A StackTastic Project: How Thomson Reuters Transformed Its Martech Management and Performance

April 26, 2024
By Chuck Leddy, B2B Storyteller, and Kristin Connell, Global Head of Applied Innovation at Sojourn Solutions

Thomson Reuters is a global AI and technology company that provides trusted data and information/business intelligence to professionals across 3 different industries: (1) Legal; (2) Tax and Accounting; and (3) News & Media. In business since 1851, the company currently has over 25,000 employees worldwide.

In 2023, Thomson Reuters (TR) and Sojourn Solutions (Sojourn) began an ambitious project to optimize the Thomson Reuters marketing technology stack, seeking to create an effective, efficient, and centralized operating model for long-term stack management. 

The roots of the change go back to 2021, when TR recognized the need to build a consolidated marketing operations group. Prior to that, TR’s marketing operations were embedded within each of its different business units, which led to a fragmented martech stack that nobody had centralized management and control over. 

A Difficult-to-Manage Martech Stack 

The legacy TR martech ecosystem was complex, vast, and difficult to manage and/or map. It was made up of 125 + apps and platforms, and was managed via 4 databases across multiple teams, preventing visibility into TR’s complete stack and stack investment. 

TR had different silos of people, processes, and martech tools across its three main business units, with each having martech specialists embedded within them.

TR’s different teams were using its primary marketing automation platform (MAP) in very different ways and for different use cases. Besides challenges around stack scale and visibility, other major martech stack challenges included:

1. Lack of detailed, centralized reporting, especially re: data flows, integrations, and technology performance, meaning that gaining necessary visibility into stack capabilities and costs was difficult-to-near-impossible.

2. Limited visibility into stack-related costs. A fragmented tech stack made it difficult for TR to determine ROI and track software costs as business units funded platforms from their own (separate) budgets.

3. Manual updates of the ecosystem were time-consuming and prone to errors, causing problems around data quality that often went unrecognized/unreported for long periods of time, negatively impacting stack performance and costs. 

4. Lack of comprehensive integration maps for the entire martech ecosystem, making it harder to recommend new martech because redundancies and/or gaps in capabilities and tools might go unrecognized.

Defining Success

TR knew it had to eliminate its siloes and different reporting structures in order to get on the same page. Related to that, it had to have standardized tools that would also be flexible enough to accommodate differing needs and use cases. 

After evaluating the challenges, TR and Sojourn developed some key goals for the transformation project. including:

1. A Need to Gain Greater Visibility: TR wanted to construct an accessible, shared directory of martech capabilities, applications, integrations, spend and renewals to support stakeholders across the Thomson Reuters organization.

The objective here was to introduce transparency and efficiency into a process of martech acquisition, implementation, and management that had previously been fragmented.

2. A Need to Streamline its Stack: TR wanted to better assess platform performance and leverage those assessments to streamline and optimize the number of martech products/tools it was using, thus helping to better manage costs and drive stack capabilities.

3. A Need to Develop New Approaches to Workflows and Resource Allocations: TR wanted to find a new way to objectively assess the martech it was using, and rethink internal workflows and resource allocations to optimize its stack.

Defining the Solution

Sojourn collaborated with the TR team to design and implement a solution to the challenges above. The major components of that solution were:

Deploying an organizing platform. TR and Sojourn decided to deploy CabinetM, a user friendly, automated martech management platform. In implementing the solution, Sojourn supplied strategic support and its expertise around marketing operations in order to develop a Platform Performance Scorecard and martech governance recommendations (more specifics on those below).

The CabinetM platform organized TR’s stack and apps/tools in one place, increased organizational visibility, and documented their entire martech ecosystem, as well as clearly defining and delineating technology owners, integrations, and contracts.

These assets had previously been spread out across multiple spreadsheets and in different databases. 

Creating cross-functional alignment around the stack. To make the newly-organized structure work effectively, TR collaborated across multiple departments and functions to track, optimize, and report on TR’s martech infrastructure, expense, renewals, adoption, and strategy. 

Gaining visibility and streamlining its martech stack. In the end, this collaborative process pulled together martech tools (CabinetM), people, and new processes/workflows. TR gained the ability to strategically streamline its martech, while developing new methods and tools to understand and track tech capability/functionality.

Working across its 125+ technologies, and 5+ stakeholders, TR was able to create a one-stop shop for their martech assets within CabinetM. They gained full visibility across the organization to support better decision-making around martech stack performance and investments.

Results of the Project

1. TR built a visual directory of martech capabilities, applications, integrations, spend and renewals. This martech directory listed over 175 martech platforms that were either active, under consideration, or retired. In addition, TR: 

  • Established its stack mechanics, architecture and martech landscape layer categories.
  • Determined and established baseline product attributes and incorporated pertinent information.
  • Captured integration connections and details.
  • Captured and created details as they’re forming to capture its capability models.
  • Built a historical record of all platforms and activities regardless of status for future use.

2. TR shifted to a capability model. TR moved from managing its martech tools under the umbrella of its separate business units to a model that now assigns managers based on the capabilities that a particular platform might support.

For example, it has a manager who supports the Web Operations team and the tools they need. TR has another manager who supports the demand generation team and the tools they need. So in theory, two people are managing one platform, but they're managing it to drive optimal value for the stakeholders who use it and for the specific use cases of those stakeholders. 

3. TR and Sojourn developed a Platform Performance Scorecard to enable TR’s central team to support their technology review process across all its platforms. 

The Performance Scorecard described the top business use cases each tool addressed, as well as ratings for how well the tool was actually addressing those specific use cases. The Scorecard also provides relevant information about the vendor, levels of user support, contract/renewal information, as well as the vendor’s future roadmap for the tool/platform. 

The Platform Performance Scorecard helps fuel better, more informed discussions within TR when decisions need to be made about its  martech stack.

4. Sojourn recommended an improved Martech Request structure for TR including a consolidated, automated new martech request / renewal request process using Workfront, an existing tool in their stack.

The existing request process was scattered across teams and sources, and Sojourn saw an opportunity to improve it using an existing tool to centralize the net new requests, pilots, and renewals as applicable. In addition to workflow effectiveness, a centralized model provides better reporting and actionable insights for improved decision-making. 

Reaction from Thomson Reuters

Here’s some final words on the project from Thomson Reuters:

The solutions and the new, consolidated structure we’ve built is going to allow us to expand, grow, and keep infusing other areas like AI, where Thomson Reuters is currently putting lots of emphasis.

– Kim Kraetzner, Thomson Reuters’ Marketing Operations & Technology Manager.

It's great to now see our Martech SMEs having the time to concept TR's “tomorrow position.” Because of our streamlined management model and process, they can focus on higher value activities – and we can pivot a lot easier than we used to.

– Carol Mendenhall, Thomson Reuters’ Senior Director of Marketing Operations

P.S. The Project described above has been submitted as a presentation topic at The Martech Weekly’s World Martech Forum this August in San Francisco. (Fingers-crossed!)

In addition, the Project was submitted for a The Stackies 2024: Marketing Tech Stack Awards. See TR’s submission here, and explore TR’s martech stack yourself! 

Last, but certainly not least, TR’s Carol Mendenhall shared her expertise at the 2024 Martech Conference in a session titled “How MOps should prepare their stacks and teams for customer experience-based AI. Watch it on-demand now.

Learn more about how Sojourn Solutions can help take your Marketing Operations team martech management and performance to the next level. Questions? Contact us today.

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