Case Study

How This Agency Transitioned From Google Sheets To Hive

85SIXTY is a data-driven media and marketing agency that helps brands make smarter decisions based on aggregated data and its proprietary analytics infrastructure. With offices in San Diego and Denver, their growing team of 45 helps clients like Ikon Pass, Arc’teryx, and Blundstone transform the way they interact with their customers through an innovative combination of data science, cross-channel strategies, and creative thinking.

The Challenge

Before Hive, 85SIXTY was operating mostly in Gmail, shared Google files, calendars, and Google Forms. This worked when their team was smaller, but as they grew exponentially, it became a less reliable way to track assignments, workloads, and campaigns across their lifecycle. 85SIXTY was also utilizing Toggl for time tracking, and several disparate project management tools like Basecamp and Asana, through which they communicated internally as well as with clients. 

But as 85SIXTY grew rapidly from a team of 10 to over 45 people, they knew that they needed one streamlined place to store all of their client information. When they started looking for a tool, they knew that they needed something with a forms capability, time tracking, external users, and templates, which would help streamline workflow. The solution needed to be effective and holistic to drive meaningful impact for their team — Google Sheets and Google Docs just weren’t going to cut it anymore.

The Solution

When 85SIXTY found Hive, it was truly that tool that took agency collaboration and efficiency to the next level. In Hive, they sort their projects by client, which are the parent projects. Underneath, child projects are nested which correspond to each service in scope, like SEO and Email Marketing. 85SIXTY loves that teams could invite clients to specific projects as external users in Hive, which cut down on back and forth communication over email and allowed them to retire Basecamp — Hive was the central place that they could share to-do lists and store information on campaign progress, allowing clients to easily check in to reference or glean insight.

Two other aspects of Hive that are critical parts of the 85SIXTY workflow are forms and action card templates. The team primarily uses forms to communicate between departments and pass along any vital information when projects or tasks are handed over from one team to another, which helps consolidate intel and prevents it from getting lost in email.

Action Card in Hive
An Action Card in Hive with a template applied.

The team also heavily relies on action card templates, which help team members immediately populate action items by client and task. An example of how templates are used specifically is when a new hire is onboarded — once someone starts, there’s an action card complete with subtasks that correspond to every next step to get the new hire up and running at 85SIXTY. The templatized workflow has really helped the 85SIXTY team onboard at incredible efficiency and expand their business.

Forms and templates in Hive have helped us take on new business at a rapid pace and grow the company without compromising our quality of work. Our process has been streamlined such that each team member is now enabled to spend more time on client work and less time on communications and information gathering – Ruthie Baer, Director PMO

Summary Views in Hive are also part of their daily project management experience, which they use to sort tasks and projects by department or tasks by assignee. This is helpful for Ruthie Baer, Director PMO, as it allows her to assess workload for each employee and figure out how to best optimize her teammates’ time. Summary views overall have been very helpful for tracking bandwidth and prioritization across the organization. 

Summary View in Hive
A Summary view in Hive.

For the wider team, My Actions view is a huge part of their day, as it allows them to instantly be reminded of pending action items and due dates. This view has been hugely helpful for their organization and overall productivity. Another team favorite view is Table View, because it helps 85SIXTY view large volumes of information at a glance. Since they were used to working in Google Sheets, this was a natural progression.

Additionally, 85SIXTY implements labels and time tracking simultaneously in Hive. Not all clients require time to be tracked, but the ones that do are marked with a specific tracking label, so team leads can sort by label and document exactly how much time they’re spending on those client projects. This saves their team tons of time and helps them automate their work for increased efficiency.

Without Hive, the 85SIXTY team wouldn’t be able to scale or take on new business at the same pace while maintaining their high level of work quality. It’s been an integral part of their workflow and enhanced team productivity across the board.