Choosing the best Presentation Management Software for your precise needs is something of an artform.
Starting the search for a new productivity software tool can be daunting. Looking for the best presentation management system to suit your needs is no different.
Chances are, you’ve been grappling with a particular business problem for a long time, and things have finally come to the point where you need help. Now you find yourself searching online for tools to manage PowerPoint slides.
The problem is, this normally coincides with not having the time or mental headspace to spend ages trawling through online product specs and sales detail to choose the right software vendor.
The options can seem overwhelming – it’s hard enough to clearly articulate your own needs, never mind comparing different presentation management tool options to see how they measure up.
To help you in this situation, we’ve put together this handy buying guide to help you get clarity on the kind of PowerPoint presentation management system you’re looking for. Once you’ve worked through these questions, you should have a clearer idea of your presentation management requirements and priorities, which can rapidly accelerate the buying process in a potentially confusing product landscape.
We’ll be looking at the following areas:
1. Identifying What Your Presentation Management Problems Actually Are
2. Understanding your Considerations, Constraints and Preferences
3. Getting A Handle On Your Priorities
4. Exploring How Slidebank Compares as a Presentation Management System
So first things first, let’s talk about what led you to Slidebank – your problems with managing PowerPoint files and precisely what form these problems take.
1. What are your PowerPoint presentation management problems?
Firstly, scale – how big a problem is managing PowerPoint files for you?
The chances are, if you’re on the hunt for a presentation management system, it’s not just your own slide management you need to consider. You’re likely looking for a solution on behalf of your team – something that will help you to collaborate better and more efficiently.
One of the things to consider here is the scale of the PowerPoint problem you’re facing. Think about the following:
- How big is your team?
- How many people are regularly looking for PowerPoint slides, and using them as the foundation for new documents?
- What is this costing you and your colleagues in terms of time wasted, money spent on duplicated content or simple levels of stress and frustration that get in the way of clear thinking?
These factors contribute to the scale of the problem that you’re facing in managing PowerPoint files, which will closely tie into the potential Return on Investment that you can get from a presentation management solution.
If, for example, you’re looking for a presentation management tool that can help you share PowerPoint files with just one or two other teammates, you may be into diminishing returns by implementing a depth solution. In this case, you may be better off simply using a shared drive and reviewing your file naming protocols to make your PowerPoint content easier to find.
On the other hand, if you have a team of 20 or so individuals who are regular PowerPoint users, the scale of the problem can start to take on much more significance in terms of business impact.
The increased transaction times, margin for error in presenting out of date PowerPoint material, potential miscommunication issues and wasted costs can quickly snowball with larger team size and more geographically dispersed team members.
It pays to spend some time up front thinking about the number of users that a presentation management system like this could benefit.
Just how many users could a presentation management system help, and what positive impact could this have on the work community at large?
Certainly, the individual benefits of being able to find PowerPoint slides easily are tangible. A presentation management system helps you:
- Build new PowerPoint presentations more quickly and easily
- Reserve brain power for more strategic issues
- Save time so you can focus more on building customer relationships
- Have peace of mind that you are using only the most up to date and highest quality content.
However, just what could these cumulative effects look like at organizational level? For example:
- What’s the impact of an entire sales team working more quickly and effectively?
- What’s the impact on the bottom line of using recycled, rather than (expensive) re-commissioned PowerPoint content?
- What’s the value in having content available to all employees that is up to date, compliant and brand-consistent?
These things aren’t the quickest and easiest things to measure, but we’ve created this ROI Calculator to help you gauge the potential value of implementing a PowerPoint presentation management solution within your business. Download it and have a play around with the scale of the problem you might be looking to solve.
Asking questions such as this will help you to understand the scale of the presentation management solution you’re looking for, after which you can start to make some serious headway into the nature of the PowerPoint tool that can help.
This tool will help you see how much money you could save by managing your PowerPoint files more efficiently.
Secondly, the nature of the presentation management challenge.
Just what are you hoping to achieve with your PowerPoint file management? We can talk to you about the benefits of Slidebank all day long, but if you’re not clear on the type of problem you’re trying to solve, it may not be much help to you.
For example, are you a Marketing Director wanting to reduce the requests for information to your team?
Maybe you’re fed up with being asked by sales reps for the most recent versions of PowerPoint slides. It’s not a good use of your team’s time and brain power, when there is much more impactful strategic work to be done.
In this case, perhaps you’re looking for an online slide repository and presentation management tool that will automatically update PowerPoint slide decks for sales reps with new material when you make edits. This would take the communication burden off your department, and stop them needing to act as air traffic control for PowerPoint presentations!
Maybe as a Sales Director you’re concerned that:
- Your reps are spending too long in the office, starting new presentations from scratch instead of putting in face time with your customers.
- Colleagues’ PowerPoint and design skills aren’t the greatest, and you’ve heard concerns from Marketing that some of their PowerPoint slides don’t meet brand guidelines.
- Compliance has hauled you over the coals a couple of times for presenting out of date or incorrect data.
If this sounds familiar, maybe you want a PowerPoint slide organizer that your sales reps can search instantly, dragging approved slides into new PowerPoint presentations.
Alternatively, you may be in Compliance or Legal and want to ensure that all necessary disclaimers are in place alongside product specs. If so, perhaps you need a presentation management tool that automatically includes mandatory content in new slide decks, or that lets you group PowerPoint slides together where needed.
Whatever role you play, it’s worth being clear about the exact nature of your PowerPoint slide management problem, because this can help weight your evaluation of potential tools when it comes to decision time.
Would you want, for example, a tool that’s fairly simplistic, that helps users to simply access PowerPoint files from the road (a little like Dropbox, for example)? Or are you looking for something more nuanced that can really put you in the driving seat with controlling the type of functionality that users have access to?
Deciding this upfront will help you to discard presentation management tools that may not have enough of the functionality that you’re looking for.
2. Understanding your Presentation Management Considerations, Constraints and Preferences
Know your users – who are the PowerPoint presentation builders in your company?
Just how skilled are the users that you want to roll this presentation management system out to? What’s their appetite for learning and adopting new software? Are they already PowerPoint proficient, or are you looking for a solution that leans away from complicated native PowerPoint features and keeps things simple?
Having a gut check on how your users are likely to receive a new tool is important when you’re making a decision between different PowerPoint slide management options.
The types of PowerPoint management systems that are available tend to be very varied regarding the up-front effort users need to put in to learn and adopt them.
Some are much more geared towards users that already have a high level of PowerPoint expertise, and others require very little user training.
There’s little sense in going through the vetting and pilot process if you think users will ultimately resist learning the new skills necessary to make adoption a success.
Take a few minutes to look through the groups of users you’ve identified and think about their existing PowerPoint skills. This will help you to plan your end user training strategy.
Would these users require a lot of extra training in addition to learning the new presentation management system itself?
- How much time would it be reasonable to ask them to invest?
- Do you have the internal resources to drive this training and development?
- What level of training would cross the line into unreasonable?
This question naturally leads onto thinking about….
Internal Resources for rolling out presentation management software
Do you have people on standby to help you select and roll out a new presentation management system? Are your IT team planning on taking on a sustained and integral role in managing it?
Depending on the type of presentation management system you need, these things aren’t always required. However, it’s really important to be clear up front about how much internal resource you have to support new PowerPoint management software.
Sometimes, people come looking for a presentation management solution that they can host on site. However, they don’t always realise how much heavy lifting is involved on an ongoing basis.
It’s not just about getting the system up and running – every time there’s a new security release or feature update, presentation management systems would need to be updated at the customer end, therefore calling on the time and expertise of Internal IT teams.
A lapse or delay in this support can lead to security issues and even in the system and presentation content being unavailable. It's important to understand the relative costs of a cloud vs on-premise solution.
We would suggest being rigorous and honest about the kind of internal infrastructure you have for rolling out a high maintenance, self-hosted presentation management system.
If you want to get up and running quickly, even without any help from Corporate IT, and want a zero-manual-update commitment, we would highly recommend that you narrow your search to Cloud-hosted presentation management systems only.
Even presentation management tools that operate from a PowerPoint plug-in standpoint require updates, which is why we actively avoided developing this model.
Related to these setup issues is the question:
How long can you afford to wait for a presentation management system?
Lead times can be an issue, especially if your slide management problem has got to the point of urgency and is already costing you time and money.
It may be that you need a presentation management solution that you can get started with straight away, or perhaps you’re looking for something you can implement further down the line.
In either scenario, you’ll need to take lead times into account. Consider:
- How long does the presentation management solution you’re assessing take to get started?
- What kind of software implementation plan would be needed, and who are the stakeholders?
- Will it require additional internal or external resource?
- What’s the IT burden?
- How about user training?
Perhaps related to the relative complexity of IT installation and training, some presentation management solutions will naturally take longer to get started with than others.
It can always be a challenge to convince skeptical employees to adopt new technology.
There may also be contractual issues related to implementation – if you’re signing up the entire enterprise for a long-term contract, this will likely involve legal and governance teams’ approval, which can also take time.
If you’re looking far-afield, some of the more cumbersome enterprise presentation management solutions may be worth considering, but if you just want to get started quickly and on-board your own team to begin with, there are more rapid adoption options available to you.
In addition to this:
How long are you prepared to commit to your presentation management system for?
Are you looking for a presentation management solution that you can commit to for the long-haul, or one that offers greater flexibility in response to your changing needs?
Knowing the answer to this may provide a valuable filter to your search.
Also worth considering here is whether you require a free trial as part of your vetting process, and whether this trial has a cost or financial commitment associated with it.
Is it a trial that offers unlimited features and user numbers, or is it restricted to certain functionality?
Are there any other considerations that are important to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Meanwhile, the next section deals with how to navigate your various priorities in the selection process.
3. What should you prioritize when choosing presentation management software?
All things considered, how are you going to weight your decision? What are your most important considerations? What functionality can’t you live without?
Your reasons for seeking a presentation management system will likely drive this weighting, and only you will be able to decide what matters to you the most.
(Incidentally, this is why we always encourage our potential customers to try Slidebank for themselves before purchasing. No checklist in the world can compensate for satisfying yourself that a presentation management tool matches up with your requirements.)
Here are some of the top priorities we hear from our customers. You may choose to focus on, say, three of these, rank them in order of importance or add your own that we may not have heard about… (if you think we’re missing a trick, we’d love to hear from you!).
The elephant in the room!
People are sometimes squeamish about asking about cost and admitting this is a big driving factor in software decisions. This shouldn’t be the case (everyone has budgets to manage!) and we’re always happy to have this discussion with our customers.
The advice we would give is that, whilst this is obviously an important consideration, the cost question should be looked at in conjunction with some of the other selection factors. For example…
- What drives the difference in cost between one presentation management solution and another?
- What are you getting for your money?
- Is it better security, more storage, hands-on customer service and training, a more robust feature set…?
- What’s really important to you and what are you prepared to compromise on?
Carefully considering these other factors will help you to assess the weighting that cost needs to have in your decision. Remember that in the products, you’re not necessarily comparing like with like.
Ease of use / training / adoption
This is a big one for us, since the harder a programme is to use, the longer it will take to learn and the lower the eventual adoption rate.
Given that a presentation management tool like Slidebank increases in value and impact the more users leverage it, a critical factor in our design and development was in making it super simple to use.
Once the main features and functionality have been checked off, we find ease of use to be the number one decision factor amongst our customers.
How controlled do you want to be with your content?
Do you want an online slide repository that offers generic access and perhaps access to files at a folder level, or do you want to be much more tightly controlled than that?
We often work with regulated industries and users with sensitive PowerPoint content, where giving users access to an entire folder just won’t cut it.
Many of our customers sign up to us because they want the ability to define a detailed abilities set for users - for example:
- They want users to build new PowerPoint presentations with existing slides but not upload and share unapproved content;
- To ensure they always receive slide content updates;
- To control the sequence in which slides are used in new PowerPoint presentations;
- Or to keep users from editing slides in PowerPoint itself.
The spectrum of control varies from company to company, and department to department.
Having a presentation management system with a great deal of flexibility at abilities level allows administrators to adapt the use case according to content, company culture and the nature of the problem they are trying to solve.
Accordingly, the ability to set PowerPoint controls in the presentation management system varies in its strength as a key priority.
How important is your data?
Are you willing to entrust your PowerPoint files and user data to a more casual startup, or are you looking for an Enterprise-level presentation management solution?
What kind of security measures would you like in place, and is Single Sign On important to you?
There are presentation management products on the market that are geared towards casual collaboration within smaller teams, and others that have a slightly more corporate focus. Emphasis on security may differ between these, and this may lend weight to your decision making process.
Do you want a presentation management solution to quickly sign your team up to now, and roll out later, or one that you need to commit to from day one at a certain level?
Do you want to sign up more than one department at once, but keep them in different silos, or have everyone accessing the same PowerPoint content?
What’s the variety in user permissions you would want to see between different groups of people or individuals?
Do you want the ability to flex user numbers and cost up and down as your presentation management requirements ebb and flow over time?
These are some of the questions customers ask themselves when using flexibility as a priority in the decision making process.
Is there a presentation management feature or set of features that you simply must have?
Is it a powerful PowerPoint slide search engine, for example?
A visual PowerPoint slide sorter with drag and drop display?
The ability to lock PowerPoint Slides together or make them mandatory?
Sometimes, having the right feature can make or break the selection of a new presentation management software tool, simple as that!
There are specific techniques that will tell you how to weight criteria against a set of priorities.
See this short article here about how to decide with criteria and weight, for example.
However, providing you've given careful consideration to your true presentation management needs and what is most important to you, chances are a quick gut-check will do the job when the time comes to assess your options.
In Summary - How To Choose The Right PowerPoint Management System
There is no right answer when it comes to selecting the best presentation management software tool for you. Each company culture is unique, and its specific makeup will drive emphasis on one set of features over another and determine which priorities take centre stage.
As a reminder, here’s a rundown of issues you might consider to get that balance right:
1. Your PowerPoint file management needs
Understanding the scale of the challenges you're facing
How many users would benefit from having access to this presentation management system?
What's the Return On Investment you're looking for? At what point will you see a PowerPoint management tool add value?
What’s the nature problem you’re trying to solve?
- Access to approved PowerPoint content?
- Making sure people receive PowerPoint slide updates?
- Aiding brand compliance?
- Controlling abilities?
- Controlling how PowerPoint content is used?
- All of these?
2. Things To Consider Before Evaluating PowerPoint Tools
a) What’s the skillset of your users? How much training are you prepared to give them? Or are you looking for a presentation management system where they can hit the ground running?
b) How much internal IT resource are you willing to set aside to manage this on an on-going basis? Or are you looking for a hosted presentation management solution where this isn’t necessary?
c) Are you keen to get set up and using the system immediately, or are you happy with a lengthy installation and setup?
d) Do you want a contract that you need to commit to for a fixed term, or are you looking for a flexible presentation management solution that responds to your changing needs?
3. Your Priorities For Choosing The Best Presentation Management System
What are they and how will they influence your decision? Could they be:
Cost: getting the best return on your investment also requires the feature mix to be taken into consideration – not all solutions are equal
Simplicity: how simple is the tool to use and learn? Does it require complex training for users to get to grips with it?
Control: do you need to define what users can and can’t do? Does this need to vary by department / user group? How granular do you need these settings to be?
Flexibility: Do you want the presentation management system to scale as you do, and reflect your changing needs? Do you want to be able to try it for a few months and see how it goes?
Feature set: Is there something your presentation management system absolutely must have? Is this the most important factor to you?
Security: Does the presentation management system you're looking at meet minimum security requirements?
A thorough analysis of these three elements will not only give you clarity and peace of mind, it will also help you to spot the right presentation management system when it comes along.
This will save a huge amount of time and confusion when you're lost in spreadsheets that tally a dizzying array of features and pros and cons.
Sometimes, when you hit on the right software tool for you, you just know. Fit is everything, and once you get clear on what's important to you, the rest should be easy.
To get you started on finding out whether Slidebank could be the right presentation management tool for you, we've cut to the chase by giving you a short overview of how it performs against some of these key considerations. We hope this is useful!
4. Presentation Management Systems – how Slidebank compares
We can’t speak for other products on the market, but we can give you a rundown of how Slidebank stacks up against some of the key selection criteria. This may help cut through some of the noise and quickly give you a sense of whether it could be the right presentation management solution for you.
Slidebank is scalable:
From 10 – 2000 users and beyond, Slidebank can flex alongside your business so as your user numbers grow, your presentation management system can too.
This works in both directions - if you need to scale back for a while to accommodate peaks and troughs in usage, that’s just fine with us. We’ll simply reflect this in your billing.
Oh, and you’re not committing for a year in advance or anything like that – contracts simply run month-to-month.
It’s extremely flexible:
If you need a relatively simple database of PowerPoint slides, that’s fine.
If you want to have different silos for different groups, and a wide variety of permission sets, that’s fine too.
Slidebank’s abilities are driven by you, and the makeup of your account can be as unique as your business culture.
It requires little training:
Slidebank has been designed with simplicity for users in mind.
The interface is uncluttered and straightforward, based on a folder structure that users will already be familiar with.
It requires zero PowerPoint skills, and once we’ve given your users a short training webinar, they will need little else.
It needs nothing from your IT department:
Slidebank is hosted in the Cloud, which means we can roll out security and feature updates, without you needing to do anything at all.
We also keep pace with the latest releases from PowerPoint, so there’ll be nothing to install at any point in your account.
This means Slidebank is low maintenance from an ongoing perspective, but also means that a Marketing team, for example, can quickly get up and running without needing anything from IT.
It improves collaboration:
Slidebank has been designed specifically to bridge the gap between Marketing and Sales, providing benefits to both departments and beyond.
In fact, when used across departments, Slidebank’s potential really comes into its own.
Control is a laser focus:
Every feature in Slidebank can be turned on or off for individuals or groups of users, which puts you in a unique position of control.
For example, it means you might have Marketing populating it with approved PowerPoint slides, so Sales can’t go rogue with their own creations!
You can make sure people have no choice but to receive slide content updates, and you can make sure certain slide sets are always included.
As you switch off users’ abilities, the interface only becomes clearer and simpler for them to use.
It’s quick to get up and running:
As soon as you’ve returned your Service Agreement, you’ll have access to your PowerPoint slide database and can get started right away.
No lengthy consultations, zero installation and no messing around with PowerPoint plug-ins.
Just add your users, decide what they can and can’t do, and upload some PowertPoint slides. We’ll train your users for you, then you’re good to go!
Value for money:
Slidebank isn’t the cheapest presentation management solution on the market; nor is it the most expensive.
What you get for your licensing fee, however, is a deeply engineered, well thought through PowerPoint management solution with robust integrity in mind.
We only employ the best of breed security solutions, never cutting corners in that department.
We also provide personal, one on one customer service and training.
We live and breathe PowerPoint file management, and our platform has been designed with an experienced understanding of the challenges that corporates often face.
For this reason, we have an extensive feature list for managing PowerPoint slides online, designed to make your life easier and for maximum ROI.
How does Slidebank compare to Sharepoint? Well there are, in fact, about 45 things that Slidebank can do that simply aren't possible in the likes of Sharepoint – the inclusion of a visual PowerPoint slide library and drag and drop interface being just the start! (Sharepoint removed their visual slide sorter some time ago).
Checklists can be useful, but they’re no substitute for experience. With all our prospects, we are pleased to conduct a personalized online tour of the system (all part of the service!).
If Slidebank is ticking some of the boxes at that point, we’d recommend you carry out a no-commitment 14-Day Free Trial so you can rigorously put Slidebank through its paces. There’s simply no better way to satisfy yourself that this is the presentation management product for you. If you want to sign up after this, you have the option to continue with your trial site so your hard work isn’t wasted.
We hope this guide has been useful and thought-provoking in helping you to identify what’s important to you. Of course, we are always on hand to guide you along the way. If you’d like to sound us out with your potential use case, or you’d like more details about Slidebank setup and features, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll be very happy to assist.
Finding the right presentation management software can be essential for collaboration and productivity. If you have any experiences to share, please comment below!