DotControl Digital Agency Increased Their Forecasted Utilization With Productive

DotControl is digital agency that creates cutting-edge products for globally recognized clients such as McDonald’s, National Geographic, DPG Media, and Dura Vermeer. We visited part of the DotControl team at their Rotterdam office to chat with Mark Landman, Managing Partner and Bastiaan Ludeking, Head of Operations. Keep reading to learn how their agency work has transformed with Productive.

Can you tell us a bit about your business? What types of clients do you serve?

Mark: We’re DotControl, a Dutch-based digital agency. We provide our clients with reaching their digital ambitions. We do this in three aspects: we focus on e-commerce, we do digital product development, and digital communication.

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When did you start looking for a new tool and what problems did you aim to solve?

Mark: In our previous set-up we had a “tool soup”, a combination of a wide range of applications, providing us with different solutions for different problems. Then our quest started: to find one solution which could provide us support in the whole funnel: from sales to planning and budget management, but also on the BI part… and that’s when we came up to Productive.

What impressed you or caught your interest when you first saw a demo of Productive?

Mark: We really think that if you can bring a tool to your organization, it’s a tool that should support your organization. If you then bring a UI that is not very user-friendly and people need to work with it… At the end of the day, it becomes a hindrance instead of a solution.

That was the thing that also caught my eye—the fact that it’s very user-friendly, very intuitive, and it doesn’t take a lot of cognitive energy to find the thing you’re looking for. That was the thing that surprised us very positively and also made us go for Productive.

What would you say are the top business benefits agencies can experience when using Productive?

Mark: The first benefit is that it works integrated: so, from creating a deal, towards a budget, towards your planning, towards your actual time tracking, and then onwards towards your invoicing and insights.

The cool thing about Productive, I think, is the fact that it’s all very user-friendly, as I mentioned before. So all the screens are very easy to handle and they work really fast.

What I really love is the fact that you can play around with it and create your own views on every different aspect of the data. It’s very easy to filter, select and export data and also save your views. Especially if you combine it with the insights part, then the real power comes alive.

How would you describe your operations and resource planning workflow now?

Bastiaan: My role specifically within DotControl is that I’m Head of Operations, so I coordinate the team that’s responsible for all project management and client coordination… basically the management between our clients and our teams.

I think the main thing that we wanted to solve was, on the one hand, having one system in place for our entire project administration—so from planning to time tracking, to project reporting, to clients. The other thing was that we wanted to have a little bit more insights on projects, to know how our projects are running, and how are the financials looking. Productive really gives us more clear insights and possibilities to create reporting. That’s really a benefit for us.

I think especially for my role, I had a lot of support during the implementation because we transferred from our old systems to Productive, and the support there was really great. We had a dedicated person guiding us through using Productive, doing training with us, with all the people on the team. That really helped us to quickly adapt to Productive and quickly make a switch to this new system. I really liked that part.

“Due to the fact that we now have better insights, we also have better monthly reporting, which really supports the overall performance of the organization. We saw that the total performance of the organization was moving up, from 50% to 60%, from 60% to 70%.”

You say you’re data-driven. How did the data you got from Productive shape your agency’s future?

Mark: In the past, we were planning month-by-month, now we’re doing 90-day rolling forecasts on utilization to have way better utilization and at the end of the day, better billability and also more ease for the team. So you can discover where you’re overbooking and where stress exists. Do I have the right people on the right project? Which is not only a benefit on the financial side but also on the human side. 

Due to the fact that we now have better insights, we also have better monthly reporting, which really supports the overall performance of the organization.

We saw that the total performance of the organization was moving up, from 50% to 60%, from 60% to 70%, which is really great and we’re really thankful for that.

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