keeping the creative flow going over lockdown
For Design Activity, an award-winning branding and packaging design agency based in Bristol, England, COVID-19 lockdown began one week before their migration to WorkflowMax was supposed to start. But that didn’t stop the transition from being straightforward, thanks to the help of a great implementation partner.
Andrew Stroud, Managing Director of Design Activity, was looking for a new job and project management solution because the system they’d been using for years was expensive, not very user-friendly, and too complicated for their needs. He says, “We’d also been looking for a new financial accounts platform and chose Xero, so it was important that our new job management system was compatible.”
After researching options and doing due diligence, they set up a WorkflowMax trial and found it to be intuitive. The fact that it completely integrates with Xero helped of course. Andrew recognised that with their limited resources, they’d need some outside help with implementation.
“If you have a dedicated IT project manager, I’m sure you could set things up yourself, using WorkflowMax’s support centre and resources. We needed to be operational quickly so the WorkflowMax team directed me to their setup partner directory which lists people who could provide support. After talking to three companies, we decided to go with David Oliver at Valued because he seemed totally aligned to our needs and expectations,” Andrew says.
Andrew had booked David to begin WorkflowMax set up and training at the Design Activity office on 24 and 25 March 2020. But because of lockdown, Design Activity closed its office on 23 March which meant the whole company went to remote working before any WorkflowMax work could begin.
David Oliver is a certified WorkflowMax Consultant and the solutions lead at Valued. They’ve been in business for eight years and have worked hand-in-hand with WorkflowMax for the last seven. David says they’re huge fans of the product, believe it’s got a real place in the market and are always happy to promote it to clients.
The Valued team has implemented WorkflowMax for hundreds of businesses up and down the UK and since March and the move to remote working, they’ve helped clients who are further afield, including Europe, South Africa, Rwanda and Singapore.
David says Valued has always offered both remote and on-site set up and training. Now that they’re working purely remotely, it’s been surprisingly positive. “We can now be more flexible in terms of our delivery to clients, giving them time to consider our plan and go away to collect data. They get a top rate experience and benefit from the fact that there are no additional expenses – no travel or accommodation costs for spending days on-site. From an environmental view, remote working is far less impactful as well.”
“Before the March lockdown, our team worked almost exclusively in the office. This change to remote working has shown us how important good technology is to help run our business. If you were paper-based or whiteboard based, you’d have been stuck. Our team is finding WorkflowMax very easy to use from home and super flexible.”
David was very happy to be Design Activity’s implementation partner. “For service businesses like Design Activity, good job and project management is key to success, so complications or challenges with setting up or using new software isn’t an option,” he says.
Taking that positive attitude into Design Activity’s implementation, David worked with the team via Zoom for the entire process. Andrew says, “We gave David our client and job lists and work in progress. He used that data to set up our workflow as job templates and also set up our invoicing and quotation templates. And he provided different training for different employees depending on how they need to use WorkflowMax.” David also created a series of screenshot sequences which was a great memory aid for everyone using WorkflowMax from home.
“By the end of June, we were getting very good at using WorkflowMax so even though we could go to David for support, we didn't need to very often because he trained us so well in the first place. I have to say that David’s approach, methodology and conversational training style was exemplary and helped us massively in terms of an easy transition to WorkflowMax,” says Andrew.
Design Activity is now doing all their job and project management in WorkflowMax and have moved from success to success with the product. Andrew says they’ve now got more than 200 projects in the system.
They’ve set up all their projects by client and have separated prospects from clients so they can do focused lead generation work. They use WorkflowMax for timesheets and have efficiently integrated how freelance time and costs can get applied to jobs. The team raises all their invoices through WorkflowMax before they’re pulled through Xero. And they use a number of reports – some were already in WorkflowMax and others were set up in report builder by David.
Andrew says, “WorkflowMax is helping us streamline our efficiencies in terms of time capture, reporting and invoicing and giving us all the information we need without making it complicated.”
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