‘Homegrown’ Attempts at Workflow Automation Fail - There’s a Better Alternative


We all know that manual methods like spreadsheets are outdated, thanks to the powerful capabilities that modern automation software offers.

However, some content studios approach workflow automation the wrong way, adopting homegrown solutions that aren’t suited to complex operations. 

Let’s take a look at the mistakes content studios make with these DIY approaches, and the superior alternative: a SaaS solution designed specifically for content studios. 

Manual workflows are outdated - and automation is a gamechanger

It’s 2024 and many content production leaders have realized that manual ways of working are completely obsolete. 

They can see that traditional methods, like using spreadsheets to track creative assets, are inefficient and prone to human error. Manual data entry like this is time-consuming and makes misnaming or misplacing digital files all too easy, causing significant delays and the need for reshoots. For studios producing content at scale, this is very costly. 

Rapid progress in automation and AI makes the case for ditching these manual workflows impossible to ignore. The powerful benefits of these innovations is highlighted by McKinsey research showing that two-thirds of businesses that adopted automation saw better quality control, customer satisfaction, and employee experience, as well as lower operational expenses.

But some content studios are implementing automation in the wrong way

While it’s true that automation can deliver numerous productivity and efficiency benefits, this only applies when implemented correctly.

Unfortunately, we see some content studios adopting ‘homegrown’ automation solutions that cause more problems than they solve. 

There are several flawed homegrown approaches that content studios adopt. Some teams take just one of them, while others may be using all of them at once. 

The “cobbled together” solution

Some content studios try to use a different SaaS solution for every area of their operation. They might use separate systems for sample management, warehouse management, calendar scheduling, as well as for production asset management (PAM) and digital asset management (DAM). 

However, using a patchwork of different systems that don’t work smoothly together causes fragmented data and inefficiencies in workflows. This makes it too difficult for content production teams to access important information quickly and easily. 

The “square peg in a round hole” solution

Others try to automate workflows with a general-purpose project management system like Monday or Trello. However, trying to use basic, one-size-fits-all software for a complex content studio operation is problematic, as it stretches these platforms far beyond their capabilities. 

It’s possible to make these generic platforms more tailored to content studios by adding some customized automation triggers and code. But ultimately, these solutions aren’t designed for content studios, requiring too much manual intervention by those that try to use them. This is a problem, because error-prone, inefficient manual work is what we're trying to minimize with automation.  

The “build it ourselves” solution

Trying to develop their own workflow software internally is perhaps the biggest mistake that content studios make. Larger ones sometimes even employ entire tech teams to build and look after these systems. 

These internally developed systems are often inflexible and outdated. They also require constant maintenance and updates, making them a significant, open-ended investment. 

This is because when onboarding a new customer or brand, a lot of development is required to set up a new workflow. Internally developed systems also often experience significant ‘technical debt,’ with mistakes made during the development process leading to problems later that require tricky fixes. 

Ultimately, creating an effective software system to manage complex e-commerce content production requires extensive expertise and many years of trial and error. For content studios, this simply doesn’t offer a good return on investment. 


From Chaos to Flow

The Definitive Guide to Scaling E-Commerce Content Production with Technology

Download the eBook now to learn how to get the most out of your e-commerce content production.

There’s a better way to do workflow automation

To successfully boost productivity and efficiency, automation software must minimize complexity in content production workflows and eliminate unnecessary work - not increase it as homegrown solutions do. 

The only software solutions that achieve this are those - like Creative Force - that are designed specifically for content studios, tested with numerous customers, and fine-tuned extensively. 

These solutions will typically be delivered on a SaaS subscription basis and offer a single source of truth with a comprehensive range of features - from sample management to integrated generative AI - for managing high-volume eCommerce content production. 

These wide-ranging capabilities allow you to successfully produce content at scale without losing the ‘wow’ factor of truly creative work. 

If you’re looking to learn more about all of this, our new eBook, From Chaos to Flow: The Definitive Guide to Scaling E-Commerce Content Production with Technology, explains exactly what to look for in a content production solution. In this guide, you’ll learn: 

  • The pitfalls of manual processes and fragmented systems for content studios. Learn how to spot these inefficiencies and move towards a more effective operation.
  • How to apply lean (or ‘flow production’) principles to streamline your processes and eliminate unnecessary complexity. 
  • The key features of a SaaS platform for centralizing data and enhancing team collaboration.
  • Understand what to look for in a solution that will truly meet your needs.
  • How to create efficient workflows that increase the volume of high-quality content. Discover strategies that will help you boost productivity while cutting costs.
  • How integrating generative AI can help you produce content at scale without compromising creativity or quality. 

All of this information will help you make your workflows more efficient and empower your creatives to focus on producing great content, without the distraction of frustrating spreadsheets or badly-designed software systems. By the end of the eBook, you'll know how to transform your content studio into a more effective operation.

Download the eBook now to learn how to get the most out of your e-commerce content production.