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Bomper Studio

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Bomper Studio is an independent, creative production studio based in Caerphilly.

Learning points

  • Creative businesses with a strong digital element require high speed, robust internet connectivity. This can help to support customer service and staff productivity.
  • A business leased line can help to provide a robust broadband connection and help to minimise frustrating and costly dropouts.
  • Digitally mature businesses in some sectors can make extensive use of digital technologies across business processes, while also having offline aspects to their business (face-to face meeting, retail purchases).

Overview of the business

Picture of Bomper logo

Bomper Studio provides high end advertising, branding and broadcast services to Welsh, UK-based and international clients including Levi Strauss, Tesco and Glenfiddich.

Its services draw on creativity and a strong ethos of customer service. The business employs ten members of staff comprising a mix of artists (3D and 2D), illustrators, animators, art directors and production staff. The majority of its staff are full-time, with the business seeking to minimise its use of external freelancers.

Superfast broadband adoption

The business has invested significantly in IT over the past two years to facilitate its move from a managed workspace (Welsh ICE) to its own premises.

This has included new hardware and software, and network infrastructure (including internet telephony). Broadband has, until recently, been provided by Plusnet, with a measured download speed of 60mbs, and upload speed of 17mbs.

Bomper Studio has experienced periodic dropouts in its broadband provision, impacting on its ability to provide client services. To secure greater reliability, and to provide greater capacity in line with growth projections, the business has recently signed up to a BT leased line.

IT skills capacity

Bomper Studio employs technical specialists to maintain its ICT infrastructure and to provide support for its software applications. More specialist support is provided externally as and when appropriate.

It estimates that its staff have a high level of IT skills, with over three quarters having intermediate or above IT skills. These skills reflect the strong digital focus of much of its work.

Bomper Studio information flow diagram

Highlighting the internal and external communication flows of the business.

Use of digital skills

The business makes use of a wide range of digital technologies across its business. Its production process, for example, makes extensive use of ftrack project management software (a specialist tool for the creative sector). This enables staff to manage the development of new advertising, branding and film projects through a dashboard, and provide access to clients to monitor and comment on product versions throughout the development process.

Given the large size of files created during production, the business makes use of a professional file transfer service – WeTransfer to ensure swift distribution and access by clients. The business has a website to establish its profile and range of project work and clients. The creative industry sector is fast moving and Bomper plans to update its website in 2020 with external support.

Back office processes

Digital technologies are also used in back office processes, including Xero to manage its accounting processes, and CharlieHR for staffing issues. The business recognises the value of ensuring discussions are recorded and makes use of an instant messaging service internally (Slack).

The main client communication interface, however, continues to be via ftrack. All Bomper Studio’s digital technologies are accessible in the cloud, enabling staff to access them remotely, for example on client premises or when travelling. It continues, however, to back up data locally on its own server for security and resilience purposes.

Hybrid processes

Although Bomper Studio is a digitally mature business, with almost all of its products developed and stored digitally (for example, brand designs, animations), a number of its business processes continue to have non-digital or hybrid aspects.

This can be seen in the continued importance of travel and meetings for business development and project meetings, and the production of printed designs (for example store display branding).

Such processes, in most cases exist alongside more digital processes such as IP telephone calls or video conferencing (Skype – used in a small number of cases for clients located outside of the UK). The business also reports making the largest proportion of its purchases online (for example, IT equipment), but purchasing everyday consumables locally.

Business performance

Bomper Studio has grown significantly since its launch in 2014. In the 2018/19 financial year its sales amounted to half a million pounds. It estimates that access to superfast broadband has positively aided its performance in relation to both sales and profitability by up to 30%.

It expects its growth to continue in the coming years and has recently secured funding from the Clwster programme – a research and development support programme for the creative sector – to develop a new 3D real-time product configurator. This is expected to further develop the businesses’ high end animation capability and may lead the recruitment of additional skilled staff.