It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”. Mr Spock’s famous line from the long running TV series Star Trek pretty much 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 practically every other organisation on the planet –  are going to have to make major adjustments to their business models if they are to successfully adapt to the new normal. 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.

Which is why we have launched a new company. Drum Horse is a business services provider that lets creative agencies outsource their back office and middle office functions so they can focus all the agency’s attention on ‘front of house’. Our belief is that senior management of these agencies simply cannot afford to spend any time doing anything that does not help a client, or yield a profit. Anything else should be considered 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 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 numbers employed, we can help agencies take costs out of their business, redeploy their resources 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 (SLAs)attached to each one. Our soon-to—be-appointed MD, Charlie Trietline brings with 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 yesteryear inspired the troops with their consistent beat. Back offices too, need to march to a consistent beat; 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. As Spock would say, it will be virtually unrecognisable. But it could be hugely exciting.