Monetate, the global leader in personalization software for consumer-facing brands, enables marketers to create truly individual experiences that surprise and delight every customer, increasing engagement and improving performance. Their approach starts with the understanding that each individual is unique. Founded in 2008, with offices in the U.S. and Europe, Monetate is used by leading brands around the world and influences billions of dollars in revenue every year for QVC, Newegg Inc., J. Crew Group Inc., The North Face, and hundreds of other market leaders.
As Monetate began to rapidly grow and scale its business, it was crucial to standardize processes in order for the entire organization to stay on the same page. Their internal company wiki stored on Google Sites couldn’t scale with the company’s growth. Monetate was in the market for a knowledge sharing solution that would serve as the single source of truth for the entire organization and bring accurate information to their team, when and where they needed it.
Julie Lamba, Director of Learning and Development at Monetate, was hired to help with everything from employee onboarding, to manager training, to sales enablement - basically entailing anything that would help employees be more effective in their jobs. During her first few weeks, she interviewed employees across the organization to understand their needs in relation to learning and development.
She found that while employees at Monetate originally wanted formal learning and training programs, quarterly training sessions were not a sustainable primary solution because the information was quickly forgotten about a few weeks later. Employees expressed that they primarily learned from finding templates and looking up information, in real-time and in context of their job. For example, an employee might look up detailed information as needed to further help a client while attending an on-site visit. But at the time, this was difficult, time-consuming, and could not always be trusted to be up-to-date. Monetate employees needed a solution that would help them find trusted information in real-time.
Monetate’s previous knowledge base called “The Hub” was built on Google Sites, but Julie expanded on some of the key problems: “It was hard to navigate. Employees couldn’t find information based on how they were thinking about it. It was incredibly difficult to maintain and keep information up-to-date, people would often forget that they added knowledge to it in the first place. The ultimate result was that employees couldn’t trust the information in it, so it didn’t work as an internal source of knowledge.”
As a result, most of the way knowledge was distributed at Monetate was through Slack, email, and Google Drive. For Abby Dineen, Client Retention Specialist, the challenge was not having a dedicated source of truth for company information. She frequently found herself wondering where and what was the most up-to-date information amongst the multiple Google Doc versions that all were saying similar things. With processes constantly changing, and updates going out via Slack or email, things were easy to miss and consistency across the team was not achieved.
“Even if you do get an excellent answer in Slack from an individual, it’s often not a standardized answer approved by the company. When you’re trying to get everyone on the same page with a consistent and unified message, you want to be operating as a company, not as a collection of individuals.”- Julie Lamba, Director of Learning and Development
Through interviewing employees Julie was able to create a defined list of important criteria that she was looking for in a knowledge sharing solution which were:
To maximize adoption, Julie started the roll-out of Guru by populating it with information all of their employees could leverage, namely their HR handbook. As she began evangelizing Guru across all departments, they quickly began populating department specific content into Guru.
Liz Valenta, an Account Director, immediately saw Guru as a valuable place to store common answers to RFP questions. As Monetate continued to move upmarket, they were increasingly having to fill out more RFPs. Without Guru, gathering that information would have been difficult and time-consuming. Liz would have had to reach out to their VP of Engineering and wait for a response to complete an RFP. But with Guru, she can immediately complete them, which directly impacts their ability to respond faster to RFPs.
For those on the client services team, Guru is powering their ability to find content in real-time. Abby expands: “My ability to find answers and time to find them is much faster. Even if I’m onsite at a client I can search Guru on the fly and find the answer I need. The result is a faster response time and consistency across the entire services team.” The client services team can quickly find the content they need via our slackbot, browser extension, or even on mobile, which is contributing to improvements in their key metrics like response time. No matter which team you talk to at Monetate, Guru has become the first line of defense for the company so-to-speak.
Having everything in one place and everyone knows to start to search in Guru first is the biggest thing. Having that starting point is awesome.- Alex Sargent, Technical Support Engineer
While Guru was being used across Monetate to gather information and respond to questions, there was also an impact on their organization’s ability to absorb information as well. With frequent product launches and updates, even being out of the office for a day can lead to missing out on updates in Slack.
“Even just finding links to things is helpful. We use Slack, which is great, but if you are out traveling one day, it can easily get lost across the hundred of messages that get sent everyday. We can always find information we need to do our jobs in Guru.”- Liz Valenta, Account Director
For Julie, seeing the adoption of Guru take hold across the entire organization confirmed her hypothesis that it was the right solution for them: “Being able to look at my dashboard in Guru and see how our activity spread across our whole organization is exciting. Ownership of Guru has expanded beyond just me, it’s satisfying when I see someone send Guru links in Slack or reminding folks to check Guru first.”
Guru has played a critical role in communicating process changes and updates across the entire organization, while keeping their client facing teams consistent in their messaging.
For Alex Sargent, a Technical Support Engineer, being able to add their complex internal processes in Guru has kept their global team on the same page. For example, questions around how to escalate issues was a common issue prior to implementing Guru. Especially, since some of the support team is based in the UK, up-to-date documentation is critical to ensuring their team could properly escalate issues without needing to ask for help from their U.S. based colleagues. Now, if there are any questions, especially from newly onboarded employees, it’s easy for the UK team to easily search for information in Guru.
The issue of repetitive questions was a common theme that subject matter experts at Monetate experienced before Guru. Lyndsey Getty, Contracts Administrator at Monetate, knew the pain well: “I was getting 4-5 requests per week on one process which was universal in every contract. I had to explain it individually to each person, every single time. It was beyond frustration. But now, everyone knows to search in Guru first which has drastically cut down the repetitive email requests.”
Equally important is the ease with which content can be updated in Guru. To update common documents like their NDAs, she can simply open the card, delete the old link, insert the new link, and use Slack to let the team know a new version is live. Even if the team misses her message, they know the most up-to-date version will be in Guru, removing the need to search through numerous email and Slack threads to find content.
“I actually started to put more procedures in place since we adopted Guru because I’m confident there is a trusted outlet where anyone in the organization can find and view the most up-to-date version.”- Lyndsey Getty, Contracts Administrator
With Guru now fully rolled out, Monetate has reaped the benefits, chief of which is the time saved answering repetitive questions and searching for information. Additionally, Guru has been critical to their new employee onboarding. Julie noticed that every month the top users of Guru were usually the new hires and possibly contributed to a faster ramp time. But there were also some benefits that resonated across the entire organization.
As Guru became more entrenched in the everyday of Monetate employees, departments noticed adoption of new and existing processes increased. Abby laid out her thoughts on this point: “I think it has to do with the fluidity. As you roll out a new process you realize you need to update them frequently, tweak it a bit. Before, we were having too many sources of information. Versions 1, 4, 8. Which one is the most up-to-date and correct? Guru allows you to update information so it becomes that single source of truth.”
The main result of increased process adoption was an increased sense of confidence and trust of that information within the organization.
“Guru’s greatest impact is mainly saving our organization time, increasing our team’s confidence, and also pride. We know what we are doing and I think people underestimate this. When you talk about employee engagement or morale, if you have documents in multiple places and can’t find the information you need, that’s incredibly frustrating, and really dampens people’s ability to feel like they have the resources they need to be successful at their job. I believe Guru is a key part of helping us continually improve engagement and morale at Monetate.”- Julie Lamba, Director of Learning and Development