Case Study: JAL Brand Communications leaves Excel behind

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Industry: Marketing
Location: Japan
Employees: 115

JAL Brand Communications manages all branding and advertising for Japan Airlines (JAL), an airline that serves 32.88 million passengers for domestic flights and over 8.28 million passengers for international flights annually.

Executive Summary

For JAL Brand Communications, using Excel to manage projects was causing a lot of headaches: it was difficult to grasp the progress of tasks quickly, spreadsheet formats were difficult to standardize, and file management was plagued by duplicates and outdated assets. Introducing Backlog streamlined their workflow, making it easy to understand and manage projects from start to finish.

Ryosaku Kasahara from JAL Brand CommunicationsRyosaku Kasahara, Group Director of Planning & Promotion, WEB department

 

Challenges

JAL Brand Communications’ WEB department was using Excel to manage projects and track tasks. With multiple large-scale campaigns running simultaneously, understanding the full status of a given project was tricky. To complicate things further, sharing files via email meant they were in a constant battle with outdated or duplicate files.

While they knew they needed a better solution, their teams of developers, designers, and operational members didn’t have experience working with project management tools.

“Backlog is attractive because even members who are inexperienced with this kind of tool can use it easily to collaborate in real time.” —Ryosaku Kasahara, Group Director of Planning & Promotion

They needed a tool that could let anyone grasp the status of work quickly and accurately. Proper file management was also a top priority. But most importantly, they needed a tool that everyone could learn and master easily.

How Backlog Helped

The WEB department at JAL Brand Communications is divided into various teams based on flight categories such as domestic flights, international flights, domestic tours, and international tours. While team members work closely together, large-scale projects require that they also collaborate with other departments.

An external production company they work with highly recommended Backlog, so they decided to try it. Now, every time they start a campaign, they create a new project for it in Backlog. Within each issue, team members attach the files they need to understand the task, making information sharing across departments a breeze. And Gantt charts help them understand overall progress at a glance.

The team adapted to the new system quickly, and they were able to onboard every member with just a few operational rules. It didn’t require large manuals or in-depth training, especially compared to the processes they previously had in place in Excel.

“Since the app is very intuitive, I would recommend it for any industry, not just web production and development companies.” —Ryosaku Kasahara, Group Director of Planning & Promotion

Results

Now, department heads and team members alike can quickly grasp the progress of each task and project without sifting through sheets of information in Excel. This makes directing the team and managing resources easier and more efficient.

They are also able to use Backlog as their central file management system so that anyone can find the assets they need right within the task they’re working on. The tool allowed them to standardize processes for dealing with these assets not only internally with different departments but externally with various vendors. Issues of outdated or duplicate assets have disappeared.

Backlog Case Study - JAL Brand Communications

The best part of shifting to Backlog has been the lasting success. In their experience, management tools can be difficult to keep utilizing over time. It has been three years since they introduced Backlog, and it continues to streamline their workflow, increase team efficiency, and support quality project management.

“Generally, management tools are difficult to keep utilizing. I can say now that it has been used continuously for over three years: it made a much bigger difference than we expected.” —Ryosaku Kasahara, Group Director of Planning & Promotion

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