Building a State-of-the-Art Workflow Management Solution for IMG—a Multi-billion Dollar Leader in Brand Licensing
Brand licensing is a massive field, even though most of us live our lives unaware it even exists. In simple terms, brand licensing is about creating legal agreements between a brand (the licensor) and someone who intends to use that brand’s logos and name to sell products of their own (the licensee).
For example, Epic Games owns the intellectual property for Fortnite, their hugely popular video game. When The Lego Company makes a Lego set based on Fortnite, or when Hasbro makes a Fornite version of Monopoly, the licensees (The Lego Company and Hasbro) sign an agreement with the licensor (Epic Games). The licensor typically earns royalty payments for each sale, and the licensee benefits from the brand’s reputation.
When Net Solutions first began working with IMG Licensing, the company was already a global leader in brand licensing and intellectual property management. Eventually, WME acquired IMG, and the two corporations formed a new business entity known as Endeavor—which remains a leader in the field. And yes, they still manage licenses for Epic Games.
IMG found that their License Product Management department—where licensees seek approval for the use of licensed brands on their products—struggled to provide a streamlined service due to an outdated approval workflow management platform. Simply put, its capability was limited and it did not provide all the options they wanted to offer.
IMG was using a legacy system with an interface that wasn’t very usable and an aging tech stack that was becoming difficult to support. The system could not support many of the features that management wanted, such as customized workflows for specific brands, and the outdated tech made it nearly impossible to build new features onto the existing platform.
Given the limitations of the legacy platform, IMG knew it was time to replace it with something more robust and dynamic. That’s when they reached out to Net Solutions, a technology partner they’d been working with for some time.
During the discovery phase, a Business Analyst from Net Solutions worked with the IMG team to document both existing features and new ones they had hoped to implement for some time. Based on the scope of the project, they decided to take an Agile approach to the entire project. They also documented user journeys to better understand the challenges faced by end-users.
The ultimate goal? They wanted to create a modern architecture that was both robust and scalable. This meant redesigning everything from the ground up. The new workflow management platform included the following features.
Greater Admin Controls: Since the approvals process always begins after licensing is put into place, the system synced the brand and licensee users directly from the licensing platform. That meant that all the super admin had to do was create additional users, if it was at all necessary. They could also upload necessary reference documents that the licensee team might need.
Custom Forms for Product Approvals: In the new platform, the team could create custom forms for approval requests they might need for different types of projects covered under the licensing agreement. Licensee teams would use these forms to submit approval requests for products.
Custom Workflows:The brand team could also configure the approval workflow for each form, giving them highly dynamic, custom workflow capabilities. This allowed each licensee team to configure workflows according to their unique, individual internal structures. Plus, they could configure the system to update key stakeholders as the workflow progressed through the system.
Archiving: Upon approval of a product, users could archive all the details of the product for future reference. Both the Brand and Licensee teams could browse through, and revisit past approvals.
Powerful Reporting Capabilities: A super admin from the Approvals team could generate reports based on several parameters. For example, they could see:
These reports ran on system level, and Net Solutions provided extensive filters, allowing the team to customize those reports as they saw fit.
The new system received quite a bit of positive feedback from the various teams using it. Feedback from both internal and client users led to additional changes, updates, and tweaks.
As mobile phone usage began to grow, IMG turned to Net Solutions to build mobile apps that could access the platform. The team at Net Solutions built native apps for both Android and iOS platforms, which provided all the functionality of the website application.
Net Solutions’ relationship with IMG continues to this day, continually updating and adding new features to both the web-based platform and the mobile apps.
Net Solutions provided excellent support in the areas of website engineering and site optimization. I can confidently recommend Net Solutions as a dedicated and reliable supplier, and as experts in their field.