UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, organizes annual industry-wide competitions to recognize and reward the best initiatives in a variety of related areas. At recent UFI Focus Meetings held in Poznan, the winners of the 2014 ICT and Operations & Services competitions were selected by participating exhibition professionals.
IFEMA (Madrid) was chosen over Fiera Milano S.p.A. (Milan), and UBM plc (London) as the 2014 UFI ICT winner for its entry answering the question, “What have you done to fit your IT team to the future”? Fira Barcelona, in a tight contest with Freeman SP (USA) and UBM Tech (USA), was selected UFI Operations & Services award winner for its entry meeting this year’s topic, “How to create an excellent attendee experience onsite.”
The IFEMA winning ICT entry focused on a balance between internal corporate development and outsourcing management. The proper selection of new apps, systems and tools combined with the updating of IT personnel skillsets are at the core of IFEMA’s efforts to anticipate the evolving technological needs of the company. Presenting the measures taken to reach these objectives, IFEMA’s Rubén Rodríguez (Systems Coordinator) commented, “We have evolved from a horizontal, function-based organization to an organization oriented to processes and services.”
IFEMA’s attention to IT development has had a direct impact on the organization’s marketing and customer sales channels. Without increasing the IT workforce, IFEMA has lowered exhibition management costs by assigning in-house personnel to strategic tasks with greater added value, increased customer participation in their own contract processes through web apps, reduced internal costs through online sales systems and reduced manual errors through a high degree of automation. Rodriquez concluded saying, “We are fit for the future, ready for the challenge of new technologies, and balancing our strategic resources to serve our goals. We are invisible – but essential!”