Tessitura European Conference ’18: inspiration and business take-aways

Yesplan on field trip at TEC2018 in Manchester, UK.

The Tessitura Network has over 500 cultural organisations around the world. Their use of the software platform and tools provided by Tessitura are some of the most advanced in the cultural sector. The annual Tessitura European conference (TEC) saw almost 500 leaders and administrators from fundraising, box office, analytics, web design and operations converge in Manchester, UK Over 100 speakers took part in 50 great sessions build around content in cultural organisation. Here is our top four take-aways:

1. Data Driven Decisions 

How do you make decisions? Do you use all the data available to you? Do you ‘choose’ which data to look at? Many sessions that we attended focused on the superb tools that Tessitura have either built themselves or integrated, along with tools that their own users had developed! Businesses who had embraced a culture of looking across all of their business data to inform policy or shape budgets were able to present truly astounding results. 

It amazed me that this technology had already proven results in revenue, but yet was only just being introduced at Disney theme parks in the US.   

2. Small organisations can make big things happen 

The size of your organisation should not be a factor in incentivising innovation or creativity. The American Greg Loewen shared a case in which PHD economists in the United States used numerous complex data sets to shape AUTOMATED pricing policy at a whole range of organisations, from symphony orchestras to city zoos! Some of these cultural organisations were relatively small, others large. I found it amazing that this technology had already proven results in revenue, but yet was only just being introduced by Disney theme parks in the US. This is a clear example of how even the smallest of cultural venues can sometimes innovate and adapt faster than some of the largest entertainment companies. 

3. One Size does not fit all 

We often talk about this at Yesplan, and that is why we design our solutions the way we do: configurable by the user and easy to integrate with other systems. All tools available for Tessitura users, provided by both Tessitura and their partners, clearly showed that there is a high demand from cultural venues to be able to craft software and solutions to make sure it works for them, their audiences and their donors, not the software provider. 

As an industry, culture is about expressing individuality and pushing boundaries, not about everyone doing the same thing in the same way. We need to remember that this applies to our business operations as well as our productions. 

4. Return on Investment 

 What difference will this make to my business? In a number of sessions, speakers from around Europe gave examples of campaigns run or web development undertaken, some of which were outstanding. All of these however, also focused on the costs incurred and the revenues realised or the savings made from the work completed. 

 Apart from the technical aspects of the solutions discussed or demonstrated, there were some clear lessons on examining business impact, even before starting up your business, to see if suitable returns were possible, as well as lessons on the importance of evaluating your numbers on a continual basis. Too many cultural organisations, in my opinion, miss this continual evaluation. 

It was the first time someone from Yesplan had been to TEC and we are definitely looking forward to 2019's event to discover more thought provoking and insightful content. 

 With the first Tessitura user opting for Yesplan last week, we are certainly seeing a bright future.