NewsPicks, a news and social network company, is revolutionizing the way it works by letting its employees work from anywhere. The organization stays true to its slogan, “Be free and own it,” by allowing its 300 employees based in Japan, New York and Los Angeles to choose their working hours and work locations. The end result: enhanced employee performance that benefits the company’s operations.
This transformation could not have happened without Slack and Sales Cloud. Both integrations have helped employees with a wide range of responsibilities and work styles collaborate smoothly and more efficiently within one digital headquarters.
Supporting communications through a digital HQ
Before NewsPicks began using Slack in 2016, employees were using different communication tools. “A global organization like ours with a variety of departments in multiple time zones needed to increase its business efficiency and speed by engaging in asynchronous communication on one platform,” says Shinji Kamohara, NewsPicks’ Corporate Planning Division’s business management team leader.
Slack was a perfect fit for NewsPicks, a subsidiary of financial data service provider Uzabase Inc., because in addition to streamlining communications it was easy for teams to adopt. Kamohara says it’s so popular that employees say they can’t work without Slack.
Slack’s use also extends outside the company. Kamohara says NewsPicks’ advertising business uses Slack Connect to communicate with its customers and collaborate with other companies.
“With asynchronous business processes, you can dramatically increase work efficiency and speed by delivering information to the next person, enabling them to act quickly on their time.”
Increasing efficiency for business processes using Slack and Sales Cloud
NewsPicks has also been using Sales Cloud since 2016, with the goal of building a solid infrastructure that supports business growth. Through Sales Cloud, the company consolidated its operations, from customer and contract management to accounting and sales. By integrating Sales Cloud with Slack, NewsPicks enabled smoother operations for all its various business processes. Now when a sales representative receives an order for an ad content job, the rep simply assigns the appropriate person for that type of project.
“In my opinion, business communications should be about seeing the bigger picture while receiving notifications of just the right amount of required information. I feel that we are approaching that ideal by using Slack and Salesforce.”
Having a clear and smooth collaboration process between the sales representative and the creative team is crucial for NewsPicks. Before integrating Slack and Sales Cloud, cross-functional communication was complicated by all the different tools departments were using. After adding project information in Sales Cloud, for example, the sales representative would notify the creative team about the new details through email, verbally or some other method. The creative team would then assign someone to the job and send an email back to the sales representative with details of the assignment. Using Slack has streamlined the current process considerably. Now when a sales representative enters project information in Sales Cloud, an automation developed with Process Builder shares the project details in a dedicated Slack channel. Receiving notifications from this action saves employees time and allows everyone on the creative team to stay up to date on a project’s assignment status in Slack.
This increase in efficiency is not limited to sales jobs. Over time the company has experienced a dramatic boost in information sharing among stakeholders in multiple departments. Compliance checks for new customers, for example, are also being automated. The results of the checks are immediately sent via a Slack message that mentions the person overseeing the customer.
“The key is to notify the appropriate person at the appropriate time with the appropriate information, from pre-processes all the way through to post-processes,” says Kamohara. “By having the person in charge of the previous process tell the person in charge of the next process what to do in a timely manner, work can proceed without a hitch. It’s no exaggeration to say that NewsPicks’ sales growth has been supported by the twin pillars: Slack and Sales Cloud.”
“Designing and building efficient processes flexibly is key to creating an effective business system. Centralizing communication and operations by integrating Slack and Sales Cloud makes this possible.”
Enabling third-party stakeholders to access information in real time
It can be difficult for people outside the creative team to view its progress once content production starts. However, with all communications taking place in Slack, NewsPicks can allow third-party stakeholders to monitor production progress as it happens without having to open records. Slack notifies them of any changes of information or approval requests on Sales Cloud. By consolidating operations with Sales Cloud and Slack, it’s easier for all employees involved in production to receive and respond to information at the same time. This transparent way of working also manages stakeholders’ expectations, reducing the need for lengthy meetings and status updates.
Moving to a future where all operations live in Slack
Kamohara says the company wants to simplify operations even more by creating an environment where employees can view and approve decisions in Slack without having to open Sales Cloud. “In order to achieve that, we hope that the integration with Slack and Salesforce is strengthened so that we’ll be able to perform all actions in Slack without any special settings.”
The company plans to build a system that delivers Slack notifications without relying on a Salesforce setting. Kamohara is looking forward to implementing more integrations with Slack and Sales Cloud that will make NewsPicks’ work even easier. “If we could do all our operations in Slack, our business efficiency would definitely increase,” he says. “I think that we’ll definitely see that sort of environment in the not-too-distant future.”