IPG onboarded Basis Technologies to help match market competition and customer expectations
Embracing change with confidence
A global provider of marketing solutions, Interpublic Group (IPG) provides integrated marketing services and is one of the world’s premier advertising companies. A holding company for more than 90 brands, the firm’s 54,000 employees service more than 4,000 clients in 100 countries, generating revenues in excess of $9.8 billion in 2018.
Enhancing global customer service with Basis Technologies
IPG chose ActiveControl from Basis Technologies’ to implement a new way of working to benefit its global customer base
Digital disruption has had a major impact on the world of marketing and advertising. As competition and customer expectations increased, the delivery cycle of product enhancements for IPG’s business- critical SAP systems was perceived internally as being out of touch and too slow to respond. A new way of working was required, but a highly dispersed global team, stringent compliance requirements and a regular flow of new business acquisitions made this already complex challenge all the more difficult.
Like many businesses confronted with digital disruption IPG has faced a range of new challenges in recent years. “Marketing has drastically changed due to an explosion of new communication channels, devices, and technologies,” explains Orhan Ozalp, Executive Director, Global SAP Solutions at IPG. “Suddenly we have competitors like Google and Facebook that we never competed with in the past.”
IPG realized that their traditional SAP release cycle, consisting of one major and one minor production deployment per year, was no longer fit for purpose in this new market; a more agile, low-cost approach to IT was required. However, their change control processes, which were based on extensive use of Excel spreadsheets, could not be accelerated without exposing critical financial systems to an unacceptable level of risk (and associated cost of failure).
IPG decided to embark on a DevOps project that would make their SAP systems more responsive without putting the business at risk. Basis Technologies has supported IPG’s business for a number of years. Thanks to this close working relationship IPG were already aware of Basis Technologies’ expertise in DevOps for SAP.
ActiveControl from Basis Technologies was selected to support this initiative and enable IPG to move from bi-annual releases to weekly deployments. With ActiveControl, IPG can “really, truly be agile and change things” in their SAP systems and are “just continuously delivering”.
ActiveControl also removes the delay caused by differences in time zones, languages, etc by making it easy for every team to see the progress of any change. A browser-based web user interface even provides access to the system from any location.
ActiveControl’s advanced automation functions underpin IPG’s DevOps approach and have eliminated the use of Excel spreadsheets from their change and release processes. All change requests and associated transports are now controlled in a single repository, with automatic deployment of transports on a set schedule. By shifting away from spreadsheets, the IPG team significantly reduced the risk of error and freed up a wealth of manual resource to focus on value-add activities.
Customized workflows have been defined to support IPG’s business needs, including both business and IT approvals. This automation has helped to increase team productivity and deliver greater business value by enabling promotion of change into SAP production systems as soon as it’s ready.
The advanced analysis provided by ActiveControl has dramatically reduced the risk of SAP change at IPG, where its suite of more than sixty out-of-the-box analyzers is employed to eliminate costly production downtime by identifying issues at the earliest possible stage. This increased confidence in the quality of change supports faster, more frequent deployments and helps to raise team morale by eliminating the need for ‘out of hours’ deployment windows and development of emergency fixes.
Finally, by acting as a ‘single source of truth’, ActiveControl massively reduces the time and effort it takes the IPG team to analyze SAP changes and produce the audit reports needed for regulatory compliance (e.g. SOX).