Stop Information Anarchy! Create a Single Source of Truth and Transform your Workflow

As a studio manager, you’re familiar with all the necessary information, documentation, and data that goes into an eComm studio workflow (and how it all changes hands along the way).

We’re talking about valuable information that your team members need to access (often ahead of time) to plan, undertake effective project management, and perform their tasks correctly and on time. 

Data like process documentation, guidelines, sample availability, keeping track of SKUs, image metadata, and style guides from clients determine the look of a shoot, just to name a few. 

This is the kind of information that you can’t risk getting lost, scattered, or incorrectly recorded because things could go wrong in costly ways. Including delays on set, reshoots, unsuccessful deliveries with incorrect assets, and unhappy clients. 

Traditionally, we’ve seen a lot of eComm studios store their data disparately across Excel sheets and even in PDFs, without any ground database preparation. Team members will often copy and paste or re-enter data from one place to another in a time-consuming process that’s prone to human error. Or worse, they’ll end up combing through Excel for vast amounts of data resulting in very scattered information and data sets that are bound to unravel your workflows at one point or another. 

Why Centralizing Data is Important 

“You’d be surprised how many studios have different systems for different types of information and data - and how challenging it can be to access what they need at the right moment,” says Florian, our product manager who has helped eCommerce studios around the world grapple with their documentation anarchy. 

Excel spreadsheets, Google Docs, paper tags on products, and manually managing data in a given image processing software are just some of the methods used. 

Ahead of a shoot, Style Guides are often centralized in a PDF - which then needs to be printed up, double-checked, and redistributed at every shoot, on behalf of every client, for every single team member. Or information about samples and products needed for the shoot which chops and changes hands. Given the huge cost of assembling a team on set for the day, it’s critical to get the information correct the first time and shoot quickly. 

Or, there’s all the data involved in post-production. “Often there’s a lot of manual double checks that need to be made, which is really time-consuming. Things like checking if you have every image back from QC and post vendors. And when you run into mistakes, there’s a lot of backtracking and research,” says Florian. Not to mention, wasting creative resources on things like data entry. 

He continues, “To make sure you can follow the thread, you need the documentation and forms all in one place.” 

So what’s the answer?

A single source of truth.

What Is a Single Source of Truth? 

Referring to one source of truth is a rather poetic way of describing technology that structures and preserves information in one place, even when it passes along to diverse team members. And for large and growing eComm studios dealing with thousands of products (and therefore, images) in different types, styles, and colors, centralizing your information is essential. 

These are digital tools that: 

  • Allow data to be edited in one place, reducing human error 
  • Structure data so it’s organized and searchable 
  • Organized using multiple data fields
  • Connect disparate information 

What Does This Mean for A Photo Studio? 

Massive efficiency gains and it gives creatives back time to do what they do best. Be creative.

When you use a digital tool to centralize your data, you dramatically expand your visibility and oversight. For example, if a sample or product doesn’t arrive for a shoot as expected or a style parameter changes, you can address the issue right away. 

A single source of truth database means you can plan photoshoots based on the most up-to-date information at hand, all stemming from an authoritative single source that you trust. With self-serve visibility, you’re empowered to make better decisions that save time and money and communicate about it all more easily. 

Centralizing information also guarantees that your hundreds and thousands of assets are delivered completely and are correctly named rather than moving files and names around manually in a PDF or PowerPoint. 

Is There a Tailored Solution for eComm Photography? 

Single source of truth data management can take different forms, but we’d be remiss without mentioning Creative Force. It is designed specifically to help eComm photography keep track of data and more. As part of its end-to-end workflow system, Creative Force offers one system to manage and track all visual assets, build and update style guides, track buying and sample deliveries, and more.

And it seamlessly brings together production data at every stage of your workflow by gathering metadata, including custom properties, whenever an action is performed. Which you can then use to generate customizable reports to make better decisions.

To get a sense of it in action, check out this case study and find out what happened when Orendt Studios centralized its data using Creative Force. 

That's a Wrap

There’s no doubt about it, centralizing your data gives you greater visibility, fires up your efficiency, and allows your creatives more time to focus on what they do best. And all of it is done while reducing the risk of costly errors. 

By implementing a system that’s always up-to-date, shareable and always collecting data to improve your processes - you can say goodbye to endless hours spent on Excel, in PDFs, or Google Docs.