TALKING TECH: Interview with Manish Chandak, President and CEO at Ungerboeck Software International
In this latest Industry Interview, Sports Venue Business CEO, Katie McIntyre, talks tech with Manish Chandak, President and CEO at Ungerboeck Software International (USI), a global leader in event and venue management technology.
Firstly, Manish, can you start off by telling us a little about you, your career path thus far, the highlights, your objectives moving forward, and so on?
I started my career as an electrical engineer with a true passion for technology and business. I learned early-on that there was a lot of power in taking a customer-focused approach to innovation. I’ve basically built my entire career on solving complex problems for clients through emerging technology.
I served as President of Quilogy—later purchased by Aspect Software—and throughout my tenure in that role I was focused on what we could do to help businesses transform their interactions with customers through both traditional and new channels of communication like social, AI and self-service digital assistants.
I joined Ungerboeck in 2015 as Chief Technology Officer and it was immediately clear that there was amazing potential for growth! Learning from the insight and expertise of our client base and focusing our time and resources accordingly were the keys to accelerating growth. That’s the strategy I’ve carried through my elevation to Ungerboeck President and CEO.
Congratulations on your promotion to President and CEO at Ungerboeck – a global leader in event and venue management technology – what are your aspirations for the company over the next 2-5 years?
Our goal is to be help our customers create meaningful digital connections with their customers and across the entirety of their own organizations. At its best, technology has the power to transform the event experience and its management into something that feels seamless and fun. We can bring that home for our clients.
If we deliver on that, then it’s not unrealistic to expect to see Ungerboeck powering the top 5 venues, associations and organizers in every major global market in the near future. We’re well on our way!
Having served as Ungerboeck’s Chief Technology Officer, you’ve obviously been privy to some major technological developments. In your opinion, which have been the most important advances in the last decade?
I see a couple major things:
First, and foremost, mobile technology has matured to the point that it’s made a demonstrable impact on how business is done in this industry. When you think about everything that goes in to creating a truly “wow” event experience, it’s easy to see how the ability to work from anywhere at any time without losing a step has been a game changer. The ubiquity of mobile devices, their ease of use and incredible computing power have really made life and work a whole lot easier for people in this industry.
A second big advancement is the ease of configuration and integration of software with other cloud technologies. Even just a few years ago, it was much harder to personalize the software experience or integrate solutions. The shift toward openness frees people up to create something that fits perfectly with their needs and unique workflows.
With the foundation of all that data and computing power, the next big thing is leveraging all the data collected by IoT (Internet Of Things) devices, visitor actions and booking trends. Artificial intelligence is going to make it even easier to use all this information to optimize returns and personalize visitor experiences.
What are the benefits of partnering with a global organisation, such as yourselves, who benefit from international offices in Germany, France, UK, Australia, China and Hong Kong, in addition to the US HQ?
As we work across continents and cultures, we’re spotting trends as they develop and even the original ideas that kicked them off. As we bring those concepts to our customers and start conversations about how they can adapt and apply them to their own business processes, it begins to flip their whole approach to innovation from reactive to proactive.
For instance, we see innovation in payments and social technology in China and other emerging markets that are changing how consumers behave and access products and services. These trends are likely to spread worldwide and serving our customers in these markets early prepares us to bring those trends to the rest of the world.
What specific evolutions do you foresee for the sporting events and sports venues sector?
Over the last several years, it’s become clear that there is new and intensified pressure for driving profitability in sporting venues. The global response to this issue has been a quick shift in revenue strategies based around leveraging space on non-game days. We’re now starting to see this pick up in the US.
The venues who’ve had the greatest degree of success in adapting to this new demand are focused on developing relationships with corporate clients, associations and building a robust services infrastructure around the special event experience. We have worked with these customers to drive a unified process that manages this from beginning to end.
Which hot topics/sector developments are you currently tracking?
We are tracking developments in privacy laws and cybersecurity. Our customers need to have confidence that they’re compliant. We keep our solution updated to ensure that they have everything they need to protect their customer’s privacy.
We’ve also seen the focus on guest experiences intensify over the last few years. We are actively working on supporting a deeper partnership between venues and service partners and enabling a tightly integrated relationship to help drive better services experience and the experiences that guests have with them.
A major driver of the push for non-game day revenue is widespread public funding cuts. As those dollars continue to shrink or disappear, the pressure on generating revenue will continue to grow. We are supporting venues in driving their revenue higher by leveraging their space in variety of other ways for special events, particularly on non-game days.
What are the other advantages end-users can expect from utilizing Ungerboeck’s solutions?
Given how quickly this industry changes, it’s incredibly important to know that you’ve invested in a software solution that’s going to be able to keep up. Put simply, we have the stability and financial horsepower for continuous and ongoing investment in our product and that process is entirely driven by the needs of our customers.
Just as important, we also recognize that we can’t be everything to everyone. Our clients aren’t locked in or locked out from third-party solutions or applications that address issues outside our area of expertise. Our system will always be accessible and open to integrations that will strengthen our clients’ business models and processes.
[The] Bottom line is that Ungerboeck customers have peace of mind in knowing that they have invested in the best possible events platform that will grow with them.
In terms of end users, can you talk us through some of your key client venues in terms of the solution/s they are implementing and the services Ungerboeck provides?
Regardless of team, sport or location, we’re finding that venues are looking for an easier way to connect all the separate departments and entities that are involved in keeping things running smoothly. Having sales, scheduling and in-house or third-party contractors operating on the same database makes a huge difference not only in the effort required to manage events but in the ultimate experience for guests and ticketholders.
A great example of this comes from the San Francisco 49ers, who are using the software successfully at Levi’s Stadium to collectively plan and manage the success of their events across internal departments and service partners outside the organization. A particular sweet spot for them is the system’s ability to handle out-of-the-box requests that don’t easily fit in any standard form field or category. Whether it’s in San Francisco or halfway across the globe at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, it’s that very ability to deliver a tailored, yet flexible solution to help our clients deliver a seamless experience for their clients that really separates us from the competition.
Many thanks to Manish for taking the time out of his busy schedule to conduct this interview with us.
For further information on Ungerboeck, simply go to: ungerboeck.com
Main image (top): The San Francisco 49ers are benefitting from Ungerboeck’s software at Levi’s Stadium, where they are using the system to collectively plan and manage the success of their events across internal departments and service partners outside the organisation.