Forget Email Attachments: Modernizing Packaging Approval with Digital Solutions

Photo by Brian J. Tromp on Unsplash

Picture this scenario: endless email threads, multiple attachments in several emails as the size limit is reached, wrong attachments sent, lots of back-and-forth to explain that the attachment was wrong and here is the correct one, version confusion… If this is your day-to-day, you can see how it is a recipe for delays, miscommunication, and even the occasional oversight that can have far-reaching consequences.

Thankfully, you can stop that chain of inefficiency and elevate packaging approval processes to new heights of effectiveness—using digital solutions that go beyond the limitations of email attachments.

The Limitations of Email-Based Approvals

Email has long been a staple in communication, but when it comes to managing critical processes like packaging approvals, it falls short in several key areas:

1. Fragmented Communication: Email threads often span across various messages, making it challenging to maintain context and track changes accurately.

2. Version Control Nightmares: Multiple attachments with similar filenames can lead to confusion, especially when different versions are being reviewed concurrently.

3. Delayed Responses: Emails can be buried in overflowing inboxes or overlooked amidst the deluge of messages, causing delays in approvals.

4. Lack of Accountability: It’s hard to ascertain who has reviewed or approved a design at any given point in time, making accountability a murky area.

The Digital Leap: What Modern Approvals Demand

Fortunately, there are digital solutions that tackle the challenges of packaging approvals. These solutions offer a range of features that revolutionize the approval process:

1. Collaborative Workspace: Imagine a virtual space where stakeholders can congregate, review designs, provide feedback, and hold discussions—all within a single, organized platform.

2. Version Tracking: A digital system maintains a comprehensive history of design versions, enabling easy comparison and minimizing errors caused by outdated versions.

3. Transparent Approval Paths: Digital solutions allow you to define and visualize approval paths clearly, ensuring designs navigate through the correct channels without bottlenecks.

4. Automated Reminders: Say goodbye to chasing approvals. Automated notifications ensure that reviewers are prompted at the right time, reducing approval cycle times. You can also choose to send manual reminders.

5. Accountability and Audit Trails: Each action is recorded, creating an audit trail that clarifies who did what, when, and why—an essential feature for compliance-driven industries.

The Transformative Impact: Efficiency and Precision Redefined

Do you need to hear about the advantages of using such a digital solution ?

1. Streamlined Workflows: With collaborative workspaces, design reviews become intuitive and streamlined, eliminating the confusion associated with email chains.

2. Rapid Turnaround: Design approvals take less time, enhancing your ability to bring products to market swiftly and seize new opportunities.

3. Enhanced Accuracy: Version control hiccups and miscommunications become a thing of the past, reducing the chances of errors slipping through the cracks.

4. Compliance Confidence: Industries subject to regulations can breathe easier knowing that an accountable, traceable process is in place.

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So, are you ready to leave the era of email attachments behind and embark on a journey towards efficient, compliant, and precise packaging approvals? If you are, please give a try to our approvals solution and then, contact us to help you implement it for your team.

Striking the Right Balance: Key Aspects of Designing SOPs for Pharmaceutical Packaging

Midjourney

Designing packaging materials for pharmaceutical brands can be a meticulous and complex process. As a designer working for a studio that works exclusively with pharma, my work primarily involves implementing a strict set of rules on various packaging materials that will be commercialized across different markets. To keep everything in check, in my team we write SOPs tailored to each customer. In this article, I’ll discuss the key aspects we consider when writing those SOPs and comment on the balance between effectiveness and completeness.

Clarity and Simplicity

The first aspect to consider when writing a design SOP is clarity and simplicity. The document should be easy to understand and follow for all team members, regardless of their expertise or experience. If a Junior designer cannot follow the document, then it does not fulfils its purpose. This can be achieved by using clear language, avoiding jargon, and providing visual examples when necessary. An image might be worth a thousand words. An effective SOP should prioritize essential information and avoid excessive detail to ensure that it remains concise and focused. If complex details are needed, you can always reference a more complex or complete document such as complete brand design guideline.

Compliance with Brand Guidelines and Regulatory Requirements

Pharmaceutical packaging must adhere to both the company’s brand guidelines and the regulatory requirements of the target market. It also needs to comply with all technical specifications from the manufacturing entity. A design SOP should provide clear instructions on how to maintain consistency with the company’s visual identity and fulfill the necessary legal obligations. This includes guidelines on colors, fonts, logos, and layout, as well as any specific labeling requirements mandated by law. And these change per country! Templates are in this case VERY useful.

Adaptability for Different Formats and Materials

We deal with packaging in various formats and materials, such as boxes, bottles, and blister packs. An effective design SOP should account for these variations and provide guidance on how to adapt designs accordingly. If you ever faced implementing a tini tiny label, then you know what it’s like. This may involve including modular design elements that can be easily rearranged or resized to fit different formats. Again, templates are your friend.

Revision and Update Process

Finally, a design SOP should include a clear process for revising and updating the document. This is crucial to ensure that the SOP remains relevant and up-to-date with any changes in brand guidelines, regulatory requirements, or industry best practices. This is particularly critical if your studio is ISO compliant. It is as important to make the right changes as to track who made those changes and why.

Striking the Right Balance

An effective and useful design SOP should provide enough information and guidance to ensure that all team members can create consistent, compliant, and technically correct packaging materials. However, it’s essential to strike the right balance between providing necessary details and overwhelming the reader with excessive information. An over-complete SOP may lead to confusion, inconsistencies, and a slower design process. By focusing on the key aspects outlined above, you can create an SOP that is both comprehensive and efficient, ensuring that your pharmaceutical packaging designs meet the highest standards.

If you are unsure as to what is the right level of detail, use an Agile process. Write a draft, let your team use it, get feedback and refine the document iteratively.

Your Studio Partner

Do you feel stuck with your current design process? Reach out to our studio and let us give you a hand. We can help you implement artworks or improve your studio processes.

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Improving Collaboration between Designers, Artwork Coordinators, and Regulatory Affairs Professionals

Midjourney

In the complex world of product packaging and labeling (Pharma and Food mostly), effective collaboration between designers, artwork coordinators, and regulatory affairs professionals is crucial for ensuring compliance, efficiency, and overall success. With ever-changing regulations, tight budgets and timelines and a large set of very different stakeholders, having a streamlined process that connects everyone is essential. Below you will find some key aspects of how to optimize collaboration centered around the benefits of using an Artwork Management System (AMS) like Twona NeXT.

Establish Clear Communication Channels

One of the main challenges every organisation faces when there is a large number of SKUs and stakeholders involved is maintaining clear and effective communication. To address this, you must establish a clear communication channel for each project, where all stakeholders can share updates, feedback, and relevant information. While tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams can help facilitate these conversations, they are hardly suitable for highly regulated environments due the lack of traceability. Additionally, they tend to be disconnected from the projects themselves, serving only as a platform for discussion. Ensuring a Single Source of Truth is key wile Slack or Teams can be used as secondary channels by means of an integration. This means, for instance, a notification can be sent from your system to Slack when a project reaches a certain milestone.

Define Roles and Responsibilities

It is essential to outline the roles and responsibilities of each team member involved in the packaging workflow. Clearly defining who is responsible for what tasks or step ensures accountability and helps prevent confusion and potential bottlenecks. Create a detailed SOP that outlines each step in the workflow, add your work instructions to facilitate adoption and prevent errors and arrange training for every stakeholder involved in the process.

Implement a Centralized Artwork Management System

Using a centralized AMS like Twonas can significantly improve collaboration between designers, artwork coordinators, and RA. Twonas offers a unique set of features that are tailored to meet the needs of the Pharmaceutical, Food, and Retail Industry, making it a perfect choice for managing your artwork projects.

Some of the unique selling points of Twonas include:

  • Automated Workflows: Twonas streamlines the entire process by automating tasks, reminders, and approvals. This helps to eliminate manual processes and reduce the risk of errors or delays.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Twonas allows team members to collaborate on projects in real-time, ensuring everyone is always on the same page. This feature is particularly useful for reducing the number of feedback rounds.
  • Version Control: Twonas offers a robust version control system that tracks changes and maintains a complete history of all artwork files. This feature helps to prevent confusion and ensures that everyone is working on the latest version of the project.
  • Integration with Third-Party Tools: Twonas integrates with key applications making it easy to connect your existing workflow and systems.

Continuous Improvement

Finally, always be open to learning and improvement. Regularly review your processes, gather feedback from your team (both internal and external), and identify areas for improvement. Implementing a culture of continuous improvement will help ensure that your team is always working efficiently and effectively.

Want to know more? Then drop us a line and we will be happy to discuss your process needs.

Improving your Artworks Workflow

With Midjourney

As an artwork coordinator working for a pharmaceutical company, I oversee the packaging design process from start to finish. It’s a complex process that involves multiple stakeholders and departments: regulatory, supply chain, printing houses, customers (we also do Contract Manufacturing), Quality Assurance, etc. It requires careful coordination to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Over the years, we’ve refined our process to the best of our abilities, but as with any complex system, there’s always room for improvement. We make our process work, but it requires constant emails, reminders and nudges to certain stakeholders to keep everything in check.

When we decided to purchase an Artwork Management System, we agreed to bring in an external workflow and process consultant to help us optimize our packaging design workflow as we intended to digitise our process. At first, I was a bit skeptical. After all, I knew our process inside and out, and I wasn’t sure how an external consultant could provide any value. Our initial plan was to simply move from a manual email based workflow to a digital one. However, after a couple of phone calls regarding the process, we realized that an external set of eyes can sometimes identify issues in your process that you simply cannot see because you’re too close and too busy.

The Consultant

The consultant that came in had extensive experience working with other pharmaceutical companies, not only within brands, but also in CMOs, design agencies, etc. He got us started by going thought our current process, which was drawn on a white board and asking a lot of questions as we went through every stage: who is involved, what information is provided, when, what are the challenges, what happens in this and that scenario, etc. Very quickly he was able to spot a few areas where we could make improvements. There were a couple of key aspects that were particularly interesting where he suggested some changes in the process by analysing and justifying those suggestions. The following was one of the most relevant ones:

Our Process

In the beginning of our process, the Regulatory Department provides the key information related to the change that has to be implemented in the packaging material: a new text, a set of annotated changes due to a change in regulations and anything in between. When this information is received, the Artworks Team checks it and forwards the request to the agency to execute the changes. Later in the process, once the design has been implemented, the Regulatory colleagues check the artwork to make sure it complied with their request for change. The consultant asked: how often does an artwork need to be redone because Regulatory spotted a mistake in the content (not a mistake introduced by the design agency). The answer across my team was consistent…..very frequently. The consultant then made an estimate of the amount of hours involved across all teams between the moment the request is sent by RA and the moment the design is sent back to them for changes. We calculated around 40 to 50 hours of work.

The Suggestions

His suggestion was simple: add a four eye principle on the information provided by Regulatory BEFORE the artwork request is sent to the agency. The objective was to validate the information before those 40 to 50 hours of work were spent on the artwork so that the number of iterations would be reduced. We quickly involved the QA team, who happily agreed to review the data before it was sent to the agency. It was brilliant. A simple suggestion, a nudge to the colleagues in QA and the potential time savings were incredible.

At first, I was a bit intimidated by the prospect of implementing all suggested changes. After all, change can be difficult, especially when you’re dealing with a process that has been in place for years and many stakeholders involved. However, with an open discussions and proper justification of each suggested change, I realized that these changes were all aimed at making our jobs easier and more efficient. By embracing these changes, we could reduce the amount of time and resources we spent on each project and ensure the best possible outcome. Having an external set of eyes also helped align all relevant parties (external people are not afraid of starting difficult conversations).

Over the next few months, we worked closely with the consultant to implement the changes he had suggested. It wasn’t always easy, and there were a few bumps in the road, but overall, the process went smoothly. We saw an consistent improvement in in our process. and our workflow became much more streamlined. We were able to complete projects more quickly and with fewer errors, which made everyone involved in the process much happier.

Looking back, I’m so glad we decided to bring in an external set of eyes to help us optimize our packaging design workflow. I’m excited to see what other improvements we can make in the future, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talented consultant.

If you want an external set of eyes on your process, setup a call with us and let’s work together to make your workflow flawless.

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Asking vs SOPing.

In today’s fast-paced business world, every second counts, and no one wants to waste time on repetitive tasks. One area where this is especially true is in the supply chain of packaging design processes where not only time matters but reducing risk is a key factor of the process. Frequently, supply chain teams are asked to supply information that is mostly static and unchanging, yet the requests for this information continue to pour in. For every artwork material surely comes an email requesting the same information. In these cases, identifying repetitive tasks and documenting the necessary information can help save time across the supply chain while reducing unnecessary risks related to information processing.

Let’s consider the following example: An artwork coordinator requests information from the supply chain team regarding the technical specifications of serialisation printing. The details provided by the supply chain always relate to the market where the product is going to be released (different market, different rules) and change only every one or two years when the regulatory bodies change the laws. The request for information is done for every product, and therefore the response from the supply chain is almost always the same. Furthermore, supply chain is the only team up to date on when the regulations change.

In this situation, creating a set of technical specifications in the form of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) can help streamline the process. The SOP would describe the serialization requirements per market (what information can be printed where and under which technical specifications), and the supply chain team would become the owners of these documents. By creating and documenting these technical specifications, the supply chain team can prevent the information from being requested for every product, thereby saving a tremendous amount of time while reducing the risk of misinformation.

The benefits of creating SOPs and technical documents go beyond time-saving. By documenting and standardizing information, it becomes easier to communicate and collaborate with team members and stakeholders. This standardization can also reduce errors and improve the quality of the work.

Furthermore, the benefits of documenting information go beyond the immediate supply chain team. If the information is needed by other teams, such as quality assurange or regulatory affairs, having a documented SOP can ensure that everyone is on the same page and using the correct information. This can help prevent delays and ensure that all aspects of the product development process are aligned.

In conclusion, identifying repetitive tasks and documenting necessary information can help save time across the entire supply chain of packaging design. The example of creating an SOP for serialization requirements illustrates how this process can be applied in practice on any company that markets products across different countries. By creating and maintaining such documents, teams can save time, reduce the risk of misinformation, and improve the overall quality of their work.

Do you email or do you SOP?

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Accountability and Authority, The Saga

Image with Midjourney

Once upon a time, in a packaging company not so far away, there was a team of designers tasked with the creation and management of product packaging for their Ancestors . The designers were excited to start working on the project and put their creative and technical skills to the test. They had been trained by the master Designers and could summon the Gods of Regulatory.

The Gods of Regulatory were responsible for ensuring that the package met all necessary regulations and guidelines, Lord praise the FDA, the EMA and the local regulatory bodies. They were accountable for the content that was placed on the packaging design. And they were good at it. They had to appease the recall demons, for one mistake could cost them dearly.

After many times together in the battle field however, the Designes and the Gods of Regulatory realized that while they were accountable for the packaging, and would suffer the consequences of an attack on their impeccable recall record, they lacked the authority to make any meaningful changes on their battle process. There were simply too many stakeholders, too many hidden decision makers and way too many KPIs to fulfil.

One day, the designers submitted a proposal for an improved workflow model that they were particularly proud of. They had worked hand in hand with the regulatory team tirelessly on it for weeks and were excited to finally present it to the higher court, the Decision Makers. However, they were swiftly denied their wishes. The Decision Makers had rejected the proposal outright, without providing any concrete reasons for their decision. They simply said: It shall not be done.

The designers were frustrated, the regulatory experts were angry. They all felt like they were being held accountable for something they had no control over. If something went wrong, their heads would roll, but without the means to change course, they felt abandoned and desperate. They began to lose their faith, their motivation and engagement in the project. To make matters worse, they soon discovered that the same thing was happening to other teams in the company.

The problem wasn’t just with their process; the company’s organizational structure and old fashioned culture made it difficult for anyone to have the necessary authority to make meaningful changes. Everything had to be escalated to the high court, where decisions were made without hands-on knowledge of the actual work that had to be done.

As a result, the frustrated designers and regulatory experts decided to take matters into their own hands. They started taking actions outside of their workflow to expedite the pressing deadlines and reach their tight objectives. They were operating under the blanket of cover and darkness, very much aware of the lack of compliance and added risks. But they had no choice, it was the only way to complete the assigned tasks.

The moral of the story is that accountability without authority can be a frustrating and demotivating experience. Furthermore, when the processes in place do not match the actual job requirements, the non-authoritative stakeholders are usually forced to take action, stepping outside of the agreed models to accomplish their tasks. When key stakeholders lack the necessary authority to make changes, it can lead to a lack of engagement and creativity, and in most cases non-compliance with SOPs. In the case of packaging companies, designers and regulatory experts must work together to ensure that the design process is collaborative and efficient, but they need to have authority to make changes to the process when it no longer works.

Do you feel accountable but lack authority?

Be like water….

Image with Midjourney

When it comes to corporate packaging design, transparency is key. We always insist on this aspect, specially when on-boarding new teams that are used to a more traditional approach where compartmentalisation of information is common practice.

A packaging design workflow involves multiple stakeholders, including internal teams such as marketing, product development, and design, as well as external partners such as packaging manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. This complex network of stakeholders makes it essential to have a clear and centralised system of information sharing to prevent errors and reduce risk.

Compartmentalisation vs Transparency

Compartmentalisation is the approach of separating information into individual units or silos, which can only be accessed by certain individuals or groups. This approach can have some benefits, such as providing increased security for sensitive information or enabling clear lines of authority and responsibility. However, there are also significant risks associated with compartmentalisation that can hinder the success of a business or organisation.

One of the biggest risks of a compartmentalised approach is that it can create barriers to effective communication and collaboration. So basically some individuals might not know at one given time what is going on because information is hidden from them. This can lead to a lack of coordination, missed opportunities, and duplicated effort, which can ultimately hinder business growth and success.

On the other side of the spectrum, transparent processes can have many benefits. When stakeholders have access to the same information and there is clarity about what is going on at any time, it can help to identify and mitigate risks early on, before they become significant problems.

Transparency can also lead to greater accountability and trust.

Transparency how?

Transparency for packaging design can be achieved through the use of a centralized AMS tool, such Twona NeXT. It allows all stakeholders to have access to project-related information and updates in real-time, reducing the need for manual updates and reducing the risk of miscommunications.

In addition, transparency can also ensure the final product meets all necessary requirements and standards such as compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

But how far do we go?

The line between transparency and compartmentalisation can however be difficult to spot. Too much of either and the process will suffer or the risk will be too high.

A good rule to thumb for packaging design processes within pharmaceutical teams follows these key aspects:

  1. High visibility – Being able to understand the status of a project within a complex workflow creates trust, clarity and a sense of belonging by all relevant stakeholders. Keep it open, let all relevant parties see what is happening. Limiting visibility is only advisable when dealing with competing external stakeholders such as multiple design agencies.
  2. Silo the actions – For compliance requirements, it might be needed to limit what each stakeholders can do. This is ensure everyone can fulfil their own actions while reducing the risk of mistakes. For instance, the Design team should be the only one capable of uploading new versions while approvals can only be granted by the Regulatory team.
  3. Train everyone on the entire process – A key component of digitising a process is the training that each stakeholder needs to be part of. For larger teams, it might be wise to split the teams to focus on their part of the process. However, the entire process should be shown to all stakeholders to ensure there is clarity and a complete understanding of what is going on at every moment.
  4. Don’t give access to external stakeholders – When collaborating with external teams such as suppliers, printers and others, it is a good practice to establish a collaboration model that is based on an on-demand basis. This means only when the core team requests something from the external members, the information can be provided or consumed, keeping access to the larger process blocked at all times. This approach reduces risks and simplifies the actions that external stakeholders need to take on your process.

In summary, defining the level of access (both views and actions) when digitising your artwork process should be considered as one of the most relevant task before you get started. Think through it, check with all stakeholders, determine which level of transparency fits your team and remember that silos are the enemy of collaboration.

We make more rounds to avoid mistakes…the Fallacy

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Have you ever heard from a client that the reason they make so many rounds or checks (and they seem to be proud) is to avoid mistakes in the final product?

I translate this as “reducing the probability of making a mistake” in the design of the packaging.

Well….let me tell you this:

THEY ARE LYING TO YOU

Anybody that can do statistical analysis

Designing and creating designs for packaging materials, specially for food, retail and pharma, is a complex process that involves multiple rounds of designing, checking and refinement. One might expect that with each additional round of design and checks, the probability of making a mistake decreases. However, this idea is counter-intuitive and exploring the math clearly shows how more rounds of changes do indeed lead to a higher probability of making ANY mistake. Let’s check it out, it is not too complex.

The Setup

Let’s say that the probability of making a mistake when implementing a design is 1/10, or in other words, 10% of the times a designer will make a mistake. It does not matter if this number is realistic or not. More experienced designers will make mistakes less often than more experienced ones. The numbers do not affect the calculation and are only used to showcase the scenario.

Let’s also say, that we want to know that is the probability of making ANY mistake when making 1 design round versus 4 rounds of changes. In the first case, for a single round, the probability of making a mistake is set at 10%. For the second case, the probability of making ANY mistake after 4 rounds, we need a bit of math. Don’t be afraid, it is simple.

The Proof

The probability of NOT making a mistake on any given design round is 1 – 1/10 = 9/10 (so 90%). The probability of NOT making a mistake on all four consecutive design rounds is (9/10)^4 = 6561/10000 (so 65%).

To find the combined probability of making ANY mistake, we subtract the probability of NOT making a mistake on all four consecutive actions from 1:

1 – (9/10)^4 = 1 – 6561/10000 = 3439/10000 = 0.3439 = 34.39%.

So the combined probability of making ANY mistake if you execute 4 consecutive design rounds is 34.39%.

That is more than 3 times the probability of making a mistake on a single round. This is key, so clients can understand that a well-defined brief and instructions improve the odds of nailing the design in the first round, which then reduces the probability of making a mistake on further design rounds.

Fell free to send this proof to your clients so they start sending better briefs (including accurate technical specs).

Send this to your (design) clients

Design briefs are essential for creative projects as they help set clear expectations and define the scope of work. However, working with a design brief that has missing (or useless) information such as low-quality images can be a significant challenge. Below you will find the key challenges faced when working with an incomplete design brief and obtain tips on how to create a clear and comprehensive brief.

You must read this if you are a customer

Every designer in the world

The classical challenges

One of the major challenges of working with a design brief that has missing information is the lack of clear guidelines. This often leads to confusion and misinterpretation, resulting in a final product that does not meet the client’s expectations. For example, if the brief does not include all the reference files or text documents, the designer may struggle to understand the client’s request and produce an artwork that is not in line with their requirements.

Another common mistake is the use of low-quality (or low-resolution) images. When the final design needs to be printed, such as packaging materials for like…..everything that is sold, the images provided to the design team need to have sufficient resolution for the required printing size and method (SPOT and Digital Printing can be different). This not only affects the quality of the final product but also the reputation of the designer and the company they work for. Although, in all likelihood, your designer will probably have to reject the job and ask for better images.

5 things you need to do as a customer

It is of the outmost importance to create a clear and comprehensive design brief that includes all relevant information. Here are five tips to help make the brief clear:

  1. Include clear brief information: The brief should include a clear and concise description of the project’s goals, technical specifications and in general the desired outcome. This will help the designer understand the client’s vision and ensure that they are on the same page. Do not make it more difficult that it needs to be….more is not always better.
  2. Add up-to-scale dielines: Dielines are essential for product design, as they provide a template for the designer to follow when creating the final product. This is particularly critical for packaging materials since it will most likely be the input of a packaging machine when mistakes can be very costly. By including up-to-scale, clean and usable dielines in the brief, the designer can ensure that the final product will meet the client’s technical specifications. If you think a blurry scan of a dieline is good enough…..think again.
  3. Include all text documents: The brief should include all text documents that are relevant to the project, such as product descriptions, marketing materials, regulatory texts, and any other content that will be used in the final product. The designers cannot read your mind, they cannot possibly know all the details of the regulatory bodies of the many countries where you are releasing and have no insight on your company’s strategies. Don’t make it difficult, make it nice. If a text needs to be included, please add a readable document that can be copy-pasted (designers do not type).
  4. Add clear and precise annotations: Sometimes the best way to convey an idea is by annotating an existing document indicating any specific requirements or requests that the client has. Be like water, be clear.
  5. Include all relevant references of essential information: The brief should include references to any essential information that the client feels is important, such as brand guidelines or examples of similar products. If it takes time to find those documents, better do it before hand.

Working with an incomplete design brief can be a significant challenge for designers, but with the right tools and tips, it can be overcome. Remember, too much information is just as bad as too little information, so be sure to strike the right balance and keep the brief concise, yet comprehensive. And always remember, a good design brief is like a GPS – it helps you reach your destination with ease!

On-premises vs SaaS

Even though the corporate solutions landscape has rapidly evolved over the last decade, the decision between an on-premises software installation and a SaaS cloud solution is a common one that many organizations face. There are several key differences between the two that impact cost, functionality, and security.

  1. Cost: On-premises software requires a significant upfront investment in hardware, maintenance, and upgrades. It also requires the in-house expertise in the form of developers, engineers, infrastructure and security experts. In contrast, a SaaS solution is generally sold as a subscription service and eliminates the need for a large upfront investment. This means that the cost of a SaaS solution is more predictable and often more manageable.
  2. Functionality: On-premises software offers more customization options, but it also requires more expertise to set up and manage. Development and installation takes a significant amount of time as the complexity of the required functions increases, taking several months to years to setup a system. A SaaS solution, on the other hand, is managed by the vendor. It typically offers less customization but is easier to set up and use. If the SaaS solution offers a powerful API, customization can be further extended. This can lead to a more streamlined and efficient process with a significantly lower go-live time.
  3. Security: On-premises software is often perceived as more secure because the data is stored on the organization’s own servers. However it also requires more resources and expertise to manage and protect. A SaaS solution is managed by the vendor and typically offers a higher level of security than an on-premises solution, specially when large scale, well know infrastructure providers are used, such as Amazon. It also involves more trust in the vendor and their security practices, which is typically solved with Information Security audits.

In conclusion, when deciding between an on-premises software installation and a SaaS cloud solution, it’s important to consider the cost, functionality, and security implications of each option. While on-premises software offers more customization options, it also requires more resources and expertise to set up and manage. SaaS solutions are easier to use and offer more predictable costs, but they also involve more trust in the vendor and their security practices. Ultimately, the right solution will depend on the specific needs and resources of each organization, but let’s be honest. Who in its right mind would in 2023 decide to purchase an on-premises solution when there are SaaS alternatives on the market?