Legacy Tech Is Driving Your Best People Away

Five ways collaborative tools can improve a marketing organization’s day-to-day operations and retain top talent

By Jeff Siteman

Gary Waters/Getty Images

Work can be frustrating. But manual processes and legacy technologies can take everyday hassles to an entirely new level. Imagine having to input information from emails into a tracking system and then export it later to analyze in Excel. Or losing an email that sets a critical project back by weeks or days. Or even struggling with a critical platform that’s constantly freezing and crashing, causing more headaches.

These issues are especially acute in today’s digital and frequently remote workplace. As the economy recovers, they are becoming increasingly unacceptable to employees. In a recent Adobe survey of 1,000 employees working remotely for large companies in the U.S., 49 percent of respondents said they will quit their job if the company’s technology is out of date or hard to use.

For brands and organizations that need to compete for talent in today’s marketplace, creating a seamless and connected work environment is nonnegotiable. “When day-to-day work processes are simple and automated, people can focus on solving complex business problems and performing meaningful work,” says Chris O’Neal, a product marketing manager at Adobe Workfront.

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Against that backdrop, here are five ways automated communication and collaboration tools can help marketers operating in virtually any industry make the typical workday better — and strive to create a pleasant experience for both their teams and companies.


1. Make Approvals Faster and Easier

The need to get approvals and sign-offs before beginning work is a universal experience. With manual processes and legacy technologies, this can involve repeatedly emailing and calling busy managers who frequently fail to respond. Many employees also routinely save email, just in case an executive approves a project or budget and later forgets.

When employees are supported with the right process automation and collaboration tools, requests for approval are automatically routed to the right people, and managers receive instant notifications when a response is due. Approvals are logged and stored in one place. And the status of approval requests are easily visible to anyone who needs to see them, eliminating the need for employees to create manual status reports.

“Thoughtfully designed processes and automation can ensure all necessary approvals happen while cutting down busywork, such as reminding managers to review and approve key inputs,” O’Neal says.


2. Eliminate Duplication of Effort

At many large organizations, duplication of effort is a fact of life. For example, marketers in two regions might commission white papers on the same topic. Or business development teams might create very similar email campaigns targeting roughly the same audience. This is because work that’s managed in local, siloed systems — or on individual’s hard drives — is not easily visible to broader teams.

However, when organizations empower teams with the right kinds of automation, duplication of effort disappears. Instead, people have visibility into what the organization as a whole is doing and the ability to easily connect with colleagues anywhere. In fact, Adobe research indicates that 76 percent of employees already rely on technology for communicating with co-workers — which means most new hires will expect it.


3. Minimize Time Spent Searching for ‘The Right Files’

When work is decentralized or scattered across multiple, disconnected systems, employees can find themselves spending hours searching for information. The hunt for the right files may involve contacting multiple people or logging onto multiple systems. And, despite their efforts, people often end up with old or antiquated information.

Employees who can take advantage of digital collaboration and asset management tools do not experience such hassles. Instead, they can always find the right version of critical content in just a few clicks and quickly move onto more meaningful tasks.

“Version control is a big problem for organizations that rely on manual processes and email-based communication,” O’Neal says. “With automated asset and work management, you always know you’re working on the right file.”


4. Facilitate Compliance

For businesses in highly regulated industries, such as financial services, health care, and life sciences, compliance is essential. “Cutting corners is just not an option for people in these fields,” O’Neal says. “They will always ensure their work complies with key rules and regulations. But doing everything right with manual processes and disconnected systems is extremely time-consuming.”

When employees can rely on automation to support and enforce compliance policies, they can feel confident that their organization is doing the right thing. They no longer dread making a mistake or repeatedly running through manual checklists to be sure nothing was missed. Overall, people spend less time on the routine aspects of compliance and more time solving problems and thinking creatively.


5. Provide One Dashboard for Critical Tasks

Employees at companies without work management are invariably combing through their inboxes. If they miss an email, they might not see a critical task or notification. And, once they’ve gone through their inbox, they may update a spreadsheet with their latest tasks and the project’s status — a nerve-wracking process that can be time-consuming and based on dated information.

This aspect of work looks a lot different for employees who have access to work management tools. Rather than receive assignments piecemeal via emails, calls, and texts, the information is routed through a single system, so nothing is missed. Ever. And all work in progress can be viewed on a single, convenient dashboard. This eliminates the need for employees to maintain personal trackers and email status reports explaining what they are working on.


Better Work for All

Despite occasional workplace hassles, today’s employees care deeply about their work. More than 80 percent of employees surveyed in Adobe’s State of Work survey say they feel invested in their job. Giving employees the digital tools they need to work efficiently can help companies keep their people feeling good about their work and being more productive as a result.

Jeff Siteman is the senior director of global portfolio marketing and content strategy-digital experience at Adobe, a partner in the ANA Thought Leadership Program. You can email Jeff at



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