An enterprise-grade venue & event management solution
Priava delivers 200% increased performance in managing venues & events for University of Melbourne’s VCA & MCM faculty

Introduction

Part of The University of Melbourne, the faculty of the VCA & MCM (Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music) hosts a wide range of events across its many campus venues from concerts to dance and theatre performances, to film screenings and art exhibitions. The majority of events are internal with the exception of several large scale productions such as the Sugar Mountain festival held in the VCA’s grounds each year on Australia Day.

Key Challenge

Wanted in-depth financial reporting, ease-of-use and less reliance on IT department
University of Melbourne VCA & MCM faculty
Production and Facilities Manager at the Faculty of the VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne, Darren Golding explains, “When I first joined the University in February 2012, we had no specific system to manage the faculty’s events and relied on spreadsheets.  In October 2012 we adopted Events Perfect which suited our needs, but when we heard about Priava’s cloud-based technology we could immediately see the additional benefits it could offer. We have a mix of casual and full-time staff that need access to venue and events information so we wanted a system that was really easy to use and wouldn’t require much training. The level and depth of financial reporting that we need to produce on each event is also quite complex so anything that facilitated this process was welcome. With an extremely busy in-house IT department servicing the faculty’s 3,000 students and 200+ staff, the concept of cloud was also appealing as we could potentially reduce the burden on our already stretched IT team.”
“We no longer require servers which translates into capital savings as well as time-savings in maintaining, managing and replacing on site equipment”

Darren Golding

Production and Facilities Manager Faculty of the VCA and MCM University of Melbourne

The Solution

A cloud-based system that “wasn’t rocket science to use”.
In June 2014, the faculty of the VCA & MCM moved to Priava’s cloud-based venue and events management solution. “The move was quick and the staff found it very, very easy to use and new casual staff could pick it up really quickly as it wasn’t rocket science to use. We loved the dashboard, the tabs were pleasing to the eye – everything was just better formatted allowing us to work faster. In comparison, other systems we reviewed were very confusing and we may have only ever really utilised only 15% of the features. With Priava you can’t break it, it’s really simply laid out and it just does what you expect it to do.” The Faculty has 14 users that have access to Priava and these range from production managers for performing arts through to music programme coordinators.

The Results

200% increase in performance
“Since using Priava we have doubled our performance project productivity in a short period of time” says Darren. One of the key areas that has seen a major transformation is staff training. “When we need to introduce a new user, training only takes half an hour and unlike more complicated solutions, users do not have to possess IT credentials to pick it up. It is straightforward to administer and new users rights can be set up quickly and securely, without having to put extra pressure on our in-house IT team” According to Darren, the Priava solution makes the faculty’s venue management completely autonomous, so there are no delays in adding users or taking advantage of new functionality in the latest upgrades.
Cloud delivers autonomy, cost savings and allows working from any location
Darren says, “Relieving our need to be dependent on the IT department is made possible due to the fact that Priava is completely cloud-based. This is a big win for us. We no longer require servers which translates into capital savings as well as time-savings in maintaining, managing and replacing on-site equipment. With the old system, upgrades simply weren’t being done so we weren’t able to take advantage of new features. Now with Priava we are always on the latest version and we don’t even have to think about it. All back-ups are taken care of too, so there is no need to worry about weekly database archiving, this is all done for us and stored remotely. “With many part-time and casual staff, the fact that we can access the system at any location is also a huge benefit and is essential if you need somewhere quiet to focus on event scheduling, event documentation and operating budgets.”
Every venue or event is completely accountable
Producing budget reports is a critical part of Darren’s role due to the high volume of different type of costs that are involved with each space and event. Darren explains how Priava plays a crucial part, “To put it into perspective, we have an annual casual staff budget of $1million that may cover 70 events, but within the University’s main finance system, this may only be represented by a single GL (General Ledger) code. With Priava we can see clearly where the money is going and provide third parties such as the finance team, senior management and heads of department with fast and detailed reports that provide a snapshot of what it costs to run any event or performance project.”
The wow factor - “never seen this type of information before”
“Previously it was very difficult to share information on the detail of events, but with Priava everyone is in the know. For example without Priava, the finance team would just see a list of names on the casual payroll but have no idea who was working on what. The faculty may have nine different casual salary levels from carpenters through to costume makers, so it’s essential to be able to record this type of information and log against specific events. For example two events each week might show the hourly rate of a Sculpture coordinator or Music Theatre Production Coordinator. We recently completed a production of 42nd Street which included data on the various costs involved from casual salaries through to performance related expenditure such as lighting, set builds, and costumes. Other documentation is non-financial and includes Venue schedules, Correspondence and Event risk documentation. In our current year we are managing 175 project events from Performing Arts to Film & TV. Using Priava, all budgets can be easily tracked and if necessary different hourly rates can be applied across a number of events, so these do not have to be done individually, saving vast amounts of both time and effort. We can now put together staff budgets in a short amount of time by just repeating the event function, whereas in the past it used to take forever. The finance team in particular are astounded by the level of detail that Priava can deliver and comment that they have never seen this quality of information before here at the faculty in relation to our performance projects.”
Priava has become a buzzword across the faculty
According to Darren the Priava system is proving popular across the faculty, not just with the finance team but also with academic staff and senior management. Reports can be created quickly for senior management so they can see what’s required for what subjects and each department is given all the information they require for staff or project modelling or to view what events are coming up. I am often simply asked, ‘Send me a Priava report’ with the inference that this will tell them all they need to know.”

Summary

The benefits that the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of the VCA & MCM has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management solution so far include:
  • 200% increase in overall efficiency due to time-savings, reduced IT costs and enhanced budgeting;
  • Saves time on training – ideal for casual staff;
  • Remote access enables home working;
  • Reduce reliance on IT department;
  • Tracking of maintenance and performance budgets for events and other activities;
  • Detailed and high quality breakdown of financial information;
  • Real-time reporting;
  • Assists budget planning;
  • Recording of all event costs;
  • Repeat Booking feature saves on data entry;
  • Easy tracking of labour budgets;
  • Automatic data back-ups;
  • Easy sharing of information;
  • Important event and project document sharing.

Final comment from Darren

“Now into our second year of using Priava we are really enjoying the system. It simply performs”.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how you can introduce live availability and instant bookings at your venue using Priava.

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