If your company has departments that you don’t have day-to-day exposure to, redesigning a corporate PowerPoint, sales presentation or other base template can be fraught with danger. Larger corporations use presentations—especially PowerPoint—in so many ways it’s almost impossible to anticipate every use.

The mistake that many of these companies make is that they see the redesign only through the lens of their own needs.

PowerPoint template redesigns usually come as the result of a brand update. They follow the lead of that design, and therefore the marketing department often feels that many of the tough decisions are already made. The problem with this approach is that they often have very little insight into how these templates are used by others across the company.

If you’re on the cusp of a template redesign effort, our recommendation is to gather sample decks from every department that will eventually use the new template. This can be a herculean task, but without it the final template is doomed to be sliced, diced and misused almost immediately. With your mountain of presentations in hand, start the process of winnowing down to individual slides that best represent the way PowerPoint is used in your company. The results will be eye opening. You may discover departments using plug-ins, others who require Excel integration, and endless other requirements that will significantly alter how you view the PowerPoint effort.

The front end effort to understand how presentations are used in every department will pay huge dividends as you get your efforts rolling.