Kill Complexity & Grow Revenue Series: How Operative.One Shortened the Order-to-Cash Process for Bustle

Blog   |   Kelley Michanczyk   |   June 27, 2018


Ad operations is one of the most important functions of running an effective digital advertising business, and in many organizations, it is one of the most complex.

Kim Foster, Senior Director of Operations, at Bustle knows about operations complexity first hand. In our recent webinar, Kill Complexity and Grow Revenue, Kim shared her struggles to create order and focus on strategic growth as more advertising data, partnerships and channels create chaos for her team. Kim explains how implementing Operative.One, Operative’s order management system, has dramatically streamlined her team’s work load and provided new insights to help spur growth.

Nightmares From Spreadsheets and Complicated Workflow Processes

When Kim joined Bustle, she was in charge of managing a team of ad operation specialists that trafficked and billed campaigns, measured revenue, and reported campaign performance for 2 digital media properties – Bustle and The Zoe Report. After a couple of months, the company grew and launched and acquired Elite Daily, making her team accountable for double the amount of work.

The sales process involved many roles, processes and tools in order to fulfill a single sale. Sellers would email IOs to Kim, Ad Ops would manually enter media products into each line item of the campaign into excel spreadsheets and push into DFP. The marketing team gathered the information and put it into their own Google Doc for campaign performance tracking. Once the campaign was over, marketing would send the performance sheet back to Ad Ops who would have to manually track costs spent by campaign and calculate revenue generated by site to get end of the month billing done.  Often, Kim’s team worked endlessly with Finance trying to pull exact invoicing data and revenue numbers. These processes sucked up valuable resources, caused discrepancies and extremely delayed billing.

“Everything was super manual, things got lost in the cracks, and reporting in general was extremely difficult,” says Kim.

The Need For An Order Management System

As the company quickly grew, Kim needed a way to scale her team’s scope. It was also becoming more important to report on campaign costs as the team received tighter billing schedules with fewer days to close the month and to deliver unified reports for clients  frustrated by seeing different campaign information in multiple spreadsheets.

Kim knew in order to improve the entire order to cash process, she needed to have a system that unified all advertising functions and revenue channels to streamline tracking and billing, and drive higher revenue.

Operative.One Was The Perfect Fit

Prior to Bustle, Kim worked at Turner and used Operative.One, Operative’s order management system, so she was familiar with the product. During the evaluation process, Kim knew she needed a unified solution that was built to automate processes, aggregate all delivery data and improve billing. Based off her experience with Operative.One, she knew the solution was the perfect fit.

“I had a good experience using Operative at Turner and I knew it was a trustworthy product because a lot of the top publishers work with them” says Kim.

Operative able to provide the extensions that fit right into Bustle’s business, such as:

  • Customized workflow to ensure media products push into DFP
  • Robust campaign management tools across 1st party, 3rd party, and viewability
  • Flexible integrations across entire tech stack, including SFDC, DFP & more
  • On-site reliable and scalable implementation teams

“We had a couple of media products that had to be pushed into DFP, which is not a normal way. Operative was the only platform that was able to customize our workflow so it allowed this,” says Kim.

The Benefits

With Operative.One, Bustle has significantly shortened the order-to-cash process, focusing more effort, resources and time into campaign and revenue optimization strategies. Kim’s team now has a system that acts as the single source of truth for every line item on every  contract– IO, plan, invoice – for improved accuracy, transparency, and accountability.

With Operative.One, publishers can:

  • Cut billing time in half – Bill clients within 2 business days instead of 10
  • Increase yield – Able to control prices and order integrity
  • Centralize inventory – Maintain a standard product catalog across all teams
  • Improve invoice accuracy – Finance has up-to-date reporting, no more discrepancies
  • Find new revenue opportunities – Understand what costs look like compared to revenue to make campaign adjustments on the fly

“Being able to plug everything into Operative.One is a 180 degree improvement. We would spend days just correcting reports that had manual errors and sending updated invoices 30 days later that delayed time period getting paid. Operative had made my life so much easier, because my team has a very clear process of what each member does, everything is centralized in one spot, and Finance can export all delivery for invoicing, making billing straightforward,” says Kim.

Watch the full on-demand webinar recording here.

Be on the lookout next week for our next blog post to this series about how The Economist migrated to Operative.One in place of Google DSM for complete multi-channel management for both direct and indirect.

For more information about Operative.One, visit here.