“Streamtime allows my company to focus on doing what it does best – creating exciting design for our clients not wasting time on administration. The staff love it because it is so simple and it saves us so much time overall. Streamtime is allowing us to grow and take on new projects, increase our portfolio and improve client satisfaction and overall profitability.”
Paul Fairbairn, Managing Director, iMagic
Leading creative communications studio iMagic had experienced rapid growth and 12 years from its beginning was flourishing. New business was coming in quickly and the design team were happily inundated with projects. The challenge came in managing the increase in workload and the associated demand for more effective and accurate administration. Some of the tasks that were high on the agenda of Founder and Managing Director, Paul Fairbairn including the raising of purchase orders, tracking disbursements and issuing client invoices. Fairbairn began to notice that the existing administrative system was delaying the billing of completed projects and subsequently impacting on the business’ cash flow. He quickly realised that iMagic needed an integrated billing system that would simplify the total management cycle of projects – from quote to invoice.
A related challenge for the business was accurate monitoring and tracking of client and project budgets. Fairbairn said he was also looking for, “A solution that would monitor client servicing levels in order to streamtime the flow of work through the business, limit over servicing, manage resources effectively and ultimately take on more projects to improve profitability.”
iMagic is a creative communications studio that transcends the traditional advertising and design agency business model by combining in one team web developers, print designers, new media designers, editors creatives and communication strategists as well as an in-house editing suite.
Based in Christchurch, with 13 creative employees, iMagic’s focus is firmly on creative output. With a broad range of clients that vary from retail, export to technology, the studio consistently manages more than 100 projects at a time varying in scope and type from website development to interactive presentations, brochures, billboards and TV production.
iMagic is the first to admit that administration and process comes in at second to creativity and client satisfaction on its list of priorities. By 2006 the burgeoning business was however catching up with the administrative side of the business and iMagic realised it needed an intuitive, integrated and easy solution to capture its critical business information and ensure processes like quoting and invoicing were as seamless as possible. To find the best replacement the existing database solution and self-written scripts for job quoting and tracking, iMagic investigated and trialled multiple products – both web-based and local database driven – but eventually settled on a highly recommended product: Streamtime, by Streamtime Software.
Streamtime, developed in FileMaker Pro is a single workflow management and database solution which enables iMagic to quickly and easily track and manage design jobs, briefs, individual and project time sheets, disbursements, invoicing, quoting and contact information. This solution ensures all time and materials are captured in the system and accurately on-charged to clients.
The introduction of Streamtime has greatly improved iMagic’s everyday management of projects. The solution allows iMagic to produce quotes and purchase orders, allocate tasks to design teams, track time and generate invoices in a fully integrated digital workflow system.
Using Streamtime, iMagic has gained:
• A fully integrated system that manages administration across the total project lifecycle including quotes, purchase orders, scheduling, resource allocation, time sheets, disbursements and invoicing
• A simplified invoicing system that is activated immediately when a project is closed ensuring that budgets are up to date and cash flow is maintained accurately
• Improved budget visibility with ongoing updates to budget reports and over serving flagged as it happens
• A system that is reliable and fully up to date with the latest FileMaker Pro underlying database technology
• A fast, responsive and easy to use interface that even the creative team operate easily
• A highly scalable solution that will grow with the company and change to meet its dynamic needs
• The ensured security and confidentiality of an internally managed system – not one hosted on an external web server
With Streamtime, iMagic has:
• Improved overall business administration efficiency by 30 percent
• Had a positive impact on profitability
• Improved productivity by 20 percent
• Reduced the time spent on invoicing 10 fold
• Significantly reduced incidences of client over servicing
• Captured accurately all its third party supplier costs and disbursements in order
• Significantly reduced the amount of time spent by management staff on administrative tasks, allowing them to concentrate on keeping iMagic creative
Fairbairn commented, “There are many project management and database solutions on the market now but I’ve found Streamtime to be the best. It has delivered us a fantastic return on investment (ROI) and I recommend it as the premier solution for the creative industry.”
“Streamtime was superior to the competing solutions we trialed and the key attributes for us was that it was easy to use thanks to the straightforward interface. This was especially important because in the past some of our staff have been known to opt for paper time sheets over the computer system because they had found it clumsy and time consuming which led to inaccuracies. With Streamtime this is no longer a problem, the team are no longer frustrated so they can get on with the job of being creative and perform to the best of their abilities.”
Creative communications studio iMagic had experienced significant growth after a successful 12 years in business in Christchurch. Managing Director and Founder, Paul Fairbairn had grown the agency into a bustling creative hub, however when the administrative workload began to interfere with the primary creative function, he realised the company needed an effective solution to manage day-to-day administration and project management.
The number one issue Fairbairn was facing was a lack visibility over workflow and budget which was quickly becoming a management problem. iMagic needed to be able to “Streamtime our workflow, take on more projects, better manage our resources and ensure business profitability,” explained Fairbairn. “I wanted to find a single integrated system to manage everything from quotes to purchase orders, time tracking, invoice and even contacts information that I could rely on.”
iMagic estimated that the time spent on raising quotes to equated to 25 hours a month in lost revenue, with an additional 15 hours per month lost by being spent on raising invoices. Fairbairn calculated that one fulltime employee was spending one whole week out of each calendar month on billing. “It was abundantly clear that we needed a system that would not only reduce the amount of time we spent on quoting and invoicing but would also allow for the workload to be split amongst the employees,” said Fairbairn.
In addition to reducing the time spent on invoicing, iMagic needed to improve the speed with which invoices were raised and distributed to clients after projects had been completed. Fairbairn commented, “We were starting to experience cash flow issues as a result of the delay between project completion and invoice date and were beginning to carry disbursement costs related to those projects for lengthy periods of time. Both of which were then exacerbated by any late invoice payments.”
iMagic’s second challenge was the accurate and up to date capture of all the agency’s productive hours. It was essential that account managers be able to easily access budget tracking in order to monitor projects, keep over-servicing in-check and ensure all disbursements would be included in budget updates.
Fairbairn recognised the need for a fully integrated system – but had some reservations. He said, “As a design and creative based company – accounting software and database systems are often rejected or have little uptake with staff, as creatives by nature are not very interested in recording figures and reporting. It was essential that the solution be really easy to use and built specifically for a studio based company.”
The solution was Streamtime – a workflow management and database program developed in FileMaker Pro
Especially for the creative and design market. Streamtime provided the easy automation and tracking of all iMagic’s administrative requirements, including:
• Contact management – clients and suppliers
• Quoting and estimating
• Purchase orders and tenders
• Job tickets and task management
• Time sheet entry
Having all these features in a single solution means easy job and budget logging and tracking, timely and accurate creation of quotes and invoices, management tools providing overviews and reports on workload, profitability and billings, all direct from Streamtime.
Fairbairn concluded, “Streamtime allows my company to focus on doing what it does best – creating exciting design for our clients not wasting time on administration. The staff love it because it is so simple and it saves us so much time overall. Streamtime is allowing us to grow and take on new projects, increase our portfolio and improve client satisfaction and overall profitability.”