In the creative industry, we depend on a wide array of software. It quickly becomes a costly enterprise not only to research, train, update, and integrate all of these varying systems into a cohesive working environment, but as a company grows, its needs are ever-shifting. Since no existing intranets offered everything our agency needed, we decided to build our own.
As an agency, this is something we’ve come to realize the hard way after countless comparative articles and “Free 30-Day Trials”. There is rarely (never) that one size fits all solution, so if you think you’ve found it, beware – often these suites of tools are cobbled together with an immense amount of features in an attempt to please everyone.
We have gone down the road of fully embracing some new shiny new application that promised us the world. Need to track project hours? Check. Want to assign tasks to team members? You got it. How about calling your mom on her birthday? Sure, we do it all! After months of grappling with a tool that was not the right fit for us, we had come to the realization that not only would it never delivers on those initial promises (sorry mom), but the software was holding us back by being so feature rich, slowing us down and dictating our processes for us.
So many of us pride ourselves on our process. It’s that unique culture of process that is the true differentiator, the secret sauce that holds it all together. In short, and undeniably, process matters. So why subscribe to a predetermined one for $15 per user per month?
Making A Decision
When it came time for us to move beyond emails and spreadsheets for managing everyday administration and HR tasks, we decided to take a different path. Oh, we shopped around at first for the software that would answer our collective prayers. For who can resist that quest for the magical does-it-all tool, the one that delivers your team from the depths of spreadsheet hell? But alas, we already knew we were walking down that same old road once again, the one that ends in frustration and wasted efforts. This time we decided we would take a stroll off the beaten path.
An Intranet of Our Own
In our journey to scratch our own itch we discovered what a valuable opportunity this could actually be. Going through the initial planning, we were able to uncover both previously unknown weaknesses as well as strengths. It was an exercise in self-discovery and growth that might have been missed entirely in the search for a ready-made solution. We implemented only what we needed to meet our own unique challenges. The end result is a solution not only tailored-to-fit but able to grow along with us.
The biggest take away for us: Only you know the true needs of your team. Rather than having your internal processes dictated by a poor and hastily made choice of 3rd party applications, take ownership of that process. Sometimes, if you’ve got the means, you just have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself or consider hiring a skilled vendor to build a custom solution for you. Sure, it may require more time and money up front, but having solution that fits your process can pay big dividends over time.