Since the rise of the personal computer era, agency’s have used spreadsheets for tracking work, whether it’s project management, time tracking, budgeting or accounting. They provide a visual way of understanding data and projects, making them a natural go-to for project managers everywhere.
But in today’s digital era, more advanced tools have become available. As marketing, advertising and creative work have become more complex, spreadsheets are no longer cutting it when it comes to staying on top of the many moving parts of creative projects. In fact, they’re actually costing agencies money. The inefficiencies of spreadsheets have begun to show as SaaS solutions are finding more meaningful ways to visualize workflow, and use analytics and data to improve budgeting.
It’s time to say goodbye to your spreadsheets. We’ll show you 3 ways that spreadsheets are generating hidden costs for your agency’s bottom line, and how to move forward with new tools.
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Outdated Info Leads to Missed Deadlines
Spreadsheets are only as good as the manager responsible for updating them. Unlike web-based project management tools, spreadsheets don’t provide a live, collaborative single source of truth for your projects. Digital tools like Microsoft 365 and Google Sheets have improved our ability to collaborate, but spreadsheets still require constant, tedious updating as each subtask of your project comes together. Out-of-date spreadsheets can quickly lead to missed tasks and deadlines when your creative team is relying on their accuracy.
75% of agencies reported an improvement in productivity after implementing project management software.
Agencies are able to save time and reduce missed deadlines by relying on one software platform to act as your spreadsheet, time tracking, budgeting tool and more. With everything located in one place, it’s no longer up to project managers to constantly update documents. Your creative team can mark assignments as complete, share working documents and enter their time all in one place.
Spreadsheets Don’t Provide Clients with Project Clarity
Spreadsheets are typically internal documents, requiring a second client-facing version to offer clients transparency without revealing every little detail. This means there’s a second document your project managers are responsible for updating and a new potential source of miscommunication.
Almost 70% of creative agencies state that ineffective client communication is the greatest barrier to productivity.
Agency-specific software programs allow you to share project plans, task lists and working files with your clients all in one easy place. Better yet, they allow you to decide what’s shared and what remains private, meaning you don’t have to expose your whole project management platform just to give clarity. When clients are exposed to agency workflow and are able to see progress, they’re less likely to miscommunicate or have last-minute breakdowns.
Poor Project Budgeting Leads to Scope Creep
Spreadsheets might be fine for calculating a simple budget, but they can’t make use of your past data to improve future project planning. Agency budgeting will always be an imperfect science, but agencies can improve their forecasting skills by looking backwards.
67% of agencies are over-servicing their clients by 50% or more.
A powerful project management tool like Function Point allows you to take analytics from past projects to visualize where scope creep occurred, help make smarter estimates and tighter budgets, and ultimately fend off potential project scope creep.
It’s Time to Ditch the Spreadsheets
As well as costing your agency money, outdated spreadsheets are costing you time. You’re not still designing websites as you did in 2008, so it’s time to leave the spreadsheets in the past and bring your agency up to date. Here are 5 tech innovations that are helping pave the way for spreadsheet-free project management, starting with the most important: agency-specific project management software. Ready to get started right away? We’d love to offer you a demo of how Function Point can help save your agency time and money, and bring your productivity up to date.
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Sean is proud to work with a team of compassionate problem solvers at Function Point. In his spare time he enjoys playing gigs around the world with his band, Zulu Panda.