Case Study:
How Lean Six-Sigma along with the perfect technical solution made process efficiency sky rocket.

IG Group is a FTSE 250 company and the world’s leading online trading provider. Operating in 20 countries, they provide over 313k active traders with fast and flexible access to the world’s financial markets through a suite of award winning dealing platforms and apps.


With a busy marketing team of over 300, and an ever demanding digital presence, the IG team needed to review, re-engineer and apply efficient processes to support their aggressive growth and operational excellence.

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A comprehensive Workflow management system was needed to improve collaboration, improve speed to market and support the ever-increasing complexity of cross-functional workflows involved in delivering marketing assets across multiple channels, languages, and markets.  IG needed to review, re-engineer and apply efficient marketing processes to support their aggressive growth plans and drive operational excellence.

IG knew that it was far from operating in an efficient way, but lacked the tools and data to identify where those improvements could be made, let alone how to achieve them. 


For this, Vantage Clever applied a number of Lean Six-Sigma techniques whilst talking to every marketing team and documenting their ‘as is’ processes within the marketing workflow. This documentation and subsequent visualisation of processes flagged bottlenecks, delays and risks to the regulated business.

Things have to improve, but where do we start?

Trapped in a chaotic combination of different tools was being used inconsistently across the marketing department resulted in:

  • disparate working practices

  • no standardisation

  • complex audit trails being managed through email

  • limited oversight of who was working on what,

  • no capacity understanding 

  • difficulty in planning work

 

After a thorough RFP process including custom product demonstrations and consultation with Gartner, an extensive review of some of the market leading workflow management systems was undertaken.

 

Adobe Workfront was selected as the best tool for marketing workflow management. Paired with Vantage Clever who were commissioned to review, re-engineer and apply efficient marketing processes to support IG’s growth plans and implement into Workfront to drive operational excellence.

Start with people and process!

As should be the case with any transformation, Vantage Clever started with a review of the People and the Processes in IG. An intensive period of discovery was carried out, which involved numerous interviews and workshops with every marketing team across IG. Over a period of 6 weeks, using Lean Six-Sigma techniques, Vantage Clever worked with key representatives from each marketing function to document and understand their ‘as-is’ processes. 

 

This documentation and subsequent visualisation of processes flagged bottlenecks, delays, and risks to the regulated business. Vantage Clever found that:

 

  • Processes were disconnected and work did not flow, each team often worked independently of one another in siloed ticket-based operations

  • Work was manually handed off between teams, with extensive wait time between handoffs

  • There was little to no visibility of WIP, resulting in each team not having any oversight of what work was coming, when, or what capacity was available.

  • There was limited oversight of interdepartmental dependencies which resulted in them often being overlooked and causing unnecessary ‘wait time’

  • The work briefing process was inconsistent and far from optimal, resulting in numerous clarifications and ‘back and forth’ between the marketing teams and stakeholders causing unnecessary delays

Aligning technical capability

Now inefficiencies in the marketing workflow were identified, the Workfront system could be effectively set up and tailored optimally for IG.  However, the scale of the implementation was significant, involving over 20 marketing teams based in different geographies.

 

Not only did dozens of marketing processes need configuring in the system, but also numerous briefing forms and each one of the 300 strong marketing team needed to be trained, whilst minimising any impact on day-to-day operations.

 

To ensure maximum impact in the least amount of time, an agile approach was adopted. From each team, system champions were selected to receive intensive training and to co-configure the system for their respective areas alongside the Vantage Clever deployment team in short 1-week sprints of activity. This ensured that every team had a local champion that had a detailed understanding of how Workfront had been configured for their area and was equipped with advanced knowledge of operating within the system.

 

Over a period of 20 x 1-week sprints, the Workfront platform was tailored to each of the 20 marketing team’s requirements, including:

 

  • Development of automated and optimised repeatable work processes

  • Build of custom briefing forms to ensure accurate and efficient work intake

  • Custom metrics and reporting were built to ensure the ongoing governance and management oversight of process health, work in progress and KPI monitoring

  • Fully auditable approval processes were configured to ensure a transparent record of approval decisions were captured and maintained

  • The ability to resource and capacity plan was configured, ensuring that each team could access a real-time overview of who was working on what and when

  

After each sprint, the team was tasked to pilot their new processes within Workfront. This ensured that their new system and the processes within it were thoroughly tested and that further improvements could be identified ahead of the formal system go live. It also ensured that the teams became used to managing their operations in their new tool.

 

Integrating other systems

With confidence in the new processes and data within the system, Workfront was integrated with other core business platforms. Utilising the Workfront Fusion platform, comprehensive custom integrations were developed with Jira and Workday.

 

Integrating with Workday meant that all employee leave requests could be automatically synced with the Workfront system. This ensured that resource management and capacity planning could always be accurate as IG always had complete oversight of what work was planned and who was available to deliver that work.

 

Integrating with Jira meant that where the marketing teams had to collaborate on projects with other areas of the business that did not use Workfront, a transparent flow of information between the two systems would always be maintained. This resulted in improved collaboration between the IG Marketing and IT teams.

The most important thing? Training and adoption!

To ensure that the whole process was a roaring success, IG invested a lot of time and effort into training and adoption for the sizeable user base. This was the final, yet most important stage in the sequence as a rejection of new processes or technology would render the whole project unsuccessful and incur considerable cost.

Bespoke training was developed for maximum impact, with each team receiving a personalised training session that suited their needs. Bespoke training materials were developed which supported every user of the system but with a real focus on the IG culture and how the business is used to learning. Champions of the system were identified and given additional training to support the growing user base from within and collaboration sessions were set up where the Champions could go to share knowledge and help each other in their ongoing adoption of the system. A series of Q&A sessions were also set up post-implementation for the entire 2,000 strong user base, to ensure that anyone within IG had a forum available where they could go to ask questions or get immediate help and guidance.

 

Finally, a 24/7 helpdesk queue was implemented so every single user could reach out at any stage and have immediate access to support in this critical stage of embedding transformation

Incredible benefits

Workfront enabled IG to implement their new processes and to track the efficiencies and KPI's they had defined. It also offered real-time data for an up to the second view on exactly what was happening in the business so the teams could plan and react effectively and ultimately, that their regulatory requirements were also auditable and governed appropriately.

 

  • Processes became automated

  • We knew exactly how long things took and where time was being spent

  • Complete transparency of who was working on what

  • Oversight of where work was coming from

  • Resource management and capacity planning was automated. Bespoke integration developed to sync employee leave data with Workfront to ensure resource availability was always up to date for efficient and accurate planning

  • Single operational system of record, delivered a transparent E2E audit trail

  • FinProm approvals documented

  • KPI’s identified and reporting measurements built into the tool to ensure ongoing improvements

  • Bi-lateral sync of data between core business platforms, ensured automation and transparency

  • A single standardised place for the entire business to go to request work from marketing

 

A final thought

 

The acquisition and implementation of any piece of technology is useless unless the processes you put into them truly maximise your business efficiency. IG went through a perfect sequence of process review, re-engineering, technical alignment, and continued monitoring. If the technology was implemented ahead of, or even without a process review, they almost certainly would not have seen the value of their technology investment. It may have even slowed them down which could have been a disaster at their creaking capacity.

The process reviews not only removed waste and maximised the resource within the marketing process, but it also highlighted risks to the business which had previously not been fully considered. Finally, it meant that the implementation of their technology was faster and more successful because of the deep level of understanding of every detail involved.

Operational excellence is our business and we care about helping our clients to succeed.