Silversoft is proud to release its first Podcast. ( we aim to improve as this was our first attempt at this)

Our podcasts will be structured to be an open forum to discuss key trends in the Agency sector.

At Silversoft we have had the privilege of working with many of the leading agencies in the UK and surrounds and we have observed some very specific thinking in how agencies are framing their businesses for success.

Our First podcast will be a series of 3 titled “this is Growing Up”. This first episode is titled “Platform for scale and growth” and discusses the journey an agency goes on and why an agency should look at what solution and platform they put down to ensure that they lay the right foundation to assist them to scale and grow during their journey.

We hope you enjoy it.

https://youtu.be/y3kHVV-OlLk

 

 

 

 

Here’s a question: how has the pandemic shaped the way your employees prefer to work today?

I bet they’ve all embraced remote working, and the better work-life balance it gives them.

Here’s another question: how has the pandemic changed the way your agency manages its work?

You’ve probably adopted a messaging platform like Slack or Teams, maybe got more rigorous with scheduling and project management. Not to mention document sharing and version control upgrades.

And here’s my last question: how many new pieces of technology have you introduced, and are they all siloed, or have you managed to integrate them?

We’ve been posting a series of articles for agency leaders, and this month we’re looking at the technology that enables greater efficiency and visibility across the agency.

Investigating the best agency management tools

Change is never easy – and people generally don’t like changing up their tech – but taking the time to think holistically about the technology your agency uses can make a huge difference.

Here are some of the technology most agencies have in place:

  • Sales, marketing and pipeline management
  • Resource management
  • Project management
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Document and file sharing
  • Proofing and approvals processes
  • Finance and accounting

Assuming your agency has all of these tools, you’re managing (and paying for) at least eight different pieces of software. That’s a lot of technology to keep track of!

Considering end-to-end agency management tools

Keeping everything together and creating process workflows that run from the very start of a relationship with a new client and throughout their lifecycle could be a game changer for your agency. In fact, many agencies “upgrade” their technology when they get serious about growth.

Did you know there’s a category of software especially designed to help agency owners and managers run their companies more efficiently? They include modules for everything from proposal-stage, to project management and time-tracking, and all the way to reporting and invoicing. They connect everything, ensure nothing falls through the cracks, and provide total visibility into every sale, project and process.

Not sure which agency management tools are best for you?

If you’re ready to conduct an audit of your agency’s technology and want to introduce the best tech, then you might find our buyer’s guide useful.

It’ll help you work out what your agency needs and how to compare vendors.

 

 

Fill out the form below to view the infographic

Learn more about Silversoft’s agency management software

Our agency management software is trusted by growing agencies around the world. You can learn more about them here: https://silversoft.co.uk/solutions/

Deltek Announces Its Global Partner Award Winners for 2021

Deltek recognizes innovation and achievements of partners, including Baker Tilly, CrunchTech, ConstructConnect, Infotek Consulting, insightsoftware, Full Sail Partners, Silversoft, Smartsoftware and Stambaugh Ness

Herndon, VA – April 12, 2022 – Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, announced the winners of its annual Global Partner Awards during its virtual Partner Kickoff event held earlier today. This year, nine partners were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in 2021.

The Deltek Partner Network amplifies enterprise software offerings for project-based businesses and expands the Deltek customer base around the world. Through Deltek partners, more companies can experience better project intelligence enabling them to make better decisions about their business and manage their unique projects in a collaborative and end-to-end platform.

This year, Deltek recognized the significant accomplishments of nine partners which represent the program’s systems integrators, value-added resellers, independent software vendors, accounting firms, and consulting firms:

 

“Deltek is proud to collaborate with our partner network, which enables thousands of customers to continue to strengthen their businesses,” said Natasha Engan, Senior Vice President, Deltek Global Sales. “It is an honor to recognize the outstanding achievements and innovation of these partners. We look forward to a fantastic year ahead with the Deltek Project Nation community as we continue to expand our program globally.”

To learn more about Deltek’s global partner ecosystem and the benefits of the program, visit https://www.deltek.com/en/partners.

 

About Deltek
Better software means better projects. Deltek is the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for project-based businesses. More than 30,000 organizations and millions of users in over 80 countries around the world rely on Deltek for superior levels of project intelligence, management, and collaboration. Our industry-focused expertise powers project success by helping firms achieve performance that maximizes productivity and revenue. www.deltek.com

With every Ad Agency MD/CEO setting a clear Return to Growth agenda for 2022, the business lens moves beyond the discipline of identifying new business prospects as the primary growth driver. Other mechanisms such as acquisition and building branded/integrated capabilities come into play as agencies seek to effectively compete in an environment of constant and rapid change.

Could 2022 be the year in which the business lens applies equally to internal teams and how operations are geared to meeting the ever-exceeding client expectations for creativity, innovation, agility, and service?

A year in which more agencies move and fully adopt an approach that sees the business delivering improved efficiency, effectiveness, resource optimisation versus capacity and margin gain. Could this be achieved through a built-to-purpose and bespoke operating model/tool?

What if a system can reduce your number of in-house tools, take scattered information, centralises that data, and consolidate it all into interactive dashboards providing real-time data?

With the pandemic having brought new urgency into the process and clients becoming more judicious on spend, agencies need to sharpen their processes. This in turn will streamline work allocation and report generation.

Simplify + Accelerate + Maximise Processes = More Efficiency & Cost Saving.

`New’ data and tools, working harmoniously and collated in dashboard form will deliver the following:
–       Illuminate and spotlight blockages
–       Alleviate duplication
–       Allocate blended resources more efficiently
–       Allow for correct charging against procurement rules
–       Display a 360 degree of operations
–       Real-time revenue projections/tracking on a single client P/L
–       Accelerate the creative review cycle

It is an accepted fact that current manual systems coupled to timesheet completion deliver a level of ‘blindness’. New bespoke operating remedies and tools will spark the necessary light.

2022 is the year to adopt a tool that breathes with your agency and its talents rather than tools that attempt to beat your process into submission.

Running a business is tough. Running a business that primarily sells people’s time and skills is also tough. Put the two together, and you might be wondering why you decided to start an agency in the first place! But then you remember that you are fortunate to get a unique opportunity to create fantastic work, spend time with amazing people, and have a real impact on your clients’ businesses.

Your biggest challenge is probably cash flow, and if it is, it might give you some comfort to know that you aren’t alone. 

According to research, the reason most small businesses fail is cash flow management. This includes poor cash flow management, starting out with too little money, and lack of a developed business plan.

And it’s not only small businesses that suffer. Many established businesses have crumbled under the weight of cash flow problems. 

Of course, “selling more” is the obvious answer but it isn’t usually as simple as that, because selling more also means investing more. 

Fortunately, there are a few quick wins that your agency can implement today to regain control and get yourself into a cash flow positive situation.

Learn more in our new Guide to Agency Cash Flow Zen you can get a copy here.

Cash flow vs revenue, which is more important?

Many agencies seem to focus on annual revenue or the value of their “book”, and understandably so, especially when acquisition is the goal. But, as some experts point out, the problem with using revenue as a measure of value is that it doesn’t take into account the cost of generating income. Cash flow is a much better indicator of the quality of an agency’s earning power which, at the end of the day, is what owners and potential buyers are really interested in.

How can you increase cash flow?

You can learn more by downloading our guide, but here are some of the key factors to consider:

  • Try to work on retainers, to ensure a steady stream of income each month
  • Review your pricing
  • Micromanage your spending
  • Learn how to forecast accurately
  • Ask for 50% deposits on big projects
  • Streamline credit control

Don’t let cash flow challenges strangle your agency

With the right understanding, guidance, tools and processes, you can take control of your agency’s cash flow challenges and build a bright future.

Get started with these practical tips – download the PDF below.

Transform your engineering firm with these 5 emerging technologies

There’s a skills crisis looming that is not a product of poor training, but rather a symptom of the relentless march of technological innovation. 

Half of the business leaders who responded to the 2019 PWC Fourth Industrial Revolution survey expressed a concern about future job losses – with 55 percent of respondents saying that the biggest impact of this skills shortage on business is the “inability to innovate effectively.”

The impact of technological advancement is shortening the shelf-life of existing employee skills. While this reality can be disturbing, the emerging technologies driving these skills shortage are exciting and demand that engineering firms adopt a new mindset to embrace these changes.

These technologies also have the power to transform the current workplace into the digital offices of tomorrow that encourage levels of collaboration that we have never experienced before. This approach can also unlock new workstyles that can solve the biggest problems we face today.

These five emerging technologies are particularly beneficial in the engineering space:

  • Digital twins

Virtual models can be used to adapt or construct buildings and even whole urban infrastructures and cities to arrive at unique solutions. Digital twins are an important tool to reshape our urban spaces to drive down carbon emissions, while boosting economic efficiency.

Ernst and Young also reported digital twins can reduce carbon emissions in urban areas by between 50 to 100 percent, reduce operating costs for building asset owners by 35 percent and boost productivity by 20 percent.

Six steps to create a digital twin:

  • Equip your project/asset with IoT sensors to measure inputs and outputs
  • Connect the IoT sensors to a digital platform
  • Organise the collected data and prepare data sets for analysis 
  • Visualise the data with iterative models
  • Transfer to a 3D model or overview dashboard to inform decision making
  • Implement this data-guided decision in the physical world
  • Edge computing

Processing data close to the source and only sending the results to the cloud cuts down on storage costs and speeds up processes. Centralised cloud computing has yielded amazing products, including unlimited data storage and connected apps, but the security risks and a reliance on data connectivity has limited its use in high-security environments.

Edge computing provides shorter response times, lower bandwidth costs, and more robust data safety and privacy protection than cloud computing. 

What is edge computing? It moves compute power to the edge of where your local network meets the internet. This infrastructure is more robust and reliable and keeps data costs low by only utilising the connection when offloading the processed data to external storage.

Networking speed is also improved through local and peer-to-peer communication, which is a central component of the Internet of Things. In the future all the machine-to-machine communication that underpins autonomous driving will demonstrate the full potential of edge computing.   

 

  • Blockchain 

Cryptographic distributed ledgers create a digital log with a permanent record and can track assets. With blockchain contracts are embedded in digital code and stored in transparent, shared databases, where they are protected from deletion, tampering, and revision. 

With an internal blockchain every agreement, every process, every task, and every payment would have a digital record and signature that could be identified, validated, stored, and shared. Individuals, organisations, machines, and algorithms can freely transact and interact with one another with little friction.

Three important advantages of an internal blockchain: 

  • Confidentiality can be incorporated in a private blockchain by encrypting the data on a chain.
  • Multichain tokenisation allows you to anchor the value of a transaction and you can link multiple chains 
  • Private blockchain can provide authenticated and notarised messaging services. 


  • Artificial Intelligence

AI can process large data sets in a short time and, through machine learning techniques, automate certain processes. The complementary nature of on-device machine learning and edge computing means that future IoT systems can operate semi-autonomously within defined parameters, freeing up human capital and compute power for other tasks. 

Applying AI to design can also speed up that phase of the work without resorting to copying and pasting templates. AI can dynamically place standard objects/features and suggest alterations in response to data from a digital twin.

 

  • Augmented Reality

The ability to overlay additional data or information on top of the real world will help visualise data in new and innovative ways. Technically digital twins can be described as augmented reality because the models you can design are tied to a real-world object. 

The metaverse may be the hot topic now but, outside of communications and entertainment applications, the concept of VR in the engineering workspace is not ideal. AR on the other hand combines all the strengths of VR, but doesn’t require you to depart from the meat space.

Ensure your firm is equipped to support innovation projects

While your firm is enhancing its solutions and gearing towards future-focused engineering solutions, it needs in-house software, including for project management, that supports this kind of innovation and forward thinking.

This workbook contains questions and prompts to help you brainstorm how you can use emerging tech to transform your processes. 

Download our innovation prompter by filling out the form below: 

 

 

5 reasons you need specialised CRM for total agency management

If your agency is anything like most, a lot of the goals you’ve set out to achieve in the year ahead hinge on being able to spend more time on the things that really matter. Less admin time, fewer manual tasks; greater focus on creative strategy, more time on new business, right?

While your agency might already be using a CRM tool, helping you manage contact data, here’s a look at what an end-to-end agency management solution can help you do:

1. Boost collaboration for better communication and creativity

With so many people working remotely nowadays, easy collaboration is key to efficiency. That said, even if all of your team members are back in the same building, nobody wants to waste time searching through all kinds of files or endless email threads to find what they’re looking for.

An advanced solution enables you to save and maintain useful data in a shared location. It streamlines your communication between departments and offices by centralising file sharing and reducing the need for email and chat tools. Built-in collaboration features also ramp up the creative process among teams and improve communication with clients by allowing more transparency and making the review and approval process far easier.

2.Make project and resource management a breeze

In the agency world, efficiency and productivity are the cornerstones of profitability. Without visibility into project progress, costs and your team’s capacity, you’re unable to make informed decisions or take corrective action to avoid your bottom line being impacted.

Great agency management tools give you a holistic view of your agency’s performance. You’ll be able to understand where there are inefficiencies in your processes and prevent potential issues; you’ll be equipped to plan effectively, keep clients abreast of task progress and see where expenses need to be reduced. With the right tool, you’ll also be able to help your team members avoid burnout by forecasting their capacity and knowing when it’s time to get extra hands on deck.

3.Manage your pipeline for smart business decisions

In the agency world, managing your pipeline is fundamental to preventing opportunities from being missed and, when they do arise, ensuring that you have the bandwidth to take on new business. To do that effectively, you need a tool that does more than collecting and organising contact information.

A sophisticated agency management solution will enable you   to gauge your resource capacity, as well as build accurate estimates and insightful forecasts so that you’re able to plan if you should be taking on more projects, and then to schedule them accordingly.

4. Take the pain out of financial management

Managing your agency’s finances can become admin intensive and time consuming, not to mention a somewhat stressful task. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

Using the right tool enables you to take full control of your costs and to forecast your cashflow. With visibility into your financial data, you’re equipped to make smart business decisions and to plan well for the future. Integrating your agency processes into the same tool simplifies month-end closing and reporting, and saves you precious time.

5. Get deeper insight into your agency’s performance with easy reporting

At the end of the day, you need to know that your strategy is on point and that your outputs are impactful and profitable. And you need the data to prove it.

Agency management software enables you to view your analytics and generate reports that showcase your successes and empower your decision making going forward. These insights will help you to allocate your time, resources and budget in the most profitable way.

Now that we have that covered, you might be wondering which solution would be best suited to your agency. Download our handy mini-guide , Why agencies need specialist CRM Systems, to help you decide.

 

(and How to Get Your Team Prepared)

Research from Gartner estimates that at the start of 2022, 32% of all employees worldwide will be working remotely. Remote work was slowly becoming more popular in some industries pre-pandemic, but when the world was forced into a work-from-home situation in 2020, it forced many agencies to take a look at what the office of the future looks like.

Here’s our take on what your agency can expect in 2022:

#1 Embrace a hybrid workforce

With many CEOs not believing that a fully remote workforce is a viable option, but many workers (57% in the UK) wanting to have the option of working from home, a compromise has to be made. In corporate America, the “hybrid workforce” is becoming an emerging trend that might define the agency of tomorrow. Senior research director at Gartner, Ranjit Atwal, believes that the hybrid office is the “future of work”.

Essentially this means that employees will divide their time between working from home and working at the office. As a result, the office of next year will likely be downsized; have shared workspaces with other businesses; and create more flexible work schedules.

#2 Move from the office into an agile hub

The move to a hybrid workplace will mean that single-location offices could become a thing of the past, and a hub that supports “flexibility, functionality and employee wellbeing” could be the future, according to predictions from the global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. Think co-working spaces, cafes, multiple offices, and mass hotdesking. Agencies should start considering how they could operate in a space like this, as it will likely be a more financially viable option.

 #3 Switch up the benefits your company offers 

Gone are the days of agencies thinking that ping pong tables and an open bar are the top perks employees desire. Because your team will be spending less time in the office, having quirky “office perks” doesn’t make sense anymore. In fact, 74% of employees surveyed by Perkbox would prefer an increase in pay as a result of the company saving on office perk costs.

#4 Place a greater focus on employee wellbeing

The mental health of employees has been a hot topic amongst many businesses, including agencies, for a long time. And with the stress brought on by the pandemic, this is the time to increase your focus on the wellbeing of your team when they’re in the office or working from home. CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work 2021: Survey Report found that 74% of organisations offer access to counselling services and employee assistance programmes. Does your agency fall into that category? If not, then in 2022 your workplace should become synonymous with caring for your team, and prioritising their mental health.

#5 Say hello to virtual assistants

Along with a remote or hybrid workplace, comes the need for a more affordable and time-saving way to get specific work done – from administration to writing social media copy – on an hourly or project basis, using a virtual assistant. This will be a great investment for both a smaller agency who wants to scale up but can’t afford too many new hires, or a larger agency wanting to scale down.

#6 Say goodbye to having a boss

The office of the future may not have managers walking around, which makes sense, since many team members may not even be operating from the office. According to Gartner, by 2024, 30% of corporate teams will be without a boss due to the agile and hybrid nature of work. This means agencies may have to abandon traditional hierarchies in favour of more agility within the organisation.

How to prepare your team for the hybrid workplace of the future

Communication will be key. Remember that not all of your employees will necessarily want to work remotely and may prefer to be in the office permanently. To determine exactly how your hybrid workplace will function, you’ll need to conduct a survey with your team to find out what their specific needs are, and how they work best.

 

Download this free survey that you can implement with your team today, so you can best prepare for the agency of 2022.

 

Make sure your agency can operate at its best in an agile environment

Built by agency veterans, Deltek WorkBook is a total agency management system that provides best practice solutions to help your agency grow. WorkBook makes it easier to focus on your clients and make strategic decisions for the future by streamlining projects, people and finance from end to end, giving you better control, insight and visibility at any time.

Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us.

All projects have their challenges and that will never change, but the sense of dread and déjà vu when a carefully executed plan goes off the rails can (and should) be avoided. If you find your team facing the same hurdles repeatedly, it might be because you have inefficiencies baked into your engineering workflow and that there’s a problem that needs to be solved.

Fortunately, with the right tools, people and processes in place, you can overcome these problems.

Here’s a look at six common project management challenges that tend to crop up in engineering firms and how you can tackle them:

  1. Complex collaboration

The engineering phase is a living, interdependent ecosystem of contractors and consultants who all need to prepare a path to success across multiple disciplines. One late drawing or overlooked amendment can cause major delays and have unexpected consequences.

Solution: Gain visibility into these dependencies early and communicate them to all stakeholders by deploying a single system that shares regular progress reports with all parties.

 

  1. Non-standard documents

Contractors all have their own unique processes and cultures, often operating on incompatible systems. Shared administrative culture can resolve many problems, and simply creating document templates can reduce the need for rework. They can be re-used across multiple projects and will improve the consistency of reporting.

Solution: Establish a database of document templates and distribute them to all contractors or firms working on the project.

 

  1. Poor auditing

Does your firm perform a thorough delay analysis every time a project is bottlenecked? If not, this might be part of the problem. A comprehensive document history and audit trail creates a culture of accountability and transparency. These audit trails can also be reviewed to streamline the project management process in future.

Solution: Establish a consistent paper trail for every decision and progress update. Project management software allows you to capture these paper trails digitally with a detailed timeline that cannot be tampered with.

 

  1. Missed cost savings opportunities

Open communication allows for the exchange of ideas that could unlock potential cost-saving opportunities. If everyone has the same overview of the project, then they can use their experience to suggest alternative methods or materials to complete a task more efficiently. A key component of this communication is having a team that is working from the same, correct information in real time.

Solution: A central, digital project plan (with the relevant details for each stakeholder) gives everyone an up-to-date view of the latest project details and progress, making it easier to spot cost saving opportunities.

 

  1. Poor relationship management

Establishing a clear communication strategy for each stage of the project is crucial to creating an efficient working relationship with project collaborators and, importantly, with your clients. That communications strategy is in place to serve relevant information to the intended recipient when they need it.

Solution: Give your client an overview of the project status and regular updates on any possible opportunities. A system that allows you to create a custom dashboard can speed up client approvals by giving them a space to submit job requests and view the project status.

 

  1. Unproductive conflict

The occasional dose of workplace tension often proves that those involved are passionate about doing the best job possible. Having a central open communications channel where stakeholders and collaborators can share ideas and voice their grievances enables you to channel that passion into a constructive debate or discourse, having a positive effect on the project.

Solution: Establish a project-specific communications channel alongside the project management process that is hierarchy free and allows the exchange of ideas.

 

The above challenges are nearly universal across engineering projects and can even manifest within well-functioning teams. A digital project management platform like Deltek Vantagepoint is a valuable resource to help keep the project management train on the rails.

Download this free guide to see all the ways that Deltek Vantagepoint can unlock productivity in your workflow.

“Pivot, pivooooot, pivooooot!”

If you haven’t seen Ross Gellar shouting this out in the television series, Friends, whilst trying to navigate carrying a massive couch up a spiral staircase, then firstly, you need to go watch Friends, but secondly, it’s okay, because you can probably relate to the feeling regardless.

For many agencies and other small businesses, the arrival of Covid-19 was much like carrying a massive couch up a spiral staircase.

This mini downloadable guide will provide some insight and input into how your agency can ensure they’ll be able to pivot within, and re-adjust to, a new normal in a world after Covid-19.

In this guide you will learn about:

  • why digital transformation is crucial for agility
  • ways you could restructure your agency
  • how to foster a culture of innovation
  • the importance of integrative systems.