Measuring the Value of Creative Operations

colored pencils arranged side-by-side at different heights

Over half of creative leaders are now measuring the value of creative operations. Metrics are no longer a nice-to-have for the creative team of 2021, they are a must.

Every year for the past four years, Screendragon has surveyed creative leaders to examine the current state of creative operations. In our 2019 survey, only 34% of creative leaders said they measure the value of creative operations. Year on year since, we have witnessed somewhere in the range of a 10% increase and in 2021, that figure jumped to 52%.

So, what metrics are creative leaders currently measuring and what challenges do they face in reporting operational metrics? Moreover, how can creative leaders leverage technology for easier reporting and to better inform themselves, their teams and organizations about the status of creative work, resource capacity, costs and more?

pie charts depicting an 18 percent increase from 2019 to 2021 in companies that measure the value of creative operations

What metrics are creative leaders measuring?

Based on our research, Resource Utilization was rated as the number one creative operations metric to measure. This comes as no surprise as creative leaders grapple with the borderless workforce of 2021 where resources are distributed across multiple locations, some working in full-time roles, others working on a part-time or freelance basis. It’s a new landscape that calls for greater transparency. Leaders need to be able to track productivity and be in a position to make the right decisions on resource allocation.

Creative leaders also rated the following metrics high in terms of importance: number of projects completed, estimated vs, actual costs of creative projects, and rounds of revision per asset.

Reporting on creative operations is a challenge.

Our research found that 30% of creative teams don’t produce any reports on operational metrics. When we asked creative leaders to identify the biggest challenge they faced in reporting on operational metrics, the same answers cropped up again and again. They don’t have the ability to accurately forecast and/or they don’t have a single integrated tool to capture data and report on creative metrics with ease.

Their responses lead us to technology and it plays in providing much-needed transparency and accuracy, now and into the future.

a response set depicting how often creative teams produce operational metrics reports - 14 percent at least weekly, 8 percent biweekly, 33 percent monthly, 10 percent quarterly, 0 percent semiannually, 4 percent yearly, 27 percent does not create these reports

Leverage technology for easier reporting and better metrics.

Forecasting is a major pain point for creative leaders in 2021. Many are doing it on an ad-hoc basis or not at all. The common struggle is accuracy, though the solution is a lot easier than some may think.

To accurately forecast resourcing and other key metrics, leaders need a tool that can capture and track estimates (resourcing, expenses or other) while automatically applying those details to a live project for up-to-the-minute projections. If deadlines or resource requirements change, projections adjust accordingly so no matter what the scenario, leaders can get an accurate picture of future resourcing needs.

Of course, this is just one part of the puzzle. An all-in-one-platform that connects projects, resources, processes and budgets in one place would allow for more holistic reporting since all data lives in one place and is not spread across multiple tools or add-ons.

As creative operations continues to evolve, we can expect to be leaning on smart technology more and more to arrive at that one source of truth. It plays such a crucial role in ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working efficiently together.

Screendragon is an IHAF supplier member and a provider of creative operations software. For more on the state of creative operations today, download Screendragon's Creative Operations Report

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