How to Use Agency Management Software to Power Intelligent Creative Operations
Creative operations bring structure, process, and measurement to creative work. The industry was once associated with random acts of inspiration and gut-led decision making. In contrast, the modern creative worker is thought to be data-driven, a skilled technologist, and an efficient resource. The creative practice has evolved to integrate ‘intelligent operations’ – but what actually is it?
In this blog, we’ll explain the concept and describe how it can help your agency. Furthermore, you’ll learn about the four ingredients of an ‘intelligent creative operation’!
- What are intelligent creative operations?
- Why have intelligent operations become so important for agencies?
- Four ingredients of intelligent creative operations
- Intelligent creative operations with Screendragon
1. What are intelligent creative operations?
One of the originators of the intelligent operations concept was IBM. More than a decade ago, the technology giant defined the term as ‘diverse data driven operations using applied intelligence and human ingenuity to empower next-generation, real-time decision making, exceptional customer experiences and business outcomes’.
The concept of intelligent creative operations is an extension of the original idea described above. It is a process of creative problem solving wherein creative teams conceive, design, produce, and activate business solutions using ‘intelligent’ software!
2. Why have intelligent operations become so important for creative teams?
The creative landscape is always changing which naturally leads to new processes and norms. Expectations are increasing in relation to quality of work, turnaround time, and value for money. While expectations and workloads are rising, it does not seem to correspond with growth in creative resources. In The State of Creative Operations 2023 report, we revealed that more than half of creative teams feel under resourced. In summary, here are the main reasons that agencies are turning to technology to help smarten operations:
• Need to create more with less!
There is more pressure than ever to find ways to create more with less. Agencies are pushing the boundaries with capacity by taking on as much work as possible. In many cases, the current pace of production is inhibiting growth or resulting in lost opportunities. For that reason, teams need to find new ways to reorganize operations. Intelligent creative operations can help produce more with less effort and resources!
• Faster turnaround
Do you feel like timelines are always getting tighter? It could be due to pressure from clients to deliver briefs in a speedy fashion. Similarly, clients are also under pressure to produce campaigns and results. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘slow and steady wins the race?’ – this does not apply in the creative or agency world! If your creative operations are not fully in tune, then you will not be able to work at speed.
• Closer collaboration
Clients and expect to be kept involved in projects once their brief is submitted. This means that regular updates, milestones, approvals, and client feedback are essential. You must ensure your communication and collaboration systems are robust and fit for purpose!
• Agile teams
In the current climate, you’re going to need a team that is lean and agile. When budgets are cut there will unavoidably be occasions when skills gaps appear. As a result, the freelancer market has become the go-to solution for resource gaps. When using freelancers, you’ll need to make sure no time is lost with onboarding and getting them up to speed. Without an intelligent creative operations system, it is a labour heavy and time consuming process keeping tabs on who is working on what.
3. Four ingredients of intelligent creative operations
• Smart workflows
Automation can be used by agencies in many ways but the most impactful will likely be the benefits from smart workflows. These workflows can be built to ensure the right people are engaged at the right time. This ensures required approvals are captured and production delays are avoided. In addition to speeding up the production cycle, automated workflows ensure that brand identify is secure. Workflows ensure content will never fall out of the approval cycle and that the right eyes will always see what is being produced.
• Talent management
Agency management software provides a platform for agencies to systematize skill sets. This enables you to build content rich profiles to align resources across your network. As a result, each person is maximizing their contribution in accordance with their ability. These systems can also be used to store information about freelancers and help onboard them quickly into the team when needed.
• Partnership eco-system
If clients are going to be more involved in the content production cycle, then you will need to find efficient ways to collaborate. Bearing this in mind, long email threads and endless message pop-ups need to be canned.
An intelligent creative operations tool will act as a partnership eco-system. Within this system, ideas and feedback can be easily shared and documented throughout the lifecycle of a project. As a result, instant feedback ensures there is less wastage as content can always be kept on track in the eyes of the client.
Agencies don’t want their growth plans inhibited by the size of their firm. If the sales team are bringing opportunities through the door, then you need to be ready to take on more work. Agency management platforms provide the opportunity to fast-track elements of the content production process. This can be done by automating repeatable tasks and modifications.
Additionally, smart templates make versioning less technical and make tasks easier to be completed by large pools of resources. Often, clients will ask for many variations of an asset to accommodate different channels, audiences, or languages. If you have built a level of intelligence around these requests, then you can avail of automated templates to skip the labour-intensive elements of the process!
4. Intelligent creative operations with Screendragon
Screendragon have provided intelligent creative solutions to agencies long before the term came into existence. Global networks and pioneering independent agencies utilize Screendragon’s smart workflows and creative operations solution. If you’d like to learn more about how agency management software transforms operations at these agencies, then book a 30-minute solution introduction below!