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

September 02, 2021

TwitterTweet it:'Agency Leaders on the Future of Agency Operations: Part 3 of 3: Four agency experts from Tangram, R/GA, RPA, and Ogilvy recently shared tips and provided a strategic approach on how to embrace transformation'

In a recent survey conducted by Campaign and Deltek, 68% of agencies said that they are either undergoing or exploring digital transformation options. It is critical for agencies to introduce new technologies in order to thrive, and not only keep up with the demand from clients, but to stand out from the competition. With so many digital solutions, how should your agency prepare for the changes to come and what is the best way to manage business transformation from an operational standpoint?

Four agency experts from Tangram, R/GA, RPA, and Ogilvy recently shared tips and provided a strategic approach on how to embrace transformation in a webinar with the 4A’s on The Future of Agency Operations. Below is Part 3 of our blog series that provides some strategic insights from our panel discussion. And if you missed Part 2 of this blog series which was focused on process efficiency for agencies you can view it here.

Assess Your Agency’s Business Situation 

When it comes to transformation, it is essential to evaluate your agency’s current business state and to get buy-in from executives and key stakeholders before you start building your digital transformation framework.

As Julie Andrews, VP, Executive Production Director at R/GA explained, people are the critical components that agencies need to leverage, just as much as the technology, when it comes to transformation. “Make sure that everyone agrees that there’s a problem. These are the behaviors we want to change, and we're going to reinforce that by putting these tools in place. It's just looking at the entire ecosystem of how we operate our systems and what we need to address, and to actually achieve the things we're trying to achieve, which is to be more efficient and improve our margins.”

A key strategy when it comes to approaching transformation at your agency is change management and ensuring all modifications are smoothly implemented. Agencies often struggle with this method, but a prime example of how organizations can successfully execute change management was during the pandemic. Problem solving needed to happen quickly and effectively, which many agencies acted on with ease. Employees were flexible with the transition to working remotely and quickly adapted to the increased use of technology. As Tim Leake, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer of RPA, commented, “I was so impressed by everybody, not only the people at our agency, but by the entire industry and by our clients at how quickly we all adapted. And it makes me think that there's perhaps a valid approach to simply pulling the rug out and saying, it works this way now because I think people are resilient and we figure out new solutions and we go solve them. And certainly, there were bumps along the way, but we solved those really quickly and certainly a lot faster than if we had just met on that for a year and a half leading up to the transition.”


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Build Short and Long-Term Goals

A best approach to implementing transformation at your agency is to build short and long-term goals in order to move your agency in the right direction towards growth. “I think if you plan things out in sort of short-term tactical wins, you'll be better off, it'll move you in that direction,” Brian Riedlinger, Chief Delivery & Technology Officer at Ogilvy shared. “Break down the entire process into small pieces that you can do one at a time or two at a time with different groups, in order to get some wins under your belt and start moving your agency at least in the right direction.”

Another tactic around agency transformation is ensuring your organization is aligned on clear goals and prioritize objectives. “We're talking here about being really clear on objectives, both the strategic objectives, which, might be an end vision and end goal, but also the tactical functional objectives that we can check off through the way,” commented Helen Johnson, Managing Director at Tangram. “And obviously with client deliverables, we would have the statement of work. We would know exactly how we were going to deliver at every step of the way. And I think there's an opportunity there to apply that same level of rigor and project ownership and project leadership to the projects we run internally as well. And I think from a change management perspective, the biggest opportunities are how we make things stick afterwards.”

Transformation can be impactful and powerful, and it’s essential for agencies to not lose sight of that. This year has been a journey filled with experiments, but agencies have found ways to implement tweaks and evaluate margins in addition to demonstrating the true value to their staff and clients. As Tim Leake shared, “There's a Bill Gates quote, that's something along the lines of, we always overestimate the amount of change that's going to happen in the next two years, and underestimate the amount that's going to happen in the next ten. And one of the things that I found reassuring is I think he means that in terms of change, that's going to happen in the world. But I think it equally applies to when you're trying to affect change in any given year or even two years, it feels like we were making no progress in all the stuff we want to do. But if I look back over the change we've made over the last ten years, it is amazing.”

Want to hear more from our agency leaders on how agencies can create an environment that thrives using today’s technology? Watch the full webinar on-demand.


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Read Next:

[Read] Agency Leaders on the Future of Agency Operations: Part 2 of 3