Client name . SJ Berwin
Sector . Legal – Marketing
Summary comment . Alison Jesset, Marketing Operations Manager, SJ Berwin
"We needed a powerful tool to manage our entire workflow. One that could be accessed by PCs in marketing operations, while allowing our Mac-using creatives to input briefs onto the system, track and update the progress of each job, and gain full visibility of their workload and deadlines. FileMaker's cross platform compatibility provided the solution we had been looking for!"
Mac Compatibility Seals the Deal at SJ Berwin
Leading pan-European law firm, SJ Berwin, has rapidly grown since its formation in 1982 and today has 170 partners and over 500 lawyers in nine locations across Europe. Its team of associates work with sophisticated buyers of legal services who rely on SJ Berwin for advice ranging from corporate finance, reconstruction and insolvency to litigation and intellectual property law.
The design team of pan-European law firm, SJ Berwin, faced the impossible task of keeping track of thousands of jobs using a paper-based system. Experiments with spreadsheet programmes proved unsuccessful and an alternative was sought – one powerful enough to manage the entire workflow, while flexible enough to do so in both Mac and PC environments.
The search for an 'off the shelf' data management product proved fruitless, so SJ Berwin turned to specialist FileMaker developer, Storepoint, to provide a powerful and scaleable cross-platform answer.
- FileMaker guarantees full compatibility in both PC and Mac environments – a 'must' for the 'creative' world
- Information transparency delivers significant improvements in business processes, creates organisational efficiencies and enables accurate reporting
- FileMaker has become the catalyst to enable a 130% increase in the number of projects delivered to internal audiences across SJ Berwin's European network
- FileMaker's easy to manage development environment delivered bespoke functionality to assure the integrity of the SJ Berwin brand in every single business communication
As part of an eight strong marketing operations function headed up by Alison Jesset, the design unit is responsible for delivering the thousands of pieces of collateral required to support a business of this size.
According to Alison: "The creative services unit is run as an external design agency. We have our own suppliers, our own invoicing systems, and of course, our very own demanding client base. We create brochures, pitch documents and a host of other marketing collateral. We also have a dedicated events department, which requires design support for over 400 different invitations each year."
Before Alison came on board, the creative services unit tracked all jobs using an A4 booklet. This meant project tracking was ad hoc at best, and was unable to effectively show the volume of work on at any one time. This lack of visibility led to missed deadlines and jobs being pushed back. The paper-based system also made it difficult to locate past jobs, to accurately quote new projects and to provide the comprehensive reporting demanded by the firm.
Alison first implemented an Excel spreadsheet but found it to be unstable and liable to corrupt, while the software lacked the functionality to automate many of the time-consuming administrative processes needed to streamline the design workflow.
Alison and head designer, Jaime Fuller, researched a number of leading products but found these 'off the shelf' solutions were unable to fully meet their requirements. "There are a number of SMB databases on the market, but none combined the power and flexibility we needed, with Mac and PC compatibility."
The FileMaker Answer
Based on a recommendation from her print supplier, Alison approached data management specialist, Storepoint, for advice. Highlighting its multi-platform capability and bespoke development environment, Storepoint recommended a FileMaker-based solution.
Alison again: "We needed a powerful tool to manage the entire workflow. One that could be accessed by PCs in marketing operations, while allowing our Mac-using creatives to input briefs onto the system, track and update the progress of each job, and gain full visibility of their workload and deadlines. FileMaker's cross platform compatibility provided the solution we had been looking for!
The Catalyst for Manageable Growth
Since the creation of the new FileMaker-based management system, the creative services unit has seen an increase of 130% in the number of jobs they are briefed on. And in the last 13 months alone it has completed a massive 1000 jobs. "The FileMaker database has allowed us to radically streamline our business processes. We are now managing a volume of work that would have been unthinkable just three years ago."
Reporting is also key: "I am often asked to evaluate how much we have spent on printing and the resource it has taken to complete certain tasks. This was near to impossible with our previous tools. Today, all this information is logged on the database – accessible at a moments notice," said Alison.
One of the more bespoke benefits of the system has been SJ Berwin's ability to control the use of corporate colours across its thousands of collaterals. The law firm jealously guards its brand, using a metallic grey as its primary corporate colour, with five jewel colours used as a 'flash' within the grey. When briefs are now booked on the system, FileMaker automatically generates a field with the colour that must be used for that specific task. This helps the team to rotate the use of colour and maintain the integrity of the firm's image.
Into the Future
Looking to the future and Alison sees the database becoming web enabled as business development managers gain the facility to write and send briefs online. "This is an exciting development allowing us to further improve the efficiency of the creative services unit to provide an even greater service to our internal clients right across the SJ Berwin European network," concludes Alison.