We sat down with Jeremy Jenkins, Silver Fox’s Director of Strategic Operations, to discuss how Silver Fox has embraced digital transformation to innovate and drive the event industry forward.
Silver Fox (SF): As Director of Strategic Operations, your focus is moving Silver Fox into the future, both with processes and technology. Can you share with us how Silver Fox is embracing technology to lead the way into this new era of event services?
Jeremy Jenkins (JJ): One of our goals is embracing technology across the board, starting with events. Files need to be in different locations at different times and we make sure those files get to the right location at the right time. But as events have continued to grow, with thousands of sessions per event, we’ve experienced the strain of continually needing to increase the size of our onsite staff to handle the file management. Ultimately, our team’s expertise is designing beautiful presentations, and we want our designers to focus on helping people craft their stories onsite rather than managing files. To solve for this problem, we’ve spent the last few years building a program called FoxTrax, which gives us more capacity to be able to work with individuals who want that extra presentation design assistance onsite.
SF: Could you help us understand what FoxTrax does, from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with the background of event file management?
JJ: FoxTrax is a central nucleus of sorts that all presentation files go through, automatically: maintaining version control and updating event info as things change, pushing files to their intended locations, and immediately archiving the presentations after they are presented so that they are up-to-date on the event website. FoxTrax can also input metadata to make each file searchable on SharePoint sites or other locations after the event. It basically automates all of the file management processes our team has been doing manually for years, which leaves less room for error and allows more time for our team to focus on working with speakers to create the most polished and impactful presentations possible.
Another really cool feature of FoxTrax is that presenters can upload their presentations directly into FoxTrax, using the password that Silver Fox provides them. This allows presenters to have access to their presentations just by logging in. With FoxTrax handling all file management, we’ve freed up the onsite staff to focus directly on face-to-face client interactions and design.
We’ve also made sure FoxTrax is cost effective for our clients. It reduces the number of Silver Fox designers needed onsite and makes it possible for designers to support an event without physically being there, which frees up time and provides cost savings for each event we support.
SF: Can you share an example of an outdated practice that’s still being used in event services today?
JJ: One of the most outdated practices I still see is people using Excel sheets to capture data and information. A key benefit of FoxTrax is that it eliminates the need to use multiple spreadsheets to manage and track data. A lot of companies still use spreadsheets because they are familiar, but not only does it take a lot of time and effort, it also leaves room for error. Our goal is to move people away from manually entering data by using cloud technology and digital transformation to make things happen automatically.
SF: How do you see technology impacting the event industry? Are there any gaps that can be filled
by technological advances?
JJ: We’ll continue to see more people engaged in events across the country and across the world without necessarily being physically present onsite. Seeing that trend gather steam is another part of what is driving us to develop FoxTrax. As remote events become more and more common, event organizers will need better solutions for managing presentations without a centralized physical location, and that’s exactly what FoxTrax does.
I also think we’ll start to see presentations being delivered through a VR experience. There might not be an actual stage in the room; attendees will have a headset or some type of screen that they look at that shows a hologram.
SF: What do you see other companies doing that’s innovative and exciting to you?
JJ: Other companies are focusing on the customer and client experience; creating products that make it as easy as possible for people to engage and work with each other. Those things excite me and inspired the creation of FoxTrax. We developed FoxTrax to make it as easy as possible for designers and clients to work with us.
SF: What do you see happening in the event world that is addressing or changing how people are
JJ: Attendees want to be more engaged with each other. One of the biggest trends I’ve seen is the ability to give feedback and ask questions while the presenter is speaking. I think as technology continues to develop and more people get used to it, people are going to find that those interactions become natural and the instant feedback environment will become more and more common.