4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/6/2014
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Condé Nast Leading Media Company Gains New Insights with Cloud-Based Microsoft BI Solution

Condé Nast, a global media company, wanted better insight into consumer behavior to improve the performance of its 20 industry-leading print and digital media brands. The company needed to provide analytics information quickly to internal sales and editorial teams, but it faced challenges including multiple reporting tools and unintegrated data sources. For better efficiency and business intelligence (BI), the company implemented a solution based on Power BI for Office 365. As a result, the company is gaining unprecedented insight into data from multiple vendors, expects to cut requests for support by 30 percent, and is gaining better business agility.

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* The ability to ask any question you like and then see data immediately returned leads to more-informed conversations. Power BI Q&A will change the way the whole organization thinks and interacts. *

Christopher Reynolds
Vice President of Data and Marketing Analytics
Condé Nast

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Situation

Condé Nast is a globally recognized media company with brands that include the Vogue, Wired, Golf Digest, GQ, and Architectural Digest. Established in 1909, the company today serves 164 million consumers, publishes 20 brands, and offers content across both print and digital media such as websites, film, television, and video. To improve insight into the performance of multiple brands and media types, the company’s Marketing and Analytics team needed better business intelligence (BI) tools.

The mission-critical Marketing Analytics team offered BI information to editors, journalists, and marketers responsible for developing content and boosting advertising and subscription revenue. The data included consumer profiles, insight into competing brands and market share, and feedback on digital traffic.

To provide the information, the team worked with BI tools and data sets from more than 10 market research vendors including comScore, Mediamark Research (MRI), Omniture, and Kantar. The team struggled with limited analytics capabilities, and correlating data from the disparate sources was difficult and time-consuming. In addition, it often fielded redundant requests from its internal clients—the sales and editorial teams. “Because we have multiple brands, we get a lot of the same requests for data,” says Cara Weiss, Senior Director of Marketing Analytics at Condé Nast. “There’s also a lot of back and forth with one request, because there might be four or five iterations before they see the story they want to tell.”

Instead of having to struggle with diverse analytics and reporting tools, Condé Nast wanted a centralized solution that would pull together disparate data sources and provide self-service BI capabilities. The Marketing and Analytics team sought to push insights out to magazines and respond proactively instead of reacting to individual requests.

Solution

In 2011, Condé Nast had started working with PowerPivot—the Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software add-in—and liked the results. So when the company looked for a self-service BI solution, Microsoft was the first choice. In May 2013, the company decided to become an early adopter of Power BI for Office 365, a cloud-based business intelligence platform. “Microsoft was very attractive to us from the beginning,” says Justin Glatz, Director of Business and Corporate Systems at Condé Nast. “It’s a big incentive for us to have a corporate tool for data discovery and analytics that works so well with Excel.”

The Marketing Analytics team began a proof of concept with Vogue and Wired magazines. Using PowerPivot for Excel with SQL Server 2014 Enterprise software, the team pulled together data sets from vendors including Omniture, MRI, and Kantar, and then created Power BI sites for sharing reports.

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* Visualization with Power BI for Office 365 provides instant access to relevant information … so that people can easily see areas of opportunity. *

Cara Weiss
Senior Director of Marketing Analytics
Condé Nast

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Next, the team published a series of reports each for Vogue and Wired in Power BI for Office 365. Through highly visual, interactive features such as graphs and pie charts, the reports provide immediate insight into factors such as consumer behavior, market share, competitors, and web traffic across PC browsers, tablets, and mobile devices. Editorial teams and marketers can quickly drill down into more detail. For example, users can easily see not only how many visitors access a site, but also the types of devices they’re using and whether they leave immediately or linger. This information in turn can be used to tailor content for specific devices and audiences.

Users work with several tools, including Power Query in Excel and Q&A, a natural-language search feature in Power BI. All the user needs to do is ask a simple question, and the tool quickly returns results from multiple data sources in the form of interactive charts and graphs.

Condé Nast is launching the solution in February 2014 and expects that other publications, including Glamour magazine, will soon want to use the new tools. Plans include integrating unstructured data from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and information pulled from marketing research databases.

Benefits

With Power BI for Office 365, Condé Nast is transforming the way it works with data from internal sources as well as vendors. As a result, the company is improving efficiency while empowering users to make better, data-driven decisions.

Transforms Business Intelligence

With its Microsoft BI solution, Condé Nast is not only using data in a whole new way, but also gaining insight that wasn’t possible in the past. And the company expects to transform business operations as a result. “Power BI for Office 365 is a pragmatic, impressive approach to business enablement,” says Joe Simon, Chief Technology Officer at Condé Nast. “The convergence of technologies in the platform—including natural-language processing, cloud architecture, and an integrated productivity suite with Office 365—puts deep analytical capabilities in users’ hands in a very accessible way.”

The comprehensive platform and improved accessibility benefit multiple business roles and processes. Weiss explains, “Visualization with Power BI for Office 365 provides instant access to relevant information, and it can be used in sales and marketing documents, as well as from an editorial standpoint, so that people can easily see areas of opportunity.”

The solution provides more opportunities on the back end too. “Power BI for Office 365 is highly flexible,” says Jeff Petrusa, Associate Director of Marketing Analytics at Condé Nast. “We can do a lot more than we ever could before not only in terms of visualization, but also in terms of supporting reports from multiple data sets.”

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* With Power BI for Office 365, we can provide the right insights to both the sales and editorial teams ‘just-in-time’ so that they can make informed decisions about how they manage the success of their magazine brand. *

Christopher Reynolds
Vice President of Marketing Analytics
Condé Nast

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Simplifies Reporting and Deepens Insight

The team anticipates that capabilities such as natural-language searches will also simplify reporting as well as drive user adoption. “The ability to ask any question you like and then see data immediately returned leads to more-informed conversations,” says Christopher Reynolds, Vice President of Data and Marketing Analytics at Condé Nast. “Power Q&A will change the way the whole organization thinks and interacts.”

New insights often lead to more probing questions and greater business intelligence. “Power BI for Office 365 is a solution for the ‘second question’ problem we’re increasingly seeing,” says Glatz. “Many other BI solutions work well for answering that first question, but it’s almost impossible to follow up. In contrast, Power BI seems designed from the start to quickly answer the chain of questions that arise after that first inquiry.”

Empowers Users and Cuts Support Requests by 30 Percent

The Marketing and Analytics team at Condé Nast expects measurable improvements in efficiency. Petrusa designed the Power BI reports that he says will make his job significantly easier. He explains, “We believe we can eliminate at least 30 percent of redundant reporting tasks by using Power BI for Office 365.”

The solution will also empower decision makers to find information on their own, without waiting for help from the Marketing Analytics team. “By taking advantage of Power BI for Office 365, people can dive in without waiting for a response,” says Weiss. “This in turn frees up our team to do more of the insight and storytelling instead of just pulling data and handing it off.”

Gains Better Business Agility

And because decision makers can work independently with self-service BI tools, they can also gain faster insights and react more quickly to trends in consumer behavior and technology. A response might include publishing articles in a format more easily consumed by mobile devices, or creating a more graphic-intensive, interactive piece for tablets. “Certainly, the ability to put a report such as segmentation by device type into an editor’s hands is very important,” says Reynolds. “Consumers enjoy our brands across multiple devices and interact with us differently based on their choice of devices. With Power BI for Office 365, we can provide the right insights to both the sales and editorial teams ‘just-in-time’ so that they can make informed decisions about how they manage the success of their magazine brand.”

Unlock insights on any data

Microsoft business intelligence (BI) solutions simplify access to virtually any type of data, whether it resides in the business or the cloud. Powered by Microsoft SQL Server, and built into familiar programs such as Microsoft Excel, BI tools speed insight into data from multiple sources, including business applications, blogs, and sensors.

For more information about unlocking insights on any data, go to:

www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/data-insights.aspx

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

www.microsoft.com

For more information about Condé Nast products and services visit the website at:www.Condenast.com

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 6000 employees

Organization Profile

Based in New York City, Condé Nast is a leading media company with 164 million consumers and 20 digital and print media brands including Vogue, Wired, and the New Yorker.


Business Situation

Condé Nast needed better insight into brand performance but struggled with pulling data together from multiple sources.


Solution

The company implemented a cloud-based solution with Power BI for Office 365.


Benefits

  • Transforms business intelligence with self-service BI tools
  • Simplifies reporting and deepens insight
  • Empowers users and cuts support requests by 30 percent
  • Gains better business agility


Software and Services
  • Power BI for Office 365
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise

Vertical Industries
Publishing

Country/Region
United States

Business Need
Business Intelligence and Reporting

Languages
English

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