Vinay Iyer spent more than seven years in event marketing for German software company SAP. One of his biggest frustrations was that the amount of time required to manage the administrative aspects of his events left little time for creativity and brainstorming.
“I personally was searching for some kind of tool to help manage the life cycle of an event, from the idea generation stage to the planning, budgeting, and execution stage to the post-event wrap up,” Iyer said. Last year he left SAP to launch Goombal, a product intended to add that efficiency to corporate event planning. The online system is in private beta, and interested planners can request a 30-day free trial.
The main dashboard is organized with drop-down tabs where users input information related to speakers, venues, sponsors, exhibitors, entertainment, food and beverage, audiovisual needs, and other categories. Within each tab there are activity cards to track details related to each topic. As planners input expenses, the system automatically tracks each one in the budget. Yellow and red triangles flag tasks that are not yet completed or that are behind schedule. Every member of the event team can have system access (full or limited) so each is working from the same “source of truth,” Iyer said. Goombal can also be used for communication with those outside the team, for example to contact speakers to request a bio or photo.
Jim Goldfinger, SAP senior director of customer value networks, is preparing to use the system for his events. “It’s a one-stop shop for all the logistics of hospitality, the presentations, the ratings, the logos of the sponsors, reports on costs, the allocation of who was our platinum sponsor versus gold versus silver. I’m looking forward to not having to rely on one person’s desktop and not having to go to 10 different places,” he said.
Users can start with one of the system’s templates or create an event from scratch. During an event, planners uses Goombal’s mobile app to access information such as the attendee list, an on-site punch list, budgets, and speaker information. After an event, planners can save their information for future events; they can also opt to publish it as a template for others to see, creating what Iyer hopes will become a library of best practices.
Dave Mosby, executive director of the Keiretsu Forum Academy, has been testing Goombal for the past two months and expects to be using it for all of his events by October. “We had been muddling through with Google Docs, spreadsheets, all kinds of stuff. We are now launching new programs every month, and what was very manageable when we were doing it twice a year is no longer manageable at this volume,“ he said. “Being able to create templates that allow me to just manage the exceptions is a huge benefit.”
Iyer is now developing partnerships with other vendors to integrate registration, invitations, marketing, and other services. Goombal’s fees vary based on the number of events being planned and the number of people that have access to the system.