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Sunday, October 17, 2021

New API Data Angel Seeks to Give Meetings Data Wings

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One challenge meeting managers often face is ensuring data accuracy within their meetings reports. A new application programming interface, dubbed Data Angel, aims to help travel management companies and corporations improve that meetings report accuracy through the use of robotic technology. 

Data Angel is a software-as-a-service product owned by meetings tech consultancy Meetings Strategy, founded by Kimberly Meyer. Data Angel in real time can identify and correct problems—including misspellings, missing information, budget errors and incorrect contracts—as well as create custom reports, saving hours spent typically using Excel spreadsheets, she said. 

“This is a constant problem we hear across every major agency: that a corporation has service level agreements or key performance indicators and needs good data in a timely manner,” Meyer said. “But meeting planners have a ton of work and are busy with a lot of meetings, so it’s hard to remember to fill everything in or to go back if they don’t have the information [from the beginning]. Data historically has not been good.”

Meyer claimed Data Angel is the first in the meetings industry to offer this type of robotic service. The API works like a plug-in for meetings management software. Data Angel currently is partnered with Cvent.

“Cvent has a suite of APIs, developer tools, and developer support resources that enable partners to build, implement and support value-add integrations and apps that are connected to the Cvent platform,” VP of product management Brett Fitzgerald said in a statement to BTN. “Data Angel is one of several valued partners who have taken advantage of these tools to deliver value for mutual customers.”

Data Angel currently offers two services and is readying a beta test for a third. In addition, the company offers custom automation projects, such as for attendee registration data and other meetings processes, for large corporations. 

The first service enables real-time corrections in Cvent at the time of input. If there’s a typo—say, Censinate instead of Cincinnati—or the math doesn’t add up on attendee numbers, the user will get a pop-up screen from Data Angel when they try to save a record in Cvent, alerting them to the error. They can click on a green box and fix the error at that time, or they can click a “remind me later” option. If they opt to wait, they’ll get two more reminders. After the third reminder, they’ll be forced to fix the issue, Meyer said. 

Another service offers custom real-time reporting. Meyer gave an example of a client asking for a custom budget report that would take about 1.5 hours to develop in Excel without a macro. With a macro, it could take maybe seven minutes. Data Angel could run the same report in four to five seconds, Meyer said. One pharmaceutical client found they could save more than $200,000 a year just in the amount of time it took to run reports, she said. 

The third service, which Meyer said the company in mid-September was in talks with two clients to beta test, is meetings validation. Consulting or outside audit firms assessing a corporate client’s meetings today must check in Cvent where meeting documents are located and click through to budget line items on each document, Meyer said. Instead, Data Angel can put all the information related to a meeting onto a single page, including information from the meeting request form and all related documents. 

“Instead of going through documents one at a time by hand, in Cvent we can see immediately which documents are missing and route a message to the planner saying to upload your documents,” Meyer said. And instead of downloading each document, the auditor can view them in the Data Angel window and scroll through each to see, for example, if the costs matched what was in the budget. 

“It cuts what used to take a couple of hours into a couple of minutes,” Meyer said.

The product also will remind planners via pop-ups which meetings and tasks are “due” so they prioritize effectively, and don’t forget or ignore old meetings and old tasks, Meyer explained. The software uses 30 standard logic rules, but clients can customize the product and request more, Meyer said. Users also can write notes about issues to alert colleagues if they are unable to correct them, or to keep track of details in case the planners on the meeting change.

Pricing depends on which services a customer chooses and how many users Data Angel will support. Meyer added that it takes about two weeks to implement. 

“Most corporations don’t have IT people dedicated to meetings technology, so we are trying to be steep and efficient to help them do this robotic API work without needing any IT resources on their side,” she said. “We’re really trying to be plug-and-play.”

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