99c chooses Deltek WorkBook to digitise manual and disparate systems, and create a single agency workflow to enhance visibility into workload, capacity and overall business operations.

The firm has partnered closely with Silversoft to implement Deltek WorkBook’s best-of-suite agency platform to transform the way in which the agency manages resources, in an optimal manner to drive client success.

“I’m incredibly proud to call 99c a client. After 5 years of close partnership in working through their key requirements, Hylton and the team have chosen Silversoft and Deltek WorkBook to reimagine the workflow of the firm and implement innovative technology to streamline their processes” Says Dan Marcus, Director: Agency Solutions at Silversoft.

“99c has over 400 staff with many moving parts and processes. Having a single agency solution suite in place has been a game changer for our firm and the team at Silversoft were instrumental in partnering with our firm to transform the way in which we work and optimize our workflow. Says Janci Prinsloo, Business Process Manager at 99c.

Hylton Heather, Director of Production at 99c adds “Having live actionable analytics at our fingertips has allowed the firm to focus on the key metrics that turn the needle, which is a massive driving factor in improving the agencies margin. Our firm is consistently investing in improving efficiency and having a platform in place like WorkBook is core to our long-term success.”

About 99c

99c is an independent, full-service, integrated advertising and communications agency, providing creative solutions for a wide variety of clients across many fields and industries.

Taking the time to develop deep, long-lasting relationships with our clients and fully engage in their businesses has stood us in good stead, often leading to our own organic growth, starting with one brand and gaining others from within a client’s group portfolio. So too have the lessons we’ve learned, the systems we’ve implemented, the structures we’ve developed and the culture we’ve created; all of which allow us to provide creative solutions for a wide variety of clients across many fields. The proof? Today, we’re almost 300-staff strong and still growing.

About Silversoft

For 15 years, Silversoft has been delivering enterprise solutions to people and project-centric firms, supporting over 50,000 users across South Africa and beyond. Silversoft has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and is the local Platinum Partner for Deltek – the leading international provider of software to the Professional Services industry.

With WorkBook by Deltek, Silversoft delivers beautiful Agency Management technology that will help your firm win the best accounts, deliver the greatest projects, delight your clients and be more profitable. Workbook looks good. Lifts heavy.

Find out how Deltek WorkBook can transform the way your agency performs here.

 

How to motivate your team to produce good work, even during a global pandemic

We all know what it’s like to dig deep on a Monday morning, trying to find the smallest bit of motivation to get out of bed and dress for work. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it sort of threw the world into a permanent “Monday morning” situation. Along with the increased levels of stress and anxiety it brought to agencies and businesses all over the globe, came an adjustment to remote working and a struggle amongst employees to find motivation to be innovative and creative. 

Research conducted in partnership with Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group, involving 9,000 managers and employees from firms across 15 European countries, revealed that, “It’s a challenge to feel connected, confident and communicate effectively with the team, and we know from a lot of research that creativity and innovation largely happen through collaboration.” A healthy team culture is achieved when employees feel motivated to be creative and productive. 

But, how do you implement this type of work environment when employees are unable to get together in the office for a good, old-fashioned creative brainstorming session?

Fortunately there are a number of effective strategies you can implement within your teams now to ensure you can harness that collaborative mentality, and motivate your team to produce creative work, at a distance. 

Ensure an effective briefing process

According to Denise Blasevick, CEO of The S3 Agency, providing a clear creative brief, a day or two before an online brainstorming sessions, is key because it “allows people to digest the information, do research, and come armed with questions along with any potential thought starters that can start the brainstorm out with a burst of energy.”

Download a helpful Creative Brief Checklist

Use virtual whiteboards for collaboration

Traditional brainstorming whiteboards are found to actually limit creativity because often one individual is responsible for recording all thoughts, whereas virtual whiteboards allow everyone to contribute, show and record their ideas. Visual collaboration in a virtual space also means you can loop in other team members who may work in different country offices. You could even use this process to encourage healthy competition, circling the “winning ideas” on the virtual whiteboard and challenging your team to suggest better ideas.

Here are a few virtual whiteboards we recommend checking out: 

Source: https://www.innovationtraining.org/what-is-mural-and-how-to-use-mural-for-design-thinking/

Encourage individual work 

Grace Judson, a leadership consultant, advises that you provide your team with limited solo brainstorming time, using a ripple effect: The first team member starts and is given 5 minutes to write out their ideas. Once they are done, the second team member goes, either coming up with new ideas, or using the ideas of the previous team member as inspiration, still on the 5-minute clock. This continues until all team members have contributed and then the results are up for discussion. 

Equip your team with a helpful brainstorming activity sheet

For many, the best way to tackle those Monday morning blues is to grab hold of a big cup of coffee. And for us, giving our team tools to help get their creative juices flowing while working from home, is the equivalent to a shot of espresso. 

Which is why we’ve developed a free, downloadable, Idea Generation Workbook that you can share with your team today – either for them to complete alone or for you to work through it with them. 

This sheet offers a few out-of-the-box ideas for brainstorming effectively, as well as formal processes they can follow to keep them focused and motivated. Before long, your team will be producing such good work, and solving every problem thrown at them, you will have forgotten remote working was ever a struggle in the first place. 

Ready to see your team’s innovative thinking thrive? Get your free Idea Generation Workbook by completing the below form.

 

A Quick Guide for Keeping Your Firm Healthy in 2021

2020 was a big learning curve for businesses all around the world. Many engineering firms had to learn to adjust to remote working, while still maintaining a positive and motivational workplace culture, and implementing systems and processes to navigate the “new normal” way of working.

All of this change can have an impact on a firm’s organisational health, and so we decided to create a practical guide for your firm that can be a resource to;

  • Highlight the four key learnings that indicate a healthy engineering firm
  • Provide guidelines for maintaining optimal organisational health in the four areas
  • Share practical tools you can implement to improve your processes today
  • Help to equip your firm for any future unexpected challenges

Download the full guide by completing the form below.

Want to ensure your engineering firm is staying successful in a competitive SA market?

Silversoft is offering Engineering Consulting firms a free health check to determine how they compare to others in the industry in terms of the 4 key learnings from 2020.

This involves your completing a simple 10-minute survey, followed by a call with one of our experienced Account Managers. You will be provided with a concise report highlighting your firm’s strengths and areas of improvement in our new working environment as well as a mini-guide on how to implement improvements in the 4 key areas.

Take the health check survey

We’re living in a time when the word “health” is on everyone’s lips and the age of Covid has brought with it a greater focus on, and prioritisation of, both mental health and physical wellbeing. As a result, we’ve all tried to take steps towards improving our health: we take vitamins and supplements, do more exercise, eat healthier, wash our hands, and wear a mask. But in order for us to know what we need to do to improve our health, we have to visit a doctor, be aware of potential risks,  or take note of our symptoms.

Are you approaching the health of your organisation with the same level of maintenance and evaluation as you do yourself?

Perhaps you’re reading this thinking, “Well, we are a top performing company so obviously we are in good health.” But the reality is, even top-performing businesses have times – could be a day, could be a week, could be a month – when their productivity is not where it should be and a few cracks start to show. A regular health check ensures you’ll be able to notice any possible flaws in your systems and processes, and implement strategies or practices to ensure the cracks don’t become permanently damaging.

Or, maybe you’re from a smaller organisation, still trying to find your feet. Mckinsey & Co found companies that work on their health demonstrate tangible performance gains in as little as 6 to 12 months. They define healthy organisations as being “high functioning and highly successful over long periods of time”. So getting a health check while your business is still growing its potential could be the kickstarter you need to boost your competitive edge.

Organisational health is not only about employee engagement and workplace culture

Don’t get us wrong – those two factors are really important. In fact,  of our 4 key learnings from 2020, two of them had to do with employee engagement and team culture. But the health of your organisation is also dependent on other factors, such as its ability to continuously innovate, benchmark against industry trends and implement smooth operational and reporting processes.

Scott Keller & Colin Price, authors of Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage,  define organisational health as “the ability of an organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than the competition to sustain exceptional performance over time”.

So what does an organisational health check entail?

It’s vital that you’re routinely checking in on your engineering firm’s functionality, systems, and culture, and don’t just trust in your financial metrics as the determining factor of organisational health.

Although it may seem like financial success should be the determining factor in your organisation’s performance,  the top quartile of publicly traded companies in McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index (OHI) delivers roughly three times the returns to shareholders as those in the bottom quartile. In the words of Jon Wolske, the culture evangelist at Zappos, “Your financial metrics can be great, but if dragons are all over your organization, eventually the village will burn.”

An organisational health check is an external assessment at the organisational level that evaluates your company’s systems, processes, operational structure, and workplace culture, compares how you fare against others in your industry, and highlights areas where you could implement strategies for improvement.

A healthy organisation is one that has:

  • internal alignment across departments;
  • clear and consistent innovation strategies;
  • an effective operational workplace system everyone is onboard with;
  • leadership that models the values of the company through their behaviour and attitude;
  • employees who feel valued, engaged, and inspired;
  • an environment that encourages open communication and feedback;
  • efficient communication systems for remote workers;
  • and more.

Want to ensure your engineering firm is staying successful in a competitive SA market?

Silversoft is offering Engineering Consulting firms a free health check to determine how they compare to others in the industry in terms of the 4 key learnings from 2020.

This involves your completing a simple 10-minute survey, followed by a call with one of our experienced Account Managers. You will be provided with a concise report highlighting your firm’s strengths and areas of improvement in our new working environment as well as a mini-guide on how to implement improvements in the 4 key areas.

Take the health check survey

How Does Your Firm Stack Up?

AEC firms have most definitely had to either pivot or fold during a challenging 2020. From remote working, lack of travel, and client’s scaling down many firms have truly seen and experienced it all, and through the chaos, have persevered.

There are four main key learnings that have surfaced from the COVID pandemic, and there surely will be many more to come as we continue to navigate through the changed business landscape.

Here’s four key learnings that hold true for AEC firms:

1. Keep Up On Industry Trends
It is vital to keep a pulse on the industry within which your firm operates. Follow reliable external sources of information and be agile enough to adapt your KPIs based on performer benchmarks that you are following.

2. Work Smarter
Save time where possible. Identify areas in your organisation that are keeping your employees from working optimally, and ensure these are addressed.

3. Maintain a Team Culture
It is vital to maintain your culture, even when interacting with employees virtually. It protects your organisation’s identity, and helps to motivate employees.

4. Connect Your Remote Employees
Consider cloud solutions that create a safe and secure working environment for remote employees.

Compare your firm to others in the industry globally by downloading your A&E Industry Report Scorecard below:

“86% of organizations see failure to digitize and automate business inputs as a key transformation bottleneck.” 

There is no denying that 2020 has been a year for the books. Within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry, project managers, engineers, surveyors and more have shifted their processes to accompany a more diverse, remote way of working. Creating and processing information may have been a struggle prior to 2020, and now with a workforce that can be partially or even fully remote, inefficiencies with project information management can certainly come to the forefront.

In this whitepaper, you’ll discover solutions to some of the AEC industry’s most common challenges with managing project information, particularly when managing information remotely.

How to tackle project information management:

    • Identify process holes within your organisation
    • Review your data management approach
    • Take stock of on-site practices
    • Have the hard conversations

76% of companies experience significant business risks and/or compliance incidents due to broken document management processes. 

Silversoft conducted a survey to engineering and consulting industry players with the aim of bringing you key trends and insights from the South African industry.

  Get your free copy of the survey results to benchmark your firm against others in the industry when it comes to your document and email management processes.

Some key trends the survey highlights:

    • 62% of respondents said that their firm stores emails and files in the cloud
    • 36% of respondents said that they spend 1-2 hours per week searching for important project information
    • 94% of respondents said that their firm stored project information in a central location

Finance has the important task of supporting the organisation in delivering profitable projects to clients.

Architecture, Engineering and Consulting companies are undergoing rapid transformation and businesses are moving at an accelerated pace in order to keep up. The recent need for mobility coupled with increased competition and demand from clients puts pressure on margins. This has made it it increasingly important to deliver projects on time and budget whilst ensuring efficient finance processes.

This report will provide you with best practice recommendations to consider applying to your business.

Consider these four areas as the foundation for sound financial management:

    • Manage Working Capital
    • Control Costs
    • Accelerate Month End
    • Provide Accurate Reports for Decision-Making

To seize the new opportunities of a changing world, A&E firms must embrace new technologies

The Deltek Clarity A&E study was conducted between 26 February and 24 March 2020, surveying 600 decisions-makers in the Architecture and Engineering industry. Key issues impacting on the A&E industry were uncovered. On a macro level, the world is in flux. While this study was conducted before the global health crisis that has dominated 2020, the results remain indicative of the key trends for the A&E sector and provide valuable insight for stakeholders keen to prosper in these times of uncertainty.

The key trends in this report:

    • Firms of all sizes want to leverage the benefits of technology to improve business processes
    • There is a willingness to embrace technology, but there is uncertainty about how to proceed
    • Senior business leaders face a dilemma as to the best path to profitability, and how technology can be enable that journey

Get the full e-Guide below.

What does the future hold for creative agencies worldwide?

Campaign and Deltek surveyed agency professionals across EMEA, North America and Asia-Pacific regions about everything from profitability and processes to what’s really giving them sleepless nights. In total, 670 agency professionals, from more than 30 countries participated, and the results are a global snapshot of the trends that are shaping the industry.

The key trends worldwide:

    • Many agencies have grown and diversified, but this is not necessarily translating to greater profit margins
    • Over-servicing and scope creep is the number one concern worldwide
    • Nearly half of all agencies want to improve their processes for finding & retaining the right talent
    • Opportunities to improve project management and client handling processes are being missed