to teach our clients well enough to use the technology on their own.


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Test, test, test

Before implementing your new technology it’s crucial to test it in all scenarios before your launch date. It’s much less trouble to remove bugs before the technology gets into the hands of your users. Creating internal events around testing can not only make it fun, but it can make it even more of a learning experience for employees on how to use the technology. With testing, you can more easily identify the critical areas that require training. Testing before each event to make sure the technology is running smoothly is important too.


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Have on-site help present for key milestones

Identify your main point of contact up front before signing an agreement. Be sure to get commitment from your technology vendor that key support staff will be onsite for onboarding, at launch time and during important events. This support can help resolve issues more quickly. Having important dates on a calendar makes the overall process more organized as well.


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Communication

Communication is key and the answer to troubleshooting issues — having the right processes in place and being responsive and in touch with your vendor during critical times is a great investment at the outset. VenueNext uses Slack to quickly collaborate with its own customers. Technology vendors should communicate as much as possible and let the technology vendors know you’re available when they have questions by sharing your contact information with the vendors. 


So with onsite help during key technology implementation days, ample communication, sufficient testing, thought-out planning, internal excitement and more, adopting a new technology will be a much more seamless process for your company.

Have any tips or tricks to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

The VenueNext Playbook: Driving App Adoption & Awareness at Venues

The VenueNext Playbook: Driving App Adoption & Awareness at Venues

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Today we're sharing our first ePlaybook:

The ePlaybook outlines best practices for driving app adoption at venues in a world that's growing 'appathetic' as users are trying to choose from millions of apps daily.


Interested in reading future VenueNext Playbooks right when we publish them? Subscribe here:

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Raising $15 million in Series B funding and scoring our first NHL team the Sharks

Raising $15 million in Series B funding and scoring our first NHL team the Sharks

WE HAVE TWO BIG EXCITING NEWS ITEMS TO SHARE TODAY: 

A NEW ROUND OF FUNDING AND AN ENTRANCE INTO A NEW SPORTS LEAGUE — THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (NHL).


FUNDING

First, we have raised another $15 million in Series B financing led by Causeway Media Partners, bringing us to $26.5 million in total funding.

This investment will help us continue to work hard to improve our platform, grow into other vertical markets like healthcare and hospitality and expand internationally. We are thankful for our investors’ continued faith in our technology and team.

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SHARKS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

The second is that our latest customer is the Sharks Sports & Entertainment, where our platform will help amplify the guest experience and improve business performance at four different venue experiences for SAP Center, the San Jose Sharks, San Jose Barracuda teams and Sharks Ice Arenas starting with the Sharks Season home opener October 12.

This is our first customer in the NHL, but the Sharks first saw our technology in action at Levi’s Stadium back in 2015 when the team participated in the NHL Stadium Series in 2015. During the game our technology was in place and it powered a synchronized, multi-color lights show using fans’ smartphones.

The Sharks saw our work with other professional sports teams and felt that what we have to offer can really give their fans more control of their experiences at the arena through their smartphones. Valuable features like reducing the number of fraudulent tickets and the ability to resell tickets in the app is one particular feature the team is looking forward to this season.


OTHER SUCCESSES

Fans have already loved our mobile experiences at the Amway Center, Levi’s Stadium, Churchill Downs, Yankee Stadium, Super Bowl 50, U.S. Bank Stadium and beyond, becoming better able to get around these venues, order food and beverages to their seats, express order their favorite player’s jersey, view valuable content and more. This is all just by using their smartphones.

We’ve started getting fans to engage even more with our apps through polls on stadium big board screens. For example, at a recent 49ers game, we put a trivia question on the big board that asked where Chip Kelly started his coaching career (if you guessed Columbia University, you’re correct). Within 20 seconds, 15,000 votes came through the app.

Our work with the Magic has led to the creation of their own currency, called Magic Money, gives fan a completely new experience. For example, a fan can use Magic Money credits gained to upgrade to a suite or get valet parking to the game. People at the Amway Center are getting real value out of their season tickets.

The competition is the couch so we’re helping these venues to make their experiences compelling and less of a hassle to get to in the first place.

Stay tuned for more news ahead!

Leaders Conference: San Francisco 49ers Set the Bar for the Future Stadium

Leaders Conference: San Francisco 49ers Set the Bar for the Future Stadium

We’re excited the San Francisco 49ers will be speaking at the Leaders Future Stadium Summit in London this week, talking about what the 49ers and VenueNext have done together to enhance the fan experiences at the world-class Levi’s Stadium.

As VenueNext looks to grow internationally, it’s great to have our technology front and center at a conference in Europe. The 49ers will share data on the incredible network connectivity at the state-of-the-art Santa Clara stadium. The football team will also touch on the technology platform VenueNext built while being incubated at Levi’s and how it’s helped the 49ers gather more data on their fans, update the app in real time and customize the fan experience. A case study showing key business benefits of the platform will also be discussed, including millions of dollars in increased revenues. This is all very valuable to audience members: some of the most forward thinking leaders in the sports industry.

Learn more about the Future Stadium Summit here.

VENUENEXT TALKS ABOUT ‘WHAT'S NEXT IS NOW’ IN ATLANTIC CITY

VENUENEXT TALKS ABOUT ‘WHAT'S NEXT IS NOW’ IN ATLANTIC CITY

This week I’m excited to attend the TEAMS Conference & Expo in Atlantic City, where I’ll be talking on a panel about new technologies being deployed in the sports industry, including our connected venue platform. Specifically, we will be discussing how these technologies can help sports organizations better operate, market and entertain.

Other esteemed panelists include Ed O’Brien of the innovative company CLEAR (a VIP membership that helps you breeze past long lines), Nick Horbaczewski of the premier drone racing league Drone Racing League, Jeff Goldberg of Virtually Live, James Giglio of MVP (Motion Virtual Play) Interactive; the discussion will be moderated by Zack Sugarman, VP of Digital at Wasserman Media Group (a sports marketing and talent management company in Los Angeles).

I hope to highlight how our platform allows sports venue operators to deliver personalized mobile experiences at a sports venue. This results in fans returning more often, staying longer and spending more money.

I plan to touch on successes related to using IoT, the smartphone as a remote control and more to boost sports teams’ revenues and the fan experience.

For example, the Orlando Magic, one of the most innovative sports teams, has led to what is essentially the “Orlando Magic club” using our platform. They created their own currency called Magic Money allows fans to do things like exchange seats on the floor, or accumulate points to buy a suite. Fans can even order valet service outside their favorite restaurant for every game.  And the team has seen a $1 million bump in ticket sales and its highest season ticket renewal rates using our platform.

Get the full conference schedule here and Follow us for updates on Twitter under our handle @VenueNext during the 1:45-2:45 p.m. ET panel on Thursday, September 29 to learn insights from the talk.     

NYRA gallops into the future with VenueNext partnership

NYRA gallops into the future with VenueNext partnership

The largest and most historic racetracks in New York are taking a leap into the future with a new partnership with Silicon Valley.

We’ve signed up our newest customer, the  New York Racing Association (NYRA) to bring our connected venue technology platform to its Belmont Park Racetrack in Elmont, New York starting in April of 2017. For the summer of 2017, its Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, also in New York, will also adopt our technology.

NYRA’s venues are truly iconic and the partnership will help further delight their loyal fans by connecting most of the two venues’ amenities.

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For horse racing fans, we’re creating a mobile venue app for the organization that will extend the excitement between races by integrating venue services like mobile ticketing; betting, ordering food, beverages & merchandise for select in-seat delivery or express pick-up; viewing horse and jockey profiles and behind-the-scenes video content; along with wayfinding.

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Saratoga has been hosting thoroughbred horse races since 1863 and can host up to 50,000 people at a given event. Belmont opened in 1905 and can hold 60,000-90,000 people at an event. NYRA racetracks hosted just last year more than 1.75 million people at live races.

Of course, on top of all these features, VenueNext’s real-time data dashboards will provide NYRA with insights into app usage, concession supply needs, delivery times and more.

Our first foray into the horse racing was earlier this year at Churchill Downs, Home of the world famous Kentucky Derby, and we’re excited to further our reach in horse racing and in the sports & entertainment space in general.

Stay tuned for more specific details on the partnership as racing kicks off at Belmont next spring!

 

MAKING IT EASIER TO GET WHERE YOU NEED TO BE WITH PARKHUB

MAKING IT EASIER TO GET WHERE YOU NEED TO BE WITH PARKHUB

To fulfill our ultimate mission of connecting many of the isolated systems — payments, point of sale, food & beverage services, etc. — at a venue seamlessly, we work with other innovative technology companies to bring them into our platform.

HOW DATA IS GAME CHANGING FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC

HOW DATA IS GAME CHANGING FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC

We were thrilled to share the stage with Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins last week at the Structure Data conference in San Francisco and share results from our work so far with the team.

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Martins and our CEO, John Paul, sat down with Tom Krazit, Executive Editor of Structure Events, last Wednesday to discuss how data is enhancing the team’s business and the fan experience. Krazit noted that data is “permeating every bit of the sporting world these days,” since it’s also being used in on-field and court play.

Martins noted that the VenueNext platform has helped hook up Magic season ticket holders with a number of perks, including seat upgrades, fast lanes for beer lines, and even parking.