Corporates from Linklaters, Cisco and Barclays defended the role of in-house events organisers against allegations that they were ‘order takers’ in the procurement process rather than event professionals at Summer Eventia.
The panel at Summer Eventia, ‘A marriage made in heaven or hell', saw the corporate panel face questions from the audience on procurement and whether in-house was more cost effective than outsourcing services.
Barclays' Emma Neilsen said: “We don’t see ourselves as order takers. We understand the objectives and strategy of the business, so we can ask where events fit in the communications strategy, the marketing strategy.
"We produce something quite different and unique, that’s our job. You could say we’re less an order taker than an agency because they are less likely to say ‘is that the right thing to do?’ rather than ‘just ‘give us the business’.”
Sharyn Hadfield, of Linklaters, added: “I regard our in-house team as the agency. There are areas of what we do we need to outsource but I don’t believe a full service agency is more cost effective than having an in-house team. One of the first things I was asked to do when I started at Linklaters was outsource the entire team.
"What came out of that was that having an outsourced solution is good for certain aspects but you need to have that understanding of the business to really deliver. Every business has certain objectives and organisational quirks. A lot of the time what you would end up with is another team to manage the agency relationship.”
Cisco's Staci Clark noted: “Because Cisco Live is such a big event we could never directly manage all the small suppliers, which is why we have an agency. But they are not doing the core planning that we do.”
Pictured: Neilsen, Hadfield and Clark debate the issues