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Drum Labs, a new offering by The Drum Studios, tests the latest marketing technologies on the market through an independent panel of experts, aka, our 'lab rats'. To mark its launch, our lab rats were asked to test WorkBook's agency management software in a two-hour demonstration session.

In the first Drum Labs session with WorkBook, we invited five agency representatives to test WorkBook’s agency management system. Our independent panel of experts included: Andrew Waddell, COO at Proximity; Emma Gardner, managing partner of Operations at Elvis; Nicole Rodriguez, managing partner at Cherry London; Will Rowe, COO at Rufus Leonard and Barney Voss, COO at Tug Agency.

The challenge

One of the biggest challenges in the agency world is juggling multiple projects across departments while retaining complete visibility into finances, pipelines and resources management. Most of our ‘lab rats’ said they currently use multiple systems to handle each of these processes. To have one integrated and user-friendly connected system would be the ideal solution.

What is WorkBook?

WorkBook is a complete agency management system. It’s fully integrated package offers CRM, forecasting and accounting and project resource management. What is its aim? To streamline processes to help agencies reduce the amount of time spent on repetitive work and to get real-time project status into account profitability. 

According to René Praestholm, VP of Global Marcom, it is a “modular system” which differs from the competitors on the market because it helps agencies gain greater visibility into their pipelines and forecasting. “We can help clients grow their revenue, increase their profitability and through the system, gain visibility on their data to enable them to make the right business decisions based on intelligence,” he said.

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He also outlined how following WorkBook’s acquisition by Deltek in 2017, it now has more power and resource behind it.

So how long does implementing WorkBook take? For a small agency of 40 people it can take up to two months, whereas with a larger agency it can take up to four months. To minimize implementation of any new system, WorkBook starts with understanding the processes to get employees to buy-in.

“Sometimes clients ask us to map out their processes. For instance, when a lead comes in, what is the route it’s going to take through the business? We map and document it all and this becomes the process of documentation which needs to be maintained. It helps with on-boarding new people and becomes part of the employee handbook.”

The demo session

Our testers said they were interested in “the user-friendliness” of an agency management system. Waddell said he is particularly frustrated with his current project management system which he described as “lazy and terribly integrated” with other systems around the company. His ideal project management system will connect all the data within the business and provide more transparency with a friendly user-interface. Others said training staff and “instilling that change mentality” was a key factor. It also needs to be usable enough to win people over.

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The demo session, led by Louis Almeida, senior solutions engineer at Deltek, included a hands-on look into all the WorkBook modules – CRM, project and resource management and accounting.  Our lab rats tested the various functionalities of WorkBook, starting with the CRM module. This involved various tasks such as: reviewing the pipeline forecast and adding new prospects. The second part of the session got our testers looking at scheduling; adding new tasks, allocating an employee to the task and timesheet entry though a mobile app. 

What did our lab rats think?

Overall the lab rats were really pleased with how the demo went with many agreeing they found “the experience really interesting”. How easy did they find the interface? And more importantly; will WorkBook simplify the project management process in their agencies?

For Gardner, the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis revolve around measuring data. She said WorkBook is a very “capable system”.

“It integrates all of the things that you would typically look for such as resourcing and revenue. I thought the usability and the interface was great because ultimately it has to be something super simple for people to use in business,” she added.

WorkBook demo
 
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The WorkBook system has more functionality than most standalone tools.  Novice users may find the system a bit complicated to use at first, according to Voss. “But using different admin structures to see how you could have different views to get all that information in different reports is really interesting.”

Waddell noted: “It was great to get hands-on experience of adding a job or a task using the different modules to understand how you would use it. With all these capabilities you want a chance to play with them and see how they work with different users and get a sense of how it works across mobiles and PCs which was great.”

The verdict

One integrated, user-friendly system vs multiple standalone systems?  While having all three modules in one system might be viewed as a bit complex by some, others found the interface easy to use and overall enjoyed the whole experience. WorkBook maintains the flexible system can be customized to meet the needs of agencies of all sizes.  Check out WorkBook for yourself here.

For more insights, watch the video below. 

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