It’s not easy to choose the right tech stack for your creative agency. Marketers alone have over 5,000 software options to choose from. That doesn’t even begin to cover the other areas of your creative agency such as productivity, project management, and operations, each of which have their own plethora of software solutions.
Because there are so many different solutions available, it’s easy for your tech stack to grow bloated. Maybe you’ve looked at your expenses recently and wondered why you’re spending so much money on these services. Surely some of these subscriptions are unnecessary, right?
It’s likely that some are. But how do you know which ones are essential to your business and which are burning money?
In this blog we’ll show you how to identify the software that drives your company’s success, which ones are causing inefficiencies and errors, and how-to find software solutions that help your agency reach its goals.
3 Questions When Evaluating Agency Software
You need to have set criteria for evaluating each software. Thee questions to ask are:
Does this software make my agency more efficient?
One reason we purchase software is because our old processes were either inefficient, unsustainable, or a combination of the two. Why would we pay for something that slows down our workflows?
Unfortunately, many agencies do.
It’s not intentional. Maybe the tools served a purpose when it was first bought, but no longer make sense within the structure of the agency today. Or maybe their user interface isn’t easy to understand, leading to mistakes that later need fixing. Whatever the reason, an inefficient solution is hardly a solution at all.
Does this software integrate with our other tools?
It’s hard to overstate how important communication is between teams in creative agencies. Designers, writers, and project managers all collaborate to complete projects. If the communication breaks down between teams, the whole project begins to crumble.
Think of your software solutions in the same way. Does your time tracking app work efficiently with your project management software? If they’re not properly integrated, you may be collecting incomplete data on your agency’s productivity, efficiency, and, ultimately, profitability.
One of the benefits of all-in-one software is that all the tools are built to talk to each other. When the same software manages time tracking, invoicing, and project management, it’s hard for data to get lost and easy to spot where any mistakes are being made.
Does this software help us reach our goals?
Software is purchased for one of two reasons: to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Often, it’s purchased for both reasons. If your agency’s goal is higher profitability, you may try to reach that goal by solving the problem of inefficient processes. To address this problem, you start using project management software.
But is the software helping?
Occasionally you’ll purchase software that gets thrown to the wayside by your team. Perhaps it’s got a steep learning curve, has frustrating features, or your staff found a better solution within pre-existing software.
Whatever the reason, you end up paying for a software that is being heavily underutilized. Your staff may use it for one or two tasks, but likely you’re overpaying for what you need. It’s like buying a sports car only to drive it to the grocery store. Sure, it performs well, but perhaps your money would be better spent on a vehicle more fit for purpose, and the savings could be invested elsewhere.
We recommend asking your staff about which software they already use effectively. Sometimes the answer isn’t to purchase yet another siloed software, but to invest deeper in the tech stack you already have.
Many agency softwares have different tiers of membership that unlock additional features. Moving up a tier or two can prevent many of the pains of forcing your staff to learn an entirely new software and workflow, which can be a major obstacle when purchasing new software. This approach also decreases the overall cost of your tech stack.
Additionally, if you find that several of your siloed software solutions aren’t performing as you hoped, consider moving to an all-in-one software. One reason siloed software can fail to have an impact on agencies is that having multiple software becomes hard to keep track of. Instead of having everything in one tab, staff have to open multiple software and remember the layout of each. Eventually, the software that they don’t enjoy using ends up being neglected.
As individuals, we’re all guilty of spending more than is strictly necessary on streaming services. It’s likely this trend carries into our professional lives too, and that we spend more money than we need to on subscriptions to software solutions for our businesses.
Identifying which software solutions are helping move your agency forward and which are just an expensive line item in your budget is an important piece of housekeeping. Doing so allows you to free up resources and streamline your processes.