Seven2 Saves Hours on Operational Tasks Each Week Using Productive

“The tool is incredibly intuitive, it provides reporting we’ve never had, and the support is stellar.”

— Amy Nichols,
Director of Operations at Seven2

Digital agency

35 employees

Spokane, WA, USA

Seven2 is a US digital agency that serves a range of world-famous clients such as Amazon, Disney, AT&T, Netflix, Cartoon Network, and MTV—to name a few. We talked with Amy Nichols, Director of Operations and Productive Champion at Seven2 to hear what they gained as an agency using our tool.

Tell us a bit about Seven2: your clients, the type of work you do, how big you are as a company.

Seven2 is a digital agency. We create a lot of websites, games, and digital assets like ads, social media content, and videos. This year we’ll be 17 years old as an agency. We’re led by two great guys who are (still) passionate about the day-to-day work we do. We have 35 people in the agency and this is a good number for us because it allows us to be nimble for our clients, but also a close-knit group. I’ve been at Seven2 for two years, but I’ve known the team for a long time.

How did your agency come across Productive?

When I first joined Seven2 I was tasked with finding a new agency management tool. I was the champion for Productive from the get-go. We had been using Trello and our intranet. It was fine, it got the company by for a couple of years. Later, the ability to update our intranet was declining, and so was its functionality. 

I needed to find a tool to help us with our resourcing, our reporting, budgeting, and financials. We looked at a lot of the leaders in the category of project management tools: Monday.com, Jira, task management solutions. All those tools were fine, but there wasn’t anything that hit the nail on the head in terms of what we needed. So after some more searching, I found Productive, and by looking into it, I quickly saw that there was something about it that felt just right. 

What were the features that you found in Productive that seemed like a perfect fit for what you needed?

What we needed to solve was our:

  • CRM i.e. sales pipeline
  • Billing
  • Reporting on a project level, employee level, project level, and producer level
  • We needed a way to track our PTO
  • Project management and consistency in how we manage projects
  • A searchable task list for each person
  • Allocation of hours i.e. capacity planning

Our main question was: is there a tool that can do all these things or most of these things for us, or do we have to find multiple tools and figure out how to integrate them? The ideal solution was to find one tool that could do all of what we needed, and Productive fit the bill.

Did you have financial data available at that level before Productive?

We really didn’t have the ability to track it that well and that’s where we wanted to close the gap between our intranet and Quickbooks. We wanted to make sure we had checks and balances in place. 

I’m probably saving 2 hours each week pulling the same capacity report. It used to be that I had to manually pull numbers from our intranet, copying and pasting them into a spreadsheet, and then reformatting all of the numbers. Now I just go to reports and my numbers are waiting for me!

I’m guessing that the financial data was one of your biggest motivations?

I would say the reporting and financial data was a big driver to choose Productive. I’ve probably saved 5-6 hours for each time we needed to build a report on our intranet. Now, it might just take me an hour each time I need a new one. I’m able to build reports myself and not have to rely on a developer. After building the report I need, I just click the button to pull up the latest numbers. It’s effortless. And it’s also effortless if I need to see data from a different date range.

I’m probably saving 2 hours each week pulling the same capacity report. It used to be that I had to manually pull numbers from our intranet, copying and pasting them into a spreadsheet, and then reformatting all of the numbers. Now I just go to reports and my numbers are waiting for me! 

What was the learning curve like?

I think the biggest learning curve came with our producers and the whole invoicing process because that was very new to them. Before they would enter their budgets on our intranet and that was the extent of it. Now they’re having to create their budgets and build their own invoices so it was a change in processes and accountability.   

The way we set up our invoicing process within Productive has made things much more organized and a level of accountability is there now that we didn’t have with our process before. 

The fact that the resourcing tool is integrated into the project management tool has probably improved my efficiency and reduced my hours searching for task cards, by about 25% on an average week.

How has Productive facilitated your role?

Before Productive, I was pulling hours from our intranet and having to manually do our reporting and it took me hours. I was playing around with Productive’s reporting one day and getting really excited about all the real-time data I could get. The reporting has made our lives so much easier. Now we have that peace of mind that any report that we want is at our fingertips and we don’t have to spend hours putting those numbers together.  I love the flexibility of being able to create my own calculations and formulas. 

Resourcing is also a huge part of my job. Before our resourcing tool wasn’t tied in with our projects at all. Now I have the ability to go into Scheduling and look at what somebody has in their schedule, look at what somebody has in their schedule and click the link to their name and see what they’re working on. It’s made resourcing so much easier.

The fact that the resourcing tool is integrated into the project management tool has probably improved my efficiency and reduced my hours searching for task cards, by about 25% on an average week. 

And just doing the daily review of hours tracked and utilization. We have that information so readily available and it helps us understand trends and capacity.

What’s an example of an increase in efficiency you’ve been experiencing since switching to Productive?

The way that we manage campaigns is so much more efficient now! We have one project but multiple boards that manage different elements of a campaign and keep it all together. For historical purposes, we can always go back and check what we did in past campaigns now. Before the campaign information and tasks were all over the place.

We’re working on a couple of campaigns at the moment where we’ve got projects set up that way. We’ve got a board for the project information, then another board for video production associated with that, then another board for related display ads. I think Productive really helps keep things more organized for projects like that. 

The same goes for our development projects. Before in Trello, we would have a Trello board for the design side of that project and then they would create another separate development board for the same project, but the two weren’t linked together. Now it’s all in one tool.

Last, but not least: what’s your experience with our support and customer success?

It’s been great! Everyone on the team has been helpful and I always feel like we’re supported. You’re very understanding of the requests we have and take time to give context to where something is in terms of your roadmap. I feel like it’s a great partnership.

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