As a content marketing agency that delivers creative solutions to solve client problems, we inevitably spend a fair amount of mental time in the clouds. Unconstrained by, well, anything, it’s our happy place for innovative breakthroughs and novel ideas.
Becoming an agency in the cloud
Back here on terra firma, D Custom as an agency recently completed a less figurative foray into the clouds. We moved our once paper and in-house, server-dependent project management, email, file storage, and financial agency operations and systems to a cloud computing network. The reasons to make this transition were many, but all of them came down to serving clients better.
When We Work Better, Clients Gain
Working in the cloud makes it easier for us to deliver for our clients for three big reasons:
- Attracting the best and the brightest: To meet the technology expectations of the type of talented people we need to attract to the agency, we had to change. In the past, the only way to access our repository of shared files was to either a) be physically in our office or b) use clunky software to connect. Our project management was done through spreadsheets and whiteboards. Manuscripts were marked up in pen. It was all very early 2000s. By using tools like Kapost, Workamajig, and the offerings of our Google overlords, our employees can access files and collaborate on the go or remotely, whether they’re on a client visit or working from home.
- Improving efficiency and responsiveness: By making the technology convenient and simple, our employees can focus on the work they do that makes our clients happy. Indeed, when our editors, designers, and writers can easily share ideas and pose questions, high-quality content is the result. Clients notice that, of course, but they also discover that working with an agency in the cloud is just easier. Client requests about the status of projects or historic and real-time metrics — like how many people have read a blog — can be delivered quickly. Status updates on Excel sheets pretty quickly seem archaic.
- Better project tracking: As we grow, so do the multilayered components of every deliverable we’re working on. It’s a project management maze. And it takes a collection of tools for us to manage it. Gone are the days of handwritten checklists (though we still like those too) and in are the days of digital workflows and online calendars. And thank goodness they’re there!
Be Prepared for a Rocky Road
All of this happy talk is easy now that we’ve made the transition to the cloud. Make no mistake, it is not an easy or seamless transition, and we’ve learned some hard lessons along the way.
- Get as much buy-in as possible: One of the main lessons is to not assume that everybody will instantly embrace the wisdom of making the move to the cloud. It’s not because people are backward — OK, maybe a couple are — rather, making dramatic changes to the tools people use to do their jobs is disruptive. Anybody leading and implementing this kind of change should be ready to have difficult conversations, answer objections, and back up the transition with objective facts. In each step, stay committed to being patient and respectful.
- Provide as much training and retraining as needed: It’s also important to make everybody’s experience of change as smooth as possible: Provide whatever training and resources people need to make the switch in a way that allows them to continue to do their jobs well. And don’t expect they’re all going to get the training down on the first round. You’ll have to remind them of simple operations and procedures routinely. It takes a while to learn a new system.
- Realize it’s not going to go perfectly: Once you start implementing the new solutions, problems will crop up. Digital platforms can be glitchy — it took us several weeks to get Google Calendar working — and there will be unforeseen issues no matter how well-planned your implementation is. Deal with these problems as if they are expected and surmountable, and don’t try to fix every single one on your own.
You don’t necessarily need to travel to the clouds to find these ideas — but they sure will make the transition easier.
Please contact us if you would like to talk about the process we experienced. We are happy to offer advice on how to make your transition as seamless as possible. And don’t forget to check out our social channels here, here, here, and here.