Able is New Zealand's leading provider of media access services, including captioning, subtitling and audio description for broadcast TV and On Demand streaming services. Gencom has supported Able since their inception as a not-for-profit charitable trust in 2013, and today oversees all of Able’s IT infrastructure and support requirements. As the organisation has grown, they wanted to automate their freelance workflow, moving away from a system that relied on manual management oversight, to a more efficient and automated process that would reduce the amount of resource required.
Gencom worked closely with Able to understand their requirements and assess the available options. Due to the organisation’s unique requirements, Gencom ultimately developed a system architecture centred on Cirkus, a new collaboration toolset from farmerswife, the leading provider of resource scheduling, project management & team collaboration software for the demanding needs of today's media industry.
Cirkus is an easy-to-use, day-to-day task collaboration tool for teams. It allows users to unlimitedly schedule, assign and manage projects and tasks; track status and report time; and collaborate efficiently anywhere, with anyone, by coordinating resources and sharing files in one central hub. Cirkus allows Able staffers and freelancers to effectively communicate, share resources and securely share media and deliverable files. The system allows for an efficient workflow, where tasks can either be assigned to a specific freelancer aligning with their subject matter expertise or presented to the pool of available freelancers. Data is shared securely through an intuitive web-based UI or an iOS app, which notifies the supervisors upon the completion of tasks, and allows for dialogue between freelancer and supervisor within the app.
According to Stephanie Turner, Operations Manager at Able, “The team at farmerswife were a dream to work with while we implemented Cirkus. They were very responsive to any queries we had, and any changes we needed were actioned quickly. We find Cirkus to be a very malleable product. We were impressed by how user-friendly it was from the outset – filtering, searching, display options are all available. Whenever we had a question like ‘How can we do this?’ Or ‘How can we see this information?’, there was always a way. Cirkus has improved and simplified our internal processes and made us an easy and efficient organisation to work with.”
Pippa, a freelancer at Able, added, “Cirkus is easy to navigate and intuitive. It is straightforward to see what tasks are upcoming – especially those that are designated urgent – and to download and upload files.”
As a part of the project, Gencom also developed a web-based application that can ingest new tasks from Able’s normal workflows. The titles available to freelancers are automatically uploaded to Cirkus with all necessary program information. The web tool also generates a set of billing reports that Able staff can provide to freelancers to make invoicing simple and error-free.
David Barnard, Managing Director for Gencom, said that “Cirkus’ open REST API made integrating the product into Able’s workflow very straightforward. Our application allows an Able user to have full control over the tasks being ingested, including making manual changes if needed. We then use the API to create tasks in Cirkus, with full control over all aspects of each task. We’re then able to retrieve changes and task status, filtering as needed to give us the information Able needs to see in their reports. It was easy to get up and running with the API, and the team at Cirkus was very helpful all through the process.”
The project was completed on time and on budget, and after an initial trial period with a limited number of freelancers, the Cirkus workflow has now been rolled out to all of Able’s freelancers. The result has been significant reduction in management resource, and an increase in freelance work completed.