In this case study we look at how a major financial institution moves its marketing platform from a server-based to a cloud-based product. In particular, we focus on how this change impacted productivity and marketing costs.
The marketing operations group at our client was faced with the challenge of software that was on its way to becoming obsolete. The marketing platform the firm had used for over ten years to monitor risk and legal compliance for over 2,000 marketing campaigns per year was no longer fully supported by its vendor.
User experience was less than ideal. Each time a version came out, an IT team had to manually upgrade it. These factors increased cost and reduced efficiency.
Newer, cloud-based solutions offered opportunities for enhanced functionality, greater productivity, and cost savings. The project was high-stakes. Execution needed to be seamless or risk affecting productivity for over 2,000 team members.
On the surface, the solution was relatively simple: Use this moment of change to select the best software available on the market and get it.
GSG interviewed and qualified a team of consultants with subject matter expertise in cloud technologies, marketing automation platforms, and security and risk. The lead consultant needed to have ample experience working with large teams and executive management.
GSG’s consultant took the following steps:
- Valuation exercise. In the context of solutioning, the first thing the team had to do was implement a valuation exercise. The proposed move to the cloud was a golden opportunity to look at the landscape and competition. This is an enterprise level platform with many users. During a four-month process, the team audited the existing product and received demos from multiple vendors. We did a huge body of work to determine the right vendor, narrowing the field to the incumbent plus four new contenders. After eliminating one contender and doing a deep dive on the remaining four, the team went with the incumbent’s cloud-based software.
- Negotiation. Once they confirmed that the software was appropriate, the team facilitated contract negotiations.
- Implementation planning. Leveraging a core team of 40 to 50 employees, the GSG consultant’s role was business lead. In addition to managing the team, the role involved solution architecture, strategic facilitation across IT, the vendor, internal leadership, and project managers. Central to implementation planning was overcoming roadblocks and ensuring effective communication and consensus among both senior leaders and middle managers.
- Building the team. GSG’s consultant organized the project into multiple workstreams, including:
Governance. A steering committee of five to 10 very senior executives was pulled together, and “rules of the road” were established, especially around escalation and decision-making approaches and meeting cadence. At each meeting, important questions were asked about barriers, necessary decisions, go/no go approvals, and strategic negotiations with the vendor.
Program office. To ensure smooth progress, workstreams were organized around a program office that included:
- Business analysis
- Business processes
- Change management
- Decommissioning post go-live
- Data cleanup and migration
Security. Moving to the cloud is exciting and provides a lot of opportunity while also posing serious security questions and challenges. GSG’s consultant ensured that information security and operational risk and control were properly addressed throughout the process, creating necessary security protocols.
Once the steering committee, governance, and work streams were in place, the team rolled up its sleeves. A software project is built on developing and end to end project plan that takes into account literally thousands of interdependencies. The project plan was a dynamic document that needed the ability to adapt to new information. It took six months to plan everything and create all the pieces and infrastructure that lead to flipping the switch. Implementation is a relatively brief part of the project.
Here’s a snapshot of the team’s timeline:
- Planning: one quarter
- Pre-launch implementation: two quarters
- Launch: one month
- Deployment: one day
- Stabilization and decommissioning: one quarter.
The cloud upgrade was a huge success. From the beginning, and important project goal was to avoid disrupting over the firms over 2,000 marketers. A successful migration meant that there would not be deterioration in productivity and performance. They wanted to make sure that, after going home on a Friday using the old software and coming back on a Monday to new software, that the end users were happy. The whole team was happy to learn that there was no increase in help tickets and users reported high satisfaction.