The agencies that have adopted this system (Mayer / McCann Erickson, Wiktor Leo Burnett), and the supplier, a Czech company, AD-IN-ONE Europe a.s., both agree that AD-IN-ONE (derived from advertising-in-one) – which is the name of their operational software – has very few things common in with the giant SAP.
“At some point, most agencies will deal with the question of information, economic, accounting and management systems. Most agencies rely on reports from accounting software. These, however, do not meet the requirements of agency management. That is why the internal agency systems are often swapped for “home-made” solutions. Only in rare cases do these agencies develop their own complex systems. At a certain point a problem occurs: how can we monitor jobs on the fly, including economical and accounting data, but by people handling client service, being non-accountants? This is not possible without a superior yet easy to use “operational system”. After researching the Czech and European markets we found that there are very few systems specialized for the needs of advertising agencies, so the decision was made to go with AD-IN-ONE, based on product, support and price”, describes Ales Kohut, managing director of Mayer / McCann Erickson.
What is AD-IN-ONE?
According to AD-IN-ONE Europe, it is a complex software system for the entire agenda of advertising agencies and specialized companies from the marketing communication industry (full service, direct marketing, PR, production, digital agencies, marketing agencies and creative and graphic studios). The system is positioned as end-to-end operational software - based on integrated administration and the flow of agency documents, job registration, employee capacity planning, costs administration, timesheets and others. “Because in early 90’s we ourselves worked in a full-service advertising agency, we dealt with the same problems and questions that the AD-IN-ONE system was later created for. Similar systems that we came across at that time and are coming across now are terribly technical, complicated and full of features we knew we were never going to use. That’s why our goal was to design a system that would be user friendly and at the same time, meet all the managerial requirements for this specific industry,” says the Managing Director of AD-IN-ONE Europe, Ivan Petruv.
The AD-IN-ONE system contains 14 modules that can be configured according to the specific needs of any given agency: business opportunities, contacts, company documents, job system, traffic, timesheets, creative library, knowledge base, attendance, cashbox, invoice administration, budgeting and reporting. Usually the brief from the client is the first input into this system that successively – on different levels of management and control – monitors the progression of a job through every department through to invoicing. Every position in the agency – from the owner or director through account managers, creative department, production, finance department, traffic and reception – has its own space defined with tools and competencies which make the system transparent and the agency becomes fully controllable. AD-IN-ONE is compatible with both Mac and PC is multilingual and allows remote access, as well.
What is it good for?
“Above all the system delivers order and control and it is invaluable for management to get a real–time overview of the agency, its cash-flow and profitability. This is especially important in our agency which has external accounting and so such an overview was only possible with one month time delay” says Ales Kohut.
Other benefit of the system for agency management is the monitoring of costs and profitability of individual clients and jobs. “The system unambiguously shows the efficiency of account managers’ work, for example, after it processes timesheets (man-hours) and overhead, it can show where a client that generates a huge turnover, creates almost zero revenue: a signal which may indicate that it would be more effective to get three smaller clients with a higher margin, rather than one hard–to–serve client with low profitability. Above all, it is a effective managerial tool, essential in the present era of lowering budgets” say Ivan Petruv.
The system is also an answer to keeping up the continuity of individual performances in an industry with a relative high employee turnover rate of around 20 – 30% p.a. Another significant factor is the control. “In agencies with more than 20 employees, multilevel management structures start to appear and personal interests create risks that might get hidden. Especially on small markets, such as the Czech or Slovak republics where everyone knows each other, we often meet various kinds of hidden provisions and kickbacks at the expense of agency. These negative phenomenon can be detected thanks to the transparent flow of information” sums up Ivan Petruv. It is clear that a system whose price starts at approximately 25 thousands EUR is mainly effective for agencies with at least two dozens of employees and not for companies with 3 to 5 employees.
Peter Kontra, Managing Director of Wiktor Leo Burnett
Your agency used a similar Austrian system. Why did you decide to change it?
Peter Kontra: The Leading job system was adopted in Wiktor Leo Burnett in the early 90’s and it is quite possible that we were the first agency in the Slovak market to have a broadcast ERP system. Qualiant as the supplier of this system failed to convince us that they can keep up with innovating the product according to our requirements.
WHAT DOES STRATEGY SLOVAKIA THINK?
As the agencies that have adopted this system in Slovak republic confirm, this or other similar systems can be a new tool for management that significantly strenghten the ability of an agency to orientate themselves on profitable jobs and to control the agency operations as well as to have an overview of what’s going on in agency – and all of that in real-time. The range, available support, knowledge of advertising industry, company references and price / performance ratio of AD-IN-ONE can be a significant advantage in comparison with other systems like Qualiant (Austria) or Maconomy (Denmark) for agencies that have not developed their own, similarly sophisticated system (i.e. Istropolitana Ogilvy (p.s. in 2010 migrated to AD-IN-ONE)).