Drum Horse Gives Agencies A New Drumbeat

Simon Quarendon | April 28, 2020

“It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”. Mr Spock’s famous line from the long running TV series ‘Star Trek’ sums up what the post-Covid world will be like when we return to a ‘normal’ life. Except it won’t be ‘normal’ ever again.

The new normal is going to be a fundamentally different place from the old normal, and creative agencies – along with nearly every other organisation on the planet –  are going to have to make major adjustments to their business models if they’re to successfully adapt. A relentless focus on client service, a more thoughtful HR strategy and an even greater appreciation of cash, are just some of the changes that Covid will enforce on these agencies.

That’s why we’ve launched a new company to help them. Drum Horse is a business services provider that lets creative agencies outsource their back office and middle office functions to us so they can focus the agency’s attention on ‘front of house’.

We think that senior management of these agencies simply can’t afford to spend any time doing anything that does not help a client, or yield a profit. Anything else is a distraction and so should be left to others – like Drum Horse.

Of course, business process outsourcing (BPO) is not new. Large organisations have been doing it for years. Closer to home in the marketing services sector, both WPP and Publicis embraced it decades ago.

But until now, BPO has been the exclusive preserve of largescale enterprises. It required a huge investment in shared service centres (usually offshore), servers, enterprise software such as SAP  or Oracle, dedicated telecomms networks and a whole lot more.

So what’s changed? Cloud-computing has had a major impact, as has the explosion of Software As A Service (SAAS) providers. Microsoft’s big bet on O365 and Teams in particular seems to have paid off too.

These changes means we can offer BPO (call it ‘BPO Lite’?) to SMEs. Using a monthly subscription model based on the number of staff employed, we can help agencies take costs out of their business, redeploy their resources more efficiently and focus management time on those things that are of critical importance to the agency’s future: securing current and future clients and staff and making a profit.

We’re launching Drum Horse with just four services (to start):

  • Finance and Admin
  • IT
  • HR
  • Business Development

Each service is based on a SAAS platform (in our case, Xero, O365, Bob and Salesforce) and has a service level agreement (SLA)attached to each one. Our soon-to—be-appointed MD, Charlie Trietline brings with him a wealth of experience about professional BPO management so Drum Horse’s clients can expect to see a Zendesk ticketing system in place to manage help desks professionally, Net Promotor Scores to keep us on our toes and contractual SLAs that are written in blood.

So why call a BPO service provider Drum Horse? Because although now largely ceremonial, drum horses of yester year inspired the troops with their consistent beat. Back offices too, need a drumbeat; invoices out on time, cash collected on time, staff performances reviewed on time, IT systems kept up all the time.

Maintaining this metronomic rhythm is the lifeblood of any agency.

Life post-covid is difficult to imagine right now. Even Spock would find it virtually unrecognisable. But it could be hugely exciting.

For more information on these services visit the Drum Horse website here.

Simon Quarendon

Simon Quarendon is a veteran marketer and communicator with a career spanning nearly 40 years. He has bought, built, sold, rescued, led and mentored just about every kind of creative communications agency in existence and run global accounts for the best in the world. Today, Simon runs the business end of Selbey Anderson, working across the group to make sure clients get the best and the agencies all prosper.