VP of Corporate Solutions Delivery
BrandMuscle is the leader in integrated local and channel marketing, serving over 300 of the world’s top brands. The BrandMuscle Integrated Local Marketing Platform, Brandbuilder, enables brands and their local marketing partners to deliver the greatest marketing impact to each individual customer to acquire and retain the best customers, build loyalty, enhance lifetime customer value, and maximize ROI.
Sikich LLP is a leading professional services firm specializing in accounting, advisory, technology and managed services. Founded in 1982, Sikich now ranks within the country’s top 30 largest Certified Public Accounting firms and is among the top one percent of all enterprise resource planning solution partners in the world.
As a leading integrated local marketing company since 2000, BrandMuscle had over the years built its operations on a MAS 500 and old media-buying on-premise solutions. By 2018, with revenues in the hundreds of millions per year, the company had decided it needed to modernize its legacy backend and rethink its entire operations in order to automate the media-buying process for its customers - and to scale.
“We were running on fragile 2003 technology,” said Brian Kuntz, VP of Corporate Solutions Delivery at BrandMuscle. “There were a lot of times where we had somebody working up to 70 hours in a week just to make sure things were moving the way they should.”
Kuntz and the team enlisted the help of Sikich, a global accounting and technology advisory firm, to help with the transition to cloud-based applications. Sikich, led by NetSuite practice director Mark Goodson, conducted a thorough business process assessment of BrandMuscle’s operations. In one instance, the team identified a common process across SQL servers and the company’s homegrown BrandBuilder application that required the same information to be manually rekeyed up to 12 different times. This led to expensive and time-consuming errors.
“There was a lot of reliance on manual intervention. Our process was made up of multiple screens with multiple places to make mistakes,” said Randy Elkins, Chief Financial Officer. “We were having to deal with nearly 50 errors per month.
Given the nature of BrandMuscle’s business, some of these processes were very unique and complex, and in some cases, would require very customized solutions architected by developers.
Sikich’s first priority was to implement NetSuite as the new cloud-based ERP system and retire the company’s MAS 500 system and old media buying software. The team needed a way to for this new version of Netsuite, complete with custom code for media-buying, connect and interact with BrandBuilder and other applications in a very sophisticated way.
VP of Corporate Solutions Delivery
Sikich and BrandMuscle selected Celigo as the iPaaS it needed to holistically connect and automate the custom processes across the company’s operations.
“Now we are able to create our media requests inside of NetSuite, automatically push them over to BrandBuilder, then push the opportunity back over to NetSuite. The opportunity is worked as a sales order and generates the invoice to push back over for payment in BrandBuilder. The payment itself is then pushed into NetSuite,” explained Kuntz. “There’s a lot of back and forth using API, JSON, FTP, a little combination of everything. The whole middleware is Celigo so it works very well.”
While the Sikich team focused on the NetSuite implementation, Kuntz took on the first integration component of the project himself. “Celigo was pretty intuitive and within 30 or so days, I felt very comfortable using the tool,” he said. ”Any business analyst could very easily use it. I can also send this to a developer to do some more advanced work.”
Along with the five order-to-cash integrations, BrandMuscle is also using Celigo to populate their data mart for their clients to be able to do analytics. “We have saved searches that automatically populate the data mart,” said Kuntz. Additionally, there are a number of integrations with Snowflake, Azure, SQL and FTP with Salesforce Marketing Cloud to display information for their customers.
With its new cloud applications and business processes connected and automated with Celigo, BrandMuscle saw immediate results, with tens of millions worth of transactions flowing through the system. Within a month of implementation, the company had seen the costly 50 entry-related errors a month drop to a single error. “That was an amazing stat,” said Kuntz. “Just something like that pays tremendous dividends.”
By eliminating manual processes, and by having a solution that is simple to maintain, BrandMuscle was able to redirect resources towards making the product better. “We basically cut down everybody’s workload in half. Our resources are now focused on advancing the product that we offer rather than fixing it,” said Kuntz. “It’s a nice reprieve for our developers to work on the product rather than building scripts to integrate two pieces of software. Everyone’s happy with it.”
The team is currently working on integrations with JIRA, Stripe, Chargebee, as well as vendor APIs to be able to send POs and receive invoices. “We do a lot with Celigo, and we have a lot of things that we still want to do with this product,” said Kuntz. “We’ll soon end up with 50 integrations.”