According to recent studies many brand protection teams are still using generic tools like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, OneDrive or generic case management tools as their only digital platform for managing brand protection.
These are all compelling digital solutions in general, but for managing brand protection will most likely prevent your team from reaching desirable objectives and productivity. Today, digital platforms are being developed for specific industries and functions that are way smarter and more efficient than generic tools. These platforms are here to get the job done, combining smart collaboration & communication, case & task management, investigation & identification, budget & finance, insights & analytics tailored for the modern brand protection team.
Here are seven tips for choosing the right digital platform for your brand protection team.
1. Define your workflow and processes
One of the first steps in choosing a digital tool for your brand protection team is to define your workflow. What key processes do we have in place and what aspect of your work can be augmented with a modern digital platform. Examples of processes could be case registration, case prioritization, task assigning, product identification, test purchase, litigation, case matching, target connections, and so on.
You need to understand the details of your own processes, but beware, people tend to overcomplicate processes when there’s a much simpler approach available. The focal point should be on the overall workflow and the desired result. With your end goal in mind, identify any loopholes in your work process that are hurting your productivity or outcome.
2. What tools are you using today?
The next step is to assess the digital tools you are currently using. You should ask the following questions: How well do current digital tools meet your needs? Are they helping the team to get the job done? And are they supporting you to get the desired result? Create a list of the digital tools that you are using today and map them to your workflows.
3. Focus on key requirements
A lesson from within the IT industry is that less is more. Instead of creating a long checklist with features and capabilities, try to focus on core aspects that you need to meet your desired goals. Identify administrative tasks that are time-consuming and look for ways to automate manual work so your team can spend time on what really makes an impact. The best way to supercharge the team productivity is to use software that provides users with the features needed to get the job done and are not over-engineered or over-featured.
4. Keep users in mind
Always keep the end-users in mind. In the end, they are the ones that are going to use the platform on a daily basis. It is not only about functionality but also usability.
Historically, studies have shown that business applications have more usability problems than consumer software. One obvious reason is that business software typically contains a lot of complex functionality. Complexity and security are often the biggest obstacles in creating intuitive systems with hundreds of pages and, consequently, an apparently infinite number of user scenarios.
Nevertheless, the trend of consumerization of enterprise software together with a change in workplace ideology and culture demands a shift towards more user-friendly software.
5. Think about scalability
When your team changes, is growing, or expanding to new regions, or perhaps when establishing new partnerships with local law firms or investigators you need to be able to scale. However, scalability is not only about the system ability to keep pace with the number of users, but also to take on new locations and handle the exponential increase in transaction volume, workload and amount of data.
Try to address how your platform of choice addresses the latest technology trends, and how they can adapt to your future business needs, does it have global capabilities and a scalable infrastructure?
6. Look for integration and customization
Being able to integrate different brand protection platforms into a common ecosystem can be extremely useful, for example sharing target data from IP infringement between the online and offline world. Integrations can boost the speed of information flows and reduce operational costs. The benefits of systems integration for business enable improved productivity and quality of operations within a company. You can use them together seamlessly, which helps to prevent problems like multiple data entry and to only have one single version of the truth.
7. Successful onboarding
It is critical to involve the team members in the process of taking on a new platform from the start, with a consistent message, so they will adopt the platform with an open mind. New technology platforms require buy-in from the people who will be using them, otherwise, their potential won’t be realised. You will get success through managing change across three organizational domains, people, process and technology.
Most brand protection teams are true professionals and skilled in IP rights, IP enforcement processes, managing cases and connecting the dots. However, few have experience in IT project management. Therefore, it is important that your platform supplier have the proper onboarding processes together with experience and knowledge to tailor the project to your specific needs and digital maturity.