Cengage Learning, a more than 100-year-old education and technology company, serves higher education, K-12, professional, library, and workforce training markets worldwide. It sought to transform itself from a textbook publisher to a leader in digital technology to keep up with the evolving industry. As part of this transition, Cengage gave its employees a number of digital communications tools – too many, as it turned out.
“Before Slack, we had utter confusion with a number of tools we had,” says Alina Aronova, Vice President of Technology Operations. “Different teams used different tools, so it was very difficult to find each other and start a conversation.”
Besides leaving employees to miss out on important conversations, Cengage’s numerous tools also left information scattered across multiple locations and hard to find. Then Cengage started using Slack and a mix of built-in integrations that simplify their processes. For example, JiraBot adds tickets directly to Slack so everyone knows who needs to be working on a problem and what the status is, and SysStatusBot sends proactive warnings through Slack about system issues.
When Slack was first introduced, the reaction was: 'Why do we need one more tool' But soon it turned into 'I don't need any other tool.'
Since Slack, the company has seen their incident resolution time drop by 30 percent. They no longer have multi-hour conference calls with the senior management team to discuss outage action plans. Instead, they have a point person who facilities all conversations, tracks progress, spins off sub discussions and channels in Slack as needed.
“We can trust our process now,” says Aronova. “The right people work on problems and all other stakeholders can be kept abreast of progress in real time by simply following conversations. As a senior leadership team, we have no need to spend hours on escalation calls trying to make sense of issues and resolutions like we used to.”