Synchronising a clearer user experience.
from design to project launch.
synchronised to create a more user-friendly customer experience.
About Clear Channel
Clear Channel International (CCI) is the Europe and Asia business division of Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the world’s largest outdoor media companies. From bus shelters to billboards, airports to shopping malls, Clear Channel’s diverse portfolio of advertising solutions enables brands to connect with the audiences they want to reach.
Understanding the complexities of buying and selling billboard space
For a media owner, it’s essential to make it as easy as possible for your customers to view pricing and placement options – and place an order.
That sounds straightforward, but it’s not. Because the price of a product the customer is buying is based in real time when their quote was generated. The actual price is dependent on a large variety of factors, including availability, times and dates.
In other words, Clear Channel’s inventory is priced on a programmatic basis. Transactions take place between the customer’s automated buying software, known as Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), and Clear Channel’s own systems.
Add in the wider context, that Clear Channel moved to a fully programmatic business model a while ago, which enables customers to plan, buy, optimise and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, all within a single, simple, platform. All of a sudden, buying and selling billboard space had become a more complex undertaking.
Addressing isolated systems – and allowing growth
Previously, Clear Channel relied on two separate systems to do business – an order management system (that does pretty much what you’d expect it to), and a campaign management system (to manage the ad creative that ends up filling the media space and its scheduling).
But these systems existed in isolation, making it hard to synchronise orders with the details of the campaign concerned or to compute the precise cost of an order at the time a quote was requested.
It also meant customers needed to contact Clear Channel to provide their specific campaign requirements and negotiate the quote based on those needs.
These problems had to be addressed if the business was to scale, especially with the introduction of new digital screens and expansion into new regions.
Engineering a smoother buying experience
Clear Channel asked Equal Experts to design and deliver an e-commerce portal that enables the company’s clients to browse products, check availability (and corresponding prices), and create, manage and cancel orders.
This demanded a proprietary API to be written, allowing Clear Channel to make its systems available to more DSPs, and, in turn, making it easier for customers to buy products.
A distributed team of 11 Equal Experts consultants joined forces with five Clear Channel employees to begin development on the solution.
The project began with a workshop, which produced a set of prioritised stories, distilled from the wider business requirements. The goal was to release the first version of the API, with minimum viable features, as soon as possible. It went live just six months later.
A quick, nimble synchronisation
This swift delivery was achieved with the team adopting a simple one-week sprint cycle, embracing XP practices like TDD, Pair Programming, Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. This ensured steady progress while maintaining high quality at all times and allowed client feedback to be looped back into the development process early and often.
Business features have been decoupled and implemented via micro services (individually shipped as docker containers), with AWS being used for cloud infrastructure.
Less than six months after commencing work, the project team achieved complete synchronisation between the two systems, creating a more user-friendly customer experience, and significantly enhancing Clear Channel’s programmatic offering.
Want to know more?
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