When you think of your business, the systems in place, your people managing them and the processes they have to go through to deliver information to you, have you ever asked yourself the following questions:

  • What insights do you get into your business?
  • How quickly is information provided to you, and is it in a format you understand, or even like?
  • Are you confident of its accuracy?
  • How exactly has the information been put together?
  • Is your data secure, and how easily can you delve into your business history?
  • Do you feel in control of the numbers?

Read on for some important facts…

One of the wonders of the advertising and media industry is that despite the calm unflappable, delivery focused and quality obsessive outward appearance of many very successful agencies, just below the surface there’s an awful lot of “paddling[1]” going on.

Investment in back office systems for early stage agencies is typically low priority, they follow their peers and do the known knowns, and many established networks or agencies have been ensnared by head office investment in the wrong, or just plainly inadequate systems.  

From what we see most system combinations, or “stacks”, evolve organically.

A choice of finance system might have been the accountants’ recommendation. It’s a logical first step, and acknowledges the imperative need.

FACT: Add a CRM, an electronic job bag system, perhaps time tracking software if you’re that inclined and, as you push past thirty or forty people, the resource allocation Google Doc starts to break, so you look at a cloud project management option for this. There are some good ones too, but they also have features you’re probably fulfilling with another system now. What do you do?

On top of this, your developers have their own preference for bit bucketing, issue and project tracking.

FACT: Budgeting, planning and most reporting was always going to be done in Excel. It’s possible this is also used for estimating, and in near worst case scenarios, for invoicing. Worst case is using Word.

Each system on its own doesn’t cost very much, and spreadsheets are almost free, right?

Wrong! The effort to compile the information is putting stress on your finance people, and whilst this combination may deliver a result, it will never be in real time and you should be questioning its accuracy. You also won’t now easily scale.

We’ve assessed many agency system setups, and it’s a common theme that combinations of more than two systems, with Excel playing a supplementary role, delivers low systems efficiency[2].

Where time is the main revenue driver, an hour a day of a billable person looking for or rekeying data would be time you typically can’t bill. At a minimum, it will slow down the delivery of work and cost you money.

FACT: The maths is simple and scary when you start multiplying it out across your team.

For one large network agency we spoke to recently, they’d internally quantified a specific resourcing systems inefficiency added one extra hour a day in administration for all of their 150 project managers – equating to a loss of billings of over £2M a year[3]

With slowing growth and margins under sustained threat, this is just staggering.

We see many agencies poorly served by their systems, either through the extra time to do things or just to administer them, or simply through their inability to access data and generate reports.

Often Excel is the default reporting tool, with information being passed inefficiently from one system to another spreadsheet.

There’s a further downside to this, not related to cost.

The process of manually producing information is hugely demotivating.

Procrastinating and not doing anything will eventually lead to a dumbing down of your team, as unless they’re allowed to change it for you, your best people won’t stick around for long. 

FACT: The good news is there is a solution – its Swedish, and it’s called BizView[4].

We’ve found BizView has allowed us to work seamlessly with all relevant agency systems[5], integrating them and pulling data into an Excel-like, database and controllable environment for reporting, updating forecasts or modelling – on demand, in real time.

We have also been able to create industry defining and customisable reports that are easy to use, and understand.

We are so enthused by BizView, and the advantage it is giving our agency clients, we offer a return on investment guarantee.

So, talk to us. We like challenges and are unique in our competencies and focus on agencies.

We can connect your systems, and give you more control of your business with better information and insight.

DON’T be a sitting duck, awareness and preparation are key to survival.  We’ve transformed other agencies, now it the time to let us help you.

[1] Technical term for large amounts of unseen manual work.

[2] Agency DNA System Efficiency Score© is based on an assessment of over forty systems.

[3] Using £100/hour; 200 days; 70% utilisation basis

[4] BizView Systems, see https://www.agencydna.com/cpm/

[5] Contact us for more information. We’ve not found a system yet we can’t integrate.