Martin Ježek, Inspiro Solutions director

Who’s Inspiro?

We’re an advertising agency that connects the digital, social and PR experience. We join the thinking of social media with the laws of PR and the know-how of digital to play by a changed set of rules. This requires a rather complicated team structure that needs to retain a large extent of agility and cooperation of departments with very different processes. Standard PR work is completely different from the social department, where the processes are again different from a traditional creative agency. There are six departments at Inspiro, and it’s the ability to retain our agility and effectiveness along with our size that determines our success on the market. Costlocker was an ideal choice for these conditions, because thanks to its simplicity it doesn’t push us into processes that we can’t identify with.

Why did you start using Costlocker?

We’ve been thinking about Toggl, but Costlocker won because of its simplicity. Simplicity and transparency are the strengths of Costlocker.

What challenges were you facing when considering Costlocker?

Costlocker offers ease of use for all user levels from the run-of-the-mill employee all the way to the company management that tracks overall company performance. Because simplicity and effectiveness is key for everything we do, we didn’t have to bend our processes when implementing Costlocker into our workflow. At the same time, Costlocker serves as a kind of processual navigator that everyone can rely on.

Thanks to Costlocker, we always know the effectiveness of the company as a whole, as well as of individual projects and employees.

How would you describe Costlocker in your own words?

Costlocker is a tool that helps maintain effectiveness in your company on all management levels. It’s a rigid, but simple process management tool, as well as a means of quick overview and checkup of what’s happening with your business.

What does Costlocker help you the most with?

With lots of things. Have an idea and want to work on it? Great, but you need a project for that – and only an account manager can create it. So go to them, propose your idea, and they’ll get it done. Then everyone can see what’s happening, how much it costs and how it’s paying off. This process normally takes just a few minutes. Or a different case – does someone from the team complain that they have too much to do? Just check Costlocker and in 10 seconds you know what they’re working on, how much time they dedicate to it and how much it benefits the company. In the end, you know exactly if they have too much on their plate or whether there’s something they need to change the way they work.

Of course there are exceptions everywhere, but the ratio of the procedural difficulty of entering information to the value of the information that Costlocker provides, is unique.

Did Costlocker help you solve the problem you started using it for?

It rather did. Thanks to Costlocker, we have a great idea about the effectiveness of the company as a whole, and of individual projects and people as well. At the same time, Costlocker plays well with our accounting and offers a different perspective on the financial reality and company health.

How exactly does Costlocker play well with your accounting?

To make the accounting fully reflect the numbers from Costlocker is a great double-check of our processes and conscientiousness. Costlocker acts as a check for our accounting, and vice versa. Both of them show a completely different financial insight into the company and its effectiveness.

What challenges are you currently facing?

The most pressing issue is the situation of the Czech and Slovak markets. Thanks to the local political situation during the past several years, most corporate headquarters have moved to Poland or Hungary. That’s a huge amount of money moving away from the Czech marketing, as well as a huge change in our workflow. This results in the local agencies fighting over leftovers.

Anyway, the biggest challenge for us personally is to transition smoothly from a small agency to a big one, team-wise. Maintaining the same level of motivation, information and integration of people into the critical company processes so that they not only have the feeling they can change something, but that they really can, that’s a huge challenge.

How difficult was it to get started with Costlocker in your company?

It was pretty complicated, as we were dealing with company re-structuring at the same time. Our goal was not to break the existing processes which were functional and simple, but at the same time, introduce other processes that would allow us to have maximum control over the financial effectiveness of the company – in any perspective imaginable.

How did you explain how to use Costlocker to your people?

Reactions to Costlocker varied across the company. Processes in PR are completely different from those in the analytics department, etc. Costlocker helps unify the processes at the basic level, but each department approached it a bit differently. I don’t think that we’ve reached the point where everyone on all levels would understand why we use Costlocker and how it helps us.

It’s relatively easy to explain why we need to track effectiveness. It’s a different thing however to make people adopt this philosophy and to motivate them to think in this sense. There’s still some work there.

If you were to share a single piece of advice with someone who wants to build a successful agency, what would it be?

Choose key people based on their potential, not necessarily on their current experience. You may be more experienced than they are, but they should always have more potential than you do.

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