As concerns grow about the coronavirus outbreak, Procurement Leaders decided today to postpone this month’s event in Miami until the fall. The decision, no doubt not an easy one, follows similar changes in plans by a number of technology vendors in the last 72 hours, including Basware, EcoVadis, Ivalua, Oracle and SAP Ariba.
Components of these spring events have been changed:
Other spring events have not been canceled:
- Basware Connect (Las Vegas, May 6-8)
- Ivalua Now (US)
- Procurement Leaders (Europe)
- SAP Sapphire
- Sourcing Industry Group (SIG)
Technology providers and membership/conference organizations alike have a tremendous amount on the line. For technology vendors, conferences are a time to both close new business and drive up-sell/cross-sell opportunities, as well as drive relationships and benefits for their partner ecosystem. For many, events are also a profit center (or at least cost-neutral) even outside of the closing of deals, or should be, once they hit a certain scale.
Membership/conference organizations face a double challenge. First, like technology providers, they have committed costs (e.g., hotel/conference venues), which are often locked in well prior to events, as many suppliers will “not negotiate exit provisions,” as an expert in the market told me this week. At the same time, they must also manage the expectations (and commitments) made to sponsors and attendees, nearly all of whom have paid in advance based on the standard economics of these models.
As we said earlier this week, now is the time to stand by our partners in this market. Empathy is the way to deal with the situation all around. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
We are in unique territory here, which, too, will pass. And we will all be stronger for maintaining relationships and working amicably to resolve any concerns or differences along the way.