Case Study: POPSUGAR

Bjorn Pave
We don’t have to disrupt people with requests to update their information anymore—it’s been a big cultural win. Bjorn Pave | Director of Information Technology

At POPSUGAR, the IT team is responsible for providing the company’s staff access to an expanding array of business apps, all the latest hardware, and managing how it’s all connected. As the Director of Information Technology, Bjorn Pave leads those efforts.

But with a fast-growing team of 500+ people spanning six different cities, keeping employee information current was becoming a serious challenge, and employees were having a tough time accessing the information they needed on the existing system.

Problems with clunky, complicated systems

Initially, POPSUGAR used Microsoft Active Directory, along with additional software, to try and manage staff information. It was a lackluster experience that required Bjorn and his team to make requests for employees to manually update their information. Complicating things was that many staff members didn’t understand the system.

“It wasn’t obvious; you could only find information or make changes if you knew what to look for,” Bjorn explains.

Adding and updating information was challenging, too. IT was forced to make updates manually—a time-consuming process that took them away from other important jobs. Tasks as simple as changing a person’s title meant playing a game of phone tag between the employee, the IT department and HR.

“On a good day, making a change used to take us 20 minutes. Sometimes, it could take an entire day, between approvals and replication. It was an awkward spot for IT to be in. Anything that takes us away from our other tasks has a negative impact.”

On a good day, making a change used to take us 20 minutes. Sometimes, it’d take an entire day...

Adding to the problem was that POPSUGAR didn’t have any publically accessible org chart—and printed copies were hopelessly out of date. The company needed something much more intuitive—so after hearing about Pingboard, Brian Sugar, POPSUGAR’s CEO, asked Bjorn to give it a try.

Easy Implementation & Powerful Integrations

Before Bjorn could greenlight Pingboard, he had to be sure it would integrate with Google Apps and the other pieces of POPSUGAR’s existing toolset. He had to ensure that Pingboard wouldn’t just be another system they had to manually keep up to date.

“From an IT perspective, we want as much automation as possible,” Bjorn explains. “The more I read about Pingboard’s integrations, the more I felt like it was the right choice.”

Bjorn was impressed with how quickly they were able to get up and running:

“We turned it on in the morning and had people actively using it by the afternoon,” said Bjorn. “Pingboard’s team was helpful in making sure our imports and integrations all worked great when we turned it on.”

We turned it on in the morning and had people actively using it by the afternoon.

Quick Adoption, Company-Wide

Unlike their old system, getting people to use Pingboard was a breeze: “We sent out an email announcing the new system, and people just got it immediately,” Bjorn recalls. “There was no need for training. The interface is user-friendly, and it’s really compelling to use.”

Time spent making manual changes and coordinating with HR has been drastically reduced, and IT no longer wastes hours running after people for updates. Information is now highly visible and easily available.

“Users can now manage their profile information and updates - and they’re doing it proactively, without us having to ask. Automation keeps the rest up-to-date,” comments Bjorn. And because Pingboard integrates and syncs up with POPSUGAR’s Google environment, there’s far less possibility for error.

People just got it immediately—there was no need for time-consuming training.

A Fantastic, Culture-Building Experience

While POPSUGAR initially sought out Pingboard for ways to improve how they organized information, Bjorn has been excited to see how staff are also using the tool to connect with each other in more personal, meaningful ways.

“In an office of our size, it’s a big cultural win to be able to find the right people, put faces to names and familiarize yourself with those you work with—whether in your office, or another city,” he explains. As a member of POPSUGAR’s Culture-Building team, Bjorn sees this as a huge plus.

“It can be daunting to walk into a meeting with people you’ve never met—Pingboard is a great way to get to know your co-workers before you get there.”

What’s more, staff now have a clear, up-to-date picture of the company’s reporting structure, something they couldn’t access in the past. Bjorn believes that’s helped POPSUGAR’s teams communicate more effectively because they engage the right person from the onset.

“It doesn’t take several emails—often to the wrong people—to get things done anymore. Everyone has visibility into how we’re structured; it’s great for transparency.”

It doesn’t take several emails—often to the wrong people—to get things done anymore.

POPSUGAR even made Pingboard a part of their Winter Party for staff, using the software to collect shirt sizes for company swag and fuel the questions they used in their ice-breaker games.

We love it...It’s become a little hub of culture for us.

POPSUGAR Inc. is a global media and technology company that is parent to digital shopping platform ShopStyle, lifestyle media publisher POPSUGAR, and monthly subscription box POPSUGAR Must Have. Together, the brands attract 85 million visitors worldwide, with each brand being a leader in its space. POPSUGAR is the #1 millennial lifestyle brand, delivering inspiring, informative and entertaining content in multi-platforms across entertainment, fashion, beauty, fitness, food and parenting.