2023 was the year the corporate world dropped everything in pursuit of efficiency. That’s why our primary focus at Wrike Collaborate 2023, our sixth annual work management conference, was efficiency. We know it’s the driving force behind most businesses as they look toward 2024. 

So, as we were putting together our customer panel this year, we knew attendees would want to hear from businesses really succeeding at creating efficiency. And boy, did we find just the right speakers for that brief! Sherrie Besecker, Creative Technology Manager at Syneos Health, and Kevin Thalacker, Program Manager at MilliporeSigma, are two of our top Wrike Champions, what we call our customers who really dig in and become Wrike experts. Sherrie and Kevin were joined by Richard Blatcher, our Senior Director of Industry Solutions Marketing, and the conversation was moderated by George Kuruvilla, our Global Vice President for Presales and Solutions Consulting. 

Sherrie works to support Wrike use at Syneos Health, leading its governance committees and supporting 2,500 users in work management. A leading integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization, Syneos Health is in its fifth year of using Wrike and is a prime example of the success an organization can achieve with cross-functional, organization-wide use of robust work management software. 

MilliporeSigma has also been using Wrike for the last five years and it has helped the company remove silos and become more collaborative. A leading supplier for the global life science industry, MilliporeSigma provides solutions and services for research, biotechnology, development, and production in pharmaceutical drug and therapy developments. 

We love friendly competition, and both Sherrie and Kevin are top Wrike Community contributors, constantly battling head to head for the top Wrike Champion position. We knew they’d be perfectly positioned to give insight into successful Wrike use at Collaborate. 

We wanted to highlight some of the themes of our customer panel so you can take away their important insights and bring them back to your team. 

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Here’s what Sherrie, George, Kevin, and Richard focused on: 

Eliminating time-consuming tasks to boost productivity

The pursuit of efficiency runs deep, especially throughout enterprise organizations. With thousands of employees, there’s an incredible opportunity to create efficient processes at scale. Kevin explained: “We use Wrike request forms and blueprints to help create things quickly, such as tedious tasks that a project manager would have to create.” That efficiency in turn allows project managers to work on higher-value projects that push business goals forward. 

Sherrie’s users have been able to achieve higher productivity by eliminating wasted time as well. “We’re actually now talking to each other more in real time and it’s a lot faster and we don’t have to have so many status meetings,” she said. “A big part of what we do is our routing and review process, but what used to take us eight to 10 manual steps using different systems now takes us one.” At Wrike, we’d call that a major win!

Consolidating technology and streamlining processes to eliminate duplication 

More tech doesn’t necessarily lead to more efficiency, which is why Sherrie’s teams have worked hard to ensure their tech stack and processes align. “We are definitely always on the lookout for ways to become more efficient and effective with not just the tech stack and the systems we’re using, but also with the processes,” she explained. “Those two things go so hand in hand together. You’ve got to know your way of working and you’ve got to know how to translate that into your technologies to find that sweet spot.” 

Similarly, Kevin has worked to eliminate time-consuming apps that weren’t aiding MilliporeSigma’s processes. “When we started our journey with Wrike five years ago, we heard people say, ‘I don’t want to deal with Microsoft Project and update everyone’s project statuses.’” Taking that feedback into account, Kevin searched for a platform that was more holistic. “I wanted to enable people. I wanted people to be collaborative. I wanted people to know what’s happening, and creating our single source of truth has been the key thing that I’m really proud of.”

Richard sees the focus on tech consolidation as a key theme with many of our Wrike customers. “A lot of customers are looking at their technology stacks and spotting a lot of duplication,” he said. “Companies are really looking at and prioritizing the tools that are contributing to value creation, and making sure they’re linked to and aligned with the business goals and the strategy.” Richard recommended being quite ruthless when it comes to the technology that isn’t serving a business purpose: “Any tool or any system that you have that isn’t contributing to it, why do you have it?”

Using automation and generative AI to increase efficiency — safely 

Here at Wrike, we are in constant conversations with our customers about AI and its role in work management software. In fact, Wrike has been using smart technology to enable efficiency for a long time, with predictive searches that quickly find what you were recently working on, or automated approvals that eliminate the need for email check-ins. “I spent so much time before Wrike finding the necessary documents, finding the necessary tasks or work or emails,” said Sherrie. “To know that I have one place to go to and type in a few keywords and get exactly what I need in seconds is the game changer.” 

In Kevin’s experience, automations don’t just save time — they help the team achieve broader business goals. “We set up those automations to help us be more efficient, but also know that we have all the right resources in place to be able to execute when the business wants it,” Kevin explained. “So it’s really helped us think differently, helped us be more efficient, and it’s allowed our team members to start thinking about different ways of working that we didn’t think about even 15 months ago.”  

Conversations about advances in AI often broach the topic of safety, especially for those in sensitive industries. “As part of the healthcare industry, there are some big concerns about security with some of these new AI features like Gen AI,” said Sherrie. “They’re sparking conversations about whether we are sharing data that we shouldn’t be sharing.”

She explained that her team wants to ensure they are constantly evaluating the data risks posed by new AI developments. “It’s really refreshing for me when we’re adapting and turning on these new tools that we’re actually able to talk to Wrike, talk to the team, and look at what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of assurance that we’re not going to expose things we wouldn’t intentionally want to expose, and we really know the intricate needs of what’s being collected and that transparency of data so we know exactly the kinds of things we’re doing. It means we can stay within our safe zone.”

We hope our customer panel has left you feeling inspired. You can watch the full video here, along with all of the other sessions from Wrike Collaborate 2023. And if you aren’t already a Wrike customer, it’s definitely time to start a Wrike trial so you can see what the efficiency fuss is all about. 

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