Our client, a prominent publicly traded U.S. media conglomerate, acquired a VC-funded tech startup with a successful digital campaign performance & analytics platform. Strong adoption had proved product-market fit via omnichannel support for web, mobile, social, and TV ads for large advertisers. Between one-stop shopping for media buys, bid automation, and incisive analytics, the start-up's agency and brand customers rapidly realized its advantages in pursuit of greater advertising ROI. 

Unlocking new potential with existing applications means a targeted, phased approach to resolve three major constraints:

  • Reduce costs and risks of reliance on functionality of legacy 
  • More easily add new features today to meet tomorrow's business opportunities 
  • Enable synergies by lowering barriers to integration between systems developed separately, 

Given its strategic importance, M&A shines a bright light on all three of these. The imperative: to make the most of capabilities unique to the business by reinforcing upgrading technologies that made success possible to begin with.

The Challenge

As a technical systems integrator, CloudGeometry took on integrating the startup's innovative yet nascent technology with the enterprise best practices of the acquiring company. A particular challenge: the rapidly expanding backlog of desired feature changes. Informal decisions taken across multiple pivots in pursuit of product-market fit prior to the acquisition unintentionally created a level of technical debt incompatible with accelerated business innovation, such as: Onboarding a new customer required manual configuration, testing, and deployment

  • New feature asks were backlogged for months, undermining competitive differentiation
  • Hard limits to scalability too often caused downtime rooted in single points of failure
  • Self-serve applications' UI/UX was outdated compared to industry expectations

Before: Front-end applications relied heavily on data center systems

Behind these limitations were numerous technical constraints, with components not suited for scaling out new development of cloud applications. 

  • A monolithic architecture with components developed in mix-and-match programming languages, including Python, NodeJS, C++/.NET, and Go. 
  • Non-SQL data growth compounded scalability and reliability problems 
  • Design limitations were not suited to the increasing variety of data consumers and data science research initiatives. 
  • Conflicting infrastructure constraints created needless fragility, stemming from different approaches to solving the same problem in different ways 

The Solution

CloudGeometry engineers and systems architects crafted a roadmap for navigating the complex terrain of platform modernization, application upgrade, enterprise-grade compliance, and security. The technological overhaul emphasized a strategic migration to AWS, focusing on adopting microservices architecture to enhance scalability and agility. The plan aimed to both eliminate existing bottlenecks and create a foundation for future-proofing the platform for rapid innovation. Key accomplishments: 

  • Migrating from the legacy physical data center infrastructure to AWS: Eliminated the significant administrative burden of database management, as well as single points of failure tied to data movement and machine reliability, using AWS-hosted SQLServer instances, using High-Availability best practices boosting business uptime to 99.9%. 

After: Modernized application and platform infrastructure

  • Replatforming back-end data servers to a data lakehouse: The business data team rewrote data processing rules with DataBricks Spark libraries. New pipelines were validated for data integrity and performance against previous methods. 
  • New data analytics services: By consolidating loosely organized, server-based .Net and multiple programming languages written over more than a decade, CloudGeometry reapplied updated business requirements into a cloud-ready platform. A new AWS RDS MySQL RDBMS backend publishes modern graphQL APIs, with NodeJS running on AWS Lambda to cut costs, running only as needed.
  • New integration-ready enterprise-grade services offering: Building with node.js and GraphQL APIs retrofitted enterprise readiness with secure multi-tenancy and SSO for compliance supporting the launch of a new subscription-based digital advertising service for both small advertisers and large agencies 
  • Infrastructure rearchitected to eliminate systems-level risks to business value. Using the best practices of the AWS Well-Architected framework (WAFR), CloudGeometry remediated systems vulnerabilities via proven up-to-date technical strategies:
    • Security: Integration of security checks in CI/CD; Least privilege IAM configurations to apply zero trust to internal cloud services
    • Cost Optimization: Guardrails for upstream Dev, QA, Stage to flag idle services; streamline access to lower cost "golden configs" outside production 
    • Reliability: Infrastructure as Code for better governance of changes, avoidance of snowflake configs; logging standards for faster, more transparent root-cause 
    • Performance efficiency: Resource feedback loop for compute, storage, and network, via AWS-managed Prometheus monitoring, alerting and autoscaling 
    • Operational excellence: Rapid assimilation of lessons learned across teams and SDLC processes, delivering via GitOps with ArgoCD integration in end-to-end CI/CD

The Benefits

By leaning into both application modernization and cloud migration, the combined entity of the startup and the acquiring company achieved successful integration at both systems and business levels. As the technical systems integrator, CloudGeometry played an essential enablement role. Key benefits included: 

  • An overhaul of proprietary connectors and scripts, providing modular and maintainable connectors to cutting-edge Demand Side Platforms (DSP) like Google AdWords, Facebook, and Groundtruth.
  • Improved application development productivity by more than an order of magnitude, thanks to a microservices architecture designed for tenant context reference.
  • Unified data infrastructure eliminating conflicting business operations tools, ensuring a consistent system for evaluating business performance and customer operations.

This strategic approach to modernization enabled the client to unlock new business opportunities and establish a durable competitive edge in digital advertising.