P&G's DevOps Journey (Europe 2021)

P&G's DevOps Journey


Alfredo V. Colás

Senior Vice President IT, Procter & Gamble


Olimpia Nitti

Vice President, CIO Global Baby Care, Procter & Gamble



Okay. Our first talk this morning is from Alfredo colas, SVP of sales and marketing for it. Digital go to market at Proctor and gamble, the world's largest consumer product goods company home to some of the most famous brands, such as Pampers tide and Pantene. I met him last year and was blown away by the work that he and his teams have been doing. Elevating the state of the technology practice across the entire P and G enterprise over 100 technologists are bringing technology capabilities to almost every geography and brand reversing the effects of nearly a decade of centralizing those technology capabilities. He will talk about his remit and the programs that he's created. I am equally excited that Olympia Neeti VP and CIO global baby care will be sharing their story of how they modernized the consumer facing sites for Pampers, which is so familiar to expect and parents around the globe to better achieve their brand goals and so much more. They have so many lessons that I think will be useful to technology leaders at all stages of the devil's journey here is Alfredo and Olympia.


Thank you so much for that introduction. And it's a pleasure to be here today with all of you. I'm present PNGs dev ops journey. My name is Alfredo . I'm the senior vice president in charge of sales and marketing it as well as leading our agile and dev ops transformation. It's a pleasure as well to have a Limpia with me, who is the CIO for global baby care. I'm sure most of you know, that PNG name, but just in case here, you have a few of our brands. I'm sure that all of you have at least one of them in your house, and most likely you have used it before joining this conference, our company is 183 years young. We sell over $71 billion last year, and we have a hundred thousand employees that make sure that our products get sold in almost every single country in the world.


From an organizational perspective, we are divided in three blocks sector. Business units take primarily a product view. That is where Olympia is based as part of the baby. I'm feminine care. As we view, then we have markets organizations without looking at the regional and the market footprint. The elements that are mostly driven from a, from a country perspective. And last we have search services and corporate functions now is what I am, what I embedded part of corporate it. However, our 3,500 it employees are embedded across all and everyone of these, of these elements. And we all work together to maximize the value that is delivered to the company. As I think of our dev ops journey, it probably started somewhere in the 2000 and tens. I'm sure someone got a copy of the DevOps handbook, but they really didn't go beyond the title of the books.


We did consolidate our development and our operations organizations, by the way, didn't implement a lot of the other things that are described in the following chapters. That's what I call them the dyno years. We were there of ops in name only towards the end of that decade. We had more and more teams that try to sneak in I jail I'm dev ops into the company, but they faced increasing pressure from processes, policies, and culture. They were not conducive to really these new practices. Fast forward to 2020. We have a new CIO appointed Vittorio Katella he helped drive a new digital strategy. And as part of it, I gel and DevOps become a pivotal element to deliver value to the company faster. I guess I had complained enough about the challenges we were facing in my team, that I was lucky enough to get the position to lead this transformation across the company.


And that's how you started talking to a lot of people across all the different levels in the organization. I kind of counter multiple opinions. There were those that said, Hey, we don't have to change. We already have DevOps. Others said, Hey, wonderful has worked well for us for the last 20 years, why change? But I was really encouraged us to find more and more people that were passionate about challenging the norms that wanted to do things differently, and that actually many of them were driving and driving the change and making it happen. And this led our key choices. First of all, we wanted agile teams to own their outcome measures. We wanted them to define their journeys. Not it's not something we were going to define centrally at the same time, our IDL and DevOps solution teams and the way we decided to call ourselves, we're going to own all the processes, all the tools underline so that they can really focus on delivering value.


We made sure that all those tools are integrated and work together in an easy manner. We also realize that we have to upskill their organization. We needed people to understand what I tell is an essence, what DevOps is an essence, and that's why I created a reward and I would pay a hundred dollars to any employee. Now they've got an external certification on the topic. We also created some game gaming effects and we created these dev ops challenge that you can see here on the right. We had a survey with over 70 questions that they could go through and see, where are the ideas or where do they weren't as strong. I'm going to be in areas where do they have opportunities? And this was great. They actually opened their eyes to new things that they could be doing and that they hadn't considered before.


Last, we also created maturity points, which was a bit of a competition across the different teams and encouraged them to try to become better as nobody wants to be the last in our ranking. Last, we wanted to make sure everyone had a skin in the game, why corporate, it would be funding their resources and their cost of the platforms. We wanted to make sure that any variable costs wouldn't be paid by the job teams this way. We ensure that they will only be bringing tools into the ecosystem that they would see as helpful in achieving their outcomes. Now, almost a year afterwards, we've made significant progress. We have over 120 teams that have self declared themselves. As agile. We have over 300 external certifications is I announced the new rewards. We created a community of practice with over 900 members that are actively asking questions, helping each others and advancing the journey of overlap.


We have also created an internal summit similar to the conference. We are today here. We had our last session end of April. And we have over a thousand employees. Our ecosystem of platforms has significantly improved. We have all these tools integrated, connected, and available for people to use. And we are seeing increasing levels of adoption across, across the board. Another change we had to bring early in the journey is to make sure we had our business leaders with us. These couldn't be just an it transformation. So we created a special training just for them so they could understand, embrace and support the change within their organizations. I, none of this comes together as we're seeing great evidence of better outcomes. Now we're seeing teams Oliver in value in weeks. Instead of months, we see substantial reductions in the cost that it takes to the liver, new religious to the market. We also less incidents. And also we're seeing people that are happier because they really enjoy the work they're doing instead of having to fight the ecosystem as they had to do with before with this, let me pass it over to Olympia, who will, socase one of the best examples in the company, maybe care and pampers.com over to you Olympia.


Thank you, Alfredo. I'm here to talk about the DevOps journey of pumpers.com. One of the digital products managed by my teams. I have chosen to talk about it because I believe it is a great example of our crisis can become the catalyst of a DevOps transformation. But before I go there, let me provide a bit of background about our business and the consumers we serve. Um, BBK is a business, primarily selling diapers and wipes. Our consumers are moms and dads of babies in diapers. Their age range is typically from 18 to 45. They are millennials and gen Z. They don't watch TV as much as they parents and they consume digital media and mostly on their mobile phones. They buy diapers for two, three years. Then they exit the category unless they have another baby. And during those two, three years, they are very engaged on any diabetic and parenting content.


They actually started during pregnancy and especially if they are waiting for their first baby, there are a lot of questions to be answered. This is where I would have brand site pumpers.com place. It provides parents with content and services that they are looking for. Parents registered to access the content and then enter in our CRM program. Our brand site is actually operating in 60 countries and languages. The base is common to all sites, but we are also content and services to specific markets. Our love just stability inside is Pampers dot comedy was it does more than a million organic visits per month. And it's a foundational element of our CRM strategy. Let's now deep dive in the platform supporting this website. It was built in 2014, with 60 plus sites to one thing. And in 2019 started to become a bottleneck to our digital plans.


We are the continuous need to integrate these on our marketing plans. And the monolithic architecture was, are to change. And one thing negative impact testing was consuming too much capacity. And our failure rate was increasing. The application was running on the cloud since we lifted and shifted most of our applications from on-premise to the cloud a few years back, but it was not optimized to run on cloud. And our legacy CMS was creating significant traffic and cost centers where SQL the server based architecture was difficult to scale up and scale out, which loading was low with little improvement possible. And last but not least agile processes were not properly followed in our Sierra CICB tool chain at gaps net. We were low prone to errors and this situation started to impact the team's morale heavily released post painful and management discoloration staff that to com net we needed to change, but at the same time, we didn't have extra budget for building a new stack from scratch.


We could have asked for it, but I really wanted this challenge to be a catalyst for the mindset change. So the challenge to my team was is it possible to move from a monolithic to microservices based architecture within the existing budget, and while still delivering a website objectives in particular, this meant number one optimized to make sure we always win in organic search since this is our primary source of traffic. Number two, make sure that we kept developing the features needed to increase traffic and conversion. Number three, support new product launches planned in the coming months. Use the number four, use this opportunity to refresh it with your navigation and make it more effective. Number five, we need to operate with excellence throughout the change. Needless to say that the request was very challenging. The team came back with a proposal that we iterated a couple of times on that basically allowed us to transition from a legacy to the new platform piece by piece and no incremental cost in 18 months for this period of time, each website contained components of the old platforms and components of the new and the team was very proud and eager to start.


We define the, the target architecture moving from server based client based John stack. And we were able to achieve lower cost of scale and better performance by keeping most of the functionality on the client side and obstructing all the others to third parties, API, we fully adopted agile and DevOps in each cycle. We had the scale and innovation work stream. The scale work stream replaced the legacy features in target architecture while innovation streams deliver the new feature directly in the target one, we are now at 90% with Dan with the restage. This is how we actually ran pampers.com. Today. We have organized the team in the product organization with the product owner and product teams underneath. We have invested in trainings, covering our giant DevOps security and cloud. We operate with a sprint every two weeks. We are modernized our tool chain looking for automation and every step of the process.


And last we measured. Okay. Yeah. And retrospectively, we look at our results and our, we get better. What, what we have achieved so far, we have seen a much better from 10 performance. The graph on the right shows, the comparison with other Viper websites or eCommerce platforms. We have seen improvements in SEO, which is giving us an idea of traffic and better conversion rates to registration. We are faster in adding new features. You operations have been more reliable and we have increased our productivity. You're not a few verbal themes we have received from our category. They acknowledged the outcome and the journey to get there. Let me read, um, a couple of them, pumpers.com, restage demonstrate growth mindset at its best. It shows scarcity mentality thinking out of the box and impeccable execution. We have now a website that our consumers like to use and it's driving organic CRM acquisition at unprecedented pace.


This comment came from, from our global pumpers brand senior vice-president and this both acknowledging the outcome as well as the journey that brought us there. The other one is the new pumpers.com site is super fast. And with the consumer centric design or what organic search results are way better. Thank you team. And this was coming from the Pampers brand manager in the U S. Now let me, um, conclude here with, um, we know that this is not the end of our journey. There are still a lot of opportunities for improvement, and we know that we need to strive everyday for efficiency and cost resilient operations security, and of course, a website that every consumer wants to see. I hope you found the pumper story useful if you are going through a similar path, but what I'm particularly proud of is not only the outcome, because we are now sitting way, but technology and a platform that is serving our needs, uh, in a much better way.


As I said, we have a more resilient operations. We are becoming more productive. We can turn around more features. Uh, definitely we have a state of the art platform that is serving much better our business needs, but I'm particularly proud about the journey because it would have been easy in a way to give the team a check and say, well, go and build a new platform. But actually we decided to go the hard way and show that by keeping the budget flat, we can completely turn around the platform and really the business of pampers.com. And frankly, I mean, this was a good idea because the team was so energized by the challenge that I can tell you the team morale now it's whole time. I, so that's really, I mean, it's not just the outcome, but the journey to get there.


Uh, I love this example because it's very real, it's not something small that happens in some corner of the business and nobody has noticed it. Bumpers is one of our largest brands in the company. The Pampers website is one of our most important websites. So demonstrated that these practices work and operate in this ecosystem is very critical to eliminate all those people that have doubts or concerns about the ability for agile to, to really play on operate in a business critical operation.


The advice I would give you is know what you want, uh, in other terms, um, for us, it was very clear what we were striving for. And so we knew that, uh, there were KPIs that were important to us for compass.com. This was ability to deliver new feature. Um, in every two weeks I've been needed to have a nice responsive website that was really, um, helping us to achieve our SEO score. So know what your solution platform, product digital product is for, because unless you know what the business count outcome is, you will never really, uh, I mean, optimize for success, ask yourself what I'm, uh, I mean, for


I'm really proud of the full transformation that organization has, has the even, and how they have truly embraced this. This access is not my success or my team's success is that hundreds of people that have truly made agile and DevOps truly mainstream, we are no longer that again, that is more niche. That is more thing that a few people are doing now. We are almost in the majority. So that is a piece I am, I'm really proud of. I could have never achieved any of these by myself. It has been the team that has truly taking it even much farther than I ever thought we would be by now.


I really believe that the challenger is relevant for everybody, because what I realize is that, uh, to be current and to be affecting the world of today, uh, with the, uh, changing dynamics and fast pace, you really have to react very quickly to what the consumers wants, what the business leaders are asking. And frankly, with the old way of building technologies and managing platforms, we were just not able to cope with the demand which was growing. It was becoming a much more dynamic. So I really believe that unless you are really running a platform and a solution that doesn't need to cope with any change and adopt, there aren't that many of them nowadays, I think this journey is actually relevant for you.


I think this is very relevant for everyone at the same time. It's not something that has to happen at the same time everywhere. There are certain platforms, there are several areas that are better suited. I'm more ready to move into this journey than others. So we're trying to pace ourselves, uh, as we get there, but to those that are the ultimate doubter, the ultimate person that doesn't really want to change that is, that is our choice. As someone said, change is optional. Survival is not mandatory.


I would also add the, um, that, um, frankly, consumers nowadays don't just want product anymore. They want experiences. So in a way, communicating to our consumers digitally, um, parenting content, diapering content is part of what now the consumers, the gen Z of today, the millennials of today are expecting from CPG companies. It's an evolution that, uh, definitely we will see more and more in the coming years.


Yeah. I think that P and G actually has continuously reinvented itself over the last 200 years. We started selling candles. We then move over to soap. We invented whole new categories like Seaford or Pampers or even Pringles, uh, back in the day. So we were the first company that aired a commercial on TV. We invented brand management and so many other areas. So P and G has always been pushing itself to be really, truly leverage everything that is available to truly meet the needs of our consumers. So this is to me, yes. Another step in this continuous reinvention journey. And I'm sure we will be as successful as we have been going through world wars through hurricanes earthquakes and so many other things around the world. Thank you very much, Olympia. Thank you for that greater story. And especially the amazing results our team has delivered.


So in dimension, our journey continues. We are very proud of this access is that we have achieved by Wilson. No, we have to push forward. One of the elements that we're working on is how we bring more agile portfolios, how we scale our download operations, identify dependencies across the different teams and follow resources early on to address them heads on. And these generally, as every single large company, we have a very strong annual financial cycle. This is not always conducive to really operate an John miner. We're working with our finance friends, but definitely we haven't resolved this yet. So if anyone has solved it or has good ideas, please reach out. We're looking forward to all of them last but not least is. We want to make sure that I jail and dev ops are truly sustainable. And we know that these requires adjusting our resources structures. How do we make sure we are rewarded in teams versus just individual results? Again, this is an area we're working with. Our friends in HR. We have a lot of, a lot to learn here. I mean, do you have already resolved, please come back to us. We're looking forward to any help with this. Let me bring this to our closure. Thank you very much. So listen in to our story. I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation with all of you.


Thank you.