by Kevin Gepford
Great creative work can’t get produced without a great design team.
But success depends on a lot more than just those endpoints. It also hinges on how the great work gets produced.
I’ve always been interested in the middle part — the work-in-progress and the way the media is managed. A major facet of this is technological — what tech gets deployed, and how it’s managed, and ultimately used, by the creative team.
There are a couple of ways that a fail can happen. It might fail by neglect — by the organization ignoring the problem and doing nothing. But also, the organization might identify the needs but take the wrong action and end up with bad technology.
This post is about the first: Neglect.
(I’m not talking about desktop software tools like Adobe Creative Cloud. That’s standard stuff and in most organizations it’s more or less up to date.)
Getting this right takes a lot of work, and so many organizations just throw a couple of tools (a server and a subscription to DropBox) and call it a wrap.
But neglect won’t stop your creative team.
Your team will improvise. They’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done — reaching for something familiar and free, probably a consumer-grade service or sharing site using their personal account if necessary. For example, I’ve seen a professional team of video animators using Vimeo as a place to store their best work, just to have it all in one place where it can be shared, and later submitted for awards. And that’s just one of many examples I could share.
Ad-hoc tools might include:*
- Local media storage
- Instant Message
- Google Drive
Important media and information will end up scattered across a porous universe of disconnected silos — email, instant messaging, posting files to an FTP site, a user’s personal drop box or cloud storage, or a consumer-grade video sharing site.
The risks are plenty. What if records of your marketing campaigns are stored on an employee’s personal Google Drive or Facebook account… and that person leaves? What if nobody can remember where the final version of their project files are from a crucial project done six months ago that is now coming back for a second season?
There are a number of well-supported systems available that serve this problem space. Choosing the right provider and system is complex. If this work was easy, we wouldn’t have such a thriving industry of consultants dedicated to assessing the unique challenges and specific needs of your creative organization, and offering up their advice on what to do, and how to do it. On top of that, there’s another tier of consultants waiting in the wings to help out with the implementation.
One great way forward is to take those consultants to heart. Find a good one and let them come in and poke around your organization to get an idea of what you’re doing, and how you do it. Pay well for their sound counsel.
And consider that there is not and may never be one single digital tool to solve all the challenges facing the organization. But there are usage patterns and need themes that can be identified and met using strategic deployment of core tools.
Don’t leave it to chance. Organizations must develop a tech strategy based around the documented needs of their creative teams, supporting workflows with digital tools to optimize their work-in-progress and maintain control of their IP.
*Products/vendors mentioned here do not imply any endorsement.