August 1st, 2007 Desktop, Software, Tech

There are plenty of traffic management tools around, traditionally off-the-shelf solutions, but more recently there’s been an explosion of database-driven, web-based traffic managers you access and manipulate right in your browser.

Until now few have claimed the simple moniker ‘Traffic’, and if Traffic is anything to go by, the reason why is clear. It’s simply one of the most comprehensive studio tools around — not just in traffic management but CRM, scheduling, estimating and quoting, WIP tracking, invoicing, proposals, managing supplier quotes, client contact reporting and not only tracking financial data for invoicing or cost tracking but exporting all your data to MYOB.

Traffic is a tailored solution. Technicians from publisher Sohnar come to your premises and install everything. As it’s all based on Filemaker Pro files, they’ll load Filemaker on your system if you don’t already have it (and you’re eligible for a discount if you do) and set up all the files.

Just one advantage of that is because traffic can’t natively sync with the contacts data on your mobile phone, but case-by-case needs solutions can be part of Traffic’s service offering if you need it.

Though Traffic appears ideally suited to a 5-15 person studio — as Sohnar themselves admit — it can be figured for anywhere between one and 250. And yes, there’s at least one single-operator design studio using it right now.

A start screen with a hierarchical menu system leads you everywhere you need to go fairly intuitively, but you’ll be using the system so much you’ll pick up the nuances before long.

Ironically the handiest aspect of a job trafficking system — a clock on/off button wasn’t present when Desktop previewed Traffic, but Sohnar assured us it would be built in by the time you read this.

With such a capability in place, you can do everything there is to be done on a job. You can create and manage from a macro- down to a microscopic level, from an entire campaign and all associated materials, billing, contacts, suppliers, designers and assignments to your client’s husband’s name if your memory lets your sales skills down. And while it doesn’t replace your mail client, the system emails everything from supplier quote requests to proposals and proofs to clients.

Perhaps the best thing about Traffic is the reporting. The morass of information is like a spreadsheet or web page and hard to distil into a visual work in progress report — hence the enduring popularity of the whiteboard.

But with so much data from so many areas of traffic, you can get a snapshot of your whole business whether you’re calculating costing or profit, deadlines or doling work out to designers to fill their downtime.

There are two potential downsides; it’s prohibitively expensive for all but the most established of operations, so you might have your work cut out for you convincing your boss to buy it if you’re a small to medium agency or studio.

Secondly, such a comprehensive product threatens to take all your time away just doing admin, but Traffic does a good job of keeping it to a minimum by being fairly scalable to your needs. If you come to depend on it, it could become the hub of your whole studio.

Full client and publication list:

  • 3D Artist
  • APC
  • Auscam
  • Australian Creative
  • Australian Macworld
  • Australian Way (Qantas)
  • Big Issue
  • Black Velvet Seductions
  • Black+White
  • Bookseller & Publisher
  • Box Magazine
  • Brain World
  • Business News
  • Business NSW
  • Campaign Brief
  • Capture
  • Cleo
  • Cosmos
  • Cream
  • Curve
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Dark Horizons
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Desktop
  • DG
  • Digital Media
  • Disney Magazine
  • DNA Magazine
  • Empire
  • Empty Magazine
  • Famous Monsters of Filmland
  • Fast Thinking
  • FHM UK
  • Film Stories
  • Filmink
  • Follow Gentlemen
  • Geek Magazine
  • Good Reading
  • Good Weekend
  • GQ
  • How It Works
  • Hydrapinion
  • Inside Film
  • Loaded
  • M2 Magazine
  • Marie Claire Australia
  • Marketing
  • Maxim Australia
  • Men's Style
  • Metro
  • Moviehole
  • MSN
  • Nine To Five
  • Paranormal
  • PC Authority
  • PC Powerplay
  • PC Update
  • PC User
  • PC World
  • Penthouse
  • People
  • Pixelmag
  • Popular Science
  • Post Magazine
  • Ralph
  • Reader's Digest
  • ScienceNetwork WA
  • SciFiNow
  • Scoop
  • Scoop Traveller
  • Seaside Observer
  • SFX
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Australian
  • The Retiree
  • The Sun Herald
  • The West Australian
  • TimeOut
  • Total Film
  • Video Camera
  • Video&Filmmaker
  • Writing Magazine
  • Xpress
  • Zoo