Wrike brings remarkable transparency to HealthStream's marketing projects
Chief of Marketing
The main challenges were transparency and communication both within the team and outside the team
HealthStream is the market leader in providing research and learning solutions for the healthcare industry. They have more than 2,500 hospitals using our products and services, and this number is constantly growing. “As you can imagine, that translates to a lot of work for a marketing team of 12. We are fairly distributed with a core hub of marketers in Nashville, Tenn., but also have team members in upstate New York, Colorado, Memphis and Baltimore,” says Luther Cale, Chief of Marketing at HealthStream.
Being located across five states means lots of collaboration and management challenges. The team was getting tons of work done but the left hand didn't always know what the right hand was doing. HealthStream needed a tool that could help us avoid miscommunications on all levels and improve project planning visibility.
“When I looked for a project management tool for our team, I realized we need something agile and Web 2.0-style that worked well with our hectic and always changing project schedule,” says Luther Cale. “I know that many project teams are still using Microsoft Project, but that was NOT the route we wanted or needed to go for our team work. Reasons too many to enumerate, but the main three are: cost, complexity, and, you know, productivity and actually getting the stuff done.”
Under review were about 15 options, including Nozbe, Basecamp, ClockingIT, 5 pm, Central Desktop, ActivCollab, @task, and Celoxis, among others before settling on Wrike. The team even tried Nozbe in their marketing team. However, at the end of the trial, they felt it was good for an individual, but not as strong for collaborating as a team in the way that wanted.
Wrike stood out among other solutions, thanks to its incredible integration with Outlook, which just got even better with the Outlook plug-in.
Wrike helped the team introduce to their operations with the help of remarkable transparency
The second big benefit for HealthStream is a significant teamwork efficiency growth. “In general, we are using Wrike to PLAN projects (and keep up with project communication) and Outlook to WORK THE TASKS (and communicate about the project). The new Outlook plug-in has been fantastic for allowing this to happen.
Now our tasks in Wrike and Outlook are synchronized, so each of us has a complete workload picture in both systems,” says Cale. The team is following Michael Linenberger's Manage Your Now workflow for task management in Outlook. His general approach does an excellent job, starting with the reality of a modern-day knowledge worker rather than some idealistic project management framework. Wrike does the same thing, so HealthStream have had good success using the two approaches together.
HealthStream team has an incredibly wide range of types of projects and tasks, from "send this report to someone" to "plan a three-day customer conference for 1,000 customers and 35 partners" to "create a nine-month marketing campaign plan," and so far, Wrike has the flexibility to handle whatever we throw at it. “I attribute a lot of this to the flexible folders structure and not being locked into one level of hierarchy,” says Luther Cale. “It's also great that we can both pre-plan by loading project templates via Excel AND add new folders or sub-folders as the need arises in real time. Nice job!”
In the future HealthStream will likely expand to include other parts of their organization and, certainly, the customers with whom they collaborate.
Seamless Outlook Integration
Showing HealthStream production schedule to all the team members was a real challenge. With Wrike allows them to create a schedule, which can be accessed by each team member, directly from Outlook.
With Gantt Chart feature the team ability to create tasks from emails and visualize them. “This is essential for a fast-paced work environment like ours,” says Cale. “Every team member always knows what everyone is working on in real time. This is a big step forward to transparency in our organization.”
Wrike`s flexibility allows the team to configure the system so that different parts of the project team, including clients, just see what they need to see. “I can share project data at the project (folder) level or specific task level. It makes working with partners and clients easy and secure,” says Cale.