Authored by Laura Mckechnie, director of business development for Oracle Cloud solutions at Oracle, and Kellsey Ruppel, principal product marketing director at Oracle.
Figure 1: OUTFRONT Media is one of the largest outdoor media companies.
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising remains a vital component of companies’ ad mix, not just on conventional roadside billboards, but also on digital screens, street furniture, various forms of public transportation, and other platforms. In the US, much of that advertising is powered by OUTFRONT Media (formerly CBS Outdoor), which operates more than 500,000 digital and static billboards seen by more than 70 percent of Americans every day. According to OUTFRONT Media research, 90 percent of people recall seeing an OOH ad, 25 percent have shared an OOH ad on social media, and 74 percent who have visited a store after seeing such an ad make a purchase.
Goals for cloud migration
OUTFRONT Media, one of the largest OOH advertising companies in North America, analyzes third-party media spending and transactional sales data to give customers a clearer picture of how their ad spending is performing with target audiences in all media markets and channels. But loading all that third-party data—about a terabyte—for sales and marketing reporting purposes previously took the company two to three weeks. OUTFRONT Media needed a solution to solve their business challenges.
Why OUTFRONT Media chose Oracle
OUTFRONT Media turned to Oracle Autonomous Database and Oracle Analytics to speed the process and expand the insights. Today, in just minutes, the company can load and merge terabytes of data and securely publish interactive dashboards for its salesforce. The salesforce can now share a comprehensive view of customers’ ad spending, across outdoor, online, TV, radio, and print channels, to show them how their investment would perform better by shifting spending to outdoor.
"As well as simplifying our data management architecture with Autonomous Database, we have been moving generally towards a data franchise ownership within our business—following a modern data platform architecture using Autonomous Database, and tools like Data Studio makes that move even simpler and enable us to partner with our business faster and more easily,” says Derek Hayden, senior vice president of data strategy and analytics at OUTFRONT Media.
Suite of Oracle products used
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) includes all the services needed to migrate, build, and run IT in the cloud, from existing enterprise workloads to new cloud native applications and data platforms. OUTFRONT Media used the following OCI services and technologies:
- Data persistence
- Oracle Autonomous Database: Oracle Autonomous Database is a fully automated service that makes it easy for all organizations to develop and deploy application workloads, regardless of complexity, scale, or criticality.
- Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse: Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse is the world’s first and only autonomous database optimized for analytic workloads, including data marts, data warehouses, data lakes, and data lakehouses.
- Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing: Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing is a fully automated database service optimized to run transactional, analytical, and batch workloads concurrently.
- Oracle APEX: Oracle APEX is the world's most popular enterprise low-code application platform.
- OCI Object Storage: OCI Object Storage enables you to securely store any type of data in its native format. OCI Object Storage is ideal for building modern applications that require scale and flexibility, as it can be used to consolidate multiple data sources for analytics, backup, or archive purposes.
- Data governance
- Oracle Autonomous Database Data Studio: Data Studio is a new set of no-code data tools built into Autonomous Database. Learn more about all the new enhancements and capabilities.
- OCI Data Catalog: OCI Data Catalog is a metadata management service that helps data professionals discover data and support data governance.
- Data refinery
- Oracle Data Transforms: Data Transforms combines all the elements of data integration—data movement, data synchronization, data quality, and data management—to ensure that information is timely, accurate, and consistent across complex systems.
- Oracle Data Integrator: Oracle Data Integrator is an extract, load, transform (ELT) tool that offers a graphical environment to build, manage, and maintain data integration processes in business intelligence systems.
- OCI Data Integration: OCI Data Integration allows you to easily extract, transform, and load (ETL) data for data science and analytics.
- OCI GoldenGate: OCI GoldenGate is a managed service providing a real-time data mesh platform, which uses replication to keep data highly available, and enabling real-time analysis.
- OCI Data Flow: Data Flow is a fully managed Apache Spark service that performs processing tasks on extremely large datasets without infrastructure to deploy or manage.
- Data access and interpretation
- Oracle Machine Learning: Machine Learning in Oracle Database supports data exploration, preparation, and machine learning (ML) modeling at scale using SQL, R, Python, REST, automated machine learning (AutoML), and no-code interfaces.
- Oracle Spatial: Oracle's spatial database is included in Oracle's converged database, allowing developers and analysts to get started easily with location intelligence analytics and mapping services.
- Oracle Graph: Part of Oracle’s converged database offering, graph databases eliminate the need to set up a separate database and move data. Analysts and developers can perform fraud detection in banking, find connections and link to data, and improve traceability in smart manufacturing, all while gaining enterprise-grade security, ease of data ingestion, and strong support for data workloads.
- Oracle Analytics: Oracle Analytics supports the entire analytics workflow, offering various ways to connect, prepare, and analyze data. Support business users by enabling self-service access to relevant data no matter where it resides in cloud infrastructure.
With the success of the initial Autonomous Database implementations and acknowledged benefits of ease of management, OUTFRONT Media decided to move more workloads to Autonomous Database including data from other database implementations, from Oracle, and from Amazon Web Services (AWS) Redshift and DB2. OUTFRONT Media continues to migrate to Autonomous Database for the following top 10 technical reasons, in order of importance:
- Control and security: Oracle Database Security is second to none. OUTFRONT Media could implement Oracle Database Security easily, and then extend it easily, as more data, such as new sources and migrations from other platforms, come into Oracle Autonomous Database.
- Patching: Patching is done automatically in Autonomous Database, the need for the database administrator to plan, administer patches, upgrade, and having less downtime has had immeasurable benefits for the technical team in giving them free time for other tasks to support the business.
- Ease of management: A lot of time was spent setting up new environments including databases, setting up new reports, and tuning for user needs. With Autonomous Database, you can handle provisioning and setup in Data Studio in minutes. Because autotuning is built-in to Autonomous Database, not as many resources are needed for tuning and management, resulting immeasurable benefits for the technical team and business.
- Backup and disaster recovery: Backup and disaster recovery is built into Autonomous Data Warehouse, which means you need less administration for this critical element of the architecture, and the built-in capability comes at no cost.
- Performance improvement: With the move to Autonomous Database, the workloads previously on Redshift and DB2 are processing faster. Instead of overnight batch processing for example, OUTFRONT Media are moving to near-real time, enabling up-to-date reporting and decision making for the business.
- Data consolidation: Moving data to one easily managed repository provides one source and one truth, which enable a data-centric, data franchise culture for OUTFRONT Media.
- Visualization benefits: The risk management teams wanted a view of physical assets, such as billboard management. Oracle Spatial and Graph were available at the push of a button, integrated with Autonomous Database, to view that data.
- Deeper Insights: Analysts wanted access to more data, had more questions, and needed the ability to manipulate and ask what-if type scenarios. At the push of a button, Oracle Machine Learning enabled these analysts to become independent data scientists. You can generate ML models simply and without impact to any other users and process masses of data in Autonomous Database with built-in Oracle Machine Learning.
- Ease of development: APEX development and Oracle Analytics integrated on the same platform means easy development and rollout of reports to support the business faster.
- Collaboration: The collaboration between Oracle and OUTFRONT Media has been wonderful. OUTFRONT Media has been an early adopter of the Analytics Cloud and Modern Data Platform. The continued expansion of the Autonomous Database footprint is also a result of OUTFRONT Media’s partnership with the Oracle Account team and Oracle Development team as OUTFRONT Media continually adopts the latest features of Autonomous Database and Oracle Analytics. The company is a pioneer in their rollouts.
Figure 2: The architecture for OUTFRONT Media’s deployment.
OCI has enabled new insights and an ease of data management for OUTFRONT Media. The Oracle Modern Data platform, centered on Autonomous Database and other tools, is enabling more than efficiency and business insights now. It’s also enabling a culture change, where employees are empowered with accurate and secure data and the tools to have an ownership of data, their reports, and business decisions. The freedom of access and ownership of the data, a data franchise concept, has been enabled by the Oracle platform.
For more information on OUTFRONT Media and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, see the following resources: