Ticketfly processed around 16 million tickets for 90,000 events across the United States and Canada in 2014. As VP of operations, I am constantly juggling a million different things to ensure that this growth continues, often while working on-the-go. As a result, I am always on the lookout for apps that can help me stay organized, direct my 50-plus-strong team, and consistently improve our performance.
One thing I’ve learned is that bigger is not always better when it comes to the world of productivity apps. Sure, an all-encompassing platform that allows you to communicate with your team, delegate projects, and respond to customer queries from one single dashboard can be great. However, having just one app do everything can also feel limiting, especially given how fast technology changes. There will always be a new and better solution out there, whether it’s for enterprise messaging or customer support. Relying entirely on one system means you may miss out on those best-of-breed tools that could have a dramatic impact on your organization.
At Ticketfly, we have our own large systems in place, but when I’m dealing directly with my team, I have found small apps that target individual tasks to be extremely useful. For one thing, everybody on my team can quickly implement these solutions without hindering other parts of their workflow. And, if we discover a better solution, it is easy for everyone to make the switch. On top of that, most of these solutions are cross-platform friendly, so whether we are at the office or on the road, my team can always do our work in the same way.
1. For project collaboration: Slack
Slack has simplified the way our staff in San Francisco collaborates on projects with team members across the U.S. and Canada. From my phone, I can tune into the "channels" that directly affect my team and I, and tune out of the ones that are focused on the other parts of the company. That way I can see exactly how individuals from my team and other teams are contributing to specific projects, and determine if I need to contact them directly. Because of this information flow, we send and receive less email, schedule fewer meetings, and worry less about time-zone differences when trying to communicate.
2. Communication in a snapshot: 15Five
When we discovered 15Five, I was impressed how such a simple app could give me roundups of my team’s weekly work in just a few minutes. Now, from any device, I can ask any question I want to the entire team, like "Where did you totally kick ass this week?” I can also put forward specific questions to individuals about a particular project or client. In addition, it's created a space for open communication between staff and managers. My team considers the app a safe place to be candid, to share ideas, and to be heard.
3. Tracking expenses on the go: Concur
Our finance team chose Concur to manage the expenses generated by our staff, which last year traveled to more than 100 events in North America. These trips often involve 24-hour on-site coverage, and the expenses really add up. However, when there is a ton going on (like a stadium concert), tracking meal or cab ride expenses can quickly fall by the wayside. Concur allows my team to simply snap a shot of the receipt with their mobile device and add details whenever they want. I even use it when I am in front of a computer, because it's much quicker than typing every little bit of information into a document, and all the data is within reach whenever someone in finance has a query.
4. Hearing how your clients use your service: Totango
Understanding how people engage with your product or service is one of the most important and time-consuming tasks of any company. For this, we looked to Totango’s smart and simple solution to help us understand exactly how the 1,100 Ticketfly clients are using our platform. In the past, I would have to assign multiple people on my staff to analyze these metrics by going through individual accounts and specific feature usage. Now Totango does that for us, so we can spend more time engaging our clients and providing them the assistance they need, or even better, the help they didn't even know they needed. When I’m on the road, I can just use my phone to check in on a client’s "health score, and in an instant, I am clued in.
5. Small apps that fit inside the bigger ones: TaskRay
Although these individual apps have all helped me (and Ticketfly) make specific processes more effective, we are not opposed to small apps that integrate with our larger, existing systems. We use TaskRay, for example, for all our client support needs. The beauty of this app is its ability to seamlessly integrate with Salesforce, a system we already use, meaning that we don’t have to completely overhaul an integral part of our business.
As a business (and personally) we’ve been guilty of using too many apps at the same time, but as Ticketfly has matured, so has our app use. And it is not a question of choosing between small apps or large systems; it’s about what’s right for your company now and what can be scaled effectively. Being able to juggle both large and small apps can be incredibly beneficial for your team and your business, but finding these innovative solutions in order to improve your workflow needs to be a company-wide view, where all staff members are proactively searching for the next best thing.