Massive Content Operations in a Massively Large Organization
Some organizations deal in large volumes, and some deal in outright gargantuan volumes. And in the investment management industry, few deal in larger volumes than this particular client, with over $1.5 trillion in assets under management worldwide.
As one can imagine, this client operates in a highly regulated industry. They manage relationships with tens of thousands of investors. And they publish vast quantities of marketing materials, across a broad array of marketing channels, targeted to all of their constituents – existing account holders, new account prospects, investors, industry partners, etc.
That means vast quantities of marketing materials must find their way through a development process involving 30+ production teams and 350+ marketing professionals. And every one of these must be checked, verified, reviewed and approved to ensure stringent conformity to brand standards, compliance mandates and regulatory imperatives.
Not an easy proposition to achieve, to say the least. Yet the stakes are incredibly high:
- Time to market is critical: long marketing production processes can mean missing the moment and losing out to the competition.
- Compliance is critical: faulty and sluggish content review and approvals means costly audits and penalties.
- Visibility is critical: lack of real-time information on marketing production and campaign management results in chaos and confusion in outbound messaging.
- Adoption is key: lackluster user participation perpetuates – and exacerbates – all of the problems noted above.
Increasing Speed to Market
Overall, our client’s Aprimo-based initiative represented a comprehensive 10-month digital transformation of its marketing production management practices across all marketing personnel, teams and departments in both the USA and Canada.
The effort involved migrating off a legacy system for some aspects of the client’s production processes. But for various other aspects, the client was coming from manual, ad-hoc processes where teams often relied on email and spreadsheets, each doing it their own way.
Our 1st priority was to rationalize and streamline all of these practices into a consolidated and consistent operating metaphor. In fact, our EMMsphere team was able to help the client redefine and standardize all of their existing processes down to five main processes.
Our 2nd priority was to remodel data relationships, hierarchies and ownership in a way that would enable and support the newly streamlined processes, yet allow room for future growth. To that end, the EMMsphere team re-aligned their marketing production information across a 5-level hierarchy, with cross-linkages across data elements to facilitate navigation and access.
Key results achieved with respect to Speed to Market include:
- Process Rationalization. The client consolidated 20+ manual/ad-hoc production processes down to 5 main deliverable processes, with conditional variations to handle special cases
- Process Consistency. The client’s newly streamlined library of processes now all employ the same consistent methodology, roles, reviews, approvals, control gates and format, which collectively expedite execution.
- Process Simplification. The client streamlined the number of steps per process from 35+ down to 12-18 tasks on average, a 55% reduction.
- Process Alignment. Marketing projects are now aligned to a common set of goals and objectives and grouped within corresponding campaigns to facilitate scheduling and rollup.
- Process Speed. Process cycle time was reduced overall by 53%.
Improving Reviews, Approvals & Compliance
Historically, one of the key production challenges our client faced was around their document review and approval practices. At best, reviews were a tedious affair that slowed down execution. At worst, reviews – and the regulatory checks they often entailed – inadvertently got skipped, resulting in compliance issues.
Improving reviews and approvals, therefore, was an area that offered significant opportunity for improvement.
The first step was to consolidate and standardize control gates across all processes. The EMMsphere team worked with the client to catalog all of the required review and compliance checkpoints, as well as the key decision criteria at each, and incorporated this into the Aprimo-based production processes.
Next, the client leveraged Aprimo’s online review and approval capabilities to manage what was previously a paper-based effort, leading to dramatically improved automation and audit trail data for document approvals.
Finally, EMMsphere’s training and change management team ensured that client personnel were all well versed, empowered and supported on the solution’s new review capabilities.
Key results achieved with respect to Reviews, Approvals & Compliance include:
- Standardized Check Points & Gates. Document review and compliance control gates were defined and incorporated into all production processes to ensure materials are uniformly vetted and approved.
- Online Review and Approval. Document reviews now occur 100% on-platform, ensuring quicker and more efficient execution, and providing comprehensive audit trails for regulatory purposes.
- Compliance Reports. Project managers now have reports to provide real-time status on compliance reviews as well as clear identification of materials that require additional remediation.
Enabling Real-Time Visibility
Given the enormous operational scale of this client, having a clean line-of-sight into real-time marketing production status and resource availability often means the difference between operational success or chaos.
Historically, status and resource reports had been a disjointed and manual effort. So achieving real-time visibility was one of the client’s key aspirations going-in.
With that in mind, the EMMsphere team helped the client augment their data model to include attributes needed for key management reports. EMMsphere also helped the client define the exact points in the processes where specific roles would be solicited to input necessary information.
In addition, this new data-entry approach expedited process execution. By soliciting key information at the key points in the process, from the right roles, previously onerous data-entry requirements were reduced and timeliness of data collection was increased.
Combined with Aprimo’s extensive resource scheduling, utilization, and management capabilities, the client was ultimately able to achieve the real-time status, resource and utilization reporting that had always been elusive.
Key results achieved with respect to Real-Time Visibility include:
- Data Consolidation. Production-related data is now captured and maintained in a single system of record for marketing production and operations.
- Each group ultimately will have its own purpose-built Aprimo dashboard, which will allow them to view the status of work items specific to them at-a-glance, right on their home page.
- Activity and Project Status Reports. Each group has access to key production status reports enabling them to view real-time status by deliverable type, team, product and timeframe.
- Resource Availability and Utilization. Project managers can now assign resources with confidence of their real-time availability, and they can now view team, role and user utilization data across any desired timeframe.
Driving Adoption and Engagement
User adoption is typically a challenge for any large organization that deploys marketing technology. Layer on top of that the exceptional amount of operational change that our client’s Aprimo-based initiative entailed, and one can easily imagine the daunting adoption-related challenges they faced.
To help the client navigate this whirlwind of change, our EMMsphere team put together a cohesive, end-to-end change management program to measure user sentiment and propel user engagement with their emerging solution, from day one.
The key ingredients: user participation, help, support and responsiveness – every step of the way.
Our approach, therefore, was to provide hands-on learning and familiarity to trigger a higher level of self-sufficiency. This in turn depended on formulating an intuitive user experience that would propel user adoption and engagement – in a way that would safeguard output quality, brand standards, compliance imperatives and speed to market.
And to further ensure success, EMMsphere dedicated support and help resources to respond to user issues and questions the moment they arose, within the specific operational context in which they came up.
Key results achieved with respect to User Adoption & Engagement include:
- Context-Oriented Training and Change Management. Users were brought into the development initiative early-on, ensuring their needs were incorporated during the configuration and validation phases. This significantly expedited user understanding, adoption and change management.
- Assurance and Commitment. Users now have access to dedicated support and help resources to resolve functional issues, diagnose problems, and capture feedback and enhancement suggestions.
- Single Source of Truth. Multiple groups with diverse needs now all utilize the same Aprimo-based solution for all of their marketing production activities, ensuring accurate campaign scheduling and execution.
- Adherence to Governance. Users are now fully empowered on guidelines surrounding brand, compliance and regulatory requirements with checkpoints embedded within the automated processes themselves.
- Support Ticket Decrease. Due to the decrease in manual steps within the new production processes – along with proactive learning, participation and change management practices – users made fewer data-entry errors, resulting in a 43% reduction in the number of administrative-related support tickets.
About EMMsphere Services
EMMsphere is an end-to-end marketing solutions technology consulting and managed services provider. We offer a comprehensive array of services to help large organizations define, build, and maintain alignment across their marketing operations in order to successfully achieve their ultimate destination.
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