The Covid-19 pandemic turned office work on its head. Now restrictions have eased, are companies prepared for the fact it may not turn back?
In March last year companies suddenly found that working from home had gone from being a perk to a necessity. And within an average of 11 days (according to McKinsey), they’d put new processes and systems in place to make it happen. Since then, people have got used to home working; according to a recent survey by the IPA, nine out of 10 people’s preferred option for the future is total flexibility of when and where they work.
So, the question becomes whether the solutions adopted in the pandemic will still be fit for purpose afterwards.
Collaboration and silos cause complications
This situation is particularly challenging for agencies, because so much of what they do relies on collaboration within and across teams. And it’s exacerbated among smaller agencies by the existing tendency for them to be operating siloed management systems for different areas of activity; project management, collaboration, finances and CRM, for example.
These are the problems enterprise software company Silversoft aims to address within the agency space. With great success in the South African advertising industry, Silversoft has now expanded into the UK.
“A small agency can run on Google Sheets or Excel with an appropriate accounting system, but when that team starts to scale, there is an inherent need for a strong time-tracking solution, and often another separate solution for managing resources. This is often bolstered by further solutions for managing clients, projects, tasks and deliverables,” says Iain Ravenhill, sales director, UK and Europe at Silversoft. "By the time the agency is 20 plus people, it’s not uncommon to see a myriad of platforms strung together to creative visibility of their work.
“On top of that, it’s no secret that the world has embraced remote working, but do agencies really have the best solutions in place to manage it? If C-level executives now understand that they can trust their staff to work remotely, then we provide them with a platform to maintain control of their business while giving their team the creative latitude to do what they do best in the way that suits them best.”
If you can’t see the problem, you can’t solve it
According to Ravenhill, siloed systems create two main problems. They complicate the day-to-day running of the business, introducing inefficiencies and making it difficult to understand how different aspects work together and affect the performance on the whole. Even more seriously, by making it hard to see what’s going on, they compromise the agency’s agility and ability to innovate, which can make the difference between success and failure in today’s hyper-competitive market.
Silversoft has been working with Deltek, a leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, for 15 years, and for the last four has focused on the agency sector with Deltek’s WorkBook product. It has a substantial client base internationally, with a proven track record of implementing and supporting agencies who have moved to WorkBook, including Ogilvy South Africa, Wunderman South Africa, Joe Public Africa’s largest independent agency, and many of South Africa’s leading independent agencies. It recently established its presence in the UK when The Smalls adopted Deltek WorkBook as a full-service agency and project management tool.
“We implement and support an all-in-one platform for managing people, projects, financials and time, completely tailored to the needs of a modern agency,” Ravenhill says. Our close partnership with Deltek, who is the leading provider of enterprise solutions to project-focused firms globally, means we can deliver a best-in-class solution to our clients, while drawing on our in-house expertise of working in the sector for many years.
Agency-centricity drives competitive advantage
Deltek Workbook, developed in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a cloud-based solution built from the ground up for agencies, that integrates project management, resource planning, CRM, file sharing and collaboration, forecasting and accounting across all agency operations. As Ravenhill explains, the software was conceptualized to meet the needs of people and project-centric business processes since inception.
WorkBook delivers a holistic platform to provide our clients with visibility into the performance of the specific areas that make agencies successful. With increasing market, economic and competitive pressures, its critical that all role players in a creative agency have visibility into the success of their people, clients and projects at all times. This is what will put them ahead.”
Best-in-class cloud infrastructure and data security
“Being cloud-based also makes Deltek Workbook ideal for distributed workforces. It doesn’t matter where your staff are,” Ravenhill says. “They can log in from anywhere and collaborate immediately, while the system maintains the right levels of workflow and control so that you can manage your resources, while allowing your staff to deliver their best quality work.”
Security and trust are foundational elements of Deltek’s offerings and business operations. As part of their commitment to delivering innovative technology solutions with superior service and support, Deltek has comprehensive monitoring capabilities and safeguards to ensure continuous data protection.
“We don’t want our clients to be constantly worried about where their data is, if its secure and whether data privacy should be of concern,” he says.
Punching above your weight class
Ravenhill believes this combination of competitive pressure, growing pains, and the desire of staff to work from home means now is the right time for agencies to review their management systems and processes.
“If companies are going to have staff working remotely – with all the benefits that brings – do they have the best solutions in place to expand their own businesses? Have they done their due diligence? If you’re going to hit the reset button on how things used to be done, this is an ideal opportunity to review whether you have the most ideal systems in place to move forward,” he says.
“We’re here to help agencies punch above their weight by giving them the right tools to scale and grow as we emerge out of lockdown and into this new hybrid way of working."