People, process + planning for your future with Central Desktop

One of the major themes of this year’s Collabosphere was that Central Desktop, like any tech solution, is a tool – and all the shiniest tools in the tech world won’t solve your problems or transform your business unless you also have the right people.

Provided you have the right tool and the right people, how can you help build the bridge (no pun intended) between the two? SelectHealth senior marketing editor/writer Jordan Gaddis joined Katie Gaston, our own community and operations manager, to talk about her experience and offer tips on getting your processes in order to ensure optimal use of Central Desktop.

The ways in which marketers engage customers are changing quickly, even in traditionally slow-to-evolve industries. For Gaddis, working in the world of health insurance, it’s been a shift from marketing to brokers and employers to marketing straight to the consumer. The effect? “We have to be a lot more agile, and we have to function a lot more like an ad agency,” she said.

Why Central Desktop?

Gaddis outlined four primary needs that led her team to Central Desktop:

  • Changing internal processes to be more like an agile agency
  • Bringing the collateral review process into the 21st century
  • Medicare, Medicaid, CMS record-keeping
  • Increasing productivity, efficiency and accountability
The old process vs. the new process

Perhaps some of this will sound familiar. Prior to implementing Central Desktop, SelectHealth was manually generating and entering tracking numbers in an Excel spreadsheet, and tracking forms were physically walked from desk to desk. The review process was completely sequential. Everything happened in a “black box.” “Nobody knew where anything was in the process, nor could they see all the great work that was being done,” Gaddis said.

Before diving into a new process, it’s crucial to assemble the key stakeholders and agree on the core goals. Gaston recommends an oversight committee that can not just agree on goals at the beginning, but meet on an ongoing basis (be it annually, biannually, quarterly, etc.) to check out KPIs and explore any new system features that impact your work. If you have a firm understanding of why you’re changing processes or implementing new technology, don’t assume that everyone else is on the same page. In SelectHealth’s case, Gaddis and her team started from square one by refocusing on the creative brief and reiterating its importance.

By leveraging Central Desktop’s Review+Approve, all of SelectHealth’s files are available electronically; team members make notes and have conversations in the cloud. No more endless walking from desk to desk – and considerably more efficiency and transparency. The latter development was regarded with initial skepticism by some – which is not an atypical reaction. When team members are accustomed to working in silos, it can feel daunting to be working out in the open. Quickly, though, the skeptics were won over. Editors were responding directly to internal clients, designers were responding to editors, and, as a result, the review process was faster and smoother than ever.

“It’s been a lot better for us,” Gaddis said.

Ensuring future success for your new process

To commit to long-term success of the new process, SelectHealth created a new role for a project manager to oversee everything happening within Central Desktop. Having one point of contact throughout the process, from kickoff to distribution, created additional stability. As collaboration expert Michael Sampson writes in his User Adoption Strategies book, a dedicated champion will help ensure that your process remains uniquely tailored to your use case, even as your specific configuration inevitably changes over time. A champion can also help make sure the right people are involved at the right time. In the case of SelectHealth, involving legal/compliance team members early in the process is saving revision time at the end of the process.

“Our very best and most important practice… is to set up regular face-to-face meetings with your users,” Gaddis said. Make your users part of your process, and don’t shy away from conflict; you can learn a lot by listening to your users’ frustrations. “The most important rule of Central Desktop is do talk about Central Desktop – and don’t stop talking about it.”

You can watch the full session from Jordan and Katie’s presentation below – and you can also download Jordan’s slides and Katie’s slides to follow along.

Speaking of following along, Katie is leaving us to pursue a pretty awesome dream: traveling the world and running in 50 countries in the next year (with one pair of shoes). You can follow her adventures on her blog. Happy travels, Katie!

Post by Adam McKibbin

Adam McKibbin is the content marketing manager for iMeet Central. His writing has been featured in Adweek, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, and he’s produced content for some of the leading tech brands on the Fortune 500.