Sony Entertainment

Improving Workflow Keeps the SONY Entertainment Network Storefront Shiny & New


 

SONY Network Entertainment (SNE) is the premier source for its users’ digital entertainment needs (and wants) including music, movies, games, and more, on a variety of connected devices, all through one account. Because it promises its millions of customers “quick and convenient” entertainment, the storefront must be kept up-to-date with the latest content offerings, as soon as they are available.

The service was launched in 2008 and as it added new features and capabilities, the Content Operations group found itself increasingly in need of better metrics, more detailed reporting, and a more visible throughput of its workflow.

The Challenge

  • Find a request management system with robust reporting features
  • Find a solution that would capture metrics across the team
  • Work with a software company that would show the Process Improvement Analysts not just what the request management solution was capable of, but whose team would work with the group to show them, step-by-step, how to make it happen
  • Find a solution that could be tailored to the team’s workflow and operations requirements without having to build a system from the bottom up

Activation Summary

  • Integrify Cloud was implemented in early 2012.

The Integrify Solution

We were extremely limited with our previous workflow tool with little to no support from the software company and had no visibility into our throughput, said Mallory Manke, Process Improvement Analyst for SONY Network Entertainment.

Process Improvement Analyst, Mallory Manke’s team chose Integrify primarily for its promise of robust reporting features and because they liked what they saw during the initial evaluation period. “Our hope was that Integrify would finally allow us to capture metrics across our team,” said Manke. “The support resources were a huge reason as well—we’re not only told what Integrify can do, but they explained how to make it happen. This allows us to have control over the reports and workflows to make them effective for our team and to not be stuck with just out-of-the-box features. And the idea that we could submit functionality requests for features we wanted and needed was very exciting!”

Despite the wide implementation of ERP systems, over 85% of processes are still paper-based. Most workflow processes are error-prone during paper-based data collection, difficult for employees to identify and follow, and for administrators to track and manage. Integrify’s common request management interface and automated workflow efficiently manages requests. Process improvements can be identified, and resources required to respond can often be reduced.

Integrify is the only process and workflow offering that allows users to easily define, build and publish processes within an intuitive interface. They can rapidly create processes that truly work the way their business works. The system is designed for use by business users, with limited support by IT personnel. Integrify can be defined and deployed rapidly for one process, then extended to other processes across an enterprise.

Manke was able to use the general structure of the workflows created during SONY’s evaluation/testing period and then build on top of those in early 2012. Her team was trained on the system and started using it in April of that year.

Integrify is the most approachable way to move from paper-based manual processes to an online, fully automated business process management (BPM) system. Anyone who can use a browser and fill out a form will be successful with Integrify. And more importantly, all constituents embrace using Integrify – from the end user accessing Integrify’s Request Portal to submit new requests, track the progress of their requests, or take an action on a task in their queue to the management or regulatory team interested in getting real-time process reports.

Integrify has been shown to reduce direct workflow costs by more than 30%, cut process management cycle times in half, and deliver positive ROI in less than three months.

The solution was even more simplified for SONY because it chose Integrify’s Cloud solution, which gives users the full functionality of Integrify without needing to install and maintain software. Supporting the pragmatic approach to BPM, customers can eliminate the overhead involved with deploying and managing a server infrastructure when implementing a solution for BPM and workflow management.

Integrify Cloud provides all the functionality of the Integrify solution for a low-cost subscription rate. Processes are hosted in a secure and reliable environment with guaranteed uptime using Amazon’s EC2, and customers can configure and deploy processes in days, not weeks.

The Content Operations department at SNE alone has more than 100 employees in their Los Angeles and London offices that are currently using the system. “Our main focus was always to find replacement workflow software specifically for our team, but we’re interested in expanding across additional teams within our organization as well.” said Manke.

The Content Operation department’s workflows serve as communication between the two groups within the team; the majority of requests involve Partner Operations submitting instructions to the Metadata & Storefront Operations group for data entry into their content management system. Currently, there are 15 different processes set up in Integrify to help categorize the different requests, though instructions vary for each individual submission. Additionally, Metadata & Storefront Operations use Integrify to submit work within their own group, specifically for the recurring merchandising updates across the storefront. The Marketing team also submits requests to Metadata & Store Operations to alert them of content available for promotions so that necessary changes can be made.

Although the team is processing about the same number of requests (50 to 60 each month) as it was before implementing Integrify, the processes are much more intuitive and transparent for the users.

The Benefits

SNE has streamlined its processes within the Content Operations team as more are handled and available for tracking via Integrify. Managers have greater visibility into what the team is working on and operators have a more consolidated resource for task assignments.

“We’re continuing to move more and more processes over,” said Manke. “Most users find Integrify clean and easy to use; many initial suggestions and “wish lists” were able to be implemented with the new system. Features such as the discussion tab/comments are very popular!”

Additionally, last fall, SNE’s Integration specialists began exporting reports on open requests into Excel, and by using an algorithm, they’re able to prioritize requests based on related information within the ticket rather than using an arbitrary due date.

“This has been a colossal improvement for our team,” said Manke. “We’re a smarter operation – and this is an achievement we’ve been working toward for years.”

ROI

According to Manke, Integrify’s team has supported SNE in figuring out how to maximize the reporting capabilities, and they’ve recently begun extracting/analyzing the data. “Once we get a better grasp on our throughput and can understand where/how we’re spending our time, we’ll be in a better place in terms of planning for future initiatives. We’re on our way and this, along with exporting the reports to Excel with the algorithm, means Integrify is definitely a success.”

Conclusion

According to Manke, SNE will continue to evaluate the data it is tracking to decide its next steps with Integrify. “We’ve discussed with additional teams within our department about adopting the system, possibly in Los Angeles, Foster City and Tokyo. The ultimate goal is for all communicating teams to be on the same tool.”

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