There are a couple of applications that I couldn’t live without. Slack has become the predominant communication channel in the agency. It has halved the amount of email that we send. It has pretty much eliminated the curse of the 15MB attachment. It’s the easiest way to connect a team spread across 12 countries and three continents.
Another contender is OfficeVibe, which allows us to monitor employee engagement in real time. We can report on the engagement of every team in the agency, monitor trends, compare departments and functions, and put an objective number against culture – the intangible magic that comes when the agency is really buzzing.
But my secret work weapon isn’t a well-funded Silicon Valley start-up. It’s an application that we’ve developed in-house. It’s called TimeZone and it began life as a timesheeting system. But now it’s the operating system for the whole agency – a real-time resource that brings together people, projects and process into a single dashboard, giving every person in the agency the data they need to make smart, autonomous decisions about their team and their clients.
TimeZone gives us a real-time P&L for every client, every project and every team. We can compare billability data against utilisation data, showing us where we have capacity, where we are over-servicing and where we have a team that’s stretched too thin.
It automates workflow, scheduling and reporting. And it forces every single person to understand the business model behind the agency.
It’s the first thing that I check in the morning and the last thing that I check before I leave. Maybe that means I should get out more. But I wouldn’t want to run an agency without it.
Jon Davie is the chief executive at Zone.