We’re all faced with a challenge, how can we do more with the resources available? The reliance on content to communicate, build an audience, and sell has turned up the pressure on marketing and creative teams. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help do more with the same. Workflow management software not only seeks to improve productivity but to do so while removing friction to managing and reviewing work before it’s published.
What is workflow management?
Workflow management is the coordination and tracking of work that people do. It executes defined sequences of tasks, reducing the time spent on repetitive work.
Benefits of work management software
Work management software keeps people focused on doing productive work instead of spending time asking what’s been done, what am I supposed to do now, and what’s next. Work management software helps get the right people doing the right things in the right order.
Widen Workflow: your online proofing and work management solution
Widen Workflow connects the online proofing process to your digital asset management (DAM) system. It's flexible and easy to use, so you can spend more time doing great work and less time sending emails.
What is Workflow?
It’s a fast, effective online proofing solution that assists in managing all of your creative assets through every step of the review and approval process.Workflow centralizes creative collaboration and project management — from the creative brief, to project assignment. In addition, with online proofing build right in, review and approval tracking from all necessary departments is now easily manageable, so you can take your projects to completion without any hiccups from the proofing process.In addition, all finalized assets are seamlessly released into your DAM system where they are managed through their lifecycle, and of course, distributed.
What does it do?
The Workflow application makes it possible for you to:
- Plan, request, schedule, route, proof, and measure creative work
- Collaborate in one place during the entire project lifecycle
- Automate project review and approval across your teams
- Annotate on creative work and marketing collateral, in real-time
- And, keep an audit trail of comments and changes (throughout the creative process)
Who Workflow helps, and how it solves their problems
Now that you know the “what,” it’s time to take a look at who Workflow is for. These are the folks involved in the process. As you’ll see, each of them can greatly benefit from Workflow …
The Requestor originates the creative brief/job ticket, and is involved with approvals. They’re typically in marketing, sales, or they’re a product manager.
Typical issues a Requestor experiences with the creative project management process include:
- “Once I submit a project, I have no idea what happens to it, or if it’s even been approved.”
- “If I have feedback on a piece, I send an email to my designer. It’s never quick, and I’m lucky if I actually get a response.”
- “I never know if a project I requested is actually done. I end up having to reach out to, like, five people to figure it out. It’s a mess.”
- “When I’m filling out a creative brief to request a project, there are always 100 different questions, and none of them seem to apply to my project. So, I just ignore them.”
The Organizer, who is typically a traffic manager or project manager, reviews the requester’s brief.
Organizers experience their own set of challenges:
- “Communicating urgency is difficult. It seems like everything is URGENT!”
- “Trying to keep track of different projects via email is SO HARD! And I never know where paper routing is — or it ends up getting lost.”
- “To get a clear view of what designers are working on at any given time is near impossible. I just assign projects to them hoping they’re not already slammed with work.”
- “Marketing never seems to request a project with enough information. I end up spending more time going back and forth with them when I could be doing other things.”
Your Contributor is your web designer, graphic designer, or copywriter, and they have their own workflow management issues.
- “When I get comments back on the proof, sometimes they’re contradicting, so I never know which feedback is valid and what to update.”
- “I never know what I’m supposed to be working on.
- “I get assigned to four different projects with the same due date. It’s impossible to get all of it done — it’s just not realistic.”
- “It’s hard to communicate exactly what was changed in an updated proof without having to walk everyone through it. There has to be an easier way.”
- “Sometimes the feedback is minimal, like add a copyright logo. Some people want to see a revised proof, others don’t care. It’s hard knowing when a new proof is needed.”
As you might imagine, the Reviewer is going to experience some of the same problems as the requester, Organizer and the Contributors. And they’re coming at it from a global view, so depending on how scattered the correspondence is for a project (multiple email sources, Slack, Trello, etc.), and how marked up a proof is, they may have to waste their time and time of others just to up to speed as to where the project stands.
DAM system implementation
In-between the Reviewer and the Observer is another step, which is uploading the final content into DAM, but we haven’t designated a specific “who” for this, as it will differ within each organization.
The Observer analyzes and reviews the process, works in the Dashboard, creates reports, etc. This role is often filled by a creative director, marketing director, or art director.
The Observer may be in the most difficult position of all when it comes to analyzing and reviewing a process that has no “central hub.” How, exactly, can they assess a process when information and data are spread out all over the place? How can they clearly identify and improve each team member’s experience within the process — when the process itself is fatally flawed?
Sticking with the Observer for a moment, it’s obvious that without online proofing and work management software like Workflow in place, the Observer can’t be expected to improve the process. In fact, part of the job description, “working in Dashboard” isn’t even possible when working in the old, “hub-less” process.
With Workflow, it becomes possible to not only improve the process, but to improve the overall experience of everyone involved with a project.
Let’s look at a handful of examples that address some of the problems our Requestors, Organizers, and Contributors experience:
- The Requestor told us, “once I submit a project, I have no idea what happens to it, or if it’s even been approved.”
With Workflow, the Requestor (or anybody else working on a particular project) can instantly see the status of the project — including whether or not it’s been approved, what Contributors are working on it, and who has or has not completed a round of online proofing.
- The Organizer told us, “trying to keep track of different projects via email is SO HARD! And I never know where paper routing is — or it ends up getting lost.”
With Workflow, all creative project management lives in one central hub, so it’s easy to see what’s happening with each of your projects WITHOUT having to dig through your email! And with paper routing a thing of the past, the Organizer can instantly see who might need a gentle reminder to check the online proof!
- The Contributor told us, “when I get comments back on the [paper] proof, sometimes they’re contradicting, so I never know which feedback is valid and what to update.”
With Workflow, the Contributor can easily message pertinent team members about their contradicting feedback, so they can work as a cohesive unit to clarify what needs to happen next. This is far superior to leaving the Contributor to have multiple “siloed” discussions with individual team members, or worse, guess as to who’s comments to listen to.
As you can see, Workflow is a powerful work management and online proofing tool. The above examples are just a handful of ways it can help your team increase efficiency and decrease stress.
Want to learn more about Workflow?
Watch the demo video or to get in touch.
Editor's note: This article was originally posted on April 4, 2017 and was updated.