Decideware: An End-to-End Agency Lifecycle Management Solution Part III
When it comes to cost, most Marketing agencies have a terrible grip on this issue. Generally speaking, they know what they were budgeted at the start of the year, and what they spent at the end of the year when the Controller or CFO tells them. They do a terrible job of tracking costs by project, and if you asked them budget vs spend vs results for any one Agency, you'll get a blank stare as if you asked them to explain why the tentative confirmation of the Higgs particle by the Large Hadron Collider is important when it comes to the validation of the Standard Model. It's not a good state of affairs.
However, if they had a proper Agency Lifecycle Management solution where they could enter all cost information at the desired level of detail, or force the Agency to (if the Agency wants to get paid), the state of affairs is completely different. After every phase, they can find out where they are vs. where they should have been and, possibly with Supply Management's help, take corrective action. In addition, they could track feedback and get an overview of the supplier's running (balanced) scorecard (as this module grew out of their initial Supplier Performance Management offering).
The evaluation module, combined with the reconciliation sub-module (that is tied to the scope of work and collects the quoted cost data) allows an Agency (Relationship) Manager to dive into actuals vs. cost for any time period, at any level of detail, at any time and determine how spending is tracking according to budget. If costs are high, they can drill down into the primary components, and go right down to the resource level and, possibly, determine that Joe, the highly paid creative resource, who was budgeted to work 10 hours, worked 100 hours. They can then determine if this was a data entry error or a grossly inaccurate estimation on the part of the Agency, and use this data in the post-mortem Agency evaluation.
In addition, they can bring up the Agency's (balanced) scorecard (history) and see (and compare) the Agency's performance on each phase, for the project, and across all projects. They can even compare Agency scorecard to see if an Agency is performing average, better, or worse than the other approved agencies.
As noted in our first post, the dashboard, another new module from Decideware, provides a unified interface to all of the modules and functionality contained in the system. From the dashboard, which is designed to work like the user interface to a web-based cube-based spend analysis system, the user can search all of the Agency data, retrieve lists of agencies by geographies, capability, scope of work, and other relevant criteria, and drill down into any data category until they retrieve the (fine-grained) data they are looking for. The best thing about it is, unlike the dashboard offerings of many spend analysis or Supplier Information Management (SIM) providers, it's almost devoid of fancy graphs and charts. Decideware understands it's the data that matters and focussed on building an easy-to-use, yet powerful, search, and saved the real estate to display the requested data in an easy-to-understand tabular view with as much drill-down support as you will need.
In addition, from the dashboard, the user can quickly get to all of the reporting functionality embedded in the system, which includes scope analysis reports that summarize resource and fee schedules; organizational analysis reports that summarize costs and actuals; comparison reports that allow the user to compare agencies, fees, capabilities, and functions; and contract generation reports that can generate scopes of work and supporting contracts. (The platform has embedded contract management functionality just like it has embedded SIM functionality.) All of the data can be exported to Excel, and the system can automatically generate work-grids and rate cards.
Overall the system is well-designed and so easy to use that even a Marketer can do it. ;-) So if you want a solution to bring to the Marketing table, make sure Decideware is on your short-list.