How leading agency network Serviceplan Group digitalized its worldwide operations with Deltek
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When you operate across dozens of locations with a complex organizational structure, it can be difficult to ensure every team follows the same processes and has access to the same data. But that kind of visibility and consistency is often key to offering clients a reliable service.
Serviceplan Group, the largest owner- and partner-managed agency network in Europe, faced this exact challenge – with over 4,400 employees working across more than 24 locations in 17 countries worldwide.
The company’s fast international expansion quickly created new requirements for data sharing, reporting, and project management across its widespread teams. Serviceplan Group needed an agile and best-of-breed solution that could support its future growth.
Multiple entities, multiple approaches to client service
Serviceplan Group is the umbrella for multiple agencies, which all specialize in different areas, ranging from creative and digital media to data, market insights and research. It also offers services internally – called intercompany contracting – and to clients direct. Previously, this complex structure meant that each agency had its own distinct business model, and they all used separate solutions for shared problems.
“Tasks like project cost handling were managed differently by each agency, and there were a lot of manual processes involved,” says Mark Fandre, Head of Global Operations and Enterprise Solutions at Serviceplan Group. “We wanted to digitalize these key processes and create more consistency across the group.”
Also, Serviceplan Group needed a more flexible infrastructure that could adapt to its fast-changing organizational structure. For example, when the agency group extended its business relationship with BMW, the company needed to create an entirely new agency group, The Marcom Engine, dedicated to serving the single client – which meant a significant back-office extensions.
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A single ERP system for the entire organization
After comparing a wide range of global ERP vendors, Serviceplan Group chose Deltek ERP to use across its organization. “Deltek ERP gives us a really strong backbone to handle our complex company structure – it supports integrated processes across a multitude of legal entities, and we have more than 2,500 daily users,” says Mark.
The agency group uses Deltek ERP to manage all its project related financial data, so every agency in the group works from the same data set. “Deltek ERP is keeping our back office clean, and it’s helping our individual agencies,” says Mark. “Every agency has individual needs, and Deltek ERP offers the controllable layouts, different approval workflows and flexible access levels we need to meet them.”
The company’s ERP is also transforming client relationships. “The key value for our clients is transparency. Now, we can give clients the whole picture of our project progress based on timesheets and spending reports. It helps us build more trusting relationships because our information is consistent across our organization,” explains Mark.
Teams stay connected, no matter their location
When teams were forced to work from home, access to relevant, accurate financial data was critical to smooth agency operations. “Deltek ERP helped us keep all our project finances in one place, so it was easily accessible by our finance department for budgeting, billing, and payments,” says Mark. “It made it easier to foresee any cash flow impacts and adapt as necessary. Deltek ERP gives us the transparency to handle our business on a weekly basis.”
Managing the business week-to-week has also empowered the company´s senior management team to monitor the KPIs more frequently. “The transparency offered by Deltek ERP has helped our leadership team steer the business to be much more efficient – we meet every week to align the strategic targets we want to achieve together,” says Mark.
"Every agency has individual needs, and Deltek ERP offers the controllable layouts, different approval workflows and flexible access levels we need to meet them."
Three lessons from Serviceplan Group´s ERP project
In any digitalization project, there’s no straight path to success – but these three tips from Mark can make it easier for any companies looking to follow the agency´s footsteps.
1. Have a clear strategy in mind
“Right from the beginning, be very clear on what you want to achieve with your new ERP, how you get there, and what improvements you’re going to make along the way. That means being prepared to change your KPIs throughout the project.”
2. Manage expectations across your company
“Some people in your organization may think everything will work just by itself and they’ll get all the information they need from a button-click – but it’s not always like that. With a clear vision and regular communication from the beginning, it’ll be easier to manage the expectations and fears of your management and agency teams and keep your stakeholders on your side throughout the project.”
3. Be prepared to educate your people
“You need to be prepared to train your teams around your new platform – when you receive a help request ticket, you need to be there at the right time. You can’t just solve it the next week. E-learning is critical to smooth and successful digitalization.”
Bring your organization together with Deltek ERP
Deltek ERP solutions give project-based businesses the capabilities they need to boost collaboration, improve efficiency, and maximize productivity – and ultimately, deliver standout services to clients.
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