Collaborate to Learn: EMS Regional User Groups

November 30, 2017


Peer-to-peer learning is a broad term for describing the ways in which individuals learn from colleagues in a mutually beneficial way.

Also known as collective mentoring, this method of group learning encompasses networking, collaboration, and open discussions through online forums, social networking, and live events. It’s a cost-effective way to bring together different skillsets and perspectives where everyone involved is both the teacher and the student.

We know that many of our customers are asking for this type of solution-oriented learning model, where they can discover and share best practices outside of their own EMS deployments. The annual EMS Live fall conference is extremely popular for that very reason. When you surround yourself with hundreds of fellow EMS users, you’re sure to pick up a new idea or process shortcut.

But EMS Live only comes around once a year, and we’ve heard that you want more of these opportunities to interact your EMS expert user peers. So, we set out to address this in 2017 by sponsoring more Workplace and Campus of the Future Forums, and renewing our focus on regional user groups.

In the past few months, we’ve held user groups at DePaul University in Chicago and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA.

The MIT event stands as an excellent example of peer-to-peer learning. After MIT volunteered as host, we reached out to local customers to attend, registering over 35 expert EMS users from 13 different New England-based organizations. Users came from as close by as the Berkelee School of Music just across the river to as far away as the University of Vermont and Skidmore College.

Dr. Jennifer Smith, assistant director at MIT, found great value in the event. “I loved having the opportunity to host a Regional User Group at MIT," said Jennifer. "EMS Software staff were great to work with and well-organized. The opportunity to meet colleagues from other institutions and learn about their best practices and use of EMS was invaluable. By having EMS Software staff involved, we got to learn the latest developments and give feedback on where the software is going.”

EMS helped to coordinate the program and provide internal experts to guide the discussion. MIT provided a detailed overview of its nearly 20-year-old EMS deployment and a walking tour of a variety of facilities scheduled through EMS, including the Stratton Student Center, the MIT Recreation Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, Kresge Auditorium, and the MIT Chapel.

They shared how they have met technical challenges for their de-centralized scheduling model, and how they handle more than 100,000 bookings a year from student groups, departments, athletics, labs, and the Sloan School of Business.

Following a review of the EMS product roadmap and lunch, the remainder of the day was spent in breakout sessions and large groups, discussing issues such as event planning and management, the EMS Web App, how to manage conference space effectively, integrations with EMS, working with service providers, and approaches to self-service/unmanaged space.

Attendees openly described their challenges and received valuable feedback and advice on how to improve their operations. Better yet: the event was free to all attendees thanks to MIT and EMS.

In 2018, we hope to sponsor even more of these regional user groups and provide greater opportunity for our users to learn from each other. We’re excited to partner with our customers to learn more about how they are using the EMS Platform and to help them connect with and learn from their peers.

If your organization is willing to host one of these events, please reach out to your account manager today.  We look forward to hearing from you.