A global marketing management firm was facing a monumental challenge in the areas of information gathering, processing, and reporting.  Operating across 60+markets at any one time, the firm is responsible for managing the planning of worldwide marketing spend for a £25 billion global FMCG company. This involves annual planning processes, quarterly reporting, monthly change management, and day-to-day operations in tracking new projects, deliverables, and adjustments to spend. 

Before going digital

The central procurement team – ultimately responsible for gathering and reporting on the procurement processes of all the markets – started out with an Excel-based process. The team designed forms and instructions, emailed them to all the markets, and followed up for information on a regular basis.

This information was then manually processed from hundreds of source files into a single reporting dataset, from which more reports were manually created and managed. As the demands on this process grew, the procurement team found themselves spending more time chasing spreadsheets, than making decisions.

The Solution

Amberstone was approached in 2018 to replace the largest pain point in the process, by turning the templated Excel sheet into a centralized web application. This application would be used by all the markets to capture their data in a consistent way, eliminating the manual processing required on a monthly basis.

Based on the Excel sheet and the underlying business process, Amberstone delivered a secure web application that approximated the user experience of those Excel sheets, which made the ongoing change management simpler.
By 2019, the vast majority of new scopes of work were being tracked in the new system – and the demands on the system had grown. The application expanded from a simple data capture tool, into a robust platform.
As of 2021, this platform serves as the foundation for the data gathering, reporting, and decision-making activities of the firm. It’s used on a daily basis by the central procurement team, accepts monthly changes from the markets, and has reduced reporting build time from days, to seconds.

The Results

The day-to-day usage of the platform has made the central procurement team much more efficient. Prior to the platform, it would take approximately 3 months of work to lock in a full year’s budget position. As of 2021, that process was reduced to less than 1 month.

With all the data captured centrally, simplified approval workflows and real time reporting, the team is able to respond faster and make better decisions.

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