Agency Leaders on the Future of Agency Operations: Part 2 of 3

August 26, 2021

TwitterTweet it:' Agencies that master exceptional process efficiency before implementing advanced technologies will find that it leads to increased profitability and a faster trajectory for future growth'

Agencies today are faced with a variety of challenges related to managing their operations for optimal use of time and resources. Taking on a process-centric approach is nothing new to agencies, but this best practice is often overlooked, especially when looking to integrate new technology. Agencies that master exceptional process efficiency before implementing advanced technologies will find that it leads to increased profitability and a faster trajectory for future growth.

As we continue to highlight the recent webinar with the 4A’s, four agency experts from Tangram, R/GA, RPA, and Ogilvy discussed why process efficiency is crucial to an agency looking to introduce advanced technologies and how it will help activate a culture of success. Below is Part 2 of our blog series that highlights these key takeaways from the webinar, The Future of Agency Operations. And if you missed Part 1 of this blog series which was focused on tech opportunities for agencies you can view it here.

Having a Process in Place is Critical

Process at an agency varies depending on the scope of the project or business initiative at hand. In order to create a streamlined approach at your agency, it is critical to have integrated systems in place that work effectively, in addition to having robust reporting tools to gain visibility into how your agency is performing.  

It’s also essential for your agency to have a unified objective and vision at the start of the technology journey in order to get your workforce aligned.

“Getting control of processes and getting everyone facing in the same direction is helpful for the agency,” stated Brian Riedlinger, Chief Delivery & Technology Officer at Ogilvy. “Even if you don't ever implement any automation, you are still going to be more efficient by doing that. So I think that the place to start is bringing at least people who do the same job together and getting them pointed in the same direction.”

Another key factor in the process of adding automation at your agency is having a strategic approach to structure and an effective communication plan so your staff is committed and they recognize the ultimate goal. “There's value in a holistic approach,” said Tim Leake, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at RPA. “Because I think it comes down to communication. A lot of times there is going to be similar pain points that you can identify. The solutions are usually easy to spot within a discipline. One of the best techniques that I've found, isn't to try to come in and sell the solution that you've got, but to sell what the problem is, because most of us can agree that we've got the problem.”


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Helen Johnson, Managing Director/Partner at Tangram Consulting, believes that a collective delivery-first mindset is effective for agencies, essentially focusing on the process optimization of projects that streamline successfully and produces collaboration across multiple functions. “The people who are servicing clients, delivering and creating the work are the critical people to have in the room. And it's critical to bring them all together in the same conversation, because they are the people who are out servicing the clients.”

Last year forced agencies to rethink the core elements of their business operations including resource management and the way they serve clients. “What we learned is that we actually needed to get better deliverable based pricing,” shared Julie Andrews, VP, Executive Production Director at R/GA. “The method was to look at similar things and apply that math instead. What we were really getting to was let's set a price and allow ourselves to manage to that price. That's where we started to peel back the layers of how we actually manage projects if we're going to start to really look at profitability and contribution margins, because ultimately that was what I was trying to achieve. Let's set a price and then hold and deliver to that price but the way we went about it was wrong, but the intention wasn't. And so now we're in a much better place in terms of how we get to that. So learning that whole process does give us information. Just wanted to share that as sometimes failing is as important as succeeding.”

When implementing advanced technology at your agency, it is important to keep in mind the trial and error process, and to ensure your workforce feels safe when there is failure at your agency. “People need to feel safe with the idea of failure,” stated Brian Riedlinger. “They need to feel safe knowing that if they make a mistake, they're going to have a chance to come back again and reevaluate and figure out how to actually get there because no one has all the answers.”

Watch the Full Webinar On-Demand

We have only provided a snapshot of the best practices that were shared from our conversation with these agency leaders. Watch the full webinar on-demand to hear more from our industry experts and stay tuned for Part 3 of our blog series that is focused on agency transformation.


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[Read] Agency Leaders on the Future of Agency Operations: Part 3 of 3