Leveraging AI-powered workflow automation to reduce time spent on administrative work
Peter Marius Stampe
Commercial Strategy Lead
Information Technology & Services Denmark 11 - 50 employees stromlin.dk
Strømlin is a Danish technology agency that creates efficient solutions by connecting leading-edge technology with real human and business-driven needs. Established in 2005, the agency is known for its digital expertise in financial services industry, public sector, educational institutions, and membership organizations.
As part of the management team in Strømlin, Peter Marius Stampe is responsible for commercial strategy, brand and business innovation. But on top of that, he's also a tech nerd, always curious to discover new possibilities within digital solutions and eager to see how to use it actively in Strømlin's way of operating and delivering on the client's vision.
Like many other agencies, Strømlin's previous setup consisted of a large tool stack with few integrations. The data was scattered across several places, forcing the team to register time in one place while having their tasks in the other. The agency knew they had to optimize the workflows and tame the complexity. With deep insight into the digital world and a sweet spot for project management solutions, Peter was already steps ahead in the process of finding the right match. He knew that the company wouldn't benefit from a standalone project management tool. They had to find a platform that could support their workflow and vision.
To both Strømlin and Forecast, intelligent workflow automation, machine learning, and AI are of huge interest. When Strømlin initially found Forecast, they could see a match in the vision and ambitions.
The reason why we chose Forecast is partly because it fits our strategic goals. We support the idea of automating as many parts of the workflow as possible to gain time and focus on creating more value. At the same time, we don't just want to build technology; we want to make it easier for humankind to work.
Simplifying work by automating administrative tasks is an excellent benefit in Peter's eyes. "I can see how automation can free up a lot of time for our teams and also serve as a driver for helping the agency achieve our operational goals and of course deliver on our client's vision." Over the last years, Strømlin had clients that expressed the need in digital solutions with artificial intelligence more and more. Due to the company's profile and obvious interest and knowledge within the field, they've already contributed and delivered several solutions where artificial intelligence and automation is playing a significant role. One of such projects involved the use of AI to help organize Denmark's largest art collection by arranging around 40,000 digitized works from the museum collection into categories.
The eagerness to evolve in this direction has also led Strømlin to becoming part of the Forecast journey.
AI is not just about the future. It has already started to bring actual value to companies today. Even though current AI has its limitations, we can see a lot of potential when a trained computer assists us in planning, making budget estimations and time registrations.
As a software development agency billing their hours, Strømlin has had a focus on how to improve work processes and the way the agency operates. Out of curiosity, Peter looked at almost every project management solution in the market. "I have a great deal of experience in project management tools, but after finding Forecast, we've realized that it can replace a large number of these." It helped the agency avoid a lot of the tedious back-and-forth process of switching between time registration and contract systems, several project management tools, ticket systems, and several booking systems.
After switching to Forecast, we’ve experienced that registering time has become faster and more precise. Not only does this make it easier for me to monitor the billability, but also, when planning projects, the AI helps us estimate tasks more accurately.
“For us, it’s key that we can get an overview and avoid the clutter of tools. Having everything in one place makes it much more accurate and far more value-adding.”
The interconnectivity throughout the platform has helped everyone fall in love with how the platform is cut.
There are so many doors Forecast opens and so much flexibility. The more we work with the platform, the more we fall in love with how it's cut.
To Strømlin, the overview of the entire organization is critical. But "not just the overview from a management perspective, where we need to see the economy, but also from the project manager's perspective and the supporting functions." Here the flexibility in Forecast has been giving them opportunities they didn't know they needed.
Workflow automation in Forecast has been the best way to keep developers focused, increase overall productivity, and contribute to the culture of accountability in Strømlin. At the same time, it has given management a better high-level picture of how projects are progressing.
According to Peter, "Working in an agency very often entails changes and new things to focus on. Which can end up in a lot non-billable time that could have been spent better on billable tasks." For an agency, every billable hour is important, and the possibility to automate the workflow is very beneficial. The customizable Kanban view in Forecast and Timesheets, according to Peter, let him control the economy and time and also nudge people to get things done when they're booked.
Additionally, what Forecast has brought to Strømlin, is "collaborative transparency and visibility, the key to developing trust and better vendor-client relationships." Forecast allows them to invite clients to the system to approve tasks. A small but efficient task ownership feature, developed in close co-creation with Strømlin, keeps all the task assignees aware of who's working on a task at the moment. File sharing, comment section, and notifications make it easier to share experience between team members and be in the know.
As a substantial part of Strømlin's decision to buy Forecast was driven by their interest in error-proof processes, the company has been enjoying Forecast's AI algorithms, spread across the platform. Specifically, AI-powered estimations help the team to predict how many hours exactly a task will take for a developer to finish, at the same time bringing new meaning to workflow automation as a concept.
We benefit from a more accurate planning approach. Forecast helps us build up a faster way to delivery by reducing human error and creating visibility into the work process. In total, the platform makes it possible to standardize many processes, which, in the end, creates more efficient workflows.
Working closely together with their Danish sister agency 1508, Strømlin syncs Forecast with TimeLog, Gitlab, Google Drive, and Calendar. Being able to connect several systems and streamline the tool stack supports the vision of automating workflows and establishing the error-proof process.
The problem with any type of agency, is that everyone has a preference for different kinds of tools, and figuring out what to use can be complicated. The positive thing about Forecast is that it integrates with many platforms we as a digital agency prefer to keep.
Because Forecast offers more than just workflow automation, Peter remarks that "Strømlin is aspiring to make it the center of the ecosystem and can see great benefits from the integrations with e-conomic and their CRM system." Here, the automation of the administrative tasks around financial reporting is especially interesting for Peter. He can see the time-saving element and possibilities that these extra hours he now spends collecting data would add to his tasks, but also to the entire company.
Peter ends with a small statement that choosing an intelligent automation platform is excellent, but it also requires that the company keeps data discipline and is aware of how it wants to optimize business processes to really benefit from the value of artificial intelligence. The way that Forecast is structured clears the path and suddenly makes new options available to Strømlin. It opens a room of amazing possibilities that they see beneficial now, but consider to be even more helpful to grow in the future.
With Forecast, Like.Digital is able to validate business decisions by clearly showing the amount of resources needed for a project.
“With Forecast, we managed to further productize our services by linking project activities to a concrete milestone, cost, and budget." -Matt, Founder.
“Forecast working as the central hub where not only the time, the allocations, and the project management is occurring but the actual project lives in it”