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Until 2011, Morgan Stanley used a proprietary system for budget approvals to capture all of its meeting data. The company was spending millions of dollars annually on meetings and had meeting management teams in New York, London, and Asia. It had centralized meeting registration and created a meetings Web site, but there was no formal SMMP in place.

EVOLUTION Enter Simon Murray to drive the company’s SMMP effort. He worked with Active Network/StarCite to integrate its system with the internal system that was already in place, and created a procedure for managing one-on-one meetings between executives and managers attending conferences and the company’s clients and prospects. (Morgan Stanley has over 50,000 client interactions annually). A new spend management tool that was just launched will allow him and his team to do their own data analysis and reporting. In the end, Murray expects the SMMP to benchmark savings of 10 to 26 percent of total meeting spend.
Now he’s in the middle of rolling out the program globally. “This will provide a level of consistent reporting across regions that has never been available before,” he says. “And it will drive decision-making going forward: What are we providing to our internal clients, how much is it costing, is this of value for the firm and the client?”

ADVICE “Always listen carefully to your clients—both internal and external—to make sure you completely understand what they are trying to achieve. Time spent listening and researching is time well spent.”

MENTORS Murray says he’s been lucky to work with “some forward-thinking senior managers who are able to visualize how technology products and digital marketing can help revolutionize our brand.
“I’ve learned a number of important lessons along the way, like tailoring your communication to your audience, which is especially true when dealing with senior management.” - Barbara Scofidio