What I love most about sharing Apps Associates’ success stories is that each one is a story of innovation. This latest story tells how we helped a customer quickly migrate to the cloud, rapidly improving their sales data reporting.
OUTFRONT Media Inc. (NYSE: OUT) is the US leader in out-of-home advertising. From Sunset Boulevard to Times Square, its diverse portfolio includes more than 400,000 digital and static displays, which are primarily located in the most iconic and high-traffic locations throughout the 25 largest markets in the U.S. OUTFRONT is the advertising partner of choice for major municipal transit systems, reaching millions of commuters daily in the largest U.S. cities. OUTFRONT Media has displays in over 150 markets across the U.S. and Canada.
So much data, but it was hard to get insight
In addition to their huge market presence, OUTFRONT Media also had a huge amount of transactional data in their business. (Twelve years of Oracle data along with over twenty years of IBM data sources, to be exact.) Although there were hundreds of standard reports available to access this transactional data, they weren’t being used. The reason? The user interface for the reporting tool along with the tool itself were underwhelming. As a result, users had a hard time knowing which report to run to find the business answers they needed.
Since the users needed cross platform reporting, they pulled IT into the reporting process to generate multiple, recurring reports. This diversion of resources prevented IT from focusing on their own value-add projects. In addition, OUTFRONT suffered from cumbersome distribution methods, sometimes sending 10MB files through email or setting up shared drives, which further bogged down the IT group.
Experience needed in the right areas
OUTFRONT knew they needed to make a change. They decided to implement a centralized data warehouse and BI tool for information reporting that would leverage the insights available in their transactional data. They wanted a cloud-based solution that would rapidly deploy information to users in a self-service model. Mobile enablement, without question, was essential. Quick wins were needed too, so people would be excited to use the new system.
OUTFRONT evaluated a wide range of niche software applications and settled on an Oracle-based solution. When it came down to deciding who would consult, develop, and implement the solution, they realized the traditional big box firms had limited experience in delivering Oracle cloud solutions. They chose Apps Associates because we have experience in the right areas.
“We quickly found Apps Associates had experience across Oracle BI, applications, and middleware,” says Derek Hayden, VP, Applications Development for OUTFRONT Media. “They are certified in Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) and Database as a Service (DBaaS). They also offered prebuilt accelerators for key business areas like finance. What was really important was that Apps Associates was able to support our plan to develop a custom solution. They had expertise to help us in our requirement gathering and design and were very flexible in their approach to help us meet our deliverables.”
Our plan had two phases – Deploy Oracle BICS first and then build the database-as-a-service cloud solution. Starting with a small subset of data, the BICS concept was quickly proven. Using Apps Associates’ BICS accelerators, we quickly moved through the requirements and design phases of the project. Our technical knowledge and functional expertise, along with our onshore and offshore resources seamlessly working as a 24 hour development team, accelerated the project delivery. In just five weeks, OUTFRONT got their first quick win with reports addressing sales and customer trends as well as account executive performance.
Users can now access reports that cover the Sales, Finance, and Real Estate business groups. Delivery time has been reduced, reports that used to take a month to deliver now take less than a day. Users have fresh data on a daily basis to plan their business activities and IT doesn’t have to do a thing.
OUTFRONT described Apps Associates as a “true and trusted partner” and we take that relationship seriously. And because of that relationship, OUTFRONT will continue its BI expansion using Oracle BICS and working with Apps Associates. If you want to learn more, please read our detailed case study.