UBM Americas (UBM) is the largest events organizer in the U. S. and among the top three in Brazil and Mexico. The company leverages Quick Base-inspired innovation to keep it efficient, effective, and highly competitive.
Joanna Schreck, senior manager of operational excellence and data analytics for client services & delivery operations at UBM, was completing her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science when leadership began rolling out plans for a corporate-wide product and process transformation.
To better meet new business requirements, the custom-built Quick Base application supporting Client Services & Delivery Operations needed to be redesigned. The biggest obstacle to overcome was that the app had been developed externally, and the team working with the app was fairly new.
Despite the lack of in-house expertise, Joanna was up for the challenge, and ready to become UBM’s Quick Base expert. With a small amount of back-end Quick Base experience, relational database knowledge from her degree, and a deep understanding of the department’s operations, she began to formulate her strategy.
“We needed to make the app more applicable to the business,” she says. “I knew the Quick Base platform was flexible enough, and that with training, support, and a well-thought-out plan, an in-house rebuild was within my reach.”
Getting the green light
Since her department operates without IT involvement, senior management’s approval was required to proceed. So, she presented her vision for the new app and secured the buy-in required to move forward. Next, she had to win over the users.
“There was some trepidation at first when they learned that an app integral to their day-to-day work would be undergoing a redesign,” says Joanna. “But I approached it in a fun way. I’d say, ‘Wait until you see all the automations I’m building in.’ or ‘Today I worked on something that’s going to make you smile.’”
By the time the updated app was ready for deployment, everyone was eager to test it out and see how the new app would make their lives easier.
Now named “Home Base,” this heavy-duty app, along with its 44 tables and 3,000 fields, easily supports up to 80 new client projects a month. It’s highly valued by the Client Services team for its ability to turn previously manual and redundant tasks and processes into streamlined, integrated, and automated ones. This enables the team to deliver a higher level of service with significantly less effort, and frees them up to place their focus on more client-related activities.
The Home Base app put a direct spotlight on Joanna’s app building success, and launched her career as a Quick Base resource—not just for her team but for departments across UBM.
“Nearly 50% of my job now is Quick Base related, and I believe that the work I’m doing is important and impactful,” she explains. “Quick Base helps our team stay efficient, which empowers the business. And others across the company are quickly taking notice.”
In fact, the appointment of associate systems manager, Karen Gomez, to Joanna’s team is testament to growing interest in Quick Base. Under Joanna’s mentorship, Karen has quickly ramped up on Quick Base development to help support an increasing demand for custom business apps across UBM.
“Karen is a rising star and has become my right hand,” says Joanna. “In just the last six months we have spun up three additional applications for our existing team. And we’re in the process of implementing two to three more for other departments that are on par with the scope and scale of our Home Base app.”
Communication is key
As administrators for the Home Base app, Joanna and Karen rely on a “Help Desk” ticketing system that keeps them in close contact with their user base. With it, they are automatically alerted when an issue arises or when someone submits a feature request. They can then address anything that comes up with on-the-fly adjustments—like turning a three-click action into one.
“The most important thing to remember is that you need to keep your app current; don’t just set it and forget it,” says Joanna.
To keep the business regularly updated, Joanna and Karen hold open quarterly recap meetings that highlight the latest Home Base enhancements and the efficiencies gained from Quick Base. The Client Services leadership team uses this information to further promote efficiencies throughout the company, which leads to conversations with other teams interested in Quick Base.
Accessible education and training
Today, there are 55 Quick Base users and more on the way, as Joanna and Karen continue to collaborate with those inside and outside of their department. To accommodate both the rising number of Quick Base inquiries and an increasingly busy workload, they have created an information hub containing a series of introductory videos on Quick Base and its features.
Now, if somebody asks, “What is Quick Base?” Joanna or Karen don’t have to take time out of their day for full demos. Instead they can have a quick conversation, share a few screens, and then direct interested parties to the information hub. There, they can learn more about Quick Base and the features that they are most interested in, such as notifications, reporting, subscriptions, calendaring, or other functionality.
“By the time they’re ready to sit down to talk about the actual build, they have a good basis for discussion,” explains Joanna. “We can then whip up a sample app and even make instant changes, which always surprises them.”
And for those who want to take it further, Joanna and Karen now offer training opportunities which, in addition to empowering users, may eventually become a gateway to train new Quick Base builders.
“If one of our 101 videos spark an interest and someone wants to learn more—like what can be done with reports and filters, or if they want to start building—we can set up workshop hours to accommodate that,” says Joanna.
With a 2018 focus on continued integration of Quick Base with some of the two-dozen different UBM systems, and the onboarding of additional business to more Quick Base instances, the potential is there for another builder on the team.
The opportunity to make a real difference
Today, Quick Base builders Joanna and Karen have become both catalysts and facilitators, giving the business, its employees, and customers new ways to succeed.
“It has been a great opportunity to manage UBM’s Quick Base account,” says Joanna. “It has helped me grow in knowledge and responsibility here. I’m more involved in the business strategy now and have the confidence to make decisions and recommendations that will help us reach our goals.”
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Posted in Case Studies, Customer Stories, Use Cases, User Testimonials | Tagged App Delivery, app dev, app development, application administrator, Citizen Developer, citizen development, operational effectiveness