Advertising giant improves employee productivity and satisfaction with cloud collaboration solution

Published on May 15, 2022


Global advertising giant Wavemaker is based in London, England, with 138 offices in 90 countries. To help employees communicate and work efficiently on a global scale, the company instituted New Ways of Working using Microsoft Office 365. Wavemaker has seen benefits in terms of productivity, security, mobility, and employee satisfaction. The company believes that happy employees are more creative and more productive, so it has been pleased to see how excited they are about the new tools and processes available to them.

Formed from the merger of two successful advertising companies – MEC and Mexus – Wavemaker employees experienced a host of business challenges that came from merging two IT infrastructures. Looking for a solution that would enable better collaboration and knowledge sharing across the business, Wavemaker looked to trusted Microsoft partner, AddIn365 for help.


Wavemaker formed from the merger of two successful advertising companies—MEC and Maxus—and there were challenges that came from the merger of two IT infrastructures. A lot of company communication was done via email, and this was inefficient—files were going back and forth as attachments, and multiple versions could get confused. Locating and accessing files could also be difficult. “Each company had its own file storage system,” explains Lily McCann, Data and Technology Director for Wavemaker. “So in order to open a file and look at it, you needed to find it first, and then get permissions to access it. It was really inefficient.”

Wavemaker had access to Microsoft Office 365 through its parent company, Group M, the global media investment management branch of WPP, a world leader in advertising and marketing services. Wavemaker saw great potential in Microsoft OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Teams to help establish new work methodologies. “We decided to move everything into the cloud” says Kaganovsky. “It gives us a level of agility we didn’t have before. If we want to transfer a 100-megabyte file, we just put it in OneDrive—we’re not running around with thumb drives, or, worse yet, using unsecured free file-transfer methods on the internet.”

The company also wanted to make work more rewarding for its employees by freeing them from tedious tasks and giving them more time to focus on the things that make them excited to come to work every day. “In the old way of working, you would compose a document and then email it around to all the stakeholders,” says Kaganovsky. “Then everyone would make edits, save a local copy, and email it back. Then you’d have to take all those versions, combine them, and send them back out again. That’s just a boring waste of time. What if there were a way that everyone could collaborate simultaneously on a single version of a document?”


Wavemaker saw Office 365 as a well-integrated set of tools that would make it easier for employees to accomplish their everyday tasks. To provide employees with an easy and straightforward entry point to the Office 365 suite, the company deployed AddIn Work Hub from Microsoft Partner AddIn365. Work Hub gives every employee a personalized portal to all of the Office 365 applications, in addition to the company’s internal communication platform. “Work Hub is like your own door to all the various rooms of Office 365 that we have been using,” says Anastasia Donchenko, Business Transformation Lead at Wavemaker. “No one needs to remember where an application is or how to get there.”

At Wavemaker, it is essential that all employees have easy access to the files they need, when they need them—whether it’s creative content for a customer’s ad campaign or a business file for internal operations. Wavemaker has found that OneDrive has been an excellent solution to enable that access and do so highly securely. Onboarded employees can save and access files using OneDrive from any device—even when they aren’t connected to the intranet—using the sync client for the Windows or Macintosh operating system.

As a result, onboarded employees can spend more time at customer sites and still access all their content. “There was one day that I was at a customer’s office and our CFO emailed me to tell me he couldn’t find an important contract,” says Caroline Tran, Senior Partner at Wavemaker. “I had saved it using OneDrive, so I was able to sign in and forward it to him. It saved the day and made him look good because I was able to get it to him so quickly and easily.”

Already, 100 percent of onboarded employees use OneDrive and Teams, which means no longer sending attachments via email or risking productivity due to version control issues. “One of the key performance indicators I’m looking at is the time people no longer spend opening attachments, saving them, resaving them, and resending them,” says McCann. “I’d estimate that can take about 20 minutes a day, and I expect that to improve as everyone gets more used to the new tools. I can see all employees saving half a day every week through more efficient communication tools. To me that’s a very achievable goal.”

Wavemaker teams are also using SharePoint communication sites to publish content for business teams to use as reference material in their work. They also set up a secure communication site where they can give customers constant project updates, instead of making them wait for a summary email at the end of the week. They can also use the sites to control the distribution and security of project information.

“Individual teams can also use Teams to share work with the customer that they aren’t yet ready to share with the entire department,” says McCann. The sites let us see whether a file has been opened or not, and they give us a lot more ownership and control in terms of what we share.”


Wavemaker started the transition to Office 365 in November 2017 with an AddIn Work Hub and AddIn365 onboarding methodology pilot in one UK market with three advertising teams. After a successful deployment, the strategies and software were rolled out to eight more of the company’s markets that represent 80 percent of company revenue. Wavemaker has now onboarded 50 percent of its total employees—that’s more than 3,500 people in just six months—and plans to complete the rollout by the end of 2018.

Through the efficiencies gained with Office 365, onboarded Wavemaker employees have more flexibility and a better working experience. “We want our people to have a good work/life balance,” says Kaganovsky. “This project is giving us the flexibility—and Office 365 is enabling the mobility—so they can find that balance. People can now work from home, or a coffee shop, or an art gallery, or wherever they want to be. They couldn’t do that before, and it helps them be more creative.”

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