Efficiency at 3Q: Standardization, Process, Automation
Published: January 20, 2017
Author: Ngoc Hoang
At 3Q Digital, we’re always pushing the innovation envelope; we believe this is an essential component of success in an industry that changes so frequently. This post is part of our inaugural Innovation Week, where we showcase all manner of innovations that have improved results for our clients and teammates.
At 3Q, we constantly seek out new ideas to increase efficiency. At the root of our efforts are three phases: standardization, process, and automation. For this blog post, we’ll dive into what those mean at 3Q and what they do for our teams.
Each week, client teams spend a lot of time updating data and manipulating Excel reports. Recognizing some areas where report structures are similar across different teams, our team built out an Excel template that standardizes several features. Each team can take this template and add their client data for it to function properly.
Process is a set of defined tasks needed to complete a given activity. Processes are built to guide teams on how an automation project can be done accurately with minimal misunderstanding. Standardizing processes is one of our biggest challenges, but it’s also very important. At the beginning of a project, we send out a process document to help participants understand what materials we need, what steps we will take, and how long those steps will take. By leveraging clearly defined processes, our team has been able to communicate and incorporate effectively with different teams.
Here’s an example:
This is the key to improving efficiency and reducing time consumed on mundane tasks. Our Business Intelligence team and IT team have been building several applications to automate data collection and data manipulation. Data is stored in a centralized data warehouse, and teams can utilize it by getting up-to-date data into Excel, getting clean and formatted data with only a click.
For example, the Social team has been benefitted from our report automation process. Every morning, a client sends an updated Excel report; we load the data into our data warehouse, store it for our analysis, create a view to reflect changes that the team needs, and populate that data to a new Excel workbook so the team can report. All of these steps happen within 5 minutes with basically no human interaction. The best part is, we schedule this task to run every day so the team can have up-to-date data all the time.
Report automation has a lot of benefits. It frees up time for teams and gets everyone access to report data right away without dependencies. In addition, it eliminates the risks of having data accuracy issues due to manual intervention. By setting up correctly and assuring that data is accurate, teams will not have to worry about data discrepancies and can focus on analyzing data.