Today’s workforce is increasingly dispersed and mobile. Organizations are opening offices in a variety of cities, states and even countries at a rapid pace. It is not uncommon to be a part of a creative or marketing team with constituents who are scattered across the country or even around the globe. In addition, these team members are increasingly mobile and working on the go from airports, hotels, and coffee shops. In fact, the Office Business Center Association International (OBCAI) found that in 2011 there were approximately 1 billion mobile workers, and it is estimated that by 2015 this number will increase to 1.3 billion.
As organizations stake their growth strategies on domestic and global expansion, one issue they must consider is keeping their creative and marketing teams connected to ensure the timely completion of mission-critical projects. These teams must still be able to divide responsibilities, access all the necessary information, and work through review and approval processes in order to complete projects on time and on budget. As a result, organizations are looking to online technologies and the cloud to provide the tools and capabilities needed to keep teams communicating, collaborating and working more efficiently. With the proliferation of software as a service (SaaS), marketing project management (MPM) solutions have become one type of technology that organizations are implementing.
To this day it’s still common for project managers to physically assign tasks, write on whiteboards, maintain spreadsheets, and stop by desks to check the status of projects. In addition, the creative review and approval process can still be quite manual, with hard copies being physically moved between constituents. MPM solutions provide a way to take these processes and accomplish them in a much more efficient, cost-effective way. These technologies allow for these processes to be done virtually in a browser-based (i.e., no software required) environment. They can also provide visibility into a team’s workload and even impose a certain degree of discipline that can be difficult to accomplish in a manual environment.
When considering organizations with employees that travel regularly, the value of an easily accessible online tool becomes compelling from a time and cost perspective. These online solutions provide a centralized repository of all information on numerous projects, allowing anyone on the team with access to the Web to gain immediate access to the information they need when they need it. In essence, it becomes a self-service tool that reduces the time employees take to obtain the right information and helps them complete their assignments in a more efficient manner. These tools can also measure the time it takes to complete projects, giving organizations the data they need to measure the ROI on any creative projects as well as maintain an audit trail of revisions and sign-offs.
As organizations expand and their workforce becomes increasingly dispersed, they must ensure that the tools they give employees to improve their workflow are cost-effective, easy to use, and affordable. In addition, these tools must have reporting capabilities that can simplify annual planning, resource forecasting, and data analysis, allowing organizations to review how exactly resources are being allocated. This helps in future market planning, budget allocation and overall business strategizing.
Dispersed workforces will continue to increase as organizations expand both domestically and internationally. In order to be successful, organizations must assess how they are managing this workforce and what solutions they can utilize to advance the productivity of their creative and marketing teams -- no matter where they are located.