We have this perception of events—like seminars, conferences or workshops—as being unique and singular. We plan, we prepare, the event happens, and then we have a retro session--and maybe we learn some lessons for next time. And we think that’s good enough.
But Lyyti wants to do more.
“Event management has historically been less focused on utilizing data and systematically developing the business,” says Lauri Lehtinen, CTO of Lyyti. “If we think back to the way marketing budgets were drawn up 20 years ago, the business was unquantifiable; no one could measure the impact of a particular marketing investment. Then we got modern tools and marketing automation, and suddenly marketing is one of the most easily measurable parts of B2B. We want the same thing to happen in event management.”
Lyyti offers an event management suite that makes it easy for event planners to create online, on-site and hybrid events. They offer the usual building blocks like registration management, communication tools, and event platform connectors. However, they also provide a measurement suite and integrations with analysis and marketing tools. Customers can use them to analyze their attendance numbers and start to spot trends and correlations.
“We believe that event management is moving into a more data-driven mode. Giving event managers access to data and tools can speed up this transformation, and bring the measurement and development of events to a whole new level,” Lauri says. “We’re only just starting down this path.”
The tech behind the magic
More than 80,000 events are organized through Lyyti every year, and they have over 20 million users. That’s a lot of data, and Lyyti needs a robust framework to deal with it.
Lyyti’s tech stack is currently a combination of older legacy systems and a new system still being built on top of Aiven for PostgreSQL®. They use PHP and Laravel at the backend, and manage the whole setup with Terraform and Ansible® - “Infrastructure-as-code, to put it in a modern way,” Lauri smiles. “The solution is GCP-based and containerized, and orchestrated with Cloud Run to avoid the complexity of Kubernetes.”
Lyyti wanted to avoid being fully dependent on GCP, however. There were many reasons, some of them to do with potential GDPR compliance issues, some of them more high-level concerns about putting all of one’s eggs in a single basket. That’s why they went looking for a third-party service provider. They wanted one who could, in a pinch, enable the transfer of data from one cloud to another. And they found Aiven, which also came with a pleasant surprise.
“Our current system happens to run on UpCloud,” Lauri says, “and Aiven offers plans for UpCloud. It was really quite funny - you’ve got the global hyperscalers, and then you’ve got the Finnish UpCloud right there with them.”
Having a managed data infrastructure is important for Lyyti because they wanted to avoid complicated and demanding maintenance tasks. “Especially when you start scaling up to larger user volumes, database maintenance is a big chunk of overall system maintenance. Aiven offers us options that would be practically impossible for us to build ourselves, and at the same time keeps our infrastructure functional. We don’t need to worry about resourcing talent for every detailed need, like setting up databases in a safe and scalable fashion.”
Building up to data-driven success
Now that their new concept of event success management is gaining traction, Lyyti’s next step is to boost their data insights capabilities. They want to give event management the prominence it deserves in the marketing mix, and that requires offering analysis and forecasting tools to their customers. The customer will be able to gauge the impact of the events they organize, and identify the variables that affect it.
“For example, think about creating an event and sending out invitations for an accountancy seminar,” Lauri says. “You can do that in the Lyyti system today, it’s not technically that challenging. But imagine if you had a system that could tell you right away that accountants and other financial staff typically attend meetings around the 20th of each month, but never around the turn of the month. And imagine if your system could tell you when to send out the invitations at a time when they are most likely to be opened and read.”
On a Finnish footing
“One thing I’ve been musing on is the Finnish connection between Aiven, UpCloud and Lyyti,” says Lauri. “It’s great as a SaaS provider to be able to pick and choose technology whose roots are in our native country. Finns haven’t been awesome at too many things, but a really significant portion of internet backend technologies originate here. Finland has created many of the building blocks of the modern internet, from Linux and MySQL all the way to messaging systems inspired by 80s IRC. It’s great to be able to build Lyyti’s cool things on top of Finnish foundations, Aiven included.”
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