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Introduction - National Conference on Project Management in IT sector
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The following document is the proposal report for the “National Conference on Project Management in IT sector” organised by the Australian Institute of Project Management. The report highlighted different aspects related to the organisation of a conference at a national level. The marketing strategies to promote the conference in order to attract a maximum number of attendees across the globe were elaborated. The report also outlined the factors that are needed to be considered while zeroing down on a venue for the conference. The cost structure regarding the conference using the retail approach was explained. The overall budget for the conference was provided in the report. The report also enlisted the risk associated with the conference and also provided the measures to mitigate the same in the first place.
This report is more of a proposal for the National Conference for IT professionals that will be organised by the Australian Institute of Project Management. It will discuss the key functions of AIPM and its objectives. The report will cover the major aspects related to organising a conference. It will discuss the marketing strategies required to promote the event across the world. In addition to this, the factors that will be considered while choosing the venue for the conference. The importance of the speakers, their format, and their relevance in the context of the theme of the conference will be elaborated. Most importantly, the report will discuss the risk factors associated with the event. Before ending the report, the timeline and the cost structure of the event will be elaborated in brief.
The Australian Institute of Project Management is one of the leading body for project management. The organisation is identified as the key promoter of project management among the government bodies, business organisations, and industries. The organisation has more than 10,000 members across Australia. The organisation aims at providing premier services to its partners and members. It impeccably works at improving the skill sets, knowledge, and competency of project managers and other personnel, thereby assisting them to achieve the organisational objectives.
Objectives of the Conference
Since the conference solely aims at project management skills of the IT professionals, the objectives should be oriented towards them. The objectives are given below:-
- To provide the knowledge of managing the contracts
- To plan and organise IT-related project work.
- To build and manage the IT projects
- To carry out the management of the company's administration and finances.
- To monitor and execute the project outcomes.
- To document the overall development of the project.
Marketing Strategies for the Conference
As AIMP is seeking to cover all the conference’s expenditure through the sales of the conference tickets, it is important to plan an effective marketing strategy. The marketing of the conference can assist in the brand building and boosting. In addition to this, it can help in strengthening the ticket sales and event success. A few innovative marketing strategies are given below (Preston, 2012):-
- Involving the major influencer: In this method, the major industry influencers (in this case IT) who have a large fan following are contacted to influence the followers to attend the conference. This method has the minimum expense and maximum promotion.
- Offering incentives to the attendees: Providing incentives and discount offers to the attendees in order to promote the conference. These offers can be given on group bookings or to those who recommend other friends to join the conference.
- Social media promotions: This is the easiest, effective, and cost-saving method of promotion for the conference. In fact, the attendees also promote the conference just by clicking the share button. This increases the media coverage and people’ involvement.
- Sending mail, posters, and templates: Even though emails, posters, and templates are the traditional way of promoting a conference, they are very effective till now. They are easy and cost-effective ways to promote the conference among the vast network of attendees.
- Using speakers’ testimonials: A one-minute testimonial video of the delegates and the speakers on the benefits of attending the conference. They can also tell about their lecture and what the attendee will gain from the lecture. In addition, the organiser can also make a promotional video from the previous conferences.
- Venue Selection Criteria : The success of any event also depends on the right venue. Around 35% of the total fund for the conference goes in the venue booking. The selection of the venue depends on many factors and the organisers should always consider them while deciding the right space for the conference. These factors are elaborated below (Getz and Page, 2016):-
- Accessibility: The locational characteristic of a venue is the major factors that play a key role in maximizing the conference attendance. Accessibility is characterised by the transportation root, last-mile connectivity, etc. A venue should be at such a place where the guests can arrive via airplane, railways, or automobile.
- Lodging Accommodation: Since the conference will be attended by people from overseas or other far locations, there is a strong demand for lodging accommodations and that too within a walking distance from the venue. Therefore, either the venue should be nearby to any hotel or within the hotel.
- Cost: As it is already discussed that more than one-third of the conference budget is eaten up the venue, the cost of the venue plays a major role in deciding the venue for the conference. The organisers can lower down the cost by signing a multi-year contract with the owner (Getz and Page, 2016).
- Alignment with the theme of the conference: The proposed venue should reflect the event’s theme. In other words, the venue should be aligned with the theme of the conference which in this case is “Project Management in the IT Sector".
- Staffing: Another factor that should be seen before finalising the venue is a number of venue staff to handle the expected number of guests. Since there is a number of tasks that are to be operated simultaneously, a large number of venue staff is required. They will take care of almost every aspect of the conference (Rue, et.al, 2012).
- Facilities: A conference requires a plethora of facilities and equipment, such as microphones, stages, audio and video system, projectors, electric extension circuits, etc. Apart from these, the venue should have a proper seating arrangement, set-up capacities, and sponsor areas. In addition to this, it should have a large dining hall in order to arrange the gala dinners.
Considering all the aforementioned factors, a list of venues is prepared. The venues are located in major Australian cities, such as Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. After a deep analysis of these venues, The Greek Club in Brisbane has been chosen for the accommodation and conference hall as it has a capacity to accommodate 1400 people at a time.
Duration of the Conference
The conference will be held for three days i.e., Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Therefore, the venue will be booked for three consecutive days in the last week of the September 2018. The conference will have five modules to discuss that will take three days to cover.
- Day 1 (Thursday): Introduction to Project Management (Module 1) & Management Strategies in IT sector (Module 2)
- Day 2 (Friday): Partnership Management Evaluation in IT (Module 3), Dissemination and Exploitation in the IT industries (Module 4), Gala Dinner in the evening
- Day 3 (Saturday): Administrative and Financial Issues face by the IT organization (Module 5) & Closing ceremony
Selecting the right speakers for the conference is very important and difficult indeed. The effectiveness of the conference depends on the speakers and their knowledge. There are a lot of things to be considered while selecting the conference speakers. It is a very time-consuming job. First and foremost thing is to establish the theme of the conference and look for the speakers whose profile best suits the theme. The best the way of doing this is to choose the veterans of the IT industry as they have a lot to share. Apart from this, the organisers can choose any celebrity, motivational speakers, and top researchers and scientists associated with the IT sector (Rue, et.al, 2012). After too much of research work, the speakers selected for the conference include the following:-
- Project Directors
- Marketing Managers
- Staging Directors
- Operating Directors
- Finance Managers
- Project Managers
All these people have heaps of experience and knowledge of their fields and are currently serving the leading IT industry of the world.
Getting a sponsorship is not a cakewalk or a matter of luck. For a conference, one needs to make arrangements for obtaining funds. The majority of the funds can be provided by the sponsors. The sponsorship arrangements require efforts that are described below (Crowley, 2014):-
- Developing a value proposition that explains the event for which the sponsorship is needed. It should have a mission, audience size, benefits to the sponsors, etc.
- Contacting the previous sponsors in the contact list
- Develop an effective mail that tells how the event can solve the problems the sponsors face. It should also contain the pricing.
- One thing to note while seeking the sponsorship is that don’t promise more than what can possible for the organisation. Always try to under promise and deliver more than that in order to surprise the sponsors.
Risk Associated with Conference
When it comes to the risk management and mitigation for the conferences, one needs to identify a broad range of risks that are associated with the venue, suppliers, attendees, and organisers. These can be related to life, finance, health, or security (Anon, 2018). The following risks have been identified with respect to the national conference of AIPM:-
- Technical Glitches, such as electrical faults, system failure, audio disruptions.
- Regarding the attendees and guests, the risk can be a medical emergency. A person may feel a bit uncomfortable while attending the conference due to suffocation.
- Apart from this, security breach and tail-gating is also a major concern.
- Emergency situations like fire in the venue, earthquake, etc.
- Accommodation shortage
- Speaker cancels the visit just before the conference.
- The suppliers cancel the contract for supplying the material for the conference (Hallikas, et.al, 2014).
Managing the risks means reducing the probability of the occurrence of any disastrous event or minimising its frequencies. To avoid any financial loss, many event insurances are available. If there is any contract breach, then organisers can consult the lawyers for legal actions in this regard (Ashley-Smith, 2013).
Cost structuring in an exhaustive process as it needs a thorough study of the target market and customised the conference in accordance with the needs of the attendees. The cost structuring is characterised by ticket pricing, advertising packages and offers for international and national guests. It should be done with utmost care because it is not done properly, then there are high risks of missing the attendees’ registrations. On the other hand, if the overall cost of the event is not recovered by the sales of the tickets, then it could cost AIPM a major loss. In the case of AIPM, the retail approach is followed in order to carry out cost structuring (Nchake, et.al, 2015).
In this approach, the overall expenses are calculated and a profit margin is added and then, the sum is divided by the lowest projected attendees figure. In the case of AIPM, the profit margin is nil. Therefore, only the expenses are divided by the projected number of guests. The same formula is being used by the retailers to calculate the price of the products. The cost of the audio system and venue rent remains the same regardless of the number of attendees. However, the food cost will vary.
Looking into the budget, $64000 are needed to organise the national conference. Using the retail approach, the ticketing cost can be calculated. Assuming that 1000 attendees will be attending the conference, the registration cost for the conference is coming out to be $64 per person. For group booking 15% discount will be given on total amount.
This is a much-elaborated proposal report for National Conference for IT professionals that will be organised by the Australian Institute of Project Management. It highlighted the functions of AIPM and its objectives. It discussed the marketing strategies required to promote the event across the world. In addition to this, the factors that will be considered while choosing the venue for the conference were mentioned and elucidated. The importance of the speakers, their format, and their relevance in the context of the theme of the conference was elaborated. Most importantly, the report discussed the risk factors associated with the event. In the end, the timeline and the cost structure of the event were elaborated in brief.
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