CLIENT RESULTS

Here are some results we helped our clients achieve:

  1. Shifted a large, vertical, siloed organization into a collaborative environment in eight weeks.
  2. Identified $10 Million of annual operational savings and designed the model to capture them.
  3. Reduced capital investment by more than $1.5 million a year while maintaining growth rates.
  4. Created passive income in excess of $1.1 million a year.
  5. Added a new division cited by Fast Company as one of the '101 Reasons why Apple is Dominating the Landscape'.
  6. Rebuilt stagnant partnerships resulting in lower stress, more satisfaction and higher profitability in every case.
  7. Turned operational overhead into a series of profit centers.
  8. Increased profitability by twenty percent within two years through organizational restructuring.
  9. Developed a project management structure that has been implemented across multiple offices and cultures.

Case Studies and Results

Our clients are thriving because they have:

• Developed and implemented effective long-term strategies

• Re-designed their companies for speed

• Harnessed their capacity for innovation

• Created companies more attractive to creative talent

• Built collaborative organizational models

• Found consistent ways to use their resources more effectively than their competitors

• Implemented practices that sustain long-term growth

• Designed companies around low-risk exploration of new opportunities

Friday
Sep302011

Building In-House Post Production In A Multi-Office Agency

Lookinglass designed an in-house post production business for a leading agency to successfully compete head-to-head with the industry’s best vendors.

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Issue

A leading mid-size agency was frustrated by its inability to establish a profitable and creatively competitive in-house post production business.

The company had made a significant investment in post production technology. But the agency’s producers and creative teams did not trust the group with broadcast quality projects, and the agency recognized it was leaving potentially millions of dollars of profit on the table.

The Lookinglass Consultancy was hired to design a business model that would allow the agency to confidently retain a significant percentage of post production revenue across each of its offices, and support its creative department’s growing production needs.

Challenge

The Lookinglass team’s challenge was to create a business-within-a-business, one capable of competing immediately with third party vendors that already had existing relationships with the agency’s producers and creative teams.

Structurally, the new business would need to immediately service multiple offices, and be capable of easily supporting the agency’s expansion to new cities.

Approach

Lookinglass conducted a thorough discovery process which evaluated the agency’s in-house capabilities and practices against the post production industry’s own standards.

We then developed a comprehensive operational and financial model that would support the existing needs within each office, while also attracting broadcast quality talent and projects. 

The model incorporated a specific set of recommendations including:

  • A projection of the business’s capital requirements and P&L over the next 3 years
  • Position by position staffing plans and reporting hierarchy
  • Talent recruitment, compensation and retention strategies
  • Multi-office information systems and management practices
  • Office by office sales and marketing strategy
  • Technology and room layout requirements
  • An implementation roadmap to maximize the effectiveness of each step

Current Situation

The plan was approved and funded. The Lookinglass Consultancy was then hired to support the initial implementation of the plan which to date has achieved the following:

  • Buy-in from key agency creative and production department stakeholders 
  • Implementation of a customized multi-office job management system, including agency staff training in each office
  • Integration of the job management system with the agency’s finance and accounting departments
  • Design and construction of eight new spaces across three offices integrated within the agency’s creative department
  • Purchase and installation of post-production technology, networked across all offices
  • Restructuring of the post-production group’s management hierarchy with clear definition of responsibilities and accountability, including job descriptions
  • Development of multi-office job management practices including media management protocols
  • Creation of a clear talent hierarchy and appropriate changes to the existing staff
  • Hiring of outside talent based on a multi-office compensation philosophy
  • Identification of, introduction to, and negotiation with an independent name-brand supplier to provide high-level creative talent for year 1, in order to dramatically accelerate creative and technical expertise, and to lift the agency’s post-production capabilities above agency and industry expectations
  • An increase in the performance, measurability and creative capability for the agency’s existing needs
  • Increased revenue and profitability ahead of projection

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Friday
Sep302011

Turning Digital Media into a Company-Wide Asset and Saving $5 Million A Year

Lookinglass developed a Digital Asset Management solution to support the day-to-day needs of a rapidly growing company and save the business $5 million a year in reduced operational and capital costs.

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Issue

A rapidly expanding creative business had outgrown its method for managing digital media and information. Employees spoke openly of their frustration and the time wasted using the current systems and many had resorted to Google and YouTube as more effective alternatives.

The IT department had invested in an expensive Digital Asset Management (DAM) system that had been rejected by the staff, and IT was also struggling to satisfy the company’s back-up needs, despite spending heavily every year on additional storage.

The Lookinglass Consultancy was hired to analyze the impact on the company’s workflow and financial performance, to assess the business risk of the current shared server strategy and to provide specific recommendations for a long-term solution.

Challenge

The Lookinglass team’s challenge was to determine the real impact on the company’s performance and to understand why previous initiatives had failed.

Any solution would have to integrate the specific, and sometimes unique, needs of a wide range of departments and disciplines on a single platform.

And given the independent nature of the company’s staff, it was clear that any system that required formal training or a sudden change in individuals’ work habits would fail.

Approach

Lookinglass interviewed senior managers to establish a hierarchy of company-wide business priorities that were not being met.

We then conducted a sensitive discovery process which analyzed the impact of the current situation on key individuals in each department through participation in their day-to-day processes, and included a detailed analysis of IT’s shared server structure and data back-up issues.

Lookinglass then developed a company-wide DAM strategy that incorporated the steps necessary to re-deploy the company’s existing DAM system and overcome staff resistance.

The strategy was supported by specific recommendations and analysis including:

  • A centralized, ‘one-to-many’ data storage strategy that collects all metadata through the company’s existing workflows
  • A summary of the unmet needs of each of the major departments and the cost of lost time
  • A company-wide storage and back-up IT strategy
  • A risk analysis that demonstrated the potential liability of the current strategy at $11,000,000
  • A three year projection of the savings in capital and operational costs versus the current strategy

Current Situation

The plan was approved and funded. The Lookinglass Consultancy was then hired to support the initial implementation of the plan which has already achieved the following:

  • Establishment of a company-wide strategy for digital media and information management based on specific and prioritized business goals
  • Completion of a comprehensive RFP resulting in a final decision to re-invest and re-deploy a re-engineered version of the company’s existing DAM system
  • Capital Cost Savings:
    • More than $1.5 million saved by re-deploying existing system versus the best alternative DAM system, with no compromise in functionality or performance
    • Reduced IT capital spending on storage needs projected at more than $4 Million over the first three years
  • Operational Cost Savings:
    • Projected against staff time spent searching for correct versions of media and up to date information:
      • Year 1: $1 Million
      • By Year 3: $5 Million p.a.
  • Collection and cataloging of all historic company media created during the last five years
  • Greater collaboration between departments
  • Increased utilization of the company’s historic portfolio in new business pitches
  • Increasingly pro-active management of the company’s clients
  • Foundations for a company-wide capability accessible from any existing or future office

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Friday
Sep302011

Creating Real-Time Analysis For an International Business 

Lookinglass designed an information management system that dramatically improved opportunity conversion and profitability.                                                                              

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Issue                                                 

An international company was struggling to consistently manage its talent and clients across all of its offices. Resource allocation and pricing decisions were being made locally and reactively. 

The company’s management was concerned the business was missing opportunities and that their pricing practices were ignoring potentially valuable revenue streams.

Lookinglass was hired to design an information management system that would aggregate the company’s sales, bidding and job status information in real-time across all of its offices, and would allow the company’s management to immediately analyze the impact of local decision making.

Challenge

The Lookinglass team was engaged to design a system that would support the local needs of each office, satisfy the requirements of the company’s finance and accounting teams, and encourage ongoing customization. 

The system would strictly control the amount of information available to each user group, allow for customized reporting and be accessible over the internet.

Finally, it required an intuitive user interface that eliminated the need for extensive training or user manuals.

Approach

Lookinglass mapped the company’s workflow into seven specific areas, and developed an architectural map of the flow of information through the company, including variances for each of the local offices.

We then broke the company into six primary user types and interviewed key members to define the specific access needs of each group. 

Finally, we conducted an RFP with a list of developers who satisfied the criteria we had established in collaboration with the client’s management team, and conducted a series of demos with each system.

Current Situation

A developer was hired, and Lookinglass supported the development and deployment of the system through beta. After the first year, the system had created the following results:

  • Increased conversion of Lead-to-Job Award ratio by thirty percent over the first year
  • Increased profitability margin across all jobs by 7 percent
  • Reduced average accounts payable by 15 days
  • Better strategic use of discounts reduced total discounts to clients by 15 percent
  • Reduced bad debts by 70 percent
  • Increased percentage of return business from most valuable clients based on profitability analysis
  • Expanded opportunities for company’s younger talent with higher profile projects

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Friday
Sep302011

Re-Aligning A Partnership 

Lookinglass mediated a fractured partnership and constructed a new agreement                     that created a re-aligned set of priorities and individual responsibilities.

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Issue

After fifteen years of consistent success, four partners had reached an impasse about the future of their business and their respective roles and responsibilities.

After several months of discussions and negotiations arbitrated by the company’s accountants and lawyers, the partners had decided an objective third party was required to resolve their differences.

Challenge

The Lookinglass team was engaged to mediate the differences between the company’s owners and to design a new agreement that would more accurately reflect the current contributions of each partner.

The solution had to take into account the historic contribution of each individual, and provide a flexible ownership platform that could continue to adapt as the business evolved.

Approach

Lookinglass structured our approach to understand the dynamics of the group and the perspective of each partner. We compared those insights with interviews of the company’s key staff and an analysis of the historic performance of the business.

We designed an ownership model and an expanded legal structure that satisfied the importance of rewarding the partners’ historic contribution while emphasizing the need for the business to grow if any partner was to extract capital value.

We presented this in conjunction with an assessment of the operational state of the business and the obstacles felt by the staff as a result of the partnership’s disagreements. 

Current Situation

The partners accepted our recommendations and retained Lookinglass to implement the new legal structure and to finalize the new partnership agreement.

Two years later, the partnership has added additional members and the company has built two new divisions headed up by two of the original owners.

The company’s revenue and operating margins were at historical highs at the end of the latest fiscal year.

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Friday
Sep302011

Adding An Office For A Design Company 

Lookinglass produced a cost benefit analysis for a company’s geographic expansion, and developed an organizational model that leveraged the company’s capabilities in both locations

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Issue

A five year old design company was losing ground to its leading competitors who had both added additional offices within the past two years.

The company’s owners wanted to be sure the potential return justified the investment and the disruption to their original business. They were also reluctant to expand unless they were certain the company could maintain its cultural uniqueness.

Challenge

The Lookinglass team was engaged to perform a cost benefit analysis of the possible expansion. This included evaluating the business potential of the second market and producing a comprehensive estimate of the capital and overhead costs.

We also had to integrate the two offices operationally and culturally.

Approach

Lookinglass spent time in the proposed market, interviewing potential clients and prospective employees, and researching local cost factors. We carried out a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the competitive environment and defined a number of unmet needs.

The team then conducted a thorough evaluation of the company’s current day-today operations and cultural uniqueness, and determined the skills the company would need to add in a new management structure and developed the specs for an expanded information system.

Finally, we identified three initiatives based on suggestions drawn from our staff interviews that could be built in to a new office to extend the company’s cultural identity. 

Based on the analysis, Lookinglass recommended that the company should proceed with the expansion.

Current Situation

The company accepted our recommendation and we were engaged to help implement the expansion.

The office was opened eight months later and after the first year, the company had established itself as one of the top three design businesses in its second market.

The company was operating on a system that shared CRM and job management data in real time between the two offices, and which kept staff in both locations fully informed about the company’s work.

Forty percent of all projects shared talent and resources from both offices, and the company had developed new revenue streams from opportunities created in the second market.

The company had been approached about a potential  joint venture by a client attracted by the company’s multi-office capabilities.

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