You’re looking for an agency that can not only design and build your digital product, but implement additional technology such as AI, voice, cloud services, IoT or cybersecurity. Perhaps you have a list of recommended agencies, you’ve been referred, or you’re starting from scratch. It can be difficult to know what to look for.
What are the differentiators?
What does a good agency look like?
How can you validate your assumptions?
We believe there are four key areas that organisations should be looking for when shopping for agencies. Here’s our quick and easy guide to help you understand what a capable and suitable technology agency looks like.
In the world of the social brand and busy content streams, it’s easy to talk about emerging trends or technologies. Agencies will often produce content around hot topics like cryptocurrency, extended reality or ChatGPT, but is this just for show? True innovation exists within an agency’s work, not their marketing.
It can be difficult for agencies to display their true breadth of work due to NDAs or IP, but it can be easy to assess an organisation's capabilities by delving a little deeper. Look for validation in their case studies, their video content or even their in-person events.
If you’ve been referred, ask the referring organisation exactly how the agency helped them realise their digital aspirations and solve their technology woes. Better still, look for their presence on professional networks such as The Drum. Client experience is everything.
Gone are the days of ‘design + development’. Today’s successful digital agencies and technology agencies will often shape their workplace structures around specialist teams that can apply a broader set of skills to a particular discipline. This could be something as simple as a mobile development or app development team, or more specialist technology such as voice recognition or software engineering teams.
There’s also benefit in partnering with agencies who have chosen a particular web technology as their specialism. For us, this is Ruby on Rails, which we favour for its speed, agility and cost-effectiveness. Our clients are typically looking to build prototypes rapidly and bring them to market quickly, so it’s a great programming language for Kyan and its partners.
In the golden years of the ad agency era, it was simply enough to wine and dine clients. Whilst this may still be the case for some agencies, we feel that the landscape has evolved significantly. Clients value a genuine connection with their technology partners and a relationship that allows room for ideas to be questioned, rules to be broken, and norms to be challenged.
Client feedback from our most recent NPS survey highlighted our clients’ delight at the relationships we’ve built, commenting not only on our flexibility and ability to move fast but our inquisitive nature and desire to be bold and brave in the work we produce.
Employer brand isn’t just about attracting (and keeping) talent. It also sends a clear message to potential agency clients that the business looks after its employees and fosters a workplace that puts their interests first, which ultimately leads to a better quality of work.
A good workplace culture is not perks, like a football table and a drinks fridge. Nor is it benefits like unlimited holiday or bike-to-work schemes. Of course, these are all great extras, but true workplace culture is development plans for individuals, suitable mental health support, diverse teams and equal opportunities, all underpinned by a clear set of values that guides the organisation as a whole.
Why does this matter? Because happier, healthier and more diverse teams are proven to produce better work. There are also several affirming accreditations to look out for, such as B Corp, Campaign’s Best Place to Work and Best Companies, as well as review networks such as Glassdoor, which give a transparent and unfiltered view of what a company is like to work for or with.
Shopping around for a technology agency can be difficult. Case studies don’t always show the whole picture, and social feeds can be overly curated. With a little extra effort (and hopefully a few pointers from this blog), you can dig deeper and find your perfect agency partner when it comes to building your next digital product.
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