Why system integrations are more than just a ‘nice to have’ for agencies in 2020.
I’ve seen digits being manually copied from an Excel tab to a client proposal incorrectly, resulting in a £5,000 loss of sales income – and I’ve heard horror stories where that figure is closer to £500K. Integration may not be sexy but there’s no denying the impact it can have on your bottom line – for better or worse.
System integration may not be sexy but there’s no denying the impact it can have on your agency’s bottom line – for better or worse.
When you peek behind the curtain at the day-to-day running of just about any business, you’ll find a complex network of different systems. Every team has something they’re using to automate, simplify, track and manage their various functions. The sales team will be running a CRM, finance will have an accounting package, HR has a system for… HR things.
In agencies, this extends to project planning and resource management tools. These days, the world of agency systems has become a competitive SaaS landscape of software for scheduling, time tracking and creating elegant Gantt charts.
These company tech infrastructures can be a bit… sprawling, for want of a better word. New ones get added, functions overlap, bits and pieces become obsolete. Sometimes systems talk to one another. Often they don’t
The question is, how much does system integration really matter?
We think it’s absolutely imperative, and here’s why.
In the same way as siloed job functions lead to disjointed outcomes, siloed systems slow you down, clog you up and leave you open to every kind of error.
Imagine how effective your organisation would be if sales never spoke to finance, finance never spoke to operations and HR never spoke to… anyone.
System integration improves efficiency
Firstly, it’s inefficient. If none of your systems talk to each other, someone has to manually take the information from one system and plug it into another one to enable the on-going flow of data throughout your organisation.
"Recently I met with a potential client who employs a skilled person full-time to enter SOW details from separate spreadsheets into one master Excel sheet. Yes, one full-time resource! System integration – or lack thereof – has bottom-line implications."
Hours get lost every day because humans are manually entering content, which could be done instantly by clever system integrations. This mindless activity is made worse when you’ve got overlapping systems and you then have to duplicate the effort in multiple places. I once had a sales job where the details of every lead I generated had to be entered into a total of eight different places to be reviewed (or largely ignored) by different stakeholders.
System integration reduces the risk of error
As well as death-by-admin, manually moving data around means you’re risking huge and catastrophic human error. Let’s face it – even the UK government can’t operate Excel without losing thousands of rows of data. I’ve seen digits being manually copied from an Excel tab to a client proposal incorrectly, resulting in a £5,000 loss of sales income – and I’ve heard horror stories where that figure is closer to £500K.
"I’ve seen digits being manually copied from an Excel tab to a client proposal incorrectly, resulting in a £5,000 loss of sales income – and I’ve heard horror stories where that figure is closer to £500K."
I’m sure many of you reading this will have similar anecdotes that you daren’t own up to. Humans are great at so many things. If you want feeling and connection, use a human. If you want data processing, use a computer and please, please, integrate your systems – get things to join up.
System integration can be game-changing
The team at The Virtu Group were pioneers in agency resource planning and timesheet software. Back in 2007, every agency we talked to was making staff plans and tracking time on spreadsheets. Back then, we were ahead of the curve when we built Traffic and TrafficLIVE to systemise these manual processes. Fast-forward to 2020 and you’ll struggle to find an agency that isn’t using an online planning and time-tracking tool.
Our new, unrivalled system, Scope, is tackling the final major agency Excel outpost. Instead of manual Excel job scoping, agency teams can now collaborate in one place to create, compare, manage and track job scopes. No more duplication of effort, no more errors. And even better, it integrates with every other major system function in your business. On a recent call we showed off our Smartsheet integration to a client who exclaimed in delight: “Wow – that’s amazing – game changing.” They’re not wrong.
Integrated scoping and job planning
Imagine if you could create a job scope in half the time, without having to try and remember all the components and resources you need to include. Without rummaging around in the company shared-folder for ‘that similar one you did for someone else last summer’. Imagine if you could output that job plan straight into a branded, formatted statement of work for your client with one click. Imagine then if you could export the hours, roles, dates and tasks directly into Smartsheet to create your resource plan without taking half a day and risking losing any of that data. And then imagine if you could import timesheets and track changes to see what actually happened against the original plan. Imagine if not a single dollar or pound got lost in the messy jumble that happens between estimate and actual.
You don’t have to imagine. Integrated scoping and job planning is here. Talk to us about how Scope can replace manual Excel processes and cleverly integrate with your finance, project planning and even HR systems.
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At Scope we trust in a shared implementation methodology. This is why. Having worked for a few tech businesses, the first back in 2005 and more recently, fast forward 15 years, to working at Scope
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Scope is 4 years in the making. It’s based on the number one premise that Excel and Word are not tools to manage global scope of work. That there is a better way. Armed with the want of a better way and driving a better more joined up process between advertisers and agencies- Scope was born.