Competing at The Cutting Edge of Digital Marketing

Learn how OMCollective stays ahead of the competition as a digital agency with uman.ai.

Published on Dec 24, 2019

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OMCollective is a leading digital marketing agency employing over 50 consultants working across a range of different industry sectors. Its remarkable growth is proof that access to knowledge and skills is key to commercial success, greater productivity, effective project delivery, attract and retain the best talent and ultimately to maintain a competitive edge

The fast evolving world of Digital Marketing

Like many industries, professional marketing services are located in a space which is continually evolving. The skills that were important five years ago have been superseded by new technology, new ways of working and changing external forces. Marketing professionals now specialise in niche fields including social media, online engagement, content marketing, SEO, brand management, strategy and planning, organic growth, sales conversions and paid-for advertising programmes.

To be able to effectively service their customers and keep up with disruptive influences in the marketplace, razor-sharp domain expertise needs to be maintained in all these different and rapidly evolving fields.

How they had build their team around knowledge

OMCollective had already recognised this challenge and had developed an ethos of investing in skills development and knowledge acquisition within their organisational culture:

  • For each niche marketing domain, a dedicated expert allocated up to 50% of their time to research in order to keep up to date with the rapid evolutions in technology and trends.
  • Based on their findings and expertise, learning materials and best practices on these cutting-edge topics were documented in Dropbox.
  • Dedicated Slack channels per topic were created (e.g. #SEO, #Digital campaigning, …) for continuous sharing of relevant content.
  • Weekly ‘lunch-and-learn’ sessions were organised for the whole team to share knowledge around new marketing trends and tools.
  • Two-monthly, organisational wide project debriefs were held to share practical, on the job, learnings between teams.
  • All employees received four hours dedicated learning time per week to develop their skills and knowledge.
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OMCollective team

How they failed to scale their initiatives as the team grew

When meeting with the senior team at OMCollective it was immediately clear that this was an organisation that had achieved growth very quickly and had sought to put in place all the mechanisms they believed were needed to encourage learning and development amongst and across teams.

However, there were a number of barriers when it came to scaling these initiatives to fully embed learning within working practices. In reality knowledge was scattered widely and expertise tended to exist in silos despite attempts to encourage sharing.

  • There was a hard trade-off between learning and project time. Finding time to take up the 4-hours a week for skills development was problematic and learning on the job needed to be facilitated
  • ‘lunch-and-learn’ session were not always tailored to any particular individual, team or organisational learning needs.
  • Social barriers exist when it comes to sharing knowledge with many people only sharing with direct colleagues they know will be interested. As a result, lots of knowledge and insight remained siloed inside individual conversations.
  • The various Slack channels quickly became overloaded
  • The best practices and boiler plate approaches documented in Dropbox were underutilized as most people had a hard time finding the relevant information and searched Google instead to find solutions. This created efficiency losses as people were rebuilding solutions from scratch, and didn’t leverage the invested time made by colleagues to curate information.
  • There was no data available to measure the impact of different initiatives towards newly developed skills and the points when new knowledge was applied to client projects. It was impossible for the senior team to estimate the return on investment of the different initiatives.
  • As there was no skills map in place for the overall business project staffing mainly happened based on availability instead of expertise and growth potential.

It became apparent that their current tooling ecosystem consisting of Slack, e-mail and Dropbox was unable to deliver transparency and easy access to the available skills and knowledge. This was leading to a diminishing return on the many initiatives and made it impossible to measure the impact.

With uman.ai OMCollective was looking for an easy-to-use 'plug & play' solution that integrated seamlessly in their current way of working.

Sharing knowledge directly from the browser to break knowledge siloes

OMCollective stepped away from Slack and email as primary ways to share relevant information. By using the uman.ai browser plugin, experts and staff can now securely save relevant content to the OMCollective workspace, directly from the browser.

The uman.ai plugin automatically adds topic tags to the content. On top of that, content related discussions are no longer held in different chat and email threads, but directly in the browser on the content itself; which enables full contextual collaboration and transparency in information ownership.

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Enriching Google Search results with company knowledge to enable on the job learning

The uman.ai browser plugin supports on the job learning. Whenever someone in the OMCollective workspace searches Google for specific knowledge, uman.ai enriches their Google search results with internal company information from various sources like the best practices in Dropbox and other relevant content shared by colleagues.

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Personalized learning time

During the weekly 4 hour dedicated learning time, uman.ai offers personalized recommendations and a weekly digest email to the OMCollective team. These are filled with curated content shared by colleagues and are based on individual interests and learning needs.

Real time data analytics

In the back, uman.ai automatically keeps track of who is working on which topics. This data gives real-time insights in personal growth and the skills developed by the team. Team members can now easily direct their questions to colleagues with the right expertise while the business can identify particular skills and knowledge that could be relevant to different projects and clients.

Tijs Balcaen, Knowledge and innovation manager: "Ever since we launched uman.ai, our Slack channels are empty. Embedding the uman.ai platform solution within the business has made it possible to bring together and manage all the information and knowledge in an intuitive way. This allows all staff to find and access information which is relevant and useful for their work. Skills progression is measured in real time, and everyone in the business can now identify where colleagues have particular skills and knowledge that could be relevant to different projects."

The Results

Over 330 hours of learning has now taken place and over 470 unique documents were shared via the uman.ai platform in the first 2 months. These results show how uman.ai enhances OMCollective’s knowledge building initiatives, by enabling efficient sharing, effective on the job learning and real-time measuring.

Data-driven staffing decisions are based on availability of skills, personal interests and project requirements to improve employee satisfaction and project delivery. A long-term skills development strategy has been embedded in the organisation to position themselves in the market. Data will lie at the core of the success of this transformation - with uman.ai they now have it at the tip of their fingers.

Next Steps

Based on these new skills insights, OMCollective is now looking into redesigning their organisational structure. In the services business, skills lie at the heart of many core processes, from business development (knowing which expertise can be sold to upsell new projects) to attracting the best talent to achieve project delivery, to deciding where to position yourself in the market with your services.

See how other customers have used uman.ai to improve their internal content and skill sharing

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