Digital Marketing Agency Connecting Plots Powers Remote Working Collaboration With Deltek WorkBook
Can you tell us about you and your company’s history and mission?
Sophia Kang: My name is Sophia Kang. I am the General Manager and Financial Controller of two sister companies. One is Connecting Plots, a creative digital agency, and the second is Infinity Squared, our production company.
Connecting Plots is a small-scale agency with a team of specialists focused on “doing it differently" and being a one-stop shop for brands, as we can provide a wide scope of marketing services, including brand strategy, advertising, digital strategy, graphic design and media planning. We are a relatively new business but we’re very proud to work on some impactful campaigns for local and global brands.
Every project is different but campaigns for Coca-Cola, Nescafe, Tesla and, more recently, Tourism Australia have been very exciting for us to work on.
With all these exciting projects to work on, what problem were you trying to solve that prompted you to look for a new solution and what impact was it having on your business?
Sophia Kang: Several points come to mind when I think of challenges we faced in the past.
In our previous system, resourcing was not intuitive and very slow. It was not possible to plan future staffing, which was a challenge for us. Now, with Deltek WorkBook, we can model staffing resources for future projects to evaluate if a job will go over or under budget. This is an important alert system for us to prepare ahead. For instance, on a 10-month project we conducted, Deltek WorkBook helped us allocate the appropriate resources, allowing us to analyse the budget and identify the potential need for freelance support. Most of the tools we used in the past could not provide this financial insight.
Another very useful feature of the system is read-only access for those employees who don’t have a full license to the application. This translates into significant savings. In our previous system, we would have to pay a license for each employee or contractor.
Thirdly, we had a real issue with communication. Previously we relied on Google Hangouts or Gmail to share project updates and manage tasks, but often feedback and requests were lost along the way. We have clearly found that the chat functionality helped minimize communication barriers we had in the past.
Finally now we not only have all communication in one place with Deltek WorkBook but also have client briefs, task briefs, files and links for each job stored as well. Deltek WorkBook has become a central place for everyone to store and locate critical information and all relevant files. It saves us valuable time from using and switching between different tools and searching for info and files in different locations.
"Deltek WorkBook is the company’s central tool and the platform everyone opens first when getting into work."
During the decision-making process, were you considering any other solutions? What was the deciding factor that helped you choose Deltek WorkBook?
Sophia Kang: We were looking at a few other options, including Ten Thousand Feet and Zoho, but the main reason for moving forward with Deltek WorkBook was the depth of the demonstration and documentation. The Deltek team answered all our questions during the process and gave a great demonstration of the product.
Before we even signed up, we already had a play on the demo system and knew that the system would solve most of our challenges.
The system has been live for a few months now. Are you able to see measurable differences “before and after” using Deltek WorkBook?
Sophia Kang: We are saving a tremendous amount of time using the budget and scheduling templates. Previously we created schedules one by one, but now we can just copy the schedule template and adjust the start and end dates. Deltek WorkBook can accommodate multiple estimates and schedules in one job, which we can easily share with clients in a calendar view.
Another advantage is streamlining of the purchase order process. We can integrate all our project information into the system to create a purchase order very quickly. We do not have to create additional service agreements when working with contractors and that helps us to forecast outgoing costs very quickly and accurately.
We also extensively use the revenue forecast functionality. The system is able to distinguish billings and revenues, allowing us to set up revenue plans, which many other systems simply do not offer.
"Everybody here has adopted the solution very quickly and, as a result, we did not notice much of a disruption by transitioning to remote working."
Can you give us a specific example of how a core business process has been enhanced using Deltek’s technology?
Sophia Kang: Deltek WorkBook can support multiple entities into one system. We can now share resources and workflow across both companies, Connecting Plots and Infinity Squared. It is a beautiful system and very efficient for resource management across multiple departments or businesses.
Connecting Plots implemented Deltek WorkBook with the Power Launch configuration that aims to accelerate the process. What is your experience deploying Deltek WorkBook and how has your staff adopted the solution?
Sophia Kang: To avoid renewing Function Point licenses, our previous system, we had the pressure to go live quickly at the end of September 2019. To meet such a tight schedule, we implemented Deltek WorkBook using the Power Launch configuration, a pre-configured offering of industry best practices. This was a very efficient process and we completed the implementation two weeks ahead of schedule and 30% under budget. Aside from one office visit, the whole implementation took place virtually.
The pre-implementation documentation was easy to understand, onboarding was amazing and the Deltek customer support team has been very helpful, fast and always available. Everyone at Connecting Plots found the migration process pretty straightforward and easy. The more features we explore, the more excited we are to have made the move to Deltek WorkBook.
With the current climate and challenges associated with it, businesses have shifted to a remote working model almost overnight. Has Deltek WorkBook helped facilitate the transition in such a short time?
Sophia Kang: Everybody here has adopted the solution very quickly and, as a result, we didn’t notice much disruption by transitioning to remote working. Many of our friends that work for other agencies are jealous and say we are lucky to have a system that allows us to work remotely!
Remote working has pushed us to find a better way to communicate within one tool and, I have to admit, we had not expected to use the conversation feature so extensively. With over 25 people working simultaneously on the same project and located in different places, sharing information through one single point of truth is critical. The built-in collaboration functionality helps us bring everybody into the same conversation and we don’t experience information or feedback being lost in Google Hangouts anymore. This has definitely eliminated miscommunication.
Deltek WorkBook is now the company’s central tool and the platform everyone opens first when getting to work. It organically funnels communication within Connecting Plots now, instead of email.
"It is a beautiful system and very efficient for resource management across multiple departments or businesses."
Is there anything else you would like to share that we have not already covered?
Sophia Kang: I just wanted to say that Deltek is a really great team - from the sales team to the customer service team that has handled the whole implementation. I was surprised to see the team reaching out to us, post implementation, to make sure everything is running smoothly. In the past, we have had little interaction with providers once we subscribed to their solution, so this means a lot to us. Everybody here has really appreciated the support from sales and services post-sale. Deltek WorkBook is a great system and all agencies should use it.
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About the Author
As Connecting Plots’ General Manager and Financial Controller, Sophia Kang is responsible for the company’s business strategy. With the firm since 2014, she focuses primarily on daily business activities, improving overall business functions, managing budgets and developing strategic plans.
Connecting Plots is a planning-led creative communications agency on a mission to have brands talked about in culture. They believe, in today’s world, brands must continually future proof themselves if they are to survive and stay relevant. That is where they fit in.
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