Noah Menikoff is chief architect and a managing partner at Synthesis Technology. He has over twenty years of experience as a software engineer and business consultant with a focus on business process improvement. Synthesis Technology offers Intelligent Communication Solutions for Financial Services firms and other regulated organizations. The Synthesis FlightDeck solution makes it easy for organizations to create, manage and utilize large amounts of PowerPoint content.
In this conversation, Noah discusses FlightDeck.
Geetesh: Tell us about FlightDeck and what this solution offers to your clients over and above their existing slide workflows.
Noah: Everyone knows that PowerPoint is a great tool for creating powerful presentations. The problem is that many organizations with large amounts of PowerPoint content have no way to effectively organize or manage it. Ideally, presentations are easy to create with readily available, current, and approved content. FlightDeck provides the organizational structure around your presentations to do exactly that..
Let me explain how this works.
FlightDeck brings a Content Management System (CMS) and Dynamic Publishing Engine to your slide creation and distribution workflows. In simple terms, FlightDeck easily gives you the right content when you need it. The CMS feature enables content sharing at any level: groups of slides, single slides, blocks of language, or charts and data within slides. Content can be updated and managed by admins so that only the most recent versions of slides are included in presentations created by FlightDeck. Content is organized so that it will be readily available according to your business rules.
FlightDeck’s Dynamic Publishing Engine uses slide and presentation “templates” to create ready-to-use presentations that are automatically generated and assembled with the most recent language, images, charts, data, and business rules. This powerful publishing engine can produce all useful variations of presentations, even personalized for specific meetings (in batch or on-the-fly) without any user interaction. The appropriate presentations are then automatically distributed either for approval or directly to the presenters.
For Presenters (Users): A simple web interface guides the user to configure a presentation. This flow can be customized to collect any business-specific data points. Usually, these include things that might profile or characterize their audience. They then select topics and specific slides to include in their presentation.
When selecting slides, the presenter only sees what’s been made available to them. Also, any pre-defined rules about always including one slide with another or sorting restrictions are automatically enforced.
Once the slide selection is complete, the presentation is automatically routed for approval (if necessary) or sent directly to the presenter. Presentations can be delivered in PowerPoint or PDF format via email or Dropbox. Additionally, presentations can be delivered directly to a user’s SlideShark account which makes them ready to be presented on mobile devices.
For Content Creators and Managers (Admins): Any editorial workflow can be incorporated as-is. Once presentations, partial presentations, or individual slides are approved and ready for use, they are uploaded into FlightDeck in bulk or individually. Slides or groups of slides are categorized and characterized for use as they are uploaded.
FlightDeck can manage the editorial workflow for some or all of your slides, too. Editors and approvers can be notified (via email) when their review is required and slides will become available or get updated automatically upon approval.
Dynamically generated slides are those for which templates are linked to some data feed (e.g. a spreadsheet report or XML feed from an external database). Slides are automatically refreshed upon receipt of new data and either staged for approval or automatically refreshed for presenters.
Content managers (e.g. a marketing team) now manage a handful of templates and source files rather than hundreds or thousands of minor variations using the same raw content. Also, since presenters are empowered to configure and customize their own presentations (with appropriate restrictions) content managers don’t have to answer to the multitude of custom requests that they used to receive.
In essence, this makes it easy for a small team to manage thousands of slides and presentations in support of a large number of field reps.
Geetesh: Can you share some case studies or feedback from users?
Noah: We have a customer with nearly 900 field reps giving presentations every day. Each field rep creates their own presentation for each meeting — which only takes a couple of minutes with FlightDeck. This client has a small marketing team (three people) that manages over 1000 slides and can fully support all the needs of the field. Every presentation delivered is compliance-approved and meets all corporate standards.
Administration has become a very simple process and the marketing team can focus on providing good marketing content.
“It just works.”