Bob Befus is passionate about helping scientists and clinicians present the results of their research. In the 1980s, he co-founded Spectrum Multi Media Inc. as a full-service presentation graphics company servicing medical and pharmaceutical organizations. In later years, the company name was changed to Research Presentation Strategies to reflect its focus on helping customers with high profile regulatory and scientific presentations. He has worked in just about every area of presentation graphics—digital presentations, video production and interactive multimedia.
In this conversation, Bob discusses SlideSource, a presentation management tool that lets you organize, develop and share your presentations from one secure online library anytime, anywhere.
Geetesh: Can you briefly tell us more about SlideSource, and what motivated you to create this product?
Bob: We have helped customers develop and deliver sales, marketing, clinical, and regulatory presentations for close to 30 years. Over that time, we became well acquainted with the challenges that individuals, teams, and companies experience while trying to manage all of their presentation content.
While presentation technology has changed dramatically over the last three decades, the systems and tools for managing all of that presentation content have not kept up. In fact, these problems have gotten worse as the creation of slides and presentations has gone from primarily being the domain of specialized design teams and individuals to being a ubiquitous activity performed across all functional areas and levels.
In order to effectively deploy slides and presentations, it’s crucial to know: where the most current version of a slide is (and where all the previous versions of it are), who last edited a slide, what presentations the slide is a part of and where all of those presentations currently reside. It’s also very important to know how to easily make the right slides and presentations available to the right people at the right time. Finally, when you update a slide, you want to be sure that the updated version has been propagated to all presentations that contain that slide.
Through our work over the years helping companies develop very large slide libraries that include 2,000 to 10,000 unique slides, we began developing custom tools to help them organize and manage those slides and presentations. One of those tools eventually became SlideSource which is now available as a cloud service (SlideSource.com) and as the only slide library add-on available for Microsoft’s SharePoint platform (SlideSource SP).
When a presentation is uploaded to SlideSource, the slides in the deck are split into individual PowerPoint files (one slide per file) and these individual files are stored in a slide collection. A slide library can hold many unique slide collections. The individual slides can now be organized by simply dragging and dropping them into any desired folder structure. Individual slides can also be dynamically linked to presentations. This means that when looking at a slide’s properties, users can instantly see all the presentations that include that slide. It also means that if any slide is edited, it is automatically updated in any presentation that includes it.
You can edit slides in PowerPoint directly from your library, track version history and assign search tags to slides. Even when you download slides or a presentation from SlideSource, it maintains its connection to the library. When you re-upload a presentation you edited offline, SlideSource will recognize those slides and update the version history of each slide with the new version.
Geetesh: Who are typical SlideSource users? And can you share a small story about any of these users?
Bob: SlideSource customers range from an individual teacher or professor organizing their teaching slides to a whole medical affairs department of a major pharmaceutical company managing many thousands of clinical slides. I recently met with a customer and the first words out of his mouth when I sat down were, “Bob, we have a slide problem!”
This team was preparing for the global launch of a new product in 2016. While large companies have sophisticated content management systems to manage most of their communication media, presentations seem to fall through the cracks. The team was having trouble making sure that presenters only had access to the most current, approved content. Since presenters were both inside and outside the company, PowerPoint files were often sent via email to users, who often made edits to target the presentation to a specific audience. These presentations were essentially lost from that point on.
Adding a SlideSource library provided a single secure location for all the approved presentation content for the new product launch. The library could be easily managed by a small team and yet all stakeholders, whether inside or outside the company could access it. Permissions were configured based on the user’s need to access or edit presentations.
SlideSource brought order, structure and security to the team’s large and growing library of slides and presentations.