Dentsu International is part of a Japanese advertising and public relations giant, helping clients develop communications strategies through marketing analytics, creative execution, brand tracking, and media planning and buying. In recent years, dentsu international’s core business model has had to evolve to ever-changing client needs and changing technologies.
Dentsu recognised that it would need to operate in a more seamless and integrated way, to remain competitive in the marketplace. Most of the key barriers to this operational improvement were internal; its businesses were siloed between countries, largely as a result of the way the international group had been built – through a series of separate acquisitions.
It was long accepted that a major transformation and integration programme was required, and that transformation began with the Finance function, which was tasked to operate at lower cost, be more business-focused, and capitalise on earlier work to offshore teams and processes. At the heart of the problem was a lack of a singular finance system. Considerable investments had been made in suitable technologies, but the global rollout, adoption and integration of these technologies had stalled. As a result, the planned benefits of greater insight, control and performance management had not been realised. When PwC started its work with the client in 2017, a proportion of the budget had been spent –with limited progress made against the objectives.
The transformation goal was to account for 75% of global revenue on a single finance platform. This required an enormous simplification and rationalisation effort – of systems, processes and governance – to improve consistency across multiple lines of business around the world. PwC’s network firms worked collaboratively with Dentsu teams in many countries over nearly three years, culminating in December 2020, to recover the transformation programme and achieve the benefits Dentsu required.
PwC and Dentsu’s solution would:
- deploy a single set of processes and a single instance of a finance platform;
- simplify and reduce the number of core business processes;
- create a rapid-deployment methodology that would work consistently across the group businesses and allow for multiple deployments over the 30-month project period; and
- help to leave Dentsu in a strong position to continue the transformation work after PwC’s involvement wound down.
PwC’s approach was underpinned by three key attributes: its ability to form strong working relationships with the client; an intense focus on delivery; and the capacity to quickly put in place a fully functioning programme team across all the necessary change and technological disciplines.
The project was highly successful, implementing the financial system as a singular platform at a speed that kept the momentum, with minimal comprises or failures: 27 deployments across 10 countries, 9 languages and 17 time zones. The success of these multiple deployments has enabled Dentsu to deliver improved business insight – particularly in providing visibility global supplier spend, not available previously. Over half of the client’s global revenues have been moved onto the platform to date, and the deployments have resulted in many operational efficiencies.
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