How a leading media agency improved workflows to achieve excellence

CROSSMEDIA takes project work and team collaboration to a new level with Taskworld

The CROSSMEDIA GmbH is a full-service media agency and one of the leading specialists for cross-media strategy and communication consulting. It is headquartered in Dusseldorf with locations in Berlin, Hamburg and London as well as partner offices in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The agency recently made a huge switch in its tech tools for collaboration and workflows that’s transforming not only the work process, but has synergized its teams across the world, yielded huge benefits in time and cost savings and even improved the quality of work.

Today, CROSSMEDIA employs more than 500 people at its sites in Dusseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg and London as well as New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles

The work and mission - what sets CROSSMEDIA apart

CROSSMEDIA stands for independent and differentiating communication consulting. The independent media agency offers holistic, cross-media media consulting, research, purchasing strategy as well as optimization coaching. The agency supports companies in achieving and exceeding marketing goals, and ensures media-neutral and strategic advice. From planning through coordination, implementation and controlling, since the agency’s founding in 1997, CROSSMEDIA has established itself as the alternative to global media networks, giving personal attention to its clients to cover not only worldwide channels, but highly targeted niche audiences while networking both to achieve the optimum reach.

Challenges in cross-team communication

As a media agency, one of the biggest parts of the job is communication. With offices around the world, and such keen attention to clients, making sure units are connected and synced is a tall order.

“We work in a very interdisciplinary manner and across various consulting teams in order to take advantage of experience and capacities of the whole staff. In addition, our specialized units, which support other project teams with their expertise, are growing steadily", explains Lisa Wenzel, Senior Operations Manager at CROSSMEDIA.

The communication and project management tools used to support project work until 2018 were used selectively and sporadically by CROSSMEDIA colleagues. Most teams had created their own work organization and tool set-up for day-to-day business. With so many teams and so many tools, it was difficult for everyone to not only keep up with all of the platforms, but focus on the work itself.

"Existing solutions were only of limited use for cross-team communication and project work. Some could come to terms with it, but most did not. This fact was the starting point for our decision to look for a collaboration platform that would bundle communication and improve project and task management", said Wenzel.

CROSSMEDIA management quickly realized that consolidating the tools so teams could focus on tasks would allow units to be more agile and adaptable in the future, in order to meet the requirements of the highly dynamic "cross-media" day-to-day business and the changing worlds of work at its best.

"We no longer wanted to use 15 different tools, but one that combines all the important functions in one central platform", says Senior Operations Manager Lisa Wenzel.

The search for an all-in-one solution

In the first step, the various teams collected their requirements in a criteria catalog. An important requirement, for example, was to communicate with each other at different levels. So the communication regarding a new project should not be separated from the order history, but should combine both. The correspondence should be based on different requirements, colleagues, teams or projects. CROSSMEDIA also wanted to curb the daily flood of emails, which made the traceability of project progress as well as the search and research processes more difficult.

CROSSMEDIA offices and subsidiaries are closely linked, but often operate in different locations. In order to have access to the system regardless of the location, the new solution had to be web or cloud-based.

"A dedicated app optimized for smartphones was also an important decision criterion as we wanted to replace the alternative communication ways like email or Whatsapp used for a fast correspondence in between. We wanted a smart medium, with which individual contact persons, teams or defined groups can be linked in a very comfortable way and, on the other hand, have the relevant project history directly in view. In addition to the functional requirements, GDPR compliance or hosting on a European server was a key selection criterion", emphasizes Lisa Wenzel.

"We also did not want a typical ToDo list where you can not figure out who is actually taking over the tasks. Instead we were looking for a Kanban-style tool that allows us to customize boards and that gives us the necessary freedom and control."

On this basis, the project team around Lisa Wenzel tested a thorough range of leading solutions, including Asana, Basecamp, Trello, Confluence and Jira. In the end, Taskworld was chosen as it offered the best range of tools, all in one platform, with easy onboarding and the flexibility for growth and change.

"We had a good feeling right from the start - the comfortable creation of tasks, the clear dashboard view, the hosting via certified German data centers and the versatile multi-level chat options. Even looking back, Taskworld is the right choice", says Lisa Wenzel.

Enhanced quality in project work and the other major measurable improvements

CROSSMEDIA made the switch in December of 2017 starting with a rollout to a few teams. In February 2018, Taskworld was then introduced to two other units and to its subsidiary unit "BRANDLOCAL". After testing Taskworld intensively over a pilot phase of just over six months, the company rolled out Taskworld to its other teams in October 2018 due to the consistently positive project experience and the better balance of quality, transparency and efficiency in work. There are now 250 of its employees successfully using the platform to manage work.

Since October 2018, Taskworld has been used as a leading communication and project management tool at several CROSSMEDIA locations.

"It is an important tool for us to organize the daily tasks better and faster - and it’s more reliable. At the same time, we have a very contemporary communication tool at hand to keep track of our tasks and projects", says Lisa Wenzel.

"I used to record my tasks with countless post-its. Accordingly my desk looked kind of cluttered from time to time. Today we can fully rely on our tool. This is not only a reassuring feeling, but it also fits our own and our customers' demands for a digital workplace."

With Taskworld, CROSSMEDIA has gained an instrument that facilitates the balancing act between quality, transparency and efficiency for teams and colleagues in day-to-day business.

With Taskworld, CROSSMEDIA colleagues always have their digital office in their trouser pocket and don´t run the risk of losing sight of tasks, projects and deadlines. Taskworld also means another piece of quality management for project work. Team members can now react very quickly, regardless of location, if something doesn’t work out.

"We realize today we are much more efficient in day-to-day business. For example, we write fewer emails. Even the classic to-do lists or abstract handover emails, which were sent out quickly before the holiday, are no annoyance anymore. In Taskworld, for example, a project or task is simply designated to a representative who keeps track of all tasks, deadlines or approval processes. After the vacation, the colleague then sees directly what was done or exchanged in his absence", explains Lisa Wenzel.

A special thank you to Lisa Wenzel and CROSSMEDIA.

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