When I started my job as a marketing assistant at a healthcare technology company, I was tasked with creating a way for internal customers to submit requests to the marketing department. After conducting a quick Google search, I found that the most feasible way to accomplish this was to start with a basic Word document outline, transfer to Adobe Acrobat to create a fillable PDF form, and then link the submit button to a marketing email rake.
I would then monitor the marketing email inbox for incoming requests, assigning to the correct subject matter expert on the marketing team, and document the request, date, project status, etc. in an Excel spreadsheet. I would then take that spreadsheet and provide monthly reports to share with the head of the marketing department. What a waste of time and a nightmare to manage. The spreadsheet was static and I could easily make a mistake when entering or updating information. I relied on the marketing team to notify me of any status changes in their projects or when a request was completed or “closed”. After about seven months of managing this process and wanting to pull my hair out, I reached out to our IT department. We needed to perform business process modeling to analyze, improve, and automate the process.
I asked if there was a way we could improve this process with any tools already available to us. IT told me that they had extra licenses for the IT Jira Service Desk that they currently use to manage their tech support tickets and that they could create a Marketing space for our requests. We worked together over the next couple of months to build out our Marketing Service Desk. Although the initial build-out was tedious and required a great deal of education, training, planning, and IT resources, it has proven to be a great solution. We were able to take a time-consuming, clunky process and transition to a user-friendly solution that streamlined workflows and provided better communication between “agents” (marketing team) and “customers” (team members submitting the requests) at no additional cost to the Company. It also provides real-time status updates and robust reporting to share with the executive team which has been key while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sometimes the best tool for a project is simply the tool you have at hand and that’s okay, but we knew there was room for process improvement and innovation. We continue to gather feedback from our marketing team and our internal customers on how to improve the process to make it work best for all.
Even then, this process isn’t perfect and as the marketing team and the Company continue to grow, I don’t see this being the long-term solution. After hearing from Christine May in our MIS 5102 Meetup this week, it got me thinking about how to improve this even further and move toward an agile marketing style in our department. I am excited to explore some of the tools that she introduced us to such as Trello, Mural, and Agile Sherpas.
Business process modeling. (2020, July 09). Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_process_modeling