Idea in Brief

The CEO of a PE-backed digital marketing agency was faced with an enviable problem. The agency had 14 divisions, and they were experiencing rapid growth in all of them, scaling from 400 to 1,200 employees within just the past year. However, the rapid growth introduced new challenges:

  • In spite of its culture of ownership and intrapreneurship, the people factor had become the biggest limiter to growth
  • Processes that worked in the past no longer scaled as easily as teams grew in size

Therefore, the CEO decided to embark on a “Big Rock” to transform the way employees served their end clients, by focusing on what matters. His goal was to identify potential ways to automate and outsource various parts of operations, to enable growth and enhance enterprise value, while maintaining or even enhancing the speed and quality of delivery.

We started this initiative by giving four goals to each division:

  • Document Tasks & Processes: Note what we all do and approximately how much time it takes to complete it
  • Work Smarter Together: Increase our process & workflow maturity to break the wheel of reinvention
  • Focus More on Client Impact: Spend more time advising clients and less on repetitive tasks
  • Continue to Grow: Find sustainable ways to grow teams and secure top talent

Across a series of assessments and interviews with 150 employees, we developed process maps and task assessments for each division. Then, we estimated the potential to automate and outsource.

We found that, over the next three years, 38% of tasks could be automated or outsourced. This had the potential to enable over $100M of new revenue, while optimizing $60M of current revenue.

As a result, the company hired a Chief Transformation Officer to execute this plan.