The 10 Must-Have Digital Tools for Event Service Business Success + Best Practices

The Market
The event services industry is expected to grow by nearly $100B between 2020 and 2025,
according to Technavio. As a member of this growing industry, it’s important to have every tool
at your disposal, to ensure that you stay ahead of your competition, as you build an organized
and profitable business in this fast paced digital world.

The Ten Tools

1) E-Signature
Simply, an electronic signature is a method of having your client/customer sign contracts,
quotations, or proposals electronically (online). It not only replaces a handwritten signature but
is also legally binding, secure, and storable.
The benefits of using an e-signature tool over pen and paper are obvious. Here are a few:

● Save Time. Speeds up the process of getting documents signed. Better workflow.
● Save Money. Decreases the cost of office supplies. Save resources. Go paperless.
● Increase Efficiency. Less time that your sales team spends on administrative tasks is
more time they spend generating business.
● Better Organization. Easily store signed documents.
● Ease of Use. Your clients/customers will appreciate how convenient it is to sign your
documents. Improves the customer experience.

Popular tools to consider: DocuSign, Adobe Sign, HelloSign

Having an e-signature tool integrated into your rental management software takes these
benefits to the next level. IntelliSign is a proprietary e-signature tool found in IntelliEvent
Lightning. Create documents, then have them electronically signed and securely stored all in one

2) Time Tracking
Employee time tracking has recently been on the mind of business owners and managers with
the rise of remote work. It remains a controversial topic, but is worth exploring from the
perspective of cost control and profitability.

With all the negative connotations surrounding time tracking there are many benefits to explore.
Here are a few:

● Increased Productivity. Focusing on one task at a time will allow employees to get more
done, faster and more efficiently.
● Better Accountability. Time is a precious resource, especially in the live events industry.
Keeping your team accountable will help projects run on time and on budget.
● Team Management. Everyone has a job to do and a role to play. Knowing that tasks have
been promptly completed is essential to keeping the project moving forward.
● The Right Tasks. Data on the tasks that are being performed and the time required to
perform them will give you insights and allow you to prioritize those tasks for future
● Hidden Costs. Event service companies often struggle with capturing the actual costs of
a project. Planning, pre-production and meetings, all take time and are often non-billable
items. Knowing how much time is spent on these important tasks is key to making the
right business decisions when it comes to labor rates and hiring practices.

Popular tools to consider: Time Doctor, nTask, Clockly

IntelliEvent Lightning has an integrated time tracking tool called IntelliTime. With a
clock-in/clock-out feature, it allows you to track specific activities across individual projects,
giving you insights that ultimately affect the efficiency of your employees and the profitability of
your business.

3) Real-Time Labor Scheduling
Human resources are the lifeblood of any business. In the event services industry, talent is
arguably even more important than your equipment. According to Deloitte, employee turnover is
174% more likely without the capability of real-time scheduling. Considering the dynamic nature
of the labor force in general, scheduling can be a complicated task. There are a few best
practices to make the job easier. Here they are:

● Understanding. Having an organized way to assess your labor pool in terms of the tasks
they are qualified to perform is integral to scheduling the right person for the job. Having
a place to digitally store licenses and certification documents for each labor resource is
also a must.
● Management. Having the ability to schedule not only full time staff but also freelance,
part-time and seasonal labor resources is crucial in the live events industry. The ability to
assess labor needs across a date range for role, location, and availability will allow you
to pre-plan for potential shortages during peak times.
● Enforcement. Having a policy in place for employees to adhere to when requesting
time-off/vacation will help with availability issues. Consider requiring employees to
request time off at least 2 weeks in advance.
● Communication. The best scheduling system or software cannot replace human
interaction. Be flexible with your labor resources and be in constant communication to
ensure that expectations are clear, from both sides.
● Plan Ahead. Using historical data will allow you to better forecast your labor needs and
make scheduling easier for both the company and the employee. Although sometimes
unavoidable, nobody likes last minute changes.

Popular tools to consider:, Skedulo, When I Work

IntelliEvent Lightning Labor module allows for real-time labor scheduling via an email based
confirmation process. Gantt charts and calendar views offer pertinent data to efficiently access
needs and ultimately schedule the right talent for your events.

4) Vendor Management
Similar to freelance labor, cross rentals are a necessary aspect of any event services business.
Your vendors should be important partners in your business. Managing this relationship is
integral to your success. Here are some best practices when it comes to vendor management:

● Vendor Database. An updated list of vendors with the proper vendor information,
including contracts, will ensure that you are matching your business needs to the right
● Collaboration. Although negotiation regarding price and performance is important,
strategizing with your vendors will allow for the development of a business relationship
that will benefit both parties.
● Manage Expectations. Communicate with vendors to ensure that there is strategic
alignment between your organizations. Set benchmarks for demand and fulfillment.
● Measurement. Establish clear KPIs when it comes to vendor management. A few key
performance indicators include relationship status (vendor flexibility), cost (discounts),
and delivery (on-time, emergency).
● Risk Assessment. Periodically identify vendor risks including supply chain (depending on
only one vendor), financial (vendor’s business health, and their ability to meet their
obligations), and reputation (how vendor’s actions could possible damage your brand).

Popular tools to consider: Intelex, Tipalti Approve, GateKeeper

Vendors are key to your success. The IntelliEvent Lighting Vendor module allows you to
manage these relationships with data rich records, a Purchase Order workflow as well as vendor
catalogs that give your team access to available products lists from multiple vendors.

5) Inventory Management
As a rental business, your equipment/inventory is where your money is made. Maximizing the
utilization of your gear is key to maximizing your profits. Here are a few inventory management

● Real-Time Availability. Knowing how many items you have on the shelf at any given time
will allow you to meet customer demand and avoid the expense of cross rentals.
● Inventory Control. Proper categorization of your equipment will help you gain insights
into your inventory. A physical inventory count at least once a year to audit your counts
will also help with the health of your data.
● Inventory Barcoding. A system is needed that allows you to track individual items via
barcode scanning, as well as allowing for reporting on location, product usage and
maintenance history. RFID tags are gaining popularity and are also a consideration to
save time when scanning.
● Inventory Optimization. Reporting that allows you to see trends and predict product
usage and better optimize the equipment that you have on hand. Knowing what products
can be substituted for others also increases utilization of your owned inventory.
● Team Communication. Real-time alerts for changes to project orders will allow for your
business to find the balance between operations (best utilization) and sales (short-term
commitments). Another reason why demand planning and forecasting should be an
ongoing conversation in your business.

Most of the practices mentioned above are difficult to achieve without a software tool.
IntelliEvent Lightning Inventory module is optimized for the event services industry and offers
real-time equipment availability as well as reports, calendars and gantt charts to view product
usage, and ultimately gain insights into your inventory.

6) Accounting Software
Accounting software has many benefits over manual spreadsheets. If you outsource your
accounting, your accountant/bookkeeper is likely already using these digital tools. Here are
some benefits of accounting software:

● Save Time. Manual bookkeeping is tedious. Software provides an automatic way to pull
data and organize it for you.
● Financial Reports. Automating your accounting process also means that you will have
access to automatic reports. Built-in reports include Balance Sheets, as well as P&L and
Cash Flow Statements.
● Financial Data. Software has the advantage of syncing bank and credit card accounts as
well as payroll even across multiple platforms.
● Business Insights. Through accurate data and reporting, accounting software gives you
better insights into your business financials. Organizing your transactions by
departments and classes will help you make strategic business decisions.
● Tax Planning. Having all of your data processed within an accounting software allows for
a streamlined tax filing process.

Popular tools to consider: Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Sage

IntelliEvent Lighting Invoicing module allows users to invoice and accept payment within
IntelliEvent Lightning. Our software also syncs will most major accounting software platforms,
allowing you to push your financial data accurately, for a streamlined financial transaction

7) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM is an essential tool for any modern sales team. Organizing your contacts in one place,
including the capture of client and prospect interactions/correspondence is key to winning more
business. Here are a few more benefits to using a customer relationship management tool:

● Increased Sales. The ability to build a sales pipeline and automate key tasks during the
sales process will ultimately keep you more organized and increase sales in the long
● Customer Retention. Once your prospects become customers a CRM will help organize
customer interactions so that you can serve them better.
● Database. The simple fact that you will have all our your sales data organized in one
place will help your sales team save time and be more efficient in their daily tasks.
● Reports. Automated reports will give you insights into your sales by evaluating
performance and tracking quotas.
● Communication. Internal communication within your sales team will increase once you
have a CRM in place. Your team will learn what is working in the sales process and what
needs improvement.

Popular tools to consider: Salesforce, Pipedrive, Sugar CRM

IntelliEvent Lightning integrated CRM module allows for contact, pipeline and opportunity
management. We also offer a website integration, that automatically brings in lead opportunities from your website forms.

8) File Storage Solution
If there is one thing that event service companies collect, it’s files. From set drawings,
schematics and room layouts, to presentations, having a place to store and organize your
important show files is important to the success of your projects and events. Storing these files in the cloud has its advantages:

● Accessibility. If you use a cloud file solution you can access your files anywhere you are,
as long as you have an internet connection. This makes for a fast and convenient
● Security. These solutions save your data across redundant servers to make sure that
your files are safe and secure. You can also use cloud storage as a back-up for local
storage on physical drives.
● Data Sharing. The ability to share files with other users or allow others to view your files,
allows for project collaboration and a better project workflow overall.
● Scalability. Cloud storage service providers offer different plans to give you the storage
space that you require.
● Cost Savings. Cloud storage is much less expensive when compared to using physical

Popular tools to consider: DropBox, Box, Google Drive

IntelliEvent Lighting offers unlimited file storage. Files can also be stored and organized in
different sections of the software including on the job record, as well as in client, venue and
vendor records.

9) Team Collaboration Tools
For any team to be successful they need to have common objectives. The expectations of the
team also need to be set well ahead of any collaboration activities. This includes standards for
the team’s operation as well as ensuring a trusting environment. A few key point to consider:
● Common Goal. Team members need to be on the same page. Preliminary meetings in
order to establish these parameters are key.
● Communication. Clear objectives need to be set for each individual so that everyone
knows what is expected of them as a member of the team.
● Preparedness. Arriving to meetings prepared is a must in order to maximize everyone’s
● Strengths. Utilize the individual strengths of each team member. After all, this is the
reason you are collaborating in the first place.
● Reward Collaboration. Everyone likes to be recognized for the good job they are doing
and for their contribution to the team effort.

Popular tools to consider:, Wrike, ClickUp

All of the key items above require communication. Digital tools like IntelliEvent Lighting allow
for team communication using a task manager, notifications, unlimited file and note storage as
well as a discussion log to keep team members informed and engaged.

10) Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has revolutionized the way that we share data and do business. It has even
changed the way that we interact with friends, consume media, and purchase products. Here are a few benefits of cloud computing:

● Access. Being able to access applications through the internet is quick and efficient.
● Cost Reduction. With cloud computing you don’t have to worry about local infrastructure
and maintaining equipment. It also reduces costs related to IT services, and downtime.
● Storage. The cloud provides for unlimited storage capability. This also speaks to the
scalability of this technology.
● Mobility. The cloud allows for access from any digital device, including smartphones and
● Security. There is a common misconception that cloud computing is less secure than
maintained onsite resources. Cloud host’s main priority is the security of data and have
safeguards in place including encryption, individualized security settings and data
recovery protocols.

IntelliEvent Lighting is a 100% cloud-based solution, allowing our users to access the full
software platform anytime, anywhere, and on any digital device. With so much work occurring
on-site in the event services industry, mobility and remote access is a must.

An Overall Balanced Approach
Catchy title aside, you don’t need to use all of these tools to have success as an event services
company. Maybe you can get away with not using any. The key is to understand that there are
digital tools out there that can help your business. Updating processes and workflows should be
an ongoing process. “This is the way we’ve always done it,” is a mantra that can have disastrous
consequences. If you could get paid faster and more securely, wouldn’t you try an e-signature
tool? Isn’t a tool that facilitates communication something that you should make a priority in an
industry that requires ultimate teamwork? Look for an overall balanced approach, and use the
tools that you think will help your business, regardless of any preconceived beliefs. Give some a
try, you may be surprised by the outcome.