Video case study transcript: Lockton, Typefi, and Crema
A custom publishing workflow solution built by Typefi and Crema enables Lockton account managers to create brand-compliant client documents in minutes.
To learn more, check out the Lockton case study over on the Customer Stories page!
- Carly Thompson (Account Manager, Lockton)
- Lisa Childers (Senior Graphic Designer, Lockton)
- Chris Hausler (Business Development Manager, Typefi)
- Eric Damitz (Senior Solutions Consultant, Typefi)
- Brandon Blackman (Product Manager, Crema)
CARLY (00:00): Lockton is the world’s largest privately held insurance brokerage. We consult our clients on both health and welfare, human capital, and the property and casualty side, commercial insurance.
As an account manager on the health and welfare side, I am communicating with my clients and helping them structure their benefit plans for their employees, for managing the renewal process, negotiating with carriers, helping with escalated service issues, and really helping them manage that overall benefit strategy.
I’m also serving in a capacity as a project manager, where I’ve been working on this project with Crema and Typefi to create a product to streamline the presentation process with our clients.
Some challenges that our account teams face are related to our collaboration and a lot of different people needing to work on presentations at the same time.
This can be difficult when working with a design team and using InDesign, because we have to submit things and give time to process those requests, and often we are recreating the same documents over and over again, without a real centralised place to access base templates.
LISA (01:05): Our largest problem is really an issue of volume. We have tons and tons of documents that come in all at once, and we want to, of course, turn those around and make great products for clients, but we don’t always have the time to do what we want.
Another problem is that because we have such volume, we often take longer than we would want to, to get those back to our internal clients.
Brian (VP of Operations, Lockton) and I were kind of looking at solutions for that volume issue and that turnaround time issue.
We stumbled across Typefi, just doing some internet research, and reached out to them to kind of get the ball rolling on what that would look like for implementing at Lockton.
CHRIS (01:51): Typefi, the company, we’re an Adobe solutions partner. We’re headquartered out of Australia, but we have offices in the US, UK, Netherlands, and Sri Lanka, so we’re an international company.
What we do as an Adobe solutions partner, is we work with customers to provide automated publishing solutions for them leveraging the InDesign Server technology.
ERIC (02:18): A nice thing about working with Lockton is they already have a team of designers who use InDesign, and one of the pieces of the Typefi software is we use InDesign Server to produce publications.
They already had InDesign templates built, so we understood their design very well. Then we got into how they create the content.
At first, it seemed like our Typefi Writer Word plug-in would be a way to handle that.
Initially we thought we could use Typefi Writer, their authors would use that to mark up the content. Typefi Server is where you can send jobs, basically to run, so they could use Typefi Server.
Basically, we hit a print button and the job gets sent to Typefi Server, an InDesign file is created, a PDF is created, and then the author can see the PDF.
Working in Word isn’t an unfamiliar thing, but adding a layer of markup to it using that tool, there’s a learning curve around that because the Lockton content is pretty complex.
There are a lot of tables with a lot of numbers and data in them, all in Excel. So we’re actually, instead of just writing all the content in one Word file, it’s coming from a lot of different places.
So, in order to manage all of that, just using Word and kind of moving files around, it was very clear very quickly that this is going to be a cumbersome process that is not going to work.
As we were finishing up that meeting, Brian from Lockton, he’s had this idea, why can’t we have a web-based tool? That’s going to help the authors to gather all that stuff, guide them through the authoring of these different kinds of documents, and then that’s where all the management would happen.
And then Typefi, instead of being the authoring tool and the place where all the work is being done, we’ll put Typefi in the back end. It’s still going to produce the InDesign file, it’s still going to produce the PDFs, but the front end where the authors are interacting, that’s going to be a completely different tool.
And that’s where Crema came in, because they know how to build a tool like that.
BRANDON (04:15): Crema is a digital product agency that builds web and mobile apps for disruptive companies and industry leaders.
Crema is unique because we offer companies full stack product teams to come in and build custom software for them. This could be user consumer-facing software, or it could be internal software, in the case of Lockton, where we were creating software to increase the efficiencies of the company as a whole.
What made Lockton and Typefi an ideal client for Crema was their innovative mindset.
Oftentimes industry leaders, they struggle really capturing the innovative perspective. Lockton, in particular, was highly motivated to find something that could increase efficiencies within their organisation.
Right off the bat, they were willing to try new things and experiment with new ways in order to make their business better.
CARLY (05:14): There were a lot of different teams involved to build Fuse. We were able to collaborate very effectively using Slack.
Crema created a channel, #lockton-collab, where we were able to communicate both with the Crema team, internal Lockton players from various areas of the company, as well as our Typefi teammates.
ERIC (05:33): When Crema came on board and started to build the tool, all we really had to do was hook up their tool to the Typefi backend. We have an API, so it was fairly simple to do that.
And then work with the team at Crema to get the information that Typefi needs to produce these documents in the format that we need it. It’s an XML format.
The tool that Crema’s built can take Word, it can take text that you’re entering on the website, it can take Excel files, and it kind of combines all that information.
It transforms it, it puts it all together the way it needs to be done, transforms it into that XML format that Typefi needs, and sends it to Typefi Server. Then Typefi takes over from there and produces the output.
BRANDON (06:19): With Lockton, we actually started with what we call a design and prototype phase. It was a pretty lean product team.
It mainly focused on a designer and an engineer who worked together to not only design out the basic screens to prove the concept, but also worked with the engineer to then, in a very MVP style, put together a basic application that users could use and that we could show stakeholders at Lockton just how this app might operate in the real world.
Once we had that buy-in, we were then able to invest more resources into actually building out a full product team, which for us consisted of a designer and two developers, a product strategist, and a product manager.
With our full product team, we were able to actually build out a full app that worked with the Design and Document Service team to create templates that then lived inside of the application and account managers could then build bespoke documents off of those templates without needing to work side by side with a DDS member.
ERIC (07:28): That connection, that interaction between Typefi and Crema was mainly just ‘here’s the information you need’, and then they figured out how to get it to us.
So it was really, I don’t want to say easy because it maybe trivialises it, but it was a very nice process. Everybody understood what was going on very easily and it’s really cool, what ended up getting built.
CHRIS (07:50): We really, at Typefi, get excited about providing unique solutions to our customers through a publishing process, and to be able to meet their needs.
That’s really what excites us at Typefi is to be able to give our customers the ability to publish more dynamic content faster, that meets their publishing needs and their branding requirements. And we’re really happy to be able to do that with Lockton and partnering with Crema.
BRANDON (08:32): In the case of Lockton, this is actually a really great example of how impactful software can be on a company.
With Lockton, and these are rough estimates, but with Lockton, we’re estimating that before the Fuse Document Builder was put into place, they were spending about 12 hours per document, putting that together and compiling all of the information into a designed document to give to a client of Lockton’s.
This application actually limited that down to where now it’s taking about 15 minutes. So, it went from 12 hours to 15 minutes to build out these documents.
If you take that over the course of an entire year, and you consider that this app could absorb about 40% of the document creation load at Lockton, you’re looking at annual savings of about $1.2 million, just with this product alone.
CARLY (09:23): Currently we have wrapped up beta testing and we’ve really entered into our first phase of users. We are working on a lot of features and enhancements to the usability of the product.
We’re really excited to be getting more templates built out for more teams, and to get more users into the product.