ish in the limelight: actor scheduling, job tracking and financial system.

The challenge

For many years the agents at this talent agency used a simple Filemaker system to track contacts and jobs, with much of the important information simply in the heads of each agent. They each knew instantly where their talent was (or should have been). But the agency grew. With increased specialisation and size, each agent could no longer keep the whole picture in their head, nor could they access that information when someone was out of the office.

Programmers (not us!) were commissioned to devise a solution. They delivered a product that was completely unusable – not because it didn’t function technically, but because they had totally misunderstood how the business worked. The agents knew how to deal with people, schedules, contracts and the industry; but they were being asked to completely change the way they worked to suit the computer software. It was never going to work. So with some trepidation, the client came to ish…

The solution

We worked alongside individual staff and managers to fully comprehend their work practices. It was vital for us to get a thorough understanding of how the business operated.

We deployed the final result in stages. This gave the users tangible results quickly and gave us feedback early on. Stage one provided talent management at a huge level of detail, encompassing skills, personal details and financial information. We spent much of our time finding better ways to display the information currently in the brains of the agents.

Stage two provided scheduling, showing where every talent was required to be at any time. Double booking was eliminated and historical data always available. The scheduling was done with a graphical interface similar to MS Outlook. It was easy to use and it worked. The agents are unanimously happy with this feature.

Stage three has now been completed. The financial aspects of this stage (invoicing, payments in and out, commissions, trust account management) have been the greatest time saving for the agency.

h3. The result

The financial aspects of the system alone relieve the agency of up to 30 hours of financial work each week.

Talented should pay for itself in a very short time. The savings in accounts staff will increase profitability and its new functionality already provides better service to talent and clients.

Most importantly it frees the agents to spend more time doing what they do best.